Today, we left Santa Barbara on our family cross-country trip across America. It’s the start of a new adventure, featuring all of us, and the end of an era…an era of remarkable happiness, growth, and wonderment. While we can look back at the years in San Diego with joy and thankfulness, it’s so hard to think that we will never get those years back. And so hard to think about the friends we’ve left behind.

Each of us is aware that our lives are changing, as they haven’t changed en masse for years. We will still gather as family, but never again in our home in San Diego, which makes it difficult for the kids to imagine that our family will still be the same. It will be. Where we are, home is. They will come to realize that. But for now, I know that they, like we, feel tossed into the wind like leaves. We’ll all settle down, though, and realize we are exactly where we are meant to be. But that doesn’t mean that the heart doesn’t ache.

The good-bye with Mom and Dad was wrenching. It’s a matter of distance, and of expectations of when we’ll see each other again. Perhaps while we’re in DC. Perhaps when we’re in Brazil. Perhaps. Perhaps. Until then, God grant them (and Tom’s mother, Lois) health, happiness, and blessings.

And so we head East, to a new life, new challenges, and new joys and wonderment.