So today is the first day of October. September is officially behind us, a month that encompassed more change in my life than I could have ever imagined!
In this last month I packed all our belongings and said goodbye to our Texas house. A house that I'll always remember as the first home Kevin and I shared together...the house where our separate lives became one family, where Hunter and Cierra became brother and sister. For the last time I cleaned the kitchen that we stood in when we found out we'd be having a baby together. I swept the floor in the garage where we made the plans to open our coffee shop. So many memories in that house...hard times and sad goodbye when Kevin was leaving for Montana and the anticipation when he was coming home. I'll never forget pulling into that driveway with Ryland for the first time...big Welcome Home Ryland banner on the garage. Leaving that house was so bittersweet. On one hand it meant we were on our way to live with Kevin in Montana but it also meant so many goodbyes. That house will always hold a special place in my heart. At least it's still in the family...my brother and his girlfriend moved in! haha
I had to make the hardest decision of my life in September. A few months prior we learned that Hunter was more than likely not going to be able to move to Montana with us. The State of Texas believes that, regardless of the circumstances, it's in the best interest of the child to live in the same (or contiguous) county as both parents...so even if the "primary parent" moves out of state (or even city for that matter), the other parent can have the court impose geographical boundaries that prevent the child from being able to move. Days after we brought Ryland home from the hospital my ex-husband had me served with paperwork letting me know that he was going to pursue the geographical boundaries...so this has been on our hearts and minds every second of the last few months. To say that this decision has been all consuming is an understatement. On one hand I have Kevin, who is committed to working in Montana for at least the next two years and on the other hand I have my baby. My son. My first born. The love of my life. How on EARTH am I going to make this decision?????
I finally came to the heart wrenching decision that it was in the best interest of ALL of my children for the girls and I to move to Montana with Kevin and to let Hunter go to school with his Daddy. Four and a half years ago I made the selfish decision to leave my marriage and cause Hunter to be raised separately of his two parents...and if I can avoid that for my girls, I need to do that for them. Hunt and his Dad are SUPER close and he's ecstatic to be living with him. My ex is remarried to a woman that Hunter adores so he'll have the benefit of two parents raising him everyday and he'll spend all his holidays and summer vacation with us here in Montana. I pray constantly that he'll thrive in his new situation. If we ever cross your mind, please pray for my boy...pray that he doesn't feel like I chose Kevin or the girls over him. Pray for his heart and mind to be nurtured daily.
I need to add that I chose to share the pain of this decision for two reasons...one, because I'm using this as a journal/scrapbook of sorts and I want to remember everything about what's going on in these crazy times of my life right now. Also, if my choices can, in any way, help someone else going through a similar situation, it's worth it for me to put it out there. Most people I've talked to about this have a hard time understanding my decision...and I hope no one reading this has to ever "understand" the pain of making a decision like this. Thankfully, 99% of my friends with kids won't ever be faced with a decision of this magnitude...so they can't relate and I'm grateful for that. As weird as that sounds.
September also brought me my first real hurricane. It was so ironic that after all the years of living in Houston, I actually experience a hurricane for the first time just days before moving out of state...and out of "the cone of uncertainty" for that matter. I don't even know if Ike made the news in Missoula. So much has been said about the devastation and loss that came with that storm. I don't mean to take away from that in ANY way, but my storm story was a lot less dramatic. Thursday morning my ex let me know what we were able to go get Hunter out of school. He lives in Pearland now, and his zip code was literally across the street from a mandatory evacuation zip code...so I grabed the girls, jumped in the car and spent the next four hours fighting traffic to go get my boy out of harm's way. Friday morning as we watched the storm surge overtake the sea wall even before the hurricane hit, my Mom and I realized, that like so many others, we hadn't taken the necessary precautions. Our idea of hurricane food was a fresh block of Havarti with dill and some black pepper crackers...oh, and I made a Texas Sheet Cake. Unfortunately we were a little late as the grocery stores were sold out of all the PRACTICAL hurricane food. Luckily the neighbors had a generator and a stocked pantry! That night my Mom and the 't kids and I took pictures outside every hour so we could chronicle the changes in the wind...it was so surreal when a big gust came through, if the wind hadn't been a sign of such devastation it would have been awesome. That night we lost power and I sat up all night watching my parent's windows vibrate from the strength of the wind. My parents live in NORTH Houston too so I can't even imagine what was going on at my ex's house in SOUTH Houston. Saturday morning we woke up to see my parent's yard absolutely demolished! They have...or I should say, HAD, a ton of mature trees in their backyard...and they live on the golf course so there's no back fence, there's also a bayou back so we expected a lot of limbs to be down...but it was just insanity. The neighbor across the street, Mr. Mike, and I spent all morning in the rain removing the debris from the gutters on our street and the ones around ours...we like to think that we single handedly saved the neighborhood...haha. Later that afternoon we found out that my townhouse had power so even though we'd moved out already and there was no furniture...my folks, the kids and I spent the rest of the weekend enjoying electricity and cable. Monday morning we woke up and left Ike behind as we got on the plane for Montana! It was such a change, the farther we got from Texas, the farther we got from hurricane talk...it was all anyone talked about at the airport in Houston, Ike got a little buzz in Denver, but was no where to be found in Missoula.
Saying goodbye to my parents was so hard. I'ven seen them EVERY day for the last few years and they were such a help to me when Kev was in Montana. My Mom and I cried at the airport and not a day has passed that Cierra hasn't asked to go to their house. I don't think you ever outgrow needing your parents. Right now I have a cold and I want my Mom's chicken & dumplings. I know how to make them too, and Kevin's pretty hand in the kitchen as well...but I want my MOMMY to make them. And watching Glenn Beck isn't the same without my Dad right there with me. I'm so lucky to have parents that I MISS.
Once we finally made it to "Big Sky Country" we spent the last half of September enjoying a REAL Fall. We drove through the mountains, I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season, we went to the University of Montana Homecoming parade...it was like in the movies. A small town parade in the fall..are you kidding me? We went to a potluck with all the ol peeps...CC made a ton of new friends that live around us. They're the "Hannah Montana Crew". Ryland is now sitting up and has her first tooth (top right). We got a ton of veggies at the farmer's market and have made the best roast chicken and beef stew with them. We sleep with the windows open at night to let the cool air in and we enjoy being together as a family again.
I miss Hunter more than I can ever explain but I'm overwhelmed with joy everytime I see Ryland smile at her Daddy. I still look at Montana as just a chapter in our lives. I could have never imagined us being here so I'm not even going to try to imagine where we'll be after this. September was a mix of emotions and I can't wait to see what October holds for my family!