Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rachel's Big Move

I have wanted to blog about Rachel's move, but just never seem to find take the time to sit down and write!  Rachel auditioned last March for a trainee position with Light of the World Ballet in Syracuse, New York.  She was accepted and was finally at peace with plans for the next step beyond high school.  Wow - Syracuse, NY - do you know how far that is from Greenwood, Arkansas??  It is just over 1300 miles!! That is a long way to move your baby girl.  

We spent the summer preparing for the big move, but summer sure passed quickly and before I knew it the day had come and it was time to leave.  The plan was that I would drive to Syracuse with Rachel, help her settle in and then fly back home.  Rachel packed her car to the brim.  Literally, there was hardly an inch of space left to fill!  We drove to Effingham, Illinois the first day.  The second day we set the GPS for Millersburg, Ohio in the heart of Holmes County, Ohio which is the largest Amish community in the world.  We spent the night in an Amish Bed and Breakfast - The Barn Inn . When I first suggested this idea while planning our trip, Rachel was not thrilled with the idea.  I have always been intrigued by the Amish way of life, however, and decided it was just too close to our route to not make the side trip.  Rachel and I both enjoyed the beautiful drive through the Ohio countryside.  We checked in to our beautiful room at The Barn Inn and then explored the grounds.  Rachel loved the farm animals and beautiful landscaping! We had a wonderful dinner at an Amish restaurant, and yes, we did have pie for dessert!  We enjoyed sitting on the back porch of the B&B in the evening and then watched a movie.  We were treated to a bountiful breakfast the following morning and Loretta, the owner of the inn, gave a very informative talk about the area during breakfast.  One of the recommended stops was a "basket house" where the family makes baskets and sells them from their house.  Rachel was very interested so we found our way through the countryside to the basket house.  We were greeted by the small children who showed us the way to the room where they sell the baskets.  The mom was making jelly that day and it was unbelievable how many jars of juice she had sitting ready to make into jelly!!  It was an awesome experience to visit briefly with the family and purchase a few baskets and a jar of jelly.  Each child (when old enough) participates in making the baskets and each basket is marked by the child who made it.  After we left the basket house we continued on our way, stopping at the J. M. Smucker Company Store and Cafe in Orrville, OH.  The store carried every product made by Smucker's.  We finally found our way back to the interstate and continued on toward Syracuse.  We spent way more time than we thought we would in Amish Country so we ended up arriving in Syracuse a bit later than we had planned.  We BOTH loved our time in Ohio and hope to visit the area again.  As we entered NY, I remember being amazed at the vineyards along the interstate highway.  I never realized they grew grapes there.  We continued on through New York via the New York State Thruway in the dark and rain.  I was very happy when we finally arrived in Syracuse!!  When we arrived at Rachel's house, we were warmly welcomed by several of the girls who were already there.  After a quick visit, the girls helped us unload Rachel's car before we left for a night at the hotel.  

I stayed in a hotel while in Syracuse, and Rachel stayed with me that first night and the last night.  First order of business the following day was to start unpacking and get her bed ready so she could stay at "her house" the second night!  As we unpacked we started making lists of what we needed to buy and then the shopping began.  Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, TJ Maxx, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, TJ Maxx, Wegmans...  you get the idea : )  We spent a couple of days getting her room settled, meeting her roommate when she arrived, and then we set out to have some fun.  We did some exploring around Syracuse, ate at the infamous Dinosaur Barbecue (delicious, by the way), found some parks, the mall, pumpkin spice lattes and ended with some time by Lake Onondaga under a willow tree, Rachel's favorite, savoring our final hours together.  Was I really ready to leave my baby girl 1300 miles from home, and was my baby girl ready to really be on her own, that far from home???  Rachel spent that last night with me at the hotel - after all, she had to be up to drive me to the airport around 4:30 a.m.!!  I prayed with her and tried my best to hold in the tears and I did pretty well until I was checked in for my flight and headed to the gate ; )  It is unbelievable how those emotions are welling up inside as I write this six months later. 

Six months have passed since I left Rachel in Syracuse.  Wow, how proud I am of my "baby" girl! She is so grown up!!!!  She has done phenomenal since she moved.  She has grown up so much and has handled the new responsibilities so well.  She spends 5 to 6 hours a day at the ballet studio, does homework, performs with LWB, works a part-time job as a hostess at  Ruby Tuesday, has found a church home, takes care of her car, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, and house responsibilities. She has learned how to live in a house with 6 other girls!!  Her daddy and I couldn't be any happier for her.  

Rachel had a 4 week Christmas break and we loved having her home!  Her spring break is coming soon and I am going to Syracuse to spend the week with her; I am beyond excited. She has sent me a packing list (which includes my passport among other things - hmm) and an itinerary of places we should visit. I can't wait to be back in beautiful Central New York!

Light of the World Ballet is a small Christian Ballet that has an academy, professional company, and trainee company.  They minister through dance in a variety of venues regionally and internationally.  I am so glad the Lord led Rachel to LWB!  Knowing that she is where the Lord wants her to be is the only way I have managed to have peace with my girlie so far away.  If you want to learn more about Light of the World Ballet, check out their website or blog.