When we first moved to Alabama, Mike felt strongly that God had spoken to him that we were here to “launch our children into adulthood.” Judi was 13 almost 14. Joel was 15, James 17 and Josh 19 years old that December 20th when we moved into our house in Montgomery. Josh had graduated from high school, worked at his first job making pizza’s for Pizza Hut and was ready to start college at the Auburn University in Montgomery. I still had three at home with me homeschooling. We were learning history and math and writing. I am a day to day kinda person. “Launching” kids into adulthood wasn’t something I could fathom. I had lesson plans to write, meals to cook and laundry to get done.. not to mention all that unpacking to do.
Just a year and a half later, we were moving again.. this time to Huntsville, AL, home of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. “Rocket City.” I armed myself with information about the science program at the University of Alabama in Huntsville before breaking the news to Joshua. His first reaction was, “Y’all have fun with that.” I was so proud and alarmed all at the same time. Proud that his Texan “Y’all” had shown through, and alarmed by my quickly fading confidence in my ability to convince him to transfer to UAH. The six of us moved here on James’ 19th birthday. I didn’t catch God’s play on words “launch” into adulthood in “Rocket City” until a few days ago.
Normally, we like to buy older homes in established neighborhoods (I am a big fan of mature trees – a tree hugger at heart), but when we moved here, it was more affordable to build new. When we stood on the property we were praying about building on, and looked out at our little lake and the wooded area behind it, we felt God’s incredible love and peace rain down on us.
We didn’t understand the importance of that experience until we lost Joel and all the “Did we make a mistake by moving here?” questions flooded in. That memory of God’s incredible love and peace has washed over and comforted us again and again. Our little lake has been a lake of healing waters for me through breast cancer and now through losing Joel. The trees now are green and yellow and orange; changing with the season. I am going to miss it.
God has been stirring in Mike and I another move.. and the
FINAL PHASE OF THE LAUNCH.
Phase 1: Josh got a job in Montgomery, got his driver’s license, bought his first car and started school at AUM.
Phase 2: Move to Huntsville, teach 3 more kids how to drive, all 4 kids find jobs, 3 buy cars, 2 total their first car with in weeks and have to buy another car. All work on school.
Phase 3: Joel passes all of us and graduates straight into Heaven.
Phase 4: Family has almost 3 years to recover.
Phase 5: Last December Josh graduated from college. This fall, Josh got a job working at UAH which is paying for him to get his masters. Yay! He moved into his first apartment Labor Day weekend.
Phase 6: Same weekend, Mike felt peace about interviewing for a job in Oklahoma City. A week or two later, he accepted the job in Oklahoma, ten and a half hours away from all the kids.
Phase 7: Breaking news. Apartment shopping. Budgeting. Planning. Packing. Tomorrow, we are getting a truck to help Judi and James move out into their first apartment and Mike and I will become empty nesters.
This is no gentle, saunter out.. it’s a “launching.”
In a matter of weeks, we’ll go from all surviving children at home with us working and going to school to living ten and a half hours apart. There will be no coming home on weekends to do laundry. There will be no more meeting for lunch or Saturday dinners. There will be Christmases and birthdays with only the internet to connect us. It the real “Y’all have fun with that.”
Every move is hard. Part of your old life dies and you have to start a new life. I spent a lot of time the first year or two here standing in Walmart trying to remember where to find things. I could tell you exactly where the thing I needed was in the Brandon, Florida Walmart and in the Montgomery Walmart, but this Walmart was unfamiliar.
I am very thankful for these almost 3 years that we’ve had to heal together since Joel launched right past us to his Heavenly home. As a retired homeschool mom, I’ve been able to be available, to love and mentor, to provide support. I’ve gotten to know my kids as adults. I love them. I am so proud of the adults they are becoming. They work hard. They study hard. God is with them.
I don’t know what this next year holds. I only know that God is leading and directing us and that we are obeying. It’s hard. We are torn; excited about what God has for us in this next chapter and sad about closing the chapter we are in.
Please keep us in your prayers through this launch as we work to trust and obey.