Life’s taken some turns for us these past six months as we answered a stirring in our hearts to change things up a bit. Some of it so quickly its taken a sec to process the changes. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Processing. We sold our little house in Austin. The one with the big oak tree out front and the wooden tree swing. The one with our handprints in the concrete pad out back where the kids and neighbors played basketball as I watched out my kitchen window. The one where we raised toddlers and newborns and where we cared for my dying mom. My throat is closing and eyes welling up as I think about the people we gathered around our table for shredded pork tacos and special sauce, cheese trays and wine, coffee and Quiche, pizza and ranch dressing, or just plain old cereal or leftovers. Truth is the food was just the invitation to the more important thing. Time.
The things I will always miss the most about that little spot in the world are our neighbors. We had several amazing ones on our little block but we go furthest back with the ones directly to our right as you walked out the front door. We could never get grass to grow in that area because of all the little feet making a quick turn off the front porch.
To Kristin, Gaylen. Freddie, Camden, and Cooper. To your various exchange students, various family members, various tenants that lived in your bungalow out back, various dogs, cats, hermit crabs and strays.
Thank you for teaching us more about love than just about any humans we have ever met. Thank you for being game to cut a hole in our fence with wire cutters so the little kids could easily go back and forth. The fence we eventually took down all together. Thank you for not thinking it odd for me to be scavenging your back yard at 6:45 a.m. in my bathrobe on a school morning looking for misplaced shoes. Thank you for going in with us on those picnic tables we put under the tall front yard Sycamore trees where we so often combined forces to come up with complete meals. The tables Kristin strung cafe lights above as it basically became our very own real life Pinterest set up.
Thank you, Kristin, for bathing my kids, doctoring their cuts, and doing things no neighbor should have to do, Gaylen, as you hear the singing words of a 4 year old saying “I’m doooone….” coming from YOUR bathroom as you walk in from work. Thank you for sitting by my mom’s bedside as she was sick. Thank you for sneaking in to our house and wrapping our doors with wrapping paper and switching labels on our canned foods. For months I’d think I was opening tomatoes and it would end up being peaches. (Then I would just sneak into your house and borrow a can of tomatoes.) Thank you teaching me how to fold crepes, how to use a table saw, how to use a smoker, and how to use those weird claw things that shred meat. (Great Christmas present for someone who is likely to shred meat) Thank you for sharing cups of coffee, bottles of wine, and various groceries we were out of. (most usually tomatoes, milk, eggs, or cumin powder)
The thank you’s are honestly endless and the sadness I feel as that season has come to an end reminds me of a quote that comforted me when we lost our mom. “That which brings you much sorrow, does so because it once brought you much joy.” Your family was (and continues to be) joy personified to us.
I’m so glad we tore down that fence down together years ago and that walls have been coming down slowly ever since allowing us to be more vulnerable, more present, less guarded, less resistant, more whole, and more at peace. The tearing down of walls that let the light in to our stories of brokenness and let healing begin. I’m still a work in progress.
At the moment, I’m scouting out a place for a new long row of picnic tables in the front yard our new home in the world. (This time under tall Pine trees.) A place where we can put in practice what you all taught us. How tables really do bring people together.
Thank you for being the kind of neighbors that became family. I think at one point we decided the Paulson’s + the Dozier’s could equal the Paulzier’s? We are better because of you.
With great love from Colorado,
Cristi, Ben, Adelyn, Gunner, Creede, & South (Paulzier)
Trying to bring into play all I learned from the great family of Greenbay Packers we used to live next to. The ones who sometimes channelled their inner Kenny G and played the saxophone on their back porch, or the ones who wore cowboy boots with swimsuits, or the one’s who had parties with 50 plus foreign students from China (who loved to zip line) and taught them how to make s’mores. The ones who were ALWAYS up for an adventure and who set out on a big one this year living missionally out at Community First Village in Austin. Apple dumplings and cheese curds are now forever a part of my vocabulary and I like it.
Here is what I don’t like sometimes and often resist. Change. Kids starting high school is dumb. Kids graduating high school is dumb. Moving is dumb. But those sarcastic dumb changes comes with the territory of growth. And growth can be smart. And high school kids and college kids are funny. And they can drive themselves places and wash their own clothes. And moving? Moving makes you clean out your attic. Not gonna lie, that felt really good. You don’t even have to move to do it.
It’s been emotionally hard sometimes. And that has been ok.
To grieve the end of anything is ok and usually necessary. You can stuff it but the need to grieve will keep surfacing. So do that part. And then, with time, it will become what you make it. It will become how you choose to see it. How you honor the memory of it and how you choose to let it grow you.
Hoping we can all grow and change and be thankful in the process.
“When you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence.”