I recently allowed my mind to wander back to the trek here from the sunshine state. I remember the idea of how we would get our stuff loaded and what our respective roles would be-how daunting a task it seemed for each of us, but temporary and enchanting to imagine our new life together in a new place where we would get to finally plant our roots as we longed for. And p.s. to finally have our own home. It was a time of transition, two busy little boys, excitement, dreams realized, family near by, hot weather, leaving our favorite place we have ever lived, and moving on. A mixed bag of feelings to say the least.
I think back to that brief chunk of time and I recall Mike helping me load the boys into our little CRV for the last drive I would take away from Siskiyou Drive. I remember the quiet family prayer for safety and then concern and confidence in his eyes as he kissed me goodbye and wished me well on my journey alone with the boys in tow. Friends and strangers from church were arriving to assist with the loading of the truck. I had worked hard to back every single box and my heart kept beating pulses of gratitude for Beka and Tara for the boxes they packed well into the late evening hours with me. As I pulled away from the curb, missionaries arrived. Several of them. And it was the first time since that one night I remembered a giant box sitting among all the others Tara labeled for me: Sex Toys. Which was really just heavy winter clothing.
I left the cable box with Cox and tried to peek into that Comic Book store we always promised Zane we would take him to, but was always closed too early. It wasn't open yet. And then we finally left. I merged onto the 680 one last time. Tears brimmed in my eyes as I gave an adios salute to those golden hills I was leaving and amazing wild flowers on all sides of me waving goodbye in the summer breeze. Oh, how I would miss Northern California. It was like breaking up with someone you really still liked, but knew it was time for something else. Something more fitting for a long term plan. It's an unsettling feeling, but eventually it's like completing a really good book that sticks in your mind for weeks, but once it's removed from the bedside table and finally placed on the shelf; somewhat forgotten.
The drive was smooth. I couldn't even tell you if it was 12 or 16 hours before I arrived at my in-laws. Mike would be trailing behind several hours after me and with a tired back from loading and driving this massive truck. My next memory was waking up the next morning and feeding the children. Mike's mom arrived from the early morning truck unpacking *party* with humor in her voice. A nice man from our new ward arrived to assist the unpacking efforts. And he brought his barely-a-teenager son. And that son found the Sex Toys box. You know, the largest box in the entire truck. He found it, the boy.
I remember Mike returning later to his parents' home after returning the final items were unloaded and the truck returned. Having little (if any?) sleep and looking so tired. He stood in the middle of the kitchen as the boys and I watched him with an eager smile. It was like he slaughtered the best looking bear in the forrest for us and we couldn't wait to see it! I asked him if he wanted to shower or eat breakfast before heading over to the house. And I will never forget his smile when he replied with, "No, I just want to take my family home". And we gathered up all our suitcases, collected the children, and we headed over on the 202 to start our new life in our first home. Tired. Exhausted. Exited. Out of place. Tired. He was the first to use the shower while I was running around the house with my camera exploring and soaking it all in detail by detail along with the kids. So glad to be home. Where we had been waiting to be for so many years.
The back yard was still dirt. Evan was sometimes still crawling, always hanging on a pant leg.Zane in his slip-ons he has since outgrown. And the baby not yet made. We stood on our front lawn that night and took this picture. Both so weary but bursting with pleasant feelings. I love this picture. It makes me feel really good. I love my family. I'm glad we're here. It might be really brown and dusty, sure actual tumble weeds roll all around, and the summers are torture. But jeez, there are colors in the Arizona sky in the early evenings that you can't find anywhere else.