Tuesday, July 21, 2009

This is the Week

...that I've been anticipating for almost 5 years. And wondered many times if it would ever get here. Kane's PhD defense is on Thursday. It's just 2 days away! How many times have I thought about his defense and when it would be here?! Countless times.

Looking back...

I remember moving boxes and furniture into our first apartment in Atlanta 2 weeks before our wedding. Kane, his dad, my dad and I came down to "move us in". We worked so hard that day! We put together our bed, my dad scrubbed our bathroom while I worked like a mad woman to unpack our kitchen and Kane and his dad did the unloading. That's about all the "settling in" we did before the wedding. We needed to get the apartment livable enough for us to spend one night there on our honeymoon before we flew out of Atlanta to a resort in Mexico.

After move in day we both went home and 2 weeks later we got married in Virginia and then finished settling into our apartment in Atlanta once we got home from our honeymoon. I remember that time with wonderful memories but also some very hard ones too. I remember feeling very isolated from "my life" as I knew it because when I got married and left for my honeymoon, I didn't come back. I remember leaving our wedding reception with bittersweet feelings because I knew when I left the reception, I was also leaving the life I had known to begin a completely new one. Not just with a new husband, but in a new city, with new people, new church, new EVERYTHING!

We returned from our honeymoon to Atlanta where I knew no one and didn't even know where to get my groceries (or really how to cook, ha!). I remember feeling like my life was in Virginia, I just wasn't there to live it anymore! I felt like our honeymoon never "ended" in a sense because we came "home" to no one! It was good and bad. Weird and surreal at times. It took a lot of adjustment (that I admit partly came through many, many tears).

Anyway, the reason for our move to Atlanta in the first place was for Kane to start graduate school. The concept was so fresh and new. The campus seemed big and interesting, nestled into the heart of downtown Atlanta. We were excited about doing all the "Atlanta things" and making this our home. Kane was excited to start the next chapter of his life, to take the next step towards a career. It has been a very special time because it's where our life together really began and so far it's all we've known as a married couple. We were anxious to get involved in a good church and meet friends and make this our home. But, in spite of that excitement I struggled at first because we came here knowing that it was just for a season that would eventually end and we would most likely move away at the end of that season.

At the beginning when I was overwhelmed with all the changes of marriage and our move I wanted the end to be here quickly. But, a lot has happened over the past 5 years and although I am definitely ready for this season to be over (as far as graduate student living is concerned), there are also things that will be difficult to leave. Anytime you invest in something for an extended period of time, there are things that make it hard and sad to change.

There were moments along the way when it was very difficult and times when Kane wondered if he would be able to finish. Lots of times of questioning, then pushing forward towards the goal. It has been hard work for 5 years. There have been challenges we've faced that as I think back on them I really wonder how we've done it for this long (and stayed sane--ha!) We've lived with only one car for the entire time we've lived here. We've done apartment living close enough to campus so Kane could walk (and to help save money and time on commuting). We moved from a one bedroom to a two bedroom apartment when Mara Kate was 18 months old, which means for the first 18 months of her life we all shared one bedroom (how did we do this?!). When we made the move to the larger apartment Kane's distance to walk to school almost doubled, yet he has endured it for 2 years so that we could have the benefit of a bigger place. (Thanks, Babe--that alone has meant the world to me).
Our child has never had her own yard to play in. We've toted our groceries and everything else up or down two flights of stairs every day and we've shared our "garage" with everyone else in the complex---it's a large parking garage. All of those not so fun things are about to change and I almost can't believe it. We are moving into a cute, 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with a yard and carport. Although the house seems like a glorified apartment as far as size is concerned, the fact that we are gaining an extra bedroom, a fairly large yard for Mara Kate to play in and a carport, not to mention the fact that we won't be living literally attached to other people is enough to make me happy. Oh, and it's cheaper rent than what we are paying now! It's exactly what we need and a little step up from what we've had, to boot. Thank you God for your provision for us in the housing department. I am very thankful.

Our life here has settled into a routine that I think when things are easier overall, I will feel like it's Christmas every morning. When I can walk out to my car that is parked directly outside my kitchen door, I will be giddy for months I think. ha! I am so thankful we are almost to the end of this time when I think about those kinds of convenience things.

But, when I think about our church and the relationships and the friendships that we've made it makes it much harder to think about moving away. I will definitely miss the comfort our church home has been to us. And the dear friendships that we've made. The friendships God had a big part in blossoming. I am very thankful that God has ordained that this move will only take us a little over an hour from Atlanta, so I feel like this move will be easier on me emotionally. I don't think I'll feel as isolated this time around. I feel like I'll be able to stay in touch with the friends here while I am meeting new ones in Rome. I'll be able to make day trips to Atlanta to see people on occasion or to meet up with my girlfriends for supper, etc.

Also, I feel like it isn't too far for people to come visit us in Rome....and everyone is welcome to come anytime! Rome is actually a very neat small town.

So, we are almost at the end of this season. The past two months have literally felt like H-E-L-L at times, but we are almost finished. It seems like a dream in a way, because we've dreamed of getting to this point so many times!

I am very proud of Kane and his hard work. I am looking forward to attending his defense on Thursday along with his dad who is driving in as well. I am excited about the celebration supper his advisor has planned for him that evening. I'm thrilled about our 5th wedding anniversary and celebrating it with Dr. Barker. (Our anniversary happens to be the day after his defense). :)

I love you very much Kane and am very proud to have stood by your side through this entire journey and I look forward to walking with you into the new chapter that awaits us just over the north Georgia hills.


Papadog said...

It has been an 'interesting' 5 years. I am so proud of you three for sacrificing & persevering to achieve this difficult goal. You are gonna have Great Adventures in this 'next part' of the journey AND you will be used mightily to bless others as you go. I can't wait to hear new stories of your encounters with students and others in Rome. And Jana, when I read entries like this one today, I become more & more grateful for your Heart. I love you all lots & look forward to being with you later this week !

Jana said...

Thanks, Dad. It HAS been interesting. We appreciate all the love and support of family over the long haul that's it's been! We love all of you. Thank you also for all the times you "met us half-way" or whatever to help make the 1 car situation bearable and doable.

Heidi said...

Is it weird that this made ME cry? I guess it's because I have watched you walk every step of the way and y'all have kept your eye on the goal and now it's HERE! I am very excited for you and for the next step...and I'm glad it's not moving you farther away from us!

Dad said...

I'm very proud of both you and Kane for setting a long-term goal and sticking to it to reach it! Every time you begin a new phase in life there is the excitement of the new and the sadness of leaving parts of the old. But you move on, because life moves on. I love you guys and am anxious to hear how God uses you in your new home and new town!

Katie said...

So sad! What a long and often trying journey, though, but I am glad it is over for you and am happy for you to start your new life in Rome....Miss Small Town Girl! I'm thankful you are just "up the road" and I will still see you and MK often. Whew! Your entry brought tears to my eyes because I feel like I was with you for most of your time here and have seen you and Kane do all of this. It's hard to believe it's almost over and done...but it is!!!! Yeay for Kane!
Love ya'll,

Betsy said...

Aaw, what a great post!! You've made it this far!!! Change is bittersweet, and I hope that you really enjoy life in Rome. Congrats to Kane on finishing, and blessings to you all as you transition forward.

crossfield said...

Mom's gonna need kleenex after reading this. (I know because I teared up!) It just made me realize how strong my little brother is... walking to work for FIVE YEARS?! And how he has still managed to be a loving husband and father in the midst of it all. I know you all are due for some major blessings, and I can't wait to see all that God has in store for you guys. Love you!

Susanna Rose said...

Wow...I can't believe you guys have made it so well through the five years and to think that we were able to know you and be in Atlanta with you for some of those years was such an honor and privilege! You guys are such a godly example as a couple and as parents...we are so excited to see what God has in store for you in your move! We're also excited because my parents live pretty close to where you guys will be so we can visit you sometime perhaps!:)