Earlier this week it was non-stop rain. Drop, drop, drop. Huge drops splattering against our living room window, little drops splashing onto our shoes as we walked to the car. Downpours, showers, sprinkles, mist: we know how to talk about rain here in the Pacific Northwest.
But today? Sunshine. I woke up to bright blue skies, a woodpecker tapping near my bedroom window reminding me not to sleep in too late even though the girls are at their grandparents' house. I shuffled out of bed to the computer--a path already so clearly marked in the carpet I vacuumed yesterday--placed an order for a client (my freelance job, remember?) and opened the window to breathe in the smell of November.
I think I have almost shrugged off all the stress that has been bound up so tightly within me. The selling of the house, the deciding to postpone building until the spring, the moving, the returning to school and coaching, the teaching, the moving again, the studying for graduate exams, the small family crises that seem to pop up now and again--all of it weathered during the last two months, each drop soaking us, pushing us deeper into the storm where we had no choice but to huddle together and remind each other, "We're going to make it. We love each other, and we'll make it."
And today the sun is shining, though there still remain a few intermittent drops.
Sydney, who has done so well with all the transitions and tolerated the changes, is showing signs of having reached her limit. She didn't complain when she had to start sharing a room with Jules. She didn't complain when she started making her weekly-treks back up to the farm. But this week, when we dropped her off in an unfamiliar classroom at a new church, she looked at us with tears in her eyes. "I don't want to," she whispered, but went anyway. Sure, she's always been my timid one, but it was different this time. It was anxiety; it was going into the unknown. Again.
Wednesday, after Jason went back to school after enjoying Tuesday off, she said, "I want Daddy to stay home. I don't like it when everyone leaves." But we colored together, and painted, and played with toys to make up for the time we lost while I was studying for exams. That night she and I slept side-by-side, a tradition we have for the one night we stay up at the farm away from Jason.
Then as I started to drive away yesterday--leaving her with grandpa where their plans for the day involved feeding corn husks to a neighbor's cows--she waved sadly from the garage, tears streaming down her face, crying that I was once again leaving her.
One little drop isn't much, but eventually they add up, each one getting us a little wetter until we realize with a start that we are soaked through. I know all the changes have affected the girls. Their sleeping habits were disrupted; Jules developed a terrible nighttime cough; Sydney asks less often to go do things and would rather be home, coloring, painting, reading books. She holds my hand more often, reluctant to let go.
We're doing the best we can by keeping a schedule, keeping Sydney in her dance class, going to the library, and now we have decided to scrap our church-hunting plans until after Christmas and just arrange our weekends so that on Sundays we are in Oregon instead of Washington.
When I was going through the hardest part of the storm earlier last month, I found myself in constant prayer, crying out to God to hold me together. He did, and He carried me through the storm. He soaked me in His love just when I needed it. On this side of the rain I can see that.
This week, and probably for a few more months of changes to come, Sydney will weather her own storm, and I know what she doesn't: it'll be okay. It'll be okay because I'll carry her through it, whispering to her every moment of every day how much I love her, reassuring her that even when she can't see us we still think of her.
There will be drops, but I hope what she remembers more than the drops are the Tuesday nights at the library, the Thursday nights of sleeping next to me, and all the other moments where we splashed in the puddles together.