Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Lasts.

The east coast spring isn't at all a nice one.  The April showers spill over into May's flowers and June's sunshine.  The days are best described as chilly and gloomy.  I wonder if the hard shift of summer will ever come with the steamy hot and sunny days.

We preoccupy our days with spring soccer.  Trips to play with friends.  There is coughing and antibiotics.  There are tulips and deer out at dusk.  And the looming reality that our lives are going to get a bit more complicated with our move back to our hometown of Chicago.

As the days continue to grow longer, our time seems to grow shorter.

Then the 'lasts' begin to creep in.  The 'lasts' have me emotional.  Knots in my stomach and confusion in my brain.  When we moved here it was all about the firsts, which were rather messy.  The first park.  The first friend.  The first trip to the new CF doctor.  The first snow.  The first rain.  The first trip to the grocery store.  And so many other firsts that have faded.  I remember feeling more often than not like a drunk, blind person bumbling around in a foreign east coast land with a Chicago accent.  Yep, that was me.

And now here I am with my mind swirling around the last moments enjoying the place we have called home for the past two years.  When did the firsts become the last?  When did this all change?  I can't quite pinpoint the monumental life shift for our family.  Somewhere along the lines of living our lives, it happened.  The lasts.

My lovely last run in our neighborhood remember where I once saw a deer and her two fawn crossing neighborhood streets...

The last time I sit in my favorite salon, my oasis, my hair covered in foils smelling of chemical therapy...

The last time at the sweet little gem of a pool where deer softly pace between yards and children laugh frolicking in the water or play tag in the grass...

The last time I will shop at our neighborhood grocery store navigating the aisles without a thought...

The last time that I will sit on our expansive back porch with a glass of wine in my hand and watch the boys play some remarkable adventure carelessly in our back yard on the swing set...

The last trip to the shore where our family spent Father's Days and Mother's Days and just sunny fun days...

The last time at our favorite pizza joint for their coveted "Penne Vodka Pie"...

The last delivery of medical equipment only two days prior to all the boxes being packed up and our lives rushing forward... 

The lasts.  They are never easy, especially when they are explicitly, well -- the last.  When you know it, your heart aches a bit.

I even find myself in near tears standing in the diaper aisle in Target realizing this is the last time in *this* Target.  Not at a Target ever, just our Target in New Jersey.   I am pathetic puddle staring at the baby soaps looking for the right Aveeno bottle that the boys use at bath time.  It was this very aisle that Dylan suddenly stood up abruptly in the cart and flipped out hitting his head on the tile.  It was a few aisles over that they threw countless temper tantrums over toys like Angry Bird Star Wars sets and LEGO building kits.  I remember the time that I was incorrectly diagnosed as a prediatbetic (which was a major misdiagnosis), but I still remember standing motionless for some time minutes staring at boxes of testing meters and strips.  All in *this* Target.

With our frequent trips to Target we sought the comfort in the smell of new merchandise.  The familiar fluorescent lighting.  The mundane shopping aisles.

Target was reassuring to us when we landed in an unfamiliar land.  And now it is reassuring to us as our place for all things life.

Over the last two years, this became our Target.

Inertia of thought.  For a long moment, I can't believe that things are about to change.

The Walgreens staff are sad to see us go because of our regular trips to their drive-thru window for antibiotics and medications.  We know them on a first name basis.  Connie and Mike were the smiles when I was bonkers and the kids didn't feel good.

The pediatrician's office around the corner was a miracle of luck for us with one of the best pediatricians we have ever known.

The preschool staff became our community.

The elementary school nurse, Michael's teacher and principal are tearful good-byes.

And we are most heartbroken to leave our closest friends who truly became our New Jersey family, our friends who we weathered many storms with together -- the metaphorical ones and the real ones (enter Hurricane Sandy).

This became our home.  We made this our home for two years.

Somehow, some way, our family navigated the uncharted waters of life on the east coast and we not only became settled, but we became sort of comfortable.  We found ourselves quiet and happy.  Always juggling of course, but miraculously we found our way.

Upon our arrival I viewed our new adventure as a means of possibilities.  Figuring things out.  What about the schools?  What about the sports and activities?  What about the doctors, the CF Team, and the pulmonologist?  I didn't even know where to begin.

And now with every moment, I reflect on a next last.

As I sit in the final moments on that back porch listening to rushing cars driving off to NYC, I take a long drawn sip of red wine.  I recross my feet propped up on another chair as the boys battle it out on the playset.  I look over at the dog, healing from her recent injury, as she smiles a dog smile and basks in the sunshine of the porch.  I sigh deeply knowing that I can't decide if the lasts are good or bad, joyful or sad.

I can't decide but I realize that one thing is certain -- without the lasts, we would never have the beautiful new firsts.