I had an epiphany on the flight over about an hour before landing in Scotland. We flew during the night so it was dark the entire time. All the passengers including my husband and kids were attempting sleep, minus myself. My mind would not shut off. I just kept thinking and praying and wondering. As the night carried on I felt like I was the only one awake. I looked out my window and I saw the beginning of the sun rising. As we closer approached our destination I felt God tugging at my heart and wanting my attention. I felt peace. All my worries, all my contemplations, all my doubts were just gone. The Lord spoke in to my spirit saying “You are arriving into a new day. Welcome to your future”. I could feel that the Lord was showing me a promise that each day God is gifting us, each day He has a plan for us, each day He is at work in and all around us no matter where we are or what we face in life. We are here living and breathing and it’s for a purpose. We were literally flying right into the future. We were literally flying into the sunrise, into a brand new day, a brand new beginning. We were approaching this new awaited life that God has been preparing us for, for our entire lives.
Here is the photo I took of the sunrise. I didn't want to forget it.
However, of course with new beginnings also brings in new challenges. No, I have not conquered it all yet, and I’m glad for it. This past week marks four weeks that we have been living abroad in the beautiful city of Edinburgh Scotland. I know, four weeks is NOT that long to be living yet, but part of me feels like I have been here for a lifetime, but then am quickly reminded that we actually just got here as I attempt to use the currency, or attempt to understand a heavy Scottish accent with new Scottish slang and terms or try walking along the non linear streets and find my self lost and remembering to always look RIGHT before crossing the street. I already feel like I barely remember living in our house that we lived in for over 5 years only a mere four weeks ago. It’s where we birthed and raised our children in and created a home for us. It already seems a distant memory, but I often flash back to then and miss it tremendously. Because that's when life seemed easy.
By far the hardest part for me has been helping my children adjust. Abigail is at that prime age where she knew something was changing and we did our best to explain it months leading up to leaving but of course she didn't totally get it. She didn't understand that we would not be coming back to that home for a long time. Although she would still show excitement to be going to Scotland. Even on the way to the airport, whenever we made a stop she would say "We are still in 'Canana', Mama. We not in 'Stottand' yet. We have to get on a 'errplane to get to 'Stottand'." Be still my heart, my sad heart. Little by little as our house grew more and more empty, I started to see the confusion on our sweet Abigail as she held on so tightly to what she knew and understood best and then sees us just taking it all away.
I am proud to say that the way people know our daughter is of her big bold personality and laughter, her free spiritedness, contagious smile, joy and happiness. At church, she will sing every word to the worship songs and dance and sway her dress and stomp her feet in her cute cowgirl boots all the while her tight curly blonde hair bouncing around as she moves. She is a well mannered girl and gets along with just about anyone but will let you know when she is upset and was decent at sharing, too! I know that with new ages come new changes - I get that. I can handle that, but when you have the biggest move of your family's life in to the mix...you're just asking for something completely off the charts. It is NOT the same or normal for a child, its trauma to them. Well, and us to since we have to deal with it! :)
Since being here it’s been hard for both Abby and Ellie. At first Abby was always asking to go back home, to sleep in her bed, wanting her toys. I cried a lot for her. Then our first Sunday basically ruined me. Back home, Abby started calling church 'Pancakes Day' when she was about 18 months old because of our secondary church location serving pancake breakfasts, and she made some really special friends there who she calls her ‘sisters'. So when we were getting ready for our first church service here, she was naming all her friends from Pancakes Day being very excited to see them and then I, her mother, whom she is supposed to trust, had to shatter her excitement by telling her that we wouldn't be seeing them, and she gets to make new friends at a new church now. Watching her face go from happy to genuinely heartbroken was unexplainably hard as a Mum. She started crying which of course I cried with her which shocked her and there we were both snuggled up on the bathroom floor of our new foreign home crying in eachothers arms. Those were moments I will never forget but never again want to experience.
Ellianna is such a happy, loud, feisty, and all around pleasent girl to be around. She loves to play and loves to be around people. But she is a girl of routine. She has always needed two naps a day and lots of food and constant snuggles and a full nights rest. I almost had her weaned from nursing and then since being here she basically tripled the amount of nursing. I went from maybe once a day to about 20+ times day and night… talk about exhausting. Clearly it was for comfort, which means she was not sleeping at all at first and neither were we. In fact we are still working out the sleep routine thing and since being here has decided to cut out a nap. Ellianna started walking as soon as we got here and then she began teething 4 more teeth, 2 of them being molars (ouch!). As Abby was noticing Ellie getting lots of comfort and attention from us, a whole knew Abby started to show. She’s been disobedient, mouthy, massive tantrums daily and at first multiple times a day. Constantly picking on her sister and pushing her, hitting us. Ellianna so desperately just craves the attention of her big sister, but Abby doesn't care to give her the time of day unless to bug her. This IS getting better now, and if Ellie happens to be getting into trouble Abby will stick up for her little sis.
It has been hard to discern when to punish and when to nurture because I don’t want either girls, mostly Abby because of her age, to feel bad for something she isn’t understanding. I want her to know that she can express her feelings but then learn to control or at least simmer them down with my help without being reprimanded. It’s a constant balancing act. It’s been so hard to keep MY emotions in check when there are times I just want to give up, hide in a corner, drink my coffee alone and ugly cry or scream and just wake up from that dream. I’ll be honest, I’ve yelled…a lot. SO have my kids. Our poor neighbours probably don’t think much of us.
All four of us, especially the girls, have been sick with colds since we arrived so it's been constant runny noses around here, just to add to the stress of adjusting, our immune systems decided they needed some adjustments too.
But finally, things ARE working itself out. I’ve been consistent and dependant on the Love and Grace that the Lord shows me daily so that I can show it my kids and to my husband and be the the Light God needs me to be here for Scotland and the people He brings in to my life.
We love the church we've been attending. I’ve been getting out to their weekly 'Mom & Tots' group, making new friends and getting together with other moms and fellow Christian women that I can lean on because they understand and can encourage me and genuinely care and want to help me and pray with me. The girls are having play dates with new friends and even being invited to birthday parties. The more we are getting out and making this our home the more it feels like home. And to top off the feeling like home, we've recently registered Abigail for Nursery school. So bizarre.
New beginnings have started here to which God made that very clear to me on the flight over. I like being here. My heart feels that being here is right so that is why I am adjusting emotionally to it better than I thought. I also wouldn’t be able to do this and keep a clear head if God didn’t place specific friendships in my life before moving to keep me in check as well as those since being here. I am immensely grateful, but I also have no choice but to take it on anyway. We don't have a choice to go back so we have to make it work. I have to make it work for my whole household. I ultimately set the tone of being at home with the kids and then I can also be a good wife here for Chris and give him all the support he needs so he doesn't hold guilt for "dragging" us here because that is certainly not the case. In fact, I pushed coming here on him way more than he did on me.
Since being a parent, we have learned an important factor. There is no handbook to raising a child. Sure there are books to help you along the way of the 'maybes' and 'what if's', but those are just general facts hosted from a survey. Those books don't personally know how to raise MY children. I often see in newlyweds their oblivion as they talk about how they think they are 'ready' for having babies and think of how beautiful and blissful life will be with little beings of their DNA running around. And how they parent will be different and their child wont misbehave and so on…
Oh, you have no idea. I can't help but giggle.
Being a parent and raising kids is bliss, it's hell, it's heaven, it’s sleepless nights, it’s pure joy, it’s constant worry, it's a stinky showerless beginnings, it’s pure and utter love. It is everything and nothing you have ever dreamed of or imagined. All of your expectations of parenting change on a daily basis. Then later you have the brilliant idea to add in another child to the mix, then you do it all over again, and then everything you just figured out with baby #1 can fly right out the window because now that perfect baby #1 is a sibling to perfect baby #2. You think you are ready for babies? You're not. But that is okay because it really is the greatest blessing you will every experience in life and surprisingly make you the happiest person in the world. Being a parent is the best AND hardest thing ever in life. It changes you, oh, does it change you. You’ll end up learning things about yourself you didn’t even know existed until you have a child or two. Every single day is never like the day before. But I wouldn't want it any other way. Ever.
Since I snapped out of my self pity party and began to try and embrace it all, everyone has been much happier. I make a point of constantly having worship music playing in the background. Both Abby and Ellie always singing along to the worship music. I take deep breaths and listen to my kids, communicate thoroughly with Chris and ultimately listen to God. I read my bible and pray A LOT! I just walk around talking to God, telling Him how I feel, asking for help in areas of my heart that makes it harder to adjust...He knows the important things in my life like having a good church connection, christian ladies who are also moms to connect with...stuff like that and He's been providing it, so I am very thankful. It still doesn't mean it's easy, but it is becoming easier…we just take it one day at a time and stop treating it like it’s a vacation where we will go home in a couple weeks.
We are home so it's time to start treating it like home and making it our home.
So if you ask me how parenting is going, I’m going to say that it is not easy, but it is going well. I am beautifully in over my head. I have the strength of the Lord guiding me through each day as a parent and a wife and He is guiding us as a family. We are happier. My kids are happier with each day and calm is setting in well.
I think we are doing this new life okay.
Romans 8:26 26
In certain ways we are weak, but the Spirit is here to help us.
For example, when we don't know what to pray for,
the Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words.
Thanks for reading,