A Farewell Book of Photos

today, sweet children, i started to take pictures of our friends here in pittsburgh.  and eventually i anticipate i will naturally gravitate toward including pictures of this city we've lived in--that you've been born in.  just to remember the faces.  to remember where our feet have tred.  to remember our tiny corner of the world.  because (let's get it in writing), we are moving.  far.  far.  away.

and with those last few words, on the exhale, i well up with tears.

this is the first time on this blog that i've revealed this very well known, [old] public news.   it seems as if i'm whispering this to an intimate friend, dear blog of mine, but our family and friends and those we barely know are actually all ready in-the-know.  "i'm sorry that i didn't tell you sooner, old friend....  no hard feelings."

but in all seriousness, this has been a place to make those huge events in our lives public--"hey, we're having a baby!"  "it's a GIRL!"  "She rolled over."  "she's all ready two years old--how did that happen?!"  "we're having another baby!!"  "it's a girl--we couldn't be happier!"  "she's beautiful.  they're beautiful together."  and so on.  the big events.  honestly, i started a post quite a while ago, and it sits dormant in the drafts page.  i broke down a few paragraphs in and needed to be emotional without exposing that to the public.  but i need to put something down, for the record.  i want this recorded and noted because it will affect our lives, our children's lives, forever.  in some way.

this new place that we will soon call home is Qatar.  the middle east.  never in a million years would i have thought to move there.  but there is so much excitement that stirs in my heart, that it makes this move so much more palatable.  and ben and are on the same page--we both feel this "call" to be there.  ben will be a visiting faculty member with CMU for 2 years. 

i kind of want to "loose it", here on this blog.  to vent and drip with emotion onto the keyboard and through osmosis, let it seep into the motherboard of this computer and send sparks everywhere.  because, if i let it, that's what i'm really feeling right now.  this explosion of loss and fear and isolation bubbling up, and it's taking a lot to hold it back these days.   i want to sort through and allow only the true, good 'ol cries to come out and to ask God to release me from the emotions that are not from Him--that would only do more harm and make me doubt.  it will help me to transition, so there will be tender moments [and there have been] that allow me to slowly say good-bye in a healthy way.

these moments just kind of spring up.  but usually when it's quiet in my house.  and i'm rocking audrey to sleep and i think of this house we live in.  that we LIVE in.  that i've brought my two children home from the hospital.  that sophie has taken her first steps in.  the walls that i painted our first week in our new house.  this house that allowed us to put roots down in pittsburgh.  these steps that took tozer a week to figure out how to climb because he was such a puppy when we brought him home.  this place that is more than walls and scuffed-up wooden floors.  it's more than a loose tile in the entrance.  it's more than pee-stains on the carpet because of a potty-training child.  it's more than a door that has swung open to so many friends and neighbors who have stayed and lingered with us here.  this place holds the intangible along with so many tangible things that remind of us the people who surround our home--the pictures our friend took of our family of three, and then our family of four.  the mugs we drink from made from the hands of a friend who has the scars of a divorce.  the board games that have been broken in countless times.  some books--marked up--that have been read and discussed in small groups--groups that friendships were forged within.

this house is what holds us here, to pittsburgh.  and i'm so grateful we do not have to sell it.  but it will not really be ours once we leave.  a lovely family will inhabit it and care for it.  it will smell different, breathe differently, when we return to visit.  it might look the same as our house, but it will feel...shifted.  altered.   and that will be true of our community here.  there will be new faces, relationships, stories, and events.  this place will continue on without us.  we will enter back into it in a small way when we visit.  but it won't really be our community anymore.  sure, we will be welcomed and still be love-on because the people here are just that way.  but this carved out little tribe of friends will be...shifted.  altered.  not entirely ours.

and because it's getting late and this post is long enough for the first in what might be a series of posts on the developing dialogue between me and technology [or what i'd like to more righteously think, between me and God] concerning our move, i shall call it quits.