momma, i’m coming home.

theredletter3 days. to the day. that’s when the moving company arrives. when i pack up my life – the past 14 years spent in california. not because i’m running away, but because i’m finally going home. but my heart is torn. while my family and (little) man i love [cutest nephew in the world] is in colorado, i have spent the majority of my adult life on the left coast. while there has been a lot of loss here, there have also been countless joys. (such is life.) my dearest and most treasured friends, here. my thriving little business, here. my memories of heartache and subsequent triumph, here. finding out who angela really is, here. so why then is this move so dadgum hard? i question myself often, but never like this.

am i going for the right reasons?

how will this change my relationship with my family living close after being apart so long?

will my friendships stand the test of time and distance?

will i be able to expand the business and grow it from afar?

all of these questions gnaw at me, yet in my gut…deep down in my soul, something is pulling me, literally tugging at me to go. home. as recent as just a few weeks ago, i went on a long walk at dusk just telling him: “i just wish mom was here to tell me what to do. i want that so badly, daddy.” he replied, “she’s there, sweetheart. just talk to her.”

to say i’ve been putting off the moving process is an understatement. usually organized, i’ve become the queen of clutter. often early, i’m apparently now at peace being a master procrastinator. and ordinarily the planner extraordinaire, i have recently perfected the art of spontaneity. (much to my chagrin, as i’m not loving these newly acquired characteristics.)  but i know they’re my inward rebellion; delaying the inevitable because deep down, i doubt. i don’t know. should i stay or should i go? does my gut say go and my mind says stay? and is my gut God or is my mind just fear?

after talking my poor dad’s ear off, not even 14 days ago, i meandered home and just stared. questioned, clamored, hemmed and hawed. sitting on the couch, wondering where to start sorting, selling, tossing and saving. lately, my all-too-comfy bum rarely moves from the couch after 10pm; not like my old busy-bee, multitasking self. but that night, my inner-darlene emerged for some odd reason, deciding that i would sort my file cabinets while watching nightly netflix reruns. at the very least, i figured, i could toss papers; at least appear productive. and about an hour in, i opened the folder “family mementos” containing comic strip clips from my poppa, photocopied reader’s digest articles from my paranoid mom, and a few odds and ends. and there it was: the red letter titled, “The End of an Era.”  written by my mother as one of her final assignments to receive her college degree in her late forties, this paper was a brief synopsis of the decision to sell our family business. as i read the words, tears streamed down my cheeks. dad was right. she’s still here, right when i needed her most.

“Change is a fact of life as we move from the cradle to the grave. Some of us anticipate and embrace change as it comes to steal us away to new and exciting experiences. Others seem to brace for change, dread the uncertainty, and change only when there is no choice. I, unfortunately, seem to fit in the latter category. I was recently forced to face this fact once again when my husband and I sold our business. As the endless details and responsibilities of the past few weeks slow to a halt, I take time to reflect on the end of an era in the lives of my husband, my children, and myself. I step back in time to ponder the past in order to gain perspective for the future, the courage to move forward, and the wisdom to recognize that God is in control.”

[stories of our years owning daylight donut, omitted for dramatic effect; her introduction and conclusion say it all]

“Fourteen years pass so quickly.”
author’s note: 14. as in how many years i’ve been in california.

“As I bring these events to a conclusion in my mind, my husband gently reminds me that while this is the end of one era in our lives, it is only the beginning of another. Remember the past serves to encourage me that, however unknown the future, God has a plan that will include many more wonderful experiences and memories, and above all…change.”

even writing this, i cannot believe my eyes as i stare down at the now-blurry red sheets of paper as tears stream down my face. in awe of the timing, thankful for this gift, and with renewed hope of what God has next for me.  see, when my parents sold our business and left our small hometown, their future was unknown. they both grew up in that little map dot town, raised their children there, made a life for themselves – so leaving was no easy choice. without risking and trusting, they would have never known the life that was waiting on the other side of change.  the life where my mother would go on to get her college education with a 4.0 at the age of 47, land her first job working outside the family business, and work her way up to management within 5 short years. the life where my father who had been an entrepreneur for 14 years would get advanced certifications during the day after making donuts at night, and then go on to secure a career at a fortune 500 company. aside from careers, what really changed was their relationship; but mostly what changed was her. she blossomed into a confident, radiant, and self-assured person.  her family believed in her; we pushed and prodded (and counseled) her. her husband saw a different future for her and for them. yet she was the one with the determination; she proved that she could defy the odds that no one had stacked against her but herself.

who knew that the very words i needed from my mom at the time i needed them most, would come 2 years after her passing, in a letter she wrote and gave to us kids as a gift for christmas back in 2000.  all because i decided to stop procrastinating and start taking steps, albeit a small paper-sorting one, toward the next chapter in my life. change is an understatement. never had i imagined that my return home to colorado would be one without her.  but the very words she wrote just over 14 years ago remind me that i must gain perspective from all that i’ve been given in my life here, that i must have courage to move forward with faith, and above all the wisdom to know that God is in fact in control.

momma, i’m coming home.