Over the winter, during an unexpected first trimester of pregnancy, while raising three kids, wheat, and a bunch of cattle on the prairie, far far away from our homeland, Matt decided that our time in Sedan was up. It took me a few weeks to come around to the idea of leaving, because I’m a stickler for routine, I generally hate moving, and I’m tired. Matt put in four years on the farm and he had really gotten the hang of running the place without an overload of fear and anxiety, but with Trevor about to start kindergarten, three and a half kids ages five and under, and not a gallon of milk or loaf of bread to be found for miles, we knew it was time to go.
After working out the farm/financial/business side of things, we set a date to move after Easter. The month of March is the longest of the year during a good year… the month of March in Sedan when you’re about to flee the joint is the longest of your life. The wind blew. The dirt blew. It was windy. It was dirty. We were stuck inside. It was a great reminder of the true character of northeastern New Mexico. And it was time to go.
I learned an important lesson about moving three years ago: pack all at once in a couple of days, or you’ll be packing for months and still have two huge days of packing anyway. So we dropped the kids with their grandparents and my miracle-working sisters Tabitha and Laurie came over and boxed up our giant five bed/three bath farm house in two days. Our neighbors Amber and Ryan showed up with professional rolls of packing and stretch tape, and we were loaded up and driving away before I could blink from my perch on the couch. Because I’m pregnant again. While moving. Again.
After Trevor checked himself out of Pre-K one day, that was that. We left Layne and Laurie in a dust storm, with the care of our farm, our cattle, and a new Mr Coffee tea maker since I wouldn’t be there to provide Laurie’s tea fix. We rolled out of Sedan just the way we’d rolled into it three years before, but with two more kids, way more stuff, and an entirely new perspective on life.
Photo cred: Laurie, standing in the dirt storm on Cowen Road.
The whole time we lived on the little farm on the prairie, I wondered how I would feel driving away when we went back home. I suspected I would be an 80 year old granny hunched behind the steering wheel of a U-Haul, because life in Sedan felt like ONE LONG DAY and I couldn’t ever get an accurate gauge on how fast time was speeding past. The way I felt on March 29, 2016, pulling a cargo trailer behind my SUV six hours home to Texas is best described as the feeling one has stepping off of a wooden roller coaster ride.
A couple of years ago, I convinced Matt to ride the wooden coaster at the Kemah Boardwalk. He loves a good roller coaster, by which I mean he hates all theme park rides and might have a slight motion sickness issue. Anyway, I got him on it because roller coasters are a total blast and everyone should like them. I hadn’t been on a wooden one in forever, and I forgot how damaging they are to the nervous and musculoskeletal systems of the body.
The first part is the anticipation, pre-headache segment…click click click click goes the coaster up the big hill. Everyone is excited for the thrill of the ride. The long drop at the beginning leaves you breathless and wanting more. Then, BAM. A curve. A very sharp, rough curve resulting in minor neck injury and loss of any smiling in the seats. Bam, another curve back, geez, that was ROUGH and not fun. Not fun at all. Matt’s head sinks further and further below mine…going up again, click click click…and I’m yelling at Matt to get his head OFF MY SHOULDER! He’s now burrowed down, I’m ticked, and after the second large drop down, we immediately curve, then turn back, then maneuver over what has to be haphazard railroad ties on a washed out dirt road but is really the coaster’s sadistic course to the chiropractor. Teeth chattering, we make the final descent down a small drop, one last sharp turn to complete the bulging of all discs in the back, and slowly slide into place to make our exits, knuckles white on the handlebars.
Once parked, it’s difficult for the mind to even relay to the body that it can stand up and walk away now. Shaking, dazed, slightly angry, and missing an earring, we make our way down the path back to solid ground, wondering what the hell just happened and why we volunteered for it.
That’s how I felt leaving Sedan. It was quite the ride. Not only did I lose my favorite earring, but we lost other valuables on that roller coaster. Real-life connection to the outside world, most of our freedom, my career, a whole of lot dollars on gasoline for road trips to visit doctors and church and the grocery store…and other things, too. I was always slightly scared that I would die in Northeastern New Mexico and no one would know where to have my funeral. I almost did die up there, from a misdiagnosed and ruptured ectopic pregnancy. Matt almost cut his own head off, which we laugh about now but didn’t at the time. We went through some serious stuff as a family and a business and it was big drop offs and bumpy curves and teeth gritting and slightly fun but mainly painful.
I left Sedan with a huge sense of relief. My legs are still a little shaky and my social skills need some serious tuning. It feels like we’re back on solid ground now but the effects of taking risks like that remain.
Matt has a daily calendar on his dresser and it was stuck on this quote by John Ruskin for a few weeks before we moved: The greatest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it. Because while we lost some things during life in Sedan, we also recognize huge gains. Late 20s/early 30s are for growing up, I think, and we did a lot of growing up. We did a lot of work. What Matt and Layne accomplished with our farms in four years is inexplicable. They are innovative, wise, hard-working, driven guys who faced so many setbacks and twists and turns and have been faithful with what they’ve been given. Laurie and I had each other, by which I mean I had her to bring me groceries and love my kids and keep me somewhat mentally stable. Between us, we took three newborns home to Sedan and that’s not as easy as it sounds.
I wouldn’t change the past three years. We made some good friends, we made sure our kids had everything they needed, we made jokes when we really wanted to cry, we learned to make the best of things. God has been so good to us, even when it seemed like, as Trevor said at age 3, “Jesus doesn’t live in New Mexico.”
So the past month, Matt and I have reveled in springtime in Texas! It’s a real season here, we had just forgotten! We live on the edge of Throckmorton, in a brick house with trees and grass in the yard and a window over the kitchen sink. We park under a carport five feet from the back door, and that is one life-changing thing about moving here. That, and the little grocery store in town. And the family all around us who are getting to know our kids and giving me free time to blog and shower and brush my teeth. Matt works with his dad every day and Claire likes to tag along and Kate is the wildest child you ever did see and Trevor took his great-grandma out on a movie date the other night.
Sedan backyard in March, Throckmorton backyard in April. It was a tough choice.
Kate is 15 months old, will never remember New Mexico, and doesn’t care.
Claire, coming out of her shell in Texas. Anything Trevor can do, she can do one-handed while holding a baby. Kind of.
This kid. He has been taken all over town by his great-aunts, plays with cousins almost every day, loves his great-grandmothers, and is never getting a hair cut.
We know it doesn’t get any better than this.