I have two babies under the age of two. My older baby is rather large and furry. The newest baby is small, and well, not furry. It’s a good thing that Abigail is so darn cute or no one would even know she was around. You would think Hank was a dog version of Cinderella with the way he carries on, acting so completely deprived. We try to pretend for the sake of Hank’s sanity that he is still the center of our small universe. You don’t want a 150 pound dog turning on you. That’s a lot of slobber to face. But the secret is although I love both of my babies, when Abigail came along there was just no comparison. That is how this whole moving thing started.
The spring and summer of Abigail’s arrival turned out to be one of the most challenging times of my life. It wasn’t the crying or the constant feeding and diapering or even the lack of sleep. It was a matter of my physical health. The one thing that kept me going was my little family, especially Abigail. It is not easy mentally or physically to wake up each day and know that you have a hole the size of a golf ball on the side of your chest that must be packed with gauze. What had been a typical mastitis infection had spiraled out of control into a large abscess. After multiple trips to the ER and an unsuccessful attempt at draining it with a needle, my only option was surgery. I had no idea how bad the wound would be until I went to follow up with the surgeon and had to bite down on my lips to keep from crying when I saw it. I didn’t know how I would ever be the same. It took almost two and a half months for that wound to heal. It was during that time that I realized just how strong I was not only as a woman, but more importantly as a mother. I could wish my scar away, but to do that would mean that Abigail would not be here with us. It was in those quiet moments that summer, when it was just her and I, that I knew I would do anything for that baby. You know that whisper that you get deep inside your heart? It’s the one that tells you what you may or may not be ready to hear. That little voice had turned into a shout by the middle of the summer, a shout that let me know that what I really wanted more than anything was a chance to take some time away from teaching and be with Abigail.
Taking that time off is easier said than done. It just wasn’t going to work no matter what kind of sacrifices we made. I spent the rest of my summer going back and forth between being ready to go back and see my teaching friends and moping around because I wouldn’t be able to stay at home with Abigail. Out of the blue, I got an email from Ryan saying, “Hey, if you have some free time, take a look at this website and tell me what you’d think about living here. I’m not really serious but there’s been several positions posted lately, and it looks like a beautiful town.” He closed the email with a link towww.discovernewport.com. Adorable.
I think I went to that website 50 times that day. I called Ryan and we talked about how cool it would be to live on the coast, something we thought we’d never have the chance to do. Well, not really serious turned into a resume which turned into an interview which turned into a job opportunity. A great job opportunity that would allow me to stay at home with Abigail (and Hank, of course!) The new job is now a month away. It was like someone punched me in the stomach when I looked and realized we have just three short weeks left in Lynchburg. I have spent my fair share of nights in tears over the thought of leaving this place. I think about the friends I have made that seem like family, the places we have made memories in, and the house that we fixed up into the home that saw the arrival of my first dog and our first baby — and it hurts. It hurts bad. But then I hear that whisper again, and if the whisper had a face it would be God — winking at me and saying “Atta girl. Go follow your dreams, and take care of that baby like I have taken care of you.”