Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
Do you ever get the feeling that you are exactly where you are supposed to be? I experienced that moment the other week, when my younger daughter and I were enjoying pizza and wine at Old House Vineyards. We have our routine when we are out at vineyards, and that includes blasting Elton John and Billy Joel on the drive home and singing along loudly (and out of tune). This winery trip was no different, except we got our Elton John fix a little earlier. We were enjoying the sunshine, taking a bite of pizza, when suddenly our ears perked up as we heard the familiar opening to Benny and the Jets and we looked at each other and burst out with B-B-B-Benny and the Jetsssss! Made our day!
I had that feeling again on Friday as I was helping my younger daughter finish packing up her house to move to NC. I looked up in the kitchen and saw a dragonfly hanging out on the light fixture. It stayed wherever we were packing up. I mentioned it, surprised, and my daughter calmly said, “it has been watching over me all morning.” Dragonflies hold a special place in my daughter’s life, representing a very special friend she lost in high school to cancer. She took this as a positive sign that everything would work out for her, that she was doing exactly what she was supposed to.
“If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.” Paulo Coehlo
Despite that calming moment, the whirlwind of last week continued. After many get-togethers for drinks, dinners, lunches, and breakfasts, my younger daughter said goodbye to her friends, her work, and her life in Charlottesville as moving Part 1 happened this past weekend. Every free (and non-free) minute I have had over the last 2 weeks has been devoted to helping this child pare down and pack up for her new adventure. Friday, she and I picked up the rental truck. Have always used Penske trucks and did so again (AAA discount helps!). But for the first time, I was the driver. SOLO. And nervous about driving that big truck (especially across state lines!). Being a bit height challenged, I made sure the seat was up as far as possible so I could see over the steering wheel (which I was gripping with all of my might), and the mirrors were positioned so I could see around me. I mean, there is NO rear view mirror. Took out extra insurance just in case!
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Motored back to her apartment safely and without incident, and with the help of a dear friend of hers, packed all of the boxes and smaller furniture in the truck before my older daughter and son-in-law came to help load the BIG furniture (sleeper sofa, dresser, bed, chair). We could not have done it without them all. By the way y’all, it was HOT Friday packing that truck! We were soaking wet with sweat, but we got ‘er done. And I had both my girls under my roof Friday night. My son-in-law took my granddawg back to Richmond after having dinner with us to work on packing them up for their move next weekend.
It was HOT Saturday as well! Our caravan left my house at 5:30 am with my older daughter in the lead, her Tahoe full of the clothes and a big TV, followed by me driving the Penske truck (with more confidence!), and my younger daughter pulling up the rear. I thought to myself that here we were – 3 strong women, heading to Charlotte. Made me proud. Four hours and 40 minutes later, we pulled into my younger daughter’s new apartment. We were anxious to see it in person – my younger daughter and I had walked all around it when we were in Charlotte, but they did not have Saturday office hours. So my sweet son and his fiancee’ looked at it the next week for us and sent a video. They gave it their stamp of approval and I saw why. It’s a cute, light, airy apartment in a very good, safe location (only half a mile from my son). My son, his fiancee’, her father, brother-in-law, and brother came and helped us unload the truck. The sweat was pouring but the truck was unloaded within 40 minutes! Again, we could not have done it without them and were so thankful. My sisters and my brother-in-law arrived shortly thereafter for the second shift – unpacking! My older sister worked with my daughter to set up her kitchen, while my older daughter (aka “the organizer”) and my younger sister unpacked and set up her closet, bedroom, and bathroom. My son and his fiancee’ went with me to return the truck, made a quick trip to Target to pick up a few things we needed, and picked up lunch from Chik-fil-A (did you know there’s an APP to order lunch at Chick-fil-A?! There is!) We were amazed at the progress made with the unpacking and organizing when we returned! And as she did with me when I moved in my house SOLO, my older sister got to work making this house a home by adding her flair and personal touches. My son and brother-in-law then worked on hanging the heavy pictures, mirrors, wine rack, etc., while my sisters and I worked on hanging the lighter pictures. And my sweet brother-in-law broke down all the boxes and put them in his car to recycle back in Winston-Salem. We had so much fun – the 8 of us unpacking, hanging pictures, organizing – lots of laughs, jokes, singing (off key of course), and just horsing around. It was fun and it was work, and it was family! It took a village of special people to make this move happen so efficiently and so fun. We all left around 4:30 as my daughter already had plans with friends in Charlotte! My heart is full. So many prayers have been answered for this child and for that I am so thankful. Plus I got to spend time with all of my kids and my sisters. However, we did not take pictures! Did not realize it until my older daughter and I started our trip back home to VA.
“Family is the support you will never have to pay for because come rain, or shine, they will be there to cheer you on with every one of your life goals.”
Even though I experienced the same feelings I had when dropping my kids off at college (away from me), I was brave when we left. Helped that I was with my older daughter. We had a good trip home, talking for 4 ½ hours (we are never at a loss for words!) and then we talked on the phone as she traveled the hour from my house to hers. Wanted to make sure she stayed awake – it had been a LONG and wonderful day, but we were beat!
“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” ~ Carl Bard
Slept in Sunday and then headed to my younger daughter’s old apartment to finish cleaning, packing my car with the unused boxes to recycle, stuff for Goodwill, and trash. More prayers were answered as her apartment was rented, and the new tenants wanted the furniture she did not take! Took a big burden off my shoulders on what to do with an extra sofa, chair, ottoman, and 2 bookshelves. After 2 trips to the recycle center and Goodwill, I went back to my house to reorganize my garage from everything that had been dumped there over the last week. I needed to get it ready to house some heavy pieces of furniture that my older daughter does not want to go to storage next weekend when they move to their temporary apartment while their house is being finished. Felt so good to get my house back in order. I thrive on order and routine!
My dear sisters and brother-in-law were so happy to be a part of my daughter’s move. They’ll come back to help when my older daughter and son-in-law move into their new house this fall. Family is so important y’all. We support each other in many ways. Some things that may seem small are actually very big to us. The fact that my soon to be daughter-in-law’s family gave up their Saturday morning to unload our truck in the 100 degree weather when they barely know us, tells me how important family is to them as well. We are now their family. My sisters and brother-in-law making the trip to Charlotte to help my daughter may seem small, but it was huge! My older daughter making the trip (10+ hours of driving in one day) when she has packing to do as well… huge! My sweet son giving up his Saturday plans to help his sister and be with our family – testament of how important family is to him. I was so happy to be with my family!
“The greatest gifts our parents ever gave us was each other.”
As much as I miss my girl, I am so happy for her. We have waited patiently for this opportunity, and truly made the most of the time we had together up here. I have had more fun in the last 3 years than I can remember. And it will not end. (Look out Charlotte!) We have a lot of family fun things planned, not to mention planning for a rehearsal dinner and wedding in 2020! So much to look forward to. So much to be thankful for. And for me, all the text messages, phone calls, and emails from friends checking to see how I am faring without my buddy mean the world to me. Truly.
“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” – Lao Tzu
Be patient waiting for God’s plan for you because it will be wonderful. Enjoy every opportunity you get to spend with your family and friends, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.
“So Bye Bye Baby, Baby Goodbye…” Frankie Valli 1965
PS Moving Part II happens next weekend as we repeat the move with my older daughter and her husband. Whew! We are tired y’all!