Thursday, January 16, 2014

On Finding Home: A 5-Year Recap

FIVE years ago today, we moved to Belleville.

Wow.

Can you BELIEVE that? Five awesome, terrible, heartbreaking, glorious, triumphant years.

Today, this city is home and I am proud and happy to watch my children sprout their wings from here, the place where we are rooted.

In remembrance, I have selected one post from every year - they are the posts which, to my mind, sum up all that was and all that I was, we were, as this place we were simply passing through, came to be ours:


2009

1. A month after we moved here, to a strange city where I knew no one, my brother died. The shock of that - that he was just gone - and the rage and utter angst I felt throughout the rest of that bitter winter will always be tangled up with coming here.

My baby brother, Andrew.



http://www.lifewithbellymonster.blogspot.ca/2009/02/farewell-beloved-brother.html

Five years later, the rage has passed and while sadness remains, always, I believe that I have come to a place of peace. That Spring, I ventured out to explore my new city and to find some friends. My very first friend, Heather, opened her home and her heart to a sad, lonely stranger -  at the end of that long, cold Winter, she was the sunshine I needed and today, she is one of my closest friends.

2010



Matthew started Kindergarten in 2009. It was a bittersweet experience for me, holding out my first-born son to the world and asking for grace. He was blessed with an incredible teacher that year and while this letter was written for her in 2010, as school wrapped up for summer, it's really for all of the Reds' teachers. They have been so lucky, to have compassionate and wise teachers - it has been a true and real joy to watch them thrive and grow and learn.

http://www.lifewithbellymonster.blogspot.ca/2010/06/dear-teacher.html

In fact, the school they attend, their teachers and their friends are some of the biggest reasons we've chosen to remain here. We are settled, they are thriving. Everyone is happy.


2011

Luke being...well, Luke.


This is one of my favourite posts about Luke, but it's also one of my favourite posts, period. I think that it's easy to get caught up in all the things our kids do that drive us crazy, instead of focusing on all the stuff they do that's good. Maybe it's just me. In any case, one day, I will frame this and hang it on Luke's wall and he will know how much joy he brings to my life.


http://www.lifewithbellymonster.blogspot.ca/2011/06/its-small-stuff.html


2012



Without question, 2012 was a challenging, illuminating year. Everywhere I went, it seemed, I was learning lessons - and not just the ones at Loyalist College, where I studied Developmental Services.

This is my most-shared post ever. At last count, it has been read by 1400 people - clearly, it struck a chord with friends and strangers alike and I am delighted to share it here:

http://lifewithbellymonster.blogspot.ca/2012/11/to-love-stranger.html


2013

Photo credit: Jerome Lessard


I graduated from Loyalist in 2013. It was a transformative two years and walking across the stage to accept my hard-won diploma, with my parents and my sons in the audience, was one of the proudest moments of my life.

From my classmates, my professors and from all of those I was blessed to support, I have learned some of the most important lessons. I have and will carry them, always, in all the years ahead:


http://lifewithbellymonster.blogspot.ca/2013/04/with-my-heart-in-their-hands.html




And so...five years later, we have known huge love and huge loss. Bought a house, got a dog, lost our minds. We are thriving, we are growing, we belong.

At the end of the day, this last one is that for which I am most grateful. Here, in the city by the Bay, we have found our place, our people, our future.

I am home.

5 comments:

  1. I'm glad you chose Belleville to live, and beyond happy you decided to stay. I'm lucky we found each other that day 2 years ago, and beyond blessed to call you a dear friend. You've taught me much since we met, my dear Liz, and life just wouldn't be the same without you. The world is a better place because of you.

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  2. Ok missy, thankyou again for making me cry.
    My beloved friend, forever and ever
    Heather

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  3. Sockey mom we are so glad to have meant you and your family. We have shared memoried from the soccer field to the ice rink. I was also so proud to be invited to your birthday party. I'm so glad you have decided to stay and call Belleville home! Your blogs an FB posting always make my day. Love you lots. Just wish we could see each other more! Hugs!!!!!

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  4. It's amazing how much can happen in such a short time! I've enjoyed getting to know you over these last few years. Your family is precious. Cheers, my friend!

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  5. I stumbled upon your blog today when I hit "next blog" after writing my third (yup, I'm brand new) blog post. I was clearly meant to find you. Your writing is so beautiful and honest, and this post in particular, touched my heart. My brother died thirteen years ago today. He too had a very troubled adolescence, but his, unfortunately, continued into adulthood. He was 38 when he died, and despite all of his troubles and demons, he was a gentle soul with a beautiful heart. Your post Farewell Beloved Brother made me think so much of Donny, and on this day in particular, that was a gift. I have added your blog to my reading list, and will be back often. Thank you.

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