1 Year – One Giant Leap

My Darling Baby Boy,

Today was your first birthday, and it was spectacular. Despite being 2,100 miles away from where you were born and not yet living in our new home, your mom organized the best party EVER for you. There were decorations, cake, singing, presents, lots of playing, Grandma GiGi and Grandpa Bill were there, and to top it off, you walked!!!! You took your first steps (3, then 5, right into mommy’s arms) and it was absolutely magical. I cannot tell you how proud and amazed I am at you today. You grew up right before my very eyes. Even though it was only 1 day it felt like you grew up a full year. You’re smart, energetic, happy, gentle, curious, fearless, loving, the list is endless.

I am so humbled to have been a part of your life for these past 12 months; I could not have asked for anything more. You’ve taken your first steps on your own in this world. As you take more and venture into the unknown, please know that I will be there to guide you, encourage you, comfort you, heal you, protect you, lift you, catch you, and love you. You will explore your world with reckless abandon, but you can feel safe knowing that I will always be there when you need me.

Happy Birthday.

I love you.

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From Sleep, Awake

As you may or may not know by now, I’ve moved from from Central IL to Northwestern Washington state. I’ve changed jobs, companies, and set my entire family on an adventure into the unknown, 2,100 mies away from friends, family, and everything we know. This wasn’t completely on a whim; the Pacific Northwest is the area of the country my wife and I decided we wanted to live permanently eventually; we just didn’t think it would happen this fast. But when the golden ticket arrives you can’t really say no. “Opportunity only knocks once”, as they say.

We’ve been here 10 days and we’re not settled yet. We’re staying in a hotel while we wait for the closing date on our new house. Me, my wife, my son, my father-in-law, 3 cats, a dog, and a partridge in a pear tree for that matter. We’re starting to go stir crazy, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. When you’re displaced and already feeling isolated it’s incredibly hard to find comfort, to start to put down roots and make a new place truly home. Add it all up and even when it goes smoothly, The question can creep in. Was this really the right thing to do? A routine errand provided the answer in the most unexpected way.

After work I decided to take my son and find the nearest “shared branch” bank that would allow me to transact using my account from back in IL. Even though it was only 5:30 in the evening Daylight Savings Time ensured that the sun had already been down for quite some time. A full moon helped guide us on our trek as we headed for Oak Harbor. A small road (WA Route 20) with only 1 lane in both directions took us the entire way, winding through the trees and a few small towns. Suddenly the view opened up to Deception Pass. Even though it was completely dark, the moonlight gave way to a breathtaking view. I pulled over to the scenic waypoint, turned off the car, took my son out of his seat, and walked to the viewing area.

We stood there, silently in awe, father and son, watching the full moon reflect over the eerily calm waters and pine trees of Deception Pass. Maybe it was the moonlight, maybe it was the slight chill in the air, maybe it was the stress release, or maybe it was that I was listening to the magically epic Z2 album from the Devin Townsend Project. Whatever it was, the significance of this moment hit me like an impact gun, nearly buckling my knees and practically moving me to tears. This is why we’re here. This is our purpose. The sense of adventure, of worldly exploration, of wonderment and deep humbling respect for Mother Nature.

My iPhone can't even come close to recapturing the moment. Yes, that is the moon.

My iPhone can’t even come close to recapturing the moment. Yes, that is the moon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That sense had always been a part of me, but years of spirit-crushing winters and a job that drained the life out of me had left me wondering if it was gone forever. Tonight the fire was reignited and it’s starting to burn brighter and brighter. This fire will provide the strength I need to carry my family through this transition, to dig deep, find a home, and instill those same senses in my son and all the children I will have. I was born and raised in the Midwest and will be forever proud of that. But tonight Mother Nature opened her welcoming arms and reassured me that yes, my family belongs here.

Welcome home.