Thursday, July 11, 2013

Breaking Away

I awoke one morning a few weeks ago and discovered a milk carton shoved onto the top shelf of our freezer. That's weird... I thought. I wrapped my hand around the handle and pulled a little.  I then pulled a little harder and accompanied my pulling with some jiggling back and forth to dislodge it from the other things around.  When it came loose and scraped it's sides along the icy walls I discovered that it was entirely empty.  Hmmmm... that's weirder.  I concluded that Brian must have wrestled it in there, on that very top shelf where no one under 5' could have shoved such a thing, for a purpose I didn't yet know.  So, I pushed and jiggled the empty carton it back into it's unusual home, shut the freezer door, and decided to ask Brian when he returned from work about the logic behind the situation.  

"I..." he began.  His eyebrows crumpled in confusion, "... don't know," he finished.  He had no memory of muscling the carton onto that top shelf at all.  "Linds... I. Am. So. Stressed."

And, that about sums up the last month of our Durham life.  I had a nervous pit in my stomach for three weeks straight... the kind of pit you get just before you get up in front of a crowd of people to give a talk or sing a song... the feeling drove me crazy and I wasn't sure what, exactly, was causing it.  Was it nervousness about the actual moving process?  Was it nervousness about our house not selling?  Was it nervous anticipation about saying goodbye to ... everything?  Every morning I'd wake and the pit would be there.  And stay.  Day after day.  Week after week.  Even my dreams were weird and uncomfortable.

The milk carton day told me that Brian was feeling it too.  So, I did what I do whenever I'm feeling out of control.  I made a list.

A bucket list.  Of things to do before we left. A thing to pour all my nervous energy into... and, well... it didn't work quite as well as I'd hoped it would, but at least the nervous energy was accompanied by some fun!

#13 Play in a Carolina rainstorm

#27 - Let Miles push the little cart one more time.

#1 - Catch Fireflies

#34 - Make goodies for my awesomely supportive church choir

#2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 - Eat at ____________.  (Apparently we like food)

Timothy has started eying our food...  Who says Hog Heaven can't be a baby's first meal?

#14 Visit Duke Gardens

I'm sure McKenzie's love for taking pictures is completely independent of my own.  So what if I was hiding in a bush taking a picture of her taking a picture?

Our favorite Magnolia tree.  Ever.

We have climbed on this tree for years and years and years.  And... whadayaknow - the last five minutes of play on this very last visit I walked around to the back of the tree and found this sign.

I can't decide whether I feel incredibly guilty, or incredibly happy I never saw the sign until now. Good thing the tree's branches were stronger than my children...

As we were leaving the gardens, I started to prop my camera up on a post to get a family picture when a kind old man stopped and asked if he'd like us to have him take it for us.  He took a few, and then walked with us and chatted the rest of the way to the cars.  I never quite know how people are going to respond to our four kids... most people don't know how to respond... but this man was so delightful and said over and over that we had 'such a beautiful family'.  Which led to crossing off
#25 - Bask in the warmth of Southern Hospitality.

Don't we look like we're basking?  Well, except maybe for Miles, who looks like he's holding in sarcastic comments, and McKenzie, who looks like she's passing silent judgement, and Timothy, who is completely ignoring... Ah, well... I thought he was delightful.

#10 - Get as many pictures of church signs as possible.  Wish I had been more diligent in this one.  It truly is one of my very favorite things about Durham.  I kept passing the signs and thinking 'oh - I'll get that one later'.  Famous last words, I guess.  Especially wish I would have gotten the one that said When I speak in tongues without love, I'm just noisy.

# This-wasn't-on-the-list-but-was-cool-anyway - Watch a deer eat an apple from our apple tree.  I'm a little bit in love with this picture.  It looks like two pictures superimposed together... but really it's just one, taken of the deer in the yard through our glass sliding door which is reflecting the living room behind me.  It was completely an accident, but I love it because it's a little piece of inside and outside at the same time.  Inside, the couch, my running shoes and our walls... outside, the deer, the apple tree, the road and the moon peeking from behind the tall trees.

#17 Hike to our favorite watering hole

#18 and continue on hiking to play in the cabin

 #24 Walk around Duke Campus

Posing awkwardly wasn't on the list, but sometimes we're full of surprises like that...

 #31 - Say good riddance to the bugs

#22 - Have a tree-swing jumping contest

#12 - Take a Family picture in front of our house

There are so many things I love about this picture. 1) the burning bush 2) my head sticking out from Brian's armpit 3) Carson's zombie arms.  Hooray we all made it into a picture!


Goodbye, Durham.  You will forever be on our Favorite Friends list.


  1. *tears* cuz my way of coping has been to just keep moving forward in our lightning move mode and reflect on all the great memories we have made over the years... although we did squeak in one more day trip to the beach... and I resolved we will RETURN! :)

  2. I almost couldn't read this. But I'm so glad I did, because I was rewarded with a nice laugh about your head sticking out of Brian's armpit:). I'll add that to my memory vault of things to think about when I need cheering up, right next to Carson and the monkey/homeless man under the tree:).

  3. I'm glad you didn't see the sign--that tree is meant to be climbed. ;) Bravo taking the joy from these moments, even if they are goodbye!

  4. I remember eating at Bojangles with you when you first moved there (Kenzie was like 6 months old!) And oddly enough, I found myself trying to remember the name of that place the other thanks for helping :) And yes, how great that you didn't see the tree sign until now. The back is an ineffective place for a sign anyway!

  5. Ditto and Amen. What a fabulous list, and you should make it into your own Durham book. Now I will go wipe away my tears and get on with my day...

  6. I love this post. I know change can be heartbreaking (kitchen cupboards, anyone?) and frightening, but it can also be wonderful. I'm excited to hear about your new adventures. Love you.

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  8. Technically, I still haven't seen that sign yet, so we can still climb on the tree, right? Sad to bid you farewell and hope you don't find more strange things in your freezer for a long time! We totally need to know where your "watering hole" is, though!

  9. Lindsay! This post made ME miss Durham and I haven't been there in five years! Whenever I picture NC, I picture you there along with Cindy and a bunch of others who have moved on. It is truly a lovely place. Thanks for reminding me about Duke Gardens and a few other things I'd forgotten. I hope that you find just as much to love about Florida! (And P.S. I love that Kenz was toting TK around in the baby carrier. So cute!)

  10. Linds, this is truly an awesome post. Your bucket list was brilliant--those are things you'll remember forever. I love your pictures and all the fun Alder-ness coming through them. We miss you guys.

  11. I loved this post. Breaking away is such a perfect description of moving away from some place that you love. I think everyone deserves a beautiful beach to soften the blow.

  12. Oh my gosh. Is McKenzie carrying Timothy in the Baby Bjorn?! Too cute. And I LOVE that you’d never seen that sign before. Hilarious :). Hope Miami is treating you well! Wish you would have moved a little in the other direction though :).

  13. You have such a beautiful family! Miss seeing you and knowing your darling family. Good luck in Miami!

  14. I have many things to say about this, but #1 is Hog Heaven, I love you.