Tag Archives: moving

The “Never Forgets” By Darbie Andrews

ImageI brought in another box from the truck and paused just inside the entry way. Was this really my house? The white walls melted away with the continual movement of paint rollers. The old, dingy, and dull disappeared behind bright, bold, and fresh. I stepped out of the way as friends brought in more boxes. I sat mine down and grabbed more paint for another friend who stood high on a ladder to paint the upper corners of the kitchen. Then I brought duct tape to my buddy sitting on the floor behind the dryer. My cellphone rang; more help was on the way to finish painting and help me unpack. I smiled, but my eyes watered. I’d never forget it, the moment I realized that I’d reached the other side and the divorce had ended on another level. I was no longer broke, without friends, or fighting any legal battles. Yes, this was MY house. With the help of others and the undying need to move forward, I’d managed to create enough new joyous “never forgets” to overpower the painful “never forgets” of the past. Wahoo!Image

It really hit me when my friends who’d been there for some rough moments of the divorce walked in the front door of my new home and immediately started working. They grabbed paint brushes and rollers and painted nonstop. They were on a mission. I couldn’t believe how much time and energy they gave. Seeing them work so hard on creating a new home for me and my sons made me feel so incredibly loved. It was like they were painting away those hard times when I had cried to them about the lawyer meetings and expenses, the loss of half my retirement, the custody battles, and the loneliness of divorce,. They gave me new “never forgets”. Every time I look at my freshly painted walls I think of them and I will never forget their love, support, and hard work.

Then came the heavy lifting: appliances, furniture, bricks (yes, bricks). As soon as my friend grabbed the dolly cart, memories of my last move from the marital home shot through my head. My father had come to help. He and I moved everything alone. I’ll never forget the pain of that move. It felt like someone had cut me in half. In contrast, during this move, I felt complete and whole. Many friends came to help me begin a new exciting stage in my life. I’ll never forget how hard they worked and how much care they put into placing my things in the right place. They literally helped me move forward and claim a new lifestyle.

  As my friends painted and lifted, cleaned and unpacked, I wondered how I could ever repay them for all they’d given me. I hoped that I could give them some positive “never forgets” in the future or that I’d already given them some. Unlike the “never forgets” that I have intentionally worked for to overcome the pain of the past, these “never forgets” were a surprise. I didn’t expect the help that these wonderful people gave to me. That’s what made it even more unforgettable.

I’ll never forget the day, the real estate agent handed me the keys to my new house, but all the memories of people helping me afterwards, top that moment by far. Giving of our time and energy is one of the most powerful things we can do to make a difference.  Families give to each other because they are family, but when people step outside of their families and reach out to friends, it’s another level of giving.  We all have the power to create new “never forgets” for others and for ourselves. Sometimes the painful “never forgets” can weigh us down and keep us stuck, but only if we let them. The power of new beginnings, new memories, and new hope can move mountains.

I’m thankful for my painful “never forgets” because they have motivated me to seek new memories and experiences and they have taught me the power of moving forward and building a new life. Positive “never forgets” have helped me survive, thrive, and enjoy life. I’ve learned to value every experience and use it to create the life I want for myself and my children.Image

ImageMy oldest son who lives in two separate homes due to divorce chose bright green and blue paint for his room. My youngest, adopted son, chose baby blue paint. I handed them both a paint roller and said, “You’re going to help paint your bedrooms.” They both asked me why.  I replied, “Because you’ll never forget this.”  We need positive “never forgets” to get through the challenges moments of life and I hope to give my children and myself many more of them.

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Invited? You Mean Me?

Invited? You Mean Me?

Moving, uprooting yourself and your family to a new location is life changing on so many leveImagels. It takes you away from your comfort zones, your friends, your familiar places and faces. When I relocated to Northern California at age 39, I’d already moved 28 times in my life. At the end of the month, it will be move number 31. I hope it’s the last one for many years.

I’m grateful that this time I’m not starting over with new people, new streets, new job, new everything. Many times in the past, I’ve moved to places where I haven’t known anyone. Over and over, I’ve had to learn my way around and reach out to people and communities to create a new life for myself. Although I like a good challenge, I have to admit that changing so much can be exhausting.

The most difficult time has been relocating to where I am now, a new area far from everything familiar. Then two years later life threw divorce and 50% custody on top of it. At a time when I needed friends and family the most, I had no one nearby, no one. My one friend of 24 years who lived nearby took sides, not mine. I lost all contact with my in-laws as they too chose sides. The loneliness hurt. I spent many weekends going to bookstores and movies alone or just staying home hoping that someday, my new life would feel comfortable and that I’d have friends nearby again.

During these last seven years, I’ve met many people who have lived in the same town their entire lives or for a long time. They seem to have a great social life full of family and friends who frequently gather and invite them to do things. They don’t seem to struggle to find someone to see a movie with or to invite over for dinner. They are never alone on special days. There’s always someone around for them. Time in one place has made them part of the community.

As a newbie and outsider, it takes a while to feel like you’re part of the community. If you don’t know anyone and you’re not related to anyone nearby, who’s going to invite you to go anywhere and who are you going to invite? It’s difficult, at least it has been for me, to build a social life in a place where I just haven’t spent much time. It never was this hard before, but this time, as a divorced single parent who works full-time in a small community, it’s been challenging. My belief that worrying about making friendImages was a problem of adolescence has completely changed.

It’s taken several years, but the ship has finally landed. This year, I was actually invited to a barbeque! I know, shut the front door. Better yet, for the second year in a row, I’ve spent Super Bowl Sunday at a good friend’s house. It seems simple and a little silly, but being invited by someone to come over and hang out is a pretty big deal for me. It’s the simple stuff that can mean so much, especially for someone like me who asked to go to a coworker’s house on Christmas one year because I had nowhere else to go and I didn’t have my son for the holiday. That was a definite low.

Sitting in a house full of people, feeling comfortable, able to joke around, eat good food, and enjoy a really bad football game together was just what this girl from far away needed. I have missed those moments so much. They haven’t happened a lot since relocating and divorcing. Being invited, being part of, belonging, we all want to feel these things. Some of us have it handed to us through family and living in the same place for years. Some of us don’t. We may not admit it because it’s embarrassing, but some of us who are building a new life practically jump for joy when an invitation comes our way. I’m thankful, so thankful for those people who have reached out and let me into their worlds. In every place I’ve moved, I’ve been so lucky to meet new people who were willing to let a new friend into their lives. One hundred thanks to every onImagee who invites new people in, who opens their lives and their hearts. You inspire me to do the same.