The Departure, Part I : Leaving the known

Both Tony and I seemed to take moments a little slower in the final few days before leaving our precious home. We have so many wonderful memories in this home in growing into our identity as a family of three where we enjoyed being together and loving the neighborhood and community around us. I kept looking at Samuel as he did his ‘normal’ daily activities and wondered if he had any idea that his whole world was about to be turned upside down. If you look into his eyes, he seems to have a wise, knowing soul — and yet, his tantrums still give away his almost “2”-ness.

We had so much to do in the last month before leaving that I hesitate to even recall the long to-do list in fear of it stirring up all the stresses of the then. In general, we tried to destroy the house (aka, sort and pack up boxes) while Sam was away from the home or fast asleep in his crib, unaware of his parents staying up until ridiculous hours trying to get it all done. And inbetween the tasks of paperwork, selling and donating our stuff, and packing up our ‘earthly possessions,’ we squeezed in time with friends and family – although the time was never long enough. Sometimes, quality time with friends or family meant tackling the kitchen cleaning together or organizing the items we were taking for Baby Girl. In my mind, I had a vision of how it all would go – and while that certainly didn’t become a complete reality, there were bits and pieces that did. I wanted to be done packing a week before we left so we could use the final week JUST for time with each other and others. (nope!) I wanted to do a photo walk with Sam and take him to all his favorite places together, capturing these memories one last time (not really!). And I hoped to soak in a few last evenings on the front porch with Tony – watching the world go by as we sat in our favorite ‘room’ of the whole house. (Sorta, but oftentimes, we were so tired that we had to get sleep when we could)


Sam and Gwen have been friends since Sam was born… thanks to April’s sweet extension of friendship during those crazy few months with a newborn.

And now, Gwen uses her wiser age to teach Sam about the ways of the world…

It worked out perfectly to squeeze in one last play date with Gwen and Haddie… (and Ian and June, of course) before we left the country.

{So thank you HOT MONDAY AFTERNOON for an excuse for the kiddie pool.}

The goodbyes for the littles seemed normal – in assumption that they would see each other again very very soon.

But for us Mamas, we felt the heaviness of this particular end to the playdate.

Maybe if Sam had understood, he may have been a bit better at sharing Gwen’s new stroller with Gwen.

Or he may have went out of his way to give Gwen the last bite of his graham cracker.

or maybe smiled pretty for the picture with a family who has spent hours being patient and loving us through crazy times… 😉

But it was a normal day… so we took the pool party with the laughter and ring-around-the-rosie along with the tantrums and fighting over toys.

And it’s funny how you will even miss those moments too.

After the playdate, we were blessed to get one last visit from our next-door, fantastic and oh-so-amazing neighbors…

They gifted him with THE PERFECT GIFT for our TRAVEL ADVENTURE… Again, one of those items on my to-do but never would’ve made it to reality so thankfully, my neighbor’s thoughtfulness made the gift all the more special because Sam TREASURES anything shared by the above two sweet ones because he ADORES those two. They gifted him a Thomas the Train backpack with a bunch of fun toys in it for his flight.

Finally, as the sun was setting to our last full day in West Michigan, my parents got some much-desired time with their grandson. You see, they had spent the bulk of the previous 4 days helping us pack up, clean, watch Samuel, etc… I think they were more tired than we were leading up to our flight overseas.

And then, Tuesday (d-day) came… and it was time to pack up our vehicles and head to the airport.

Tony and I are blessed to have four grandparents for Samuel who are so generous with their love and time. Samuel ADORES them. They made a lot of extra trips over the last few months to spend extra time with Samuel and helped us with various tasks in preparation to leave.

For those of you who have moved or made a major transition, you can certainly attest to both the necessity and exhaustion of saying goodbye (or see ya later) to those you love. These weren’t flippant goodbyes… but heavy-hearted ‘trusting God’ goodbyes with people who you could easily imagine raising your children with or sharing many meals with in the pivotal years of young parenthood. They were the goodbyes to hilarious Uncles, an adoring Aunt, loving cousins, and faithful grandparents that caused more than one moment with the “ugly cry.”

For some reason, the hardest goodbyes were the ones where those closest to Sam said ‘see ya later.’ He has experienced a lot of love from A LOT of people in his short two years of life. And it simply broke my heart to be taking him away from such amazing people who model the love and grace of the Heavenly Father in their everyday lives. There were so so many people who sacrificed personal time to help us get ready to leave – or helped us to stay sane in doing so. And honestly, we would not have been ready to leave without all the people who helped out in those final weeks to get us on a plane. I should’ve counted ‘volunteer hours’ because it would’ve been truly astounding and it brings tears to my eyes to know that because of people’s selflessness, our cabinets were cleaned; floors cleaned; donation items driven to a thrift store; Sam taken to the park to escape the chaos; meals were enjoyed , etc… thanks to the generosity of our family and friends.


We were on the receiving end of a lot of love and care…


and there is no weight limit on any airline for the amount of love you can take with you when you move overseas. 😉

(I will post tomorrow with Departure, Part II: details of our flight and share photos of our arrival in another post… Then, I’ll be caught up and post much shorter posts!)

  • Catie Loveless - I love traveling with you though this blog so please don’t make the posts shorter or the pictures few! Love you!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - um. cry. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Kristyn Brown - So happy for your safe arrival! Looking forward to following your adventure! Prayers for you as you begin your new life in Turkey!
    Kristyn BrownReplyCancel

  • Kyle - Beautiful goodbye. Looking forward to the update on your arrival. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • April - I’m with Lisa….
    Sure will miss sharing those everyday moments with you guys.ReplyCancel

  • Keith and Kay Schreffler Sr - We are and will be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers as God unfolds His plan for all of you. Thank you for keeping all of us updated!

    Keith SchrefflerReplyCancel