It is the first part of April. In just a few more days I will say my final goodbye at my current jobs, yes plural, and start a new career the following week in a town an hour away. I will pack all my things and relocate this month as well. We are taking a road trip tomorrow to view another rental house in hopes that this is “the one”. As I have been anticipating all the changes coming in my life this month, I have noticed a pattern of extreme change over the last few years that have all seemed to happen in April.
First of all, the obvious, April is my birthday month. I have friends who celebrate all month long of their birthday month, but then their birth date falls at the end of their month. So they build to the celebrated day. My date is the 3rd. We get to it fast and it is over. Then onto celebrate the next person in the month with a birthday. As a child, I got great gifts from my mother because she would use her tax return check for my gifts. That is how mom could afford my great keyboard for my 17th birthday, which I still have. (It was handy when I went to college and still now for practicing my music for choir and musicals.) A few times in my life, Easter fell on my birthday. My 21st birthday was one of those Easter/birthday years. Birthdays always create a benchmark in our mind from gifts received to people who attended our parties and even how the year went. My extreme changes however were not just my birthdays.
April is also my son’s birthday month. My third child, late-in-life, surprise Wonderboy, has been both a joy and a challenge. He was not planned or I would not have picked my birthday month to have a child. But since he was due in April, I tried my hardest to coax him out on my birthday. He would have none of that. I was induced shortly after my 35th birthday and Wonderboy was born on the 6th. The lessons learned thru him and challenges faced have changed all our lives for ever. Two extremely gifted girls did not prepare us for a mild-moderate, special needs child. My Wonderboy has changed the way I see people and even approach the world. I often remark how others just don’t understand things. Then I remember that they don’t have a Wonderboy who has helped me see the world with different eyes.
Birthdays are certainly times of celebration and reflection, but I was originally referring to all the other things that have happened in the past 5 years, all in Aprils. It was an April that my 1st divorce was final. It was the same April that I got engaged to my 2nd husband. (I do not recommend it happening like this. Learn from my mistakes people.) The next year in April my ex served me with custody papers, filed on my birthday no-less. My teens had decided they wanted to live with their dad. While still April, they broke my heart and moved out. I cried for days. (That story is for another day, if I choose to publish it at all. It is still a touchy subject since the kids are all not adults yet.) After the girls moved out, I also lost the child support associated with them. I finally put the house up for sale and made the final preparations for a move to relocate where my new husband lived (we had not yet combined households due to me finishing college, de-hoarding the home I had been in for 15 years and needing to sort out the custody stuff.)
I do not remember anything significant about the next April. I think my husband took me to see a touring musical I loved and out to dinner, but nothing life changing. However, the following April brought another emotional chapter. That same beloved 2nd husband and I separated. The lease was up and, due to irreconcilable differences, we mutually decided to separate for the purposes of divorce. I had liquidated everything for the 1st divorce, custody suit and move there. I was about to do it again? I had not yet recovered from the 1st one. But if I wasn’t going to be living with that husband, why live alone in a town where my children were not? That sad April, I once again resigned a wonderful position and relocated back to the town I had lived with the kids’ dad. Only this time, finding a job in the smaller area was much more difficult. My ex-mother-in-law, Nana to my children, took me in. I felt humbled indeed, homeless, lost, broke. While I began to work thru a temporary agency, it was not enough to live on by myself. I refused to find some sugar daddy to just take me in (trust me, I had offers, gross ones, but offers). That would have led to whole different list of emotional issues. I was grateful for Nana more than words can describe. I could not see having a roommate and 3 kids visiting on the weekends. Nana graciously allowed me to live there for awhile, until I had pretty much outlived my welcome.
It was the following April, a whole year later, before I was financially stable enough to leave Nana’s and move to an apartment of my own. I had cashed in retirements again, changed employers again, and waited for the 90 day temp period for a raise before being able to swing it. Even then, I don’t think anyone understood the crazy amount of scared I was. I had NEVER lived alone. Never. I went from my mom/step-dad’s home to the college dorm/sorority house to engaged and living with Nana planning the wedding. Then I was married with kids to living as a single parent with kids. I remarried the second husband and after lived again with Nana. I was now a whole new emotional mess of loneliness. I don’t do bars. I worked all the time. Thank the Lord I had kept my little dog thru all this. (I have new appreciation for lonely cat ladies with 100 cats. I get it now.) You laugh? My day job had little human interaction. My evenings had zero. I was a people person with no people. I was going insane. On the off chance I got a date, I sort of gushed and was told more than once that I talked too much. Wouldn’t you if you had no one to talk to like solitary confinement? I digress.
So this April, just a year from moving into my apartment, my lease is up. At the same time I have taken a wonderful position an hour away at a university. I find myself once again looking at another major move in another April. Not JUST a job change, not JUST a physical housing move, but both again at the same time. This one is full of emotions again also. Maybe not heart-broken emotions, but filled with excitement, a little worry about the finances, and trepidation about the kids take on this. I am trying to look at the whole picture. And on top, in just a couple days I turn 44 and my little Wonderboy will be 9, all at the same time. To add to my plate, because God thought it was not full enough I guess, to be able to afford the move, a yard sale is in the mix and training my replacement in my last days at the old job. (God always tests my multitasking skills.)
Hopefully, this April of change will be the last in this string of spring growth. You know the saying, “April showers bring May flowers”? Well for me sometimes those Aprils brought flowers and joy, sometimes April brought my tears. For certain, big changes have happened more than once in these spring months. I actually don’t like change. I want to be the lady that grew up in the same town and knows everyone, but God had different plans. Seems God wants me to know people in towns all over the place. I had a pastor once say that growth is important in the Christian life. No one likes the little still pond with algae growing on it, but everyone likes the bubbling brook and the beautiful, cascading waterfall. The moving water shifts the silt and clears the debris. No funky slim can grow on the moving water. And so our Christian life should be growing with God like moving water. If God is moving in your life, then you know there is no funky algae, no stagnant, undrinkable water. Maybe this is what God has done for me in my physical life as well. I know there were missteps in there. We are human after all and fall short of His glory. God is putting me back into a place to use me greatly. In the spring, He shakes me up. Or maybe like the plants, the growth has been there under the soil and we finally get to see the sprout in the spring. Not yet the fruit, but the budding plant and the hope for the fruit in the future. No matter what, I look forward to my birthday month as another year to celebrate life that, if I am following the Lord, could always mean change.