For all the aching parts of growing up

by Kari on October 17, 2011

We’ve been in our new house a week when we take a family-date to carry away the mountain of flattened cardboard boxes to a local recycling drop.  The kids pile into the car as the sun goes down. Jeff ties the boxes on tight, drives slowly. We make it. Kids topple out of the car, they drag the small ones over and heave them over their heads into the receptacle. All’s well. We climb back in, it’s dark now. We’re near the Goodwill drop-off so we stop. Drop off some boxes of 2T clothes, board books, Heidi’s infant bike-seat. I hand over pieces of our life and shake my head. They’re growing so fast. 

We have a gift to deliver to our old next-door neighbors who helped us with our move. As we pull onto our old road, turn left on Winkel Way, I wonder how this will go …

Our old house comes into view. A pod is in the driveway. The lights are on and I can see the bare walls inside. Dutch pipes up from the backseat.

“Mommy, who lives in our house now?” I explain. Some little children. A family. A nice family who will take good care of it. Silence. I can feel the air in the car change.

“Is their car in our garage?” Dutch asks slow, a slight quiver in his voice. Yes, I say.

We drop the gift at our neighbors’. It’s dark and our old house is all lit up, glowing at the top of the street. The kids are quiet.

We slowly pull away, and I can hear Dutch begin to quietly cry. Real tears, not just fussing or protesting. The real ones that come out even when you’re trying to be brave.

“Mommy, I love our old house,” the words spill out,  “I didn’t want to move.” I exhale. Ache. I know he’s not yet 5 but I also know how real little feelings are to little people.

“I know, baby, I know.” I take his hand and turn all the way around in my seat. Face him.  “Can I tell you a story?” He looks up, nods. In the light of the passing streetlights I can see the tears on his cheeks.  Oh it’s so hard to grow up.  

I tell my story: “I remember when I was little and we moved. And I was so excited for my new house, but then I remember after we’d moved all our stuff, my daddy and I, just the two of us, went back to our old house, to make sure we hadn’t left anything behind.”

Now I’m the one with the quivering voice. “And I got so sad, Dutch.”

He’s listening.

“I got so sad because I remembered all the fun things we did in that house. And my daddy got sad too. Because he remembered how little I used to be in that house, how he’s brought me home from the hospital there, and all the fun times we’d had together. He held me in his arms, and we both cried as we left because we both felt sad. Even though we were happy about our new house, we both cried because we felt sad leaving all the fun memories behind. It’s hard to grow up, sweetie. I know.”

I can see Dutch now, holding onto the strings of my story.

“And then did you get happy again?” He asks, holding onto a string. We turn onto the main road, can no long see our house behind.

“Yep. We were both sad, but we were also both happy because we got to go to our new house together and make more fun memories.”   The wheels are turning.

“Did Papa’s hair look different then?”

Now I’m laughing, tears still spilling. “Yes, babe. It was different.”

“Because he was younger then, right?”

“Yes, he was young like daddy.” I close my eyes. I can see.

Dutch smiles. “And he wasn’t a Papa yet!”

“Nope, just a daddy.”

And now I have to face front because the tears won’t stop. And now I know Dutch’s ache because my daddy’s almost 70 and Where do the years go? And it’s just a house and it’s just down the road but these car wheels turn so fast and Oh it’s so hard to grow up. 

We pull into our new driveway. Gravel crackles under the tires. It’s good but  unfamiliar. I’m happy-sad because I don’t know this new place in life. It’s a new walk and a new place and I’m the daughter-mom who stretches out like a bridge and I ask silently for new mercies and reach to open Dutch’s door.

“Mommy, will you carry me inside?”

“Yes.” I pull him in and hold tight. Inhale him and I ask God for fresh grace for all these new moments. Fresh grace for all the aching parts of growing up. 

 {For whatever places ache in you today … may you find grace. Thanks for reading.}


{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Nadene October 17, 2011 at 3:57 am

Such a precious post. I love the way you heard him from your heart and gave him hope. Moving and moving on can be such a mix of feelings. Much grace and strength to you in this time.


Kari October 17, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Thank you, dear Nadene!


Pam October 17, 2011 at 7:20 am

Beautiful Kari. :)


Jennifer October 17, 2011 at 7:44 am

Growing up is so hard! Our family recently moved. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to leave. I have a young brother. It was hardest for him, but we are celebrating making new memories. So glad you guys are settling in!


Kari October 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Thanks, Jennifer. Hope you are settling in too!


Kate Clodfelter October 17, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I literally just had to grab a tissue, blow my nose and wipe my eyes. GAH! So moving. Praying for you guys in this brand new, BEAUTIFUL season of life…. new memories are beginning :)


Kari October 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Oh dear girl… YOU guys were such a fun part of our new memories. This post took place right after you left on Saturday! :) That was so fun to be with you. Love you and Ryan and that beautiful Isabella Joy!


Caila Murphy October 17, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Whew, pulling out the tissues and wiping my eyes. Oh your sweet boy! We all know those growing up aches so well… Loved this post, Kari. Just loved it.


Kristen Wilson October 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Very beautiful, it goes to fast, I want to get some of it back, I want to pick my little wide eyed baby boy up and walk him into our home again. Not sure how to parent adult children. I love them now as much as I did then maybe more, but ache for them way more now then I did then. :) whew tears flowing now. Love you.


Sharon O October 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Ah giving up the old and going towards the new, it is hard but it will be good and as time begins to pass the old will be just a memory and the new will be home to your heart.


Sandy Kundert October 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Oh, Kari–you make me cry. Life is so full of these precious times. Bless you for having the insight to encourage Dutch and to share the experience and your feelings with us. You are so special!


mom October 18, 2011 at 8:45 am

As I was across the room from the computer in my wheelchair (broken leg), your daddy agreed to read this post aloud..took several weeping stops and starts. I am confident that our grown children will be enabled by God to help their children through the tough times ahead. ( This is your new best post!!) mom


Lacey October 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Sweet Dutch… such a tender heart. :)


Melody October 18, 2011 at 7:13 pm

so beautiful!! you have such a gift! praying for you and your family in this new season. xoxo


Samantha October 23, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Hi Kari,
That was beautiful!
How long have you been in your new house?
Do you have gravel down your new driveway?
If so, I may have a few suggestions and some ideas to run past you!


Kari October 24, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Hi Samantha! Thanks so much for saying hello, and for your kind words. Yes, we do have gravel in our “new” driveway and we’ve been in the house for 2 weeks. What are your ideas? Would love to hear! (Feel free to email me if you like: (kari at karipatterson dot com)


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