I’m doing some deep breathing today as my insides have a hissy fit (thank you, parents of the 2 and 3 year-old children of our church–turns out that stomach bug you casually mentioned when you dropped your kids off with me this past week was a lot worse than you made it sound. I’m just kidding–I love your kids. Actually I’m not kidding, but I do love your kids, and my guts are exploding and I blame you.)
Also I am deep breathing because my husband and I–wait for it–are taking steps that will probably put us in Oklahoma until we die–God willing–in our sleep, of old age.
When we moved here from Pensacola in December of 2004, Caleb and I both fully expected to be back home in Florida within 2 years. It was winter; Oklahoma was flat, and brown, and depressing. Mia didn’t even have teeth yet. We bought a house that we could sell in a heartbeat for a profit, in a growing town with good schools. It wasn’t where we thought we would be 8 and a half years later–in more ways than one.
Life 14 hours away from mom and dad was really horrible. Our first years as a married couple were rough. Being parents to 3 kids was (and still is) hard. Facing issues like alcoholism, depression, and anxiety was all but impossible–and truth be told, Caleb and I would be divorced today if we’d never left Florida. Divorced, I tell you. And probably drunk.
We found our way to a church. Actually, God pinched our heads like Wii Miis and plunked us in a church. He gave us a good hard swift kick in the pants. He spoke to us and directed us and corrected us and loved us.
Here is where Caleb and I finally grew up. Here is where we found our way. Here is where we’ve built our lives, where we’re raising our children, and where we lost our babies. Here is where we’ve had our knock-down drag-out fights, cried our hardest tears, and been the happiest we’ve ever been, ever.
Oklahoma has charmed us. The people here are more genuinely friendly than anywhere else in the entire country. And, my gosh: the sky–the sunrises and the sunsets; the clouds before a big storm; the rolling fields, the country roads…we have fallen in love with this state.
For the first time in my life, I know what it feels like to have roots in a place. And though we do miss our parents and our brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews, we have family here.
And this is home.