Ian’s been saying “bye bye” to a lot of things lately–the park, meal time, Lizzie, Daddy. Anything that he’s leaving, or is leaving him, or is just ending for the time being.
Little did he know he’s been practicing for a very big bye bye. The Vikeslands are moving to St. Louis. They leave tomorrow.
I am really excited for them because I know St. Louis will be a great adventure. Alyssa says it’s the first big thing her and Kabyn have done together as a couple (besides having a kid). I know it’s going to be a time of growth, of new relationships, of learning things about themselves and each other that they didn’t know before.
But, I am also really sad. For me, for Ian, for Jason. The Vikeslands have been really good friends to us.
I first met Alyssa probably three or four years ago. I was living with Sally and she had mentioned this friend she’d been hanging out with. I eventually met her on our front steps after she and Sally had gone running one afternoon. And we became friends. Because if you know Alyssa, you know that all she has to do is meet you and you are automatically her friend. That’s just how it goes.
Sally told Alyssa about the Story Group we were forming that fall and she wanted to join. And so for the next few months seven or eight of us got together and talked about God and shared stories from our lives. A lot of them were hard stories. So Alyssa knows a good portion of my junk and I know hers.
Then she introduced me to Jason. She had been triathlon training with him through the summer. This inevitably leads to talking about all kinds of things and getting to know your training buddies quite well. And then one day she had the revelation that Jason and I should know each other. This was, of course, after having sworn she would never set anyone up ever again.
This time it worked. When I say that I don’t mean that we immediately clicked, began a whirlwind romance, and thanked our lucky stars that we both knew Alyssa. I wasn’t sure–for what seemed like forever.
Alyssa and I spent a lot of time over IM talking about it, about fear and risk and “how do you know?”. She had started dating Kabyn at the time. Despite her own distractions, she talked me down off the ledge of relationship-related despair on several occasions.
Then we got married . . . and then we got pregnant two months later. I vividly remember the day I went over to Alyssa’s house and was going to tell her the news. I walked in and she held up a pink onesie that said “Daddy’s Little Girl”. I was confused. How did she know?
She didn’t. She was just unexpectedly pregnant, too.
I had a miscarriage and Alyssa kept going. In that time I realized that having a baby now (which was then) wasn’t so bad of an idea after all. And then I was pregnant again, before we could even make a decision. And Alyssa and I were back in the same stage of life.
Almost two years later and we’ve spent a lot of time together. Kabyn & Jason have been fiances, then husbands, and now dads together. They’ve drank beers, watched games, talked theology, told stories.
And Alyssa and I have have spent a lot of time together at our house, at least a day a week if not more. She sitting on the couch working and me folding laundry, doing dishes, picking up, cooking, playing with the kids.
I’ve made her lunch and she’s listened to me as I struggled through the thought of leaving Mars Hill. We have talked about our marriages, and of course, our kids. A lot of time on the kids topic–sleeping, breastfeeding, solids, discipline, weight, height, the list goes on.
And our kids have spent a lot of time together. It’s one of the hardest things to think about it in their moving away.
Alaythia really truly loves Ian. She talks about him all the time. If Ian talked more he would probably talk about her, but Alaythia has a particularly special affection for him. The other day Ian gave her a big hug and the weight of his body toppled her dainty little self over and she hit her head on the leg of the desk.
She cried. But it didn’t keep her from being thrilled the next time he wanted to touch her face or pet her or just get uncomfortably close.
And Alyssa really truly loves Ian, too. In all the time she’s spent with him playing games, eating cheerios, crawling around, and being silly, I can tell she thinks he’s so great. And on a deeper level than most other people. That has made me feel so good as his mom.
Alyssa has really loved me, too. She’s always generous, giving me her time, her stuff, her food, her prayers, her insight, whatever. I really appreciate that about her. She’s even given me her friends. She introduced me to the moms I spend time with every Thursday at our play group and see at church on Sunday. She just loves to include people.
Today Ian said bye bye to Alyssa and Alaythia. Alaythia said bye bye back to him. Then we went to our big window and waved goodbye and said bye bye a bunch of times more. Well, he said bye bye and I cried and he was kind enough to give me hugs.
I know I will see our friends again. They will be back to visit. But we won’t go through life stages together like we have, in the same way. Our kids will grow up and change. Even our marriages, our circumstances, our struggles, our joys will change. And we won’t get to be there, up close.
Despite the sadness, God has done something great in giving us our friends that I have been so very blessed by. I know there are other people out there who are going to be blessed by the Vikeslands, too.