If you had told me nine years ago that I would be leaving Omaha for good in two days my response would have been: “9 freaking years?! I have to stay here for NINE years?!”
Today… today my heart is breaking. A huge chapter of our lives comes to a close in less than 48 hours.
Nine years ago I was a fresh-faced newlywed, terrified of leaving the comfort of college and our hometown. Most of our friends were staying in Fargo or Minneapolis and I was incredibly jealous. This place called Nebraska would never be my home. Four years, I told myself, four years and we can leave.
In those first four years, I met some incredible people. Life-long friends who proved that even nerdy, super smart doctors can be incredibly fun. While I had grown to like Omaha, I was still ready to leave. Until the single most defining moment in our Omaha chapter: the birth of Sam and Jack.
Omaha gave us our specialists, our hospitals, our surgeons… And it gave us our family. Yes, I longed for the moments my other friends had—parents being able to stop over for dinner, siblings offering to babysit, friends in abundance. But it made our family of 4 so incredibly close. We chose to stay in Omaha for residency because of Sam’s medical needs. Adam and I had no one but each other to rely on, and we did it. We did it. Somehow, someway, we survived being parents to two little boys, one of whom needed a lot of extra TLC.
And so our journey in Omaha continued. We bought a house. Adam started residency and I became a stay-at-home-mom. I started meeting more people and got involved with our local multiples chapter. It was at that moment that Omaha started feeling like home.
Friends became family, and saw us through some pretty trying times. When Eli was born several friends offered to take the twins on playdates and to therapy appointments. I learned that if you ask for help, you will almost always get it.
When we signed on for fellowship in Denver, Claire was only a slight possibility. I had just had a very early miscarriage and we had decided to wait until after Adam’s boards to try again. Well, the Princess had other ideas 😉 During my pregnancy we once again leaned on our Omaha family for support. Adam was gone often for work, call, and studying; I was raising three little boys while pregnant with our fourth child when I got the call that Claire may have Down syndrome. Not wanting to panic our families, Adam and I chose to keep this news to ourselves. We told just two people — and those people stepped up and took action. They brought us dinner without asking, they came over to watch the boys while I went to appointment after appointment… They made a dark time a little bit brighter and for that I will be forever grateful.
And then, when Claire was born, and her diagnosis official – we spread the news. And when the news spread, our friends gathered. I still well up thinking about all of the support and help we received after she entered our lives. Our Omaha family was there for every little thing and without knowing it made life just a little more bearable.
This last year has been incredibly hard and I will not miss the emotional toll it has taken on our family. But this year has also been the single most inspiring year—I have changed so much. The people we met through preschool, therapy, Down syndrome Alliance, etc… They are some of the most inspiring and incredible people I could have ever hoped to know.
The thought of leaving the place that forced me to grow up, welcomed my children into the world, and gave us some of the greatest friends I will ever know makes me physically hurt. While I am excited for the next chapter, saying goodbye to the only home our children have ever known has caused me more grief than I expected.
We are one year closer to being surrounded by our families. One year closer to Adam’s end goal. And we get to spend one year in Denver, CO with the full intent to make it the greatest year yet—mini vacations, a live-in Granny Nanny, non stop adventure. But, it will take a while to come to terms that Omaha is no longer our home. Our journey here has changed me, and for that I am eternally thankful.