Our last week in ohio was grueling. Emotionally and physically, as we said goodbye to the people, places and things that defined our existence for the past 12 years. The last time we left ohio, it was for India. That was also hard, but we knew we were only gone a year, and we would come back to home: friends, our house full of our stuff where we would go back to our work. This goodbye was entirely different, as we sold our house and most of our stuff. The people goodbyes were more painful, because there were no promises of we'll be back, and very few responses of we'll come visit.
The last day of school was a heartbreaker. I walked into the 2nd grade classroom at the beginning of the day because it was the teacher's last day and girls were crying everywhere. At pickup several hours later, tears had spread like some sort of contagion. We took the kids and their friends out for ice cream because that's how Team Thomas deals with our feelings.
And we sat there, teary and sticky in the middle of fairborn, saying our goodbyes to home.
The next day we had to get all the remnants of our house into the van and head to three soccer games at the y. People, go out and join your YMCA. That has been a difference-maker in our life as far as connecting with our community. Neighborhoods these days, unless you live a very intentional life, tend to be arranged very comfortably to include all the people in town who are just like you. Our Y caters to and serves our whole city, putting us in the paths of families we would never meet on a neighborhood walk or at a PTO meeting (not like I've been to more than 2 PTO meetings in 3 years).
Anyway, it was a sentimental couple of days, but we were able to do the final lap, touching all the bases, before heading into the home stretch, which was a long drive to Philadelphia, with the things in our car swallowing our four kids.
The kids have done great, but it is wearing. Charlie woke up multiple times screaming, "I don't want to leave ohio!!!!!!" It was sad. Talya has several times complained that her heart hurts. She means physically. She is genuinely concerned about having a heart attack. We are not worried about her health, but definitely think that it could be a symptom of a lot of stress on a little body.
Now we are at Lake George, our place of decompression and family and the one place that is more "home" than any other. The kids are enjoying the freezing lake and I'm loving the heavenly views of mountains diving into crystal-clear water. We had a good weekend with most of my family and bens parents come up in a few days.
We already miss the friends we've left, and we already feel that sense of homelessness that is all too familiar to missionaries and ex-patriates the world over, but there is no better place to deal with those things than right here.