We are in an extended transition around here. In June, we moved back to the city. But I am still working in the suburbs (the far, far, far west suburbs) until the end of August. During a “normal” week, this means I get one day to work at home, three weekdays to commute with the kids in the car (daycare is out in the ‘burbs), and then Sunday to commute with the whole family to church.

Not that there are many normal work weeks for me. It’s summer and I’m a youth pastor. Since we moved, I’ve had:

  • a three day road trip with 8 teens to a conference on worship in Michigan (my kids in tow; no Erik along, but we were on the campus where my Dad works and he was an AMAZING grandpa!)
  • followed within 24 hours by departure for the youth group mission trip to North Carolina with 40 teens and 12 adults (again, my own kids in tow; Erik along this time; and our little family flew rather than taking the bus)
  • VBS week, in which the kids and I (without Erik) moved into my head of staff pastor’s house (he and his wife are away while they’re on sabbatical) so that we didn’t have to commute every day
  • followed, again immediately, by departure with 11 youth and 2 adults for a youth conference in Montreat, NC (my kids in tow; no Erik; 12 hour bus ride on either end of the trip)
  • sundry vacation time…

All of which means I haven’t had to commute every week with the kids.

But, I’m getting pretty ground down by the transition. And how the transition keeps going on and on and on and on.

And the reality of moving and leaving friends and a church dawns on us slowly. (About a week ago, it finally hit Zora that she won’t see her friends as frequently this fall. She thought we would see them often, since we see them often now.)

I am admittedly jealous of a pastor friend who was packing her family for a cross-country move the same week that I was packing for our cross-metropolitan one. At least they got to pack the boxes, load the truck, and rip off the bandaid. We are having all our “lasts” spread out. Two nights ago, leading a back-home group meeting on this youth conference, I realized it was kind of my last time leading my youth group in prayer. I had to pray incredibly slowly so as not to burst into tears. As it was, I didn’t burst, but basically leaked throughout the entire prayer.

Meanwhile, it has me and Erik thinking about ways we create some traditions and consistency for our kids. Erik and I are both pastor’s kids, so we know how the moving thing works. We loved living in different places. We didn’t like feeling rootless.

Here are at least two things we’ve  come up with.

Family pictures in place: We are having a family photo shoot done in the neighborhood where we lived in St. Charles in two weeks. We’re thinking we’ll make this a tradition every time we move: that we have some good quality family portraits taken in the neighborhood where we lived before we move so that our kids can mark time and memories in the places they lived.

Regular places: After my third time going to the Presbyterian Youth Conference in Montreat, NC this week, I am seriously considering applying to be a small group leader next summer. In all likelihood, I will not be working with a specific church youth group next summer, so I won’t be going as a chaperone. But, it’s a place where you can take your family along (incredible child care! room for relaxation and contemplation for an accompanying spouse). Zora has gone on three of these trips now, and at this point, her weeks in their kids clubs have been her experience of summer camp. So we are wondering if this might become a consistent place for us.

(And now, off to take a nap: being in this in between time is exhausted.)