Late Wednesday night after two days of loading a truck and excruciating goodbyes followed by three and a half days of driving, the kids and I were finally home in our Blue Ridge Mountains. We have been loved up on by the friends we have seen thus far, though we still have quite a few to see. It has been a long journey, pretty much the hardest of my life. I have run the gamut of emotions - from hysterical laughter to frustrated tears. I feel so overwhelmed sometimes and can turn a corner and feel as if a huge weight has lifted off of my shoulders. It really is a mixed bag of emotions.
There are so many highlights from our trip. The kids and I were crammed for the better part of four days in the front cab of a diesel truck that had only 3 seatbelts. Nobody could recline to doze off, and nobody had any elbow room. All things considered, it went fairly well and no blood was shed. The diesel engine was horribly loud and there was a slight smell of exhaust and ashtray. It took them 3 1/2 hours to get the truck - valuable moving time - so by the time I finally got it, there was no time to complain about the cleanliness or lack thereof to the Budget rental company. By day two my head hurt so bad that if I had a gun....... Kendra had a terrible headache as well. Kullen spent most of his drive time singing.. "Almost heaven, West Virginia....." and occasionally inspired us to sing along. Kaitlyn has been emotionally overwhelmed, hoping that people understand that though we are happy to see them, and happy to be back "home", it is not a party for us - not just yet. It is indeed one of the most difficult times of our lives.
I think we will make it through one step at a time. Yesterday I found a way to articulate how I feel - that I am standing my ground with wobbly knees. I am so thankful to have the support of my family who made sacrifices to financially support me, my friends who are holding me up, both those in real life that hold me up by offering to give up their beds, fill their pantries with food, let us do laundry, and all manners of physical support and for those of you in the realm of cyber friendships who pray, send love, financial support that I know you didn't even have, and constant encouragement. I don't know how I would've made it through without you, all of you. Thank you for helping me see that I did not deserve the way I was being treated, and helping me gain the courage to seek something better for myself and my kids.