The drive home from my parents’ house was dark, no moon shining that night.
“MAMA! RED DARS!”
From the back seat, my toddler points to the massive, red Christmas star mounted on a pivot in one of the fields we pass by. Every night I would take him home, I always knew he would find that star and get so excited. In fact, he loves Christmas lights so much that I would normally take a detour through our city’s downtown so that he could see all the decorative lights. I knew a specific street that had houses decked out from top to bottom in red, green, and white lights. Hearing the joy in his voice made my stomach clench to think of how disappointed he’d be once the Christmas season was over and all the lights would be put away for the new year.
Recently, my little family and I made a big move from Idaho Falls to Twin Falls, Idaho. Moving is said to be one of the most stressful life events (and I will attest to that), but this move was different from any other we’ve had for our family. For starters, we’ve only ever lived in Idaho Falls during our marriage. Our previous moves were small, usually only a couple streets down. This time we were moving two hours west of Idaho Falls. However, it wasn’t about the distance rather than the reality that we were leaving the town I had become so attached to. It was a place where I had envisioned raising my family, where I had made connections and routines. Play dates on Tuesdays, story time at the library on Wednesdays, walking the greenbelt on Thursdays, etc.
The hardest truth for me to face is that Idaho Falls is where I brought my babies home. All the emotions are raw and the moments are so tender when you bring a newborn home from the hospital. Even the hospital itself holds sacred moments for my family and me. I didn’t want to leave my home that had those memories or our pediatrician that I deeply trust. I didn’t want to compromise our fancy library for a mediocre one. I didn’t want my toddler to have to leave his friends, and I didn’t want to leave my own friends either.
But my husband and I knew what was best for our family. So here we are. I tried to recreate some of our experiences from Idaho Falls by going to our library. Unfortunately, the simplest things would remind me that I wasn’t “in Kansas anymore.” I had to mask my sadness when I used the library self-checkout that proved to be much more complicated than what I was used to.
Most of the Christmas lights around town stayed lit at night until January 1st. The first time I drove my boys home that month, I wondered how my toddler would react when we drove by the field. There would be no more red star. Would he be disappointed like I feared? Would he even remember that the red star had been there? Even though nothing was distinguishable out in the dark that night, his voice still piped up from the back of the car.
“MAMA! BLACK DARS!” My eyebrows raised in wonder… then a smile crept up my face and my heart swelled. He was still joyful. The star hadn’t disappeared. To him, it was just a different color.
I’ve reflected a lot on my son’s perspective. The star was beautiful when it was red and lit up. Idaho Falls was a special chapter of our lives. The memories will stay with me for a lifetime. My son wasn’t sad about the unlit star, but was excited to point out it had changed. Our circumstances changed. Moving to Twin Falls was a big change. It doesn’t have to be a sad change, though.
Since that moment in the car, I’ve channeled my emotions to be positive when I start missing Idaho Falls. I turn sadness into gratitude. I’m not sad that we left Idaho Falls; I’m grateful that those experiences happened. I’m embracing the “black star,” so to speak. I don’t want to miss out on relishing the memories we are making today by wishing I was living in the past. I’m making connections and establishing routines where I stand. We are not walking along the greenbelt on Thursdays anymore, but we are walking through downtown Twin Falls. We’re not driving to playdates on Tuesdays, but we are hosting playgroup at our own house. When my son points to a bare pine in the park and declares it a “Christmas tree!” I am reminded that our life here may look a little different than it used to, but it is no less special than before.
Shelby is a wife to her high school sweetheart and a young mother to two little boys. She has had experience as a contributor for other blogs before finding herself at The Mamahood Blog and considers writing a passion of hers. She graduated in 2018 with a degree in TESOL and Spanish Education with a Theatre minor from Brigham Young University – Idaho and now lives in Twin Falls, Idaho with her family. She works as an ESL teacher, Spanish tutor, and photographer. Shelby is an avid reader, enjoys home decorating, and loves to craft. Her idea of a perfect date is taking a long drive with her husband with no particular destination in mind while the kids sleep in the back seat. She is an extroverted introvert who could talk with her besties for hours but can also go three days without leaving the house. Above everything, Shelby values quality time spent with her husband and baby.
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