Flying With Her Own Wings

29 Aug

Almost two years ago I wrote a blog, a blog that would mark the beginning of perhaps the grandest adventure of my life.  In the months that would follow I would pour out my raw feelings on a computer screen and hit publish.  I wrote through my ups and downs, every struggle I faced, every moment to be celebrated.  It was unedited and real and often, I’m sure, grammatically incorrect.

Through words I would find catharsis, purging the sometimes overwhelming emotions of homesickness, motherhood, and adjusting to a new place.  Today I find myself in a familiar situation: typing with held breath and tears welling up and spilling over.  And while I am excited for what the future holds for our family, today I am sad.

Newport, Oregon.

The hardest thing about putting yourself out there, letting everyone in on your experience, is that you don’t know at the time what the ending will be.  You never know how you will evolve and what turns your life will take.  So when you get to the end and it isn’t at all what you expect it’s a lot to process.

I never expected Oregon to touch my heart as much as it did.  I came here dragging my feet but what I endured and discovered has changed me forever.    It takes heart to live here, through the months and months of soggy gray and roaring winds.  I was only here for two winters but I’m proud of surviving through each one.  Your reward is living in a place whose beauty cannot be measured.  How strange it seemed to wear your fleece on the beach, to run in the rain, and to wear fall clothes all year, but now it feels right.

But the hardest part of leaving is the saying goodbye to our friends.  When I first arrived I felt like the biggest outsider.  I was awkwardly aware of my uptightness in a community that welcomed us with open arms.  It wasn’t long before I found a kindred spirit that would eventually become not just an important part of my life, but also my daughter’s, hereby proclaiming “No Pants Wednesdays” as a necessary part of the week.  Soon after I was scooped up by a story time friend who never questioned why I was there with my 6 month old – she became my rock, the person who had walked the path closest to my own.   Another friend filled rainy days with aquarium visits and baking and Chai.  A book club who had known each other for years treated me like one of the gang, no questions asked.  A beautiful mother but also a fellow girl’s girl was always up for going on an adventure, sharing a glass of wine, or gossiping about Bravo housewives.  A fun loving couple who didn’t mind a toddler running around their deck and chasing their cat during barbeques on the bayfront — all of these people saying in their own way, “come, relax, enjoy, be.”  Oregon snuck into my soul and I didn’t even notice.

Finally, there’s the ocean.  It deserves its own mention.  How very lucky we all were to experience daily something that so beautifully reminds you of the world’s vastness.  Forever now it will be the place that centers me.  It’s the first home Abigail has really known and she is alive here.  I think she loves it most of all.  It’s hard to take her away when I see how her soul dances on the sand, but I know she is about to add some new and great chapters to her story.  We will be back to visit.  I want my all of my children to know and love the Oregon coast, like we do now.  But mostly, I want Abigail to one day know the reason that the sea whispers her name.  Because for a short time, this was home.

So thank you, Oregon.  This is the place where I discovered my passion for writing.  This is the place we became a family.  This is the place I unearthed the strength I never knew I had.  And I am forever grateful.

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14 Responses to “Flying With Her Own Wings”

  1. Mom August 29, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    I am so proud of you, Sarah. You have indeed poured out your heart through your blog–and while everyone’s experiences are different, you express yourself in ways that make it easy to relate to and find common ground in the ups and downs and emotional twists and turns of life. I hope you continue to write for a long time. You are a beautiful and unique person–and if I didn’t already love you so much as a daughter, I would choose to love you as a friend. Thank you for sharing yourself, your experiences, and OREGON with us.

  2. Emily August 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    Love you sister!!

  3. Robyn Campbell August 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Sarah, your mom said it perfectly! You have such a talent evbl every single 1 of your blog posts. and safe travels to and safe travels to South Carolina. about your ne about your new adventures

  4. Carole Calle August 29, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    So you’re off on a new adventure. I know you will immerse yourself in South Carolina just as you have in Oregon. You’ll always find friends and fun times because you are open to them and your spirit shines in your eyes, telling everyone you meet that you are a person well worth knowing. Don’t stop writing. That talent is your gift. It would be a sin not to share it.

    • Sarah August 31, 2012 at 8:06 am #

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Carole! Starting over sometimes feels enormous but this time I have some experience under my belt.

  5. Lindsay August 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    Can’t wait to hear all about the next part of your journey! Sad and happy for you – what a wonderful post and perfect memories for Abigail to read back on.

    • Sarah August 31, 2012 at 8:07 am #

      Thank you! I like that our states will be neighbors!

  6. Heather August 29, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    I would never have had the chance to experience the beauty of Oregon if you didn’t first let her show you how to fly with your own wings. I believe that God’s plan was perfect in how He sewed together the quilt of your past two years. You said goodbye to Lynchburg by accomplishing the great Lynchburg 10 miles…and then almost two years to the date, you put another final punctuation on your time in Oregon with this journey from Hood to Coast. I think our time together the past 5 or so days was a way for you to remember how strong you truly are. How you aren’t letting anyone down. How all of the people who love you the most are excited for you, even if it’s hard for you to leave them. We all understand. We have all understood. We love you, Sarah Knapp. Forever. <3

    • Sarah August 31, 2012 at 8:07 am #

      I just know that part of that plan was having you here with me, my dear friend. Thank you for being the sparkle I needed and for always being a sister kind of friend.

  7. artoornstra August 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    I love Oregon too!! And I think there is something mystic and amazing about the Oregon coast. I wish it was not a hour and a half drive or I would be there at least once a month…for me it’s more like 2-3 times a year. I have found the same “open arms” here that was hard to find in other places I lived. I think I have the greatest friendships here than what I ever had. It’s something about the Pacific Northwest culture. Blessings as you move on and keep blogging!

    • Sarah August 31, 2012 at 8:09 am #

      The people here are very special. I’ve learned a lot from the friends I’ve made. I’ll take those lessons with me everywhere we go. Come out to the coast before the rain begins! It’s been beautiful the last few weeks!

  8. Gretchen August 29, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    Of course I love this post and have cried all three times I have read it. Heather’s comment perfectly sums up what I feel. You are strong, You are loved and you are ready for the next adventure. While you may feel changed by Oregon, we also feel changed. Knowing you has made me feel stronger and more loved and ready for the next adventure. I’m looking forward to seeing South Carolina through your eyes And as Heather said, I love you, Sarah Knapp, forever.

    • Sarah August 31, 2012 at 8:09 am #

      I don’t even know what to say. I love you! Thank you for being such a special friend! I’m going to miss you!

  9. peggy August 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    Whoa! What a powerful essay! Aren’t you glad that you opened yourself up to the adventure of Oregon? Just as you will be glad of the adventure of South Carolina!! You are an inspiration.
    I miss you, but feel close to you when I read your posts.

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