Shortly before leaving for Belgium, I had made another BIG, life-changing decision…I chose to step up, in a time of need for our family, and go take care of my amazing, beautiful, strong & fiercely independent Grandma Grace in Upstate New York from the end of September to the end of December.
This meant 3 months in the place where I grew up. 3 months in the potentially frigid temperatures of Syracuse, New York and the possibility of being underneath feet, not inches, of snow. However, this also meant 3 months of PEACE and a slower, country life. 3 months of time with family that I’d only DREAMED about in the 15 years since I had moved from this place. And the best part? 3 months of intentional time with the woman who was and always has been my SECOND MOM. My Grandma Grace was the only “babysitter” I ever knew. This is so ironic to me now, since I have been a babysitter and nanny to over 40 children. I grew up living next door to Grace, and I attribute so much of the strong, determined and courageous woman I am today, because of her living example of these qualities I continually saw while growing up.
This BIG decision also meant that, just one week after returning from Belgium, I would be driving across country with my Dad (AGAIN!) from California to New York. My grandma no longer had use of her car, therefore, I chose to bring mine.
When I look back and think of when Kim and I really started to lay down the foundation of what is now our strong & solid relationship, I will always think of the massive desert of Nevada, the vast beauty of Utah, the rolling hills & mountains of Colorado and the astounding beauty of miles and miles of America my dad and I drove through and discovered in those 4 days at the end of September 2018.
My dad, being the always protective Daddy he is, only let me drive for ONE HOUR of the entire 48 hours it took us in driving hours to get from California to New York (maybe it was out of FEAR?!?!), and because of this, it gave he and I lots of time to talk, to laugh and allowed me to have complete control over our playlist. To Dad’s delight, I also share his love of all KINDS of genres of music….including classic rock.
This special time also included a lot of texting, audio messages & videos shared with Kim. I LOVED that I got to share this experience with him. THIS is where I really began to cherish the gift of modern technology. Sometimes, I really dislike how often I feel it disconnects us as human beings…but in this case, it provided me the opportunity to let Kim feel like he was really THERE with us.
It was so special, that as Kim and I were continuing to get to know one another, my dad got to see me glow & grow before his eyes. He told me, during our drive, he had never seen me like this before. Even though I am quite a talker (that’s putting it mildly), my Dad said he could SEE love all over me.
He already began to like this “Kim guy from Belgium” – especially after I shared with him that Kim….sang to me some Backstreet Boys. My dad KNEW he was special then. I was beginning to feel that way too!
As we were driving, I began to think about my long journey ahead….putting my California “LIFE” on hold to come pour into & love on my Grandma and other family I hadn’t spent intentional time with in years. I was excited to take this LEAP of faith and just BE PRESENT for them all. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I continued to pray for beautiful moments and expect miracles to unfold.
As we were crossing into our last day on the road, I also began to think about my journey back. How would I get home to California? Even when planning my trip to New York in August, I KNEW my dad would be the one to drive me THERE…but WHO would drive me home? In August, I assumed it would be my mom, or my best friend Justyn.
But this was ALL before I met Kim…the man who had completely changed my entire world. WOULD HE be up for the exciting adventure of coming to the USA (it would be his FIRST TIME EVER), meeting so much of my family AND driving across our entire country?!
I knew – ALL I HAD TO DO WAS ASK. What at first seemed like a dream for us both, soon became a reality, within my first few weeks in New York. Right around the time we decided to become exclusive, and invest in a truly committed relationship with one another, Kim made plane tickets to come take on the adventure of a lifetime with me.
In the beginning of October, we began making plans to travel the States together. It wasn’t just going to be a time of NEW adventures for Kim, however….right from the start, I TOO will be experiencing new, exciting times.
FIRST UP? Kim will be flying into New York City. The native New Yorker that’s picking him up? Yeah, this chick writing this? Yeah…she’s almost 31…has been to over 20 countries…born & raised in New York STATE…and still hasn’t been to NYC. Well, here’s to crossing THAT TOO off of BOTH OF OUR BUCKET LISTS!
Kim & my connection from the start has been full of wonder, joy, miracles & beautifully epic moments – WHY STOP NOW!?
I also felt some “GOD BUMPS” as I thought of the fact that the most important man in my life (up until this point) brought me TO New York, and this “new man” that was becoming more and more significant by the day to my soul, will be bringing me BACK….it felt like a “passing of the baton” between the men in my life….
Now that we were “official” (even on FACEBOOK), and planning a road trip across the USA together…what came next? How have we built a STRONG & SOLID & INTIMATE relationship, all while being thousands of miles/kilometers away from each other?
That, my friends & followers, I will leave for CHAPTER 6! XOXO,