Whatever the rest of 2017 holds, it’s already started off with more than a few hiccups for us. These past four months have been nuts. Let me try to recap.
Augustine and I had two cancelled flights in a blizzard while trying to get home from Christmas in Colorado. Ted ended up driving 5 hours in the blizzard into Connecticut to pick us up from the only operating airport. Gus had a cold during all this that settled into his lungs that quickly became pneumonia. After the pneumonia cleared up he and I got the flu. And then he got croup. And then Gus got pink eye during another blizzard. All the while I’m gearing up to MC and finalize the planning details for the women’s conference I run (hopegathering.com), and Ted is working with recruiters in NYC and Houston (because we felt strongly that the Lord said, at least look in TX) searching for a new job. He has really needed career tweak.
This is when everything gets real nuts.
Five days after Gus’ viral pink eye hit (viral means no antibiotics but it’s still crazy infectious), I got pink eye. It was the worst. I remember it was a Monday morning, and we were just under three weeks out from Hope Gathering. Monday night I started a heavy round of eye drops and goop because my eye had swollen all the way shut. It hurt. And itched. And I couldn’t see to work. And there was so much bleach and disinfectant in our apartment that maybe Gus and I were both high (hyperbole. We opened the windows a bit.)
By Wednesday my eye had cleared just enough to look at Ted in his (hallelujah! Completely pink eye free!) eyes when he shared that he landed an unexpected skype interview with a firm in Houston. Enter my first panic attack in a long time. Thursday the interview went beautifully, and Friday they call to say that they want to fly him down to Houston to meet the team.
EEP. What? God!! Houston isn’t real, you were just testing us, right?! (Cuss words)
Ted declined the fly-down because he and Gus already had a trip planned to Houston to be with his family the week after Hope Gathering so that I could have a little stay-cation in NYC. He said he’d meet the team and interview then.
Well. The next day was Saturday (a mere week after Gus came down with pink eye and while I’m still doing my antibiotic rounds and managing the itching) we had a dear friend over to pray and help mediate our discussions on Houston (Ted and I couldn’t talk about it without fighting and me sobbing and having panic attacks). We had enjoyed gin martini’s with our dinner and while delicious, mine made me feel a little off. I went into the bathroom at 9pm to pee a martini on a pregnancy test just so I could feel ok about enjoying the bottle of wine Ted had just opened and BAM. positive test. Baby No. 2 on his/her way just like that.
Chaos. And joy. And more fighting and all of the hormones. I felt like Ted was choosing his career over our family and ready to abandon the life we fought for. I felt like I had no choice in this and had to go where my husband went. He felt like I wasn’t listening or praying and deliberately ignoring Jesus’s clear leading (Jesus was leading clearly, I was just triggered and stuck). We went to bed that night alternating between kissing for the joy of the new baby and then cold-shouldering for the grief of the potential move. It was confusing and overwhelming.
Another dear couple who happened to live upstairs and probably heard us yelling, reached out the next morning and encouraged us to cancel our plans and join them for a walk in Central Park with their kid and ours. He took Ted aside, she took me aside, and they both exhorted and encouraged us to find a way to connect in the midst of all of this crazy. I came home and napped. Less than two weeks until Hope Gathering and so much to do and now I was pregnant and my previous pregnancy was hard hard hard and I had to be ready.
After bedtime Ted went out with Tom for their regular cigars, and Tom called Ted out. Phew. “Your identity cannot come from the respect you get at your job. It comes from Jesus, and he has already chosen you.”
Ted came home and apologized to me for jumping so far ahead. “If you say no, we won’t move,” he told me. The agency I had longed for and needed was suddenly restored, In one sentence and one hug, Ted fought my trigger of being powerless and I went to sleep calm.
The next two weeks were full of Hope Gathering, and then Hope Gathering itself. My pants were immediately too tight as my body remembered how to be pregnant and quickly adjusted. Bras were swapped out of my drawers and a new dress in a bigger size was ordered for me to MC in. A few friends knew about my pregnancy and the job interview, but we were simply overwhelmed and unable to talk about it.
Hope Gathering went gloriously.
The day after Hope Gathering ended, pregnancy hit me like a ton of bricks and the puking and nausea and migraines began in earnest. Ted and Gus went to Houston while my staycation quickly turned into a stay in bed-cation with red ordering delivery food for me from his parents kitchen. Ted interviewed and met the team at Rowan and a week after he returned to New York, on St Patty’s Day, an official offer came. It was the perfect job and the career move we hadn’t risked to dream of. The salary matched his NY salary. The benefits would be enough. And we both felt the peace of Jesus as our hearts broke together, and we accepted the offer.
He gave his notice on Monday as I got sicker and sicker. He had to give four weeks notice at Morgan Stanley (Wall Street rules) but was only required to work two. I tried to begin bravely making moving arrangements as Suzy did all of the post-conference wrap up on her own. March was coming to a close and I had hardly left the house since Gus and I returned from Christmas.
A sick pregnancy for mama often means a healthy pregnancy for baby. Gus had started imitating me throwing up, and thought he was hilarious. He was bored inside the house watching Daniel Tiger all day and night while I lay motionless on the couch. He was also moments away from turning two and testing every boundary he had ever been given. Ugh. The combination of his emotions and my hormones running off the charts high was not a good one. A good portion of Ted’s last two weeks at Morgan Stanley was spent trying to pull favors to get Gus full time care because I was puking blood (cuts in my exhausted throat from the violence of vomit), losing weight, and unable to get out of bed without initiating a migraine. But we made it through, and March 31st was Ted’s last day of work. He quickly transitioned into a new, temporary role of full time child care and moving coordinator as I slept and tried not to lose my mind.
I slept for a week straight and finally got out of bed to attend our small, hasty, going away party/ Gus’s 2nd birthday party on Saturday April 8. And then on Sunday our dear pastors prayed for us after church to send us away. And today is Monday and I’m back in bed after being up all night puking blood and wondering if it was still just streaky or had transitioned into chunks.
Gus is with Joanna and her girls today, enjoying the beautiful spring sunshine and having the time of his life. Ted flew up to New Hampshirt last night to pick up a car his parents are selling to us to help offset the cost of buying a house and two cars in this move. He’s making the 6 hour drive back to NY today and hoping to be here before Gus wakes up from his nap so I don’t have to get out of bed. I’m writing this from my phone under the covers.
We have less than two weeks left in NYC. We have broken hearts and low expectations for daily life in Houston. But we have that peace that passes understanding. And lots of tissues to help us with our grieving.
We know Jesus can surprise us, and we know he has called us to Houston and paved the way. For example, We put a low offer on a dreamy, dreamy house last week and then backed out during option period because we were simply overwhelmed. And the sellers still want us to have the house. Even with a second offer on the table, they offered to lease it to us until we can save up enough cash to close. We have decline their generosity because, as I may have mentioned, we’re really overwhelmed right now. But next week, when we get to Houston, maybe? (Oh wow. Is it really next week!?)
We really have no idea that we’re actually moving. There are some boxes packed around the apartment, and one-way tickets, NYC to Houston, bought and paid for. The movers are coming on their day to pack and haul it all away. But when we say goodbye to the friends we thought we’d be lifers with, we still say, “I’ll see you soon.”
Pray for us. (Or come help us pack our winter clothes that will never been needed in Hot as Hades Houston.)
I know the character of God is good. I know him! Obviously his plans are not our own (we were recently talking about being buried in NYC and how expensive that is and maybe if we stared now we could find a creative way to make it happen). But he is God the creator and we are the creatures of his love and passion. Our goal is to honor and serve him and make his name great. He will be with us, gently leading us to quiet pastures and still waters. Ted and I will be together, with our children, and his immediate family, bravely taking on the awful humidity of Houston. My first trimester is almost over, and eventually this pregnancy will birth a new life.
We’re committed to learning Spanish, we already have Rosetta Stone. I want to learn to garden (ha!) and Gus is signed up for swim lessons. Ted’s job will be a highlight. And we’re praying earnestly for black and brown friends, and a church that marries theology and spirit well.
Pray for us. And forgive us if we’ve not given you a proper goodbye. We are still not aware we’re actually moving.