Adventures in Relocating: Chapter Two – Let’s Try This Again!

Many of you followed our adventure last year as we prepared ourselves for a move to Atlanta that actually never happened.   Now, we have been offered another job-related move.   The question is – what makes this opportunity better than the last? 

THE RECAP

We had been looking to relocate for some time.  Hubby was at that point where he was ready to move up the company ladder, our oldest was applying to colleges and my 40 something year old bones were simply just done with the frigid temperatures.  When hubby was offered a position to work within his company in Atlanta, we were on it!  Things began to move at rapid tempo and we were down house-hunting within days, but the search was bleak and the school situation for our sons was even more heartbreaking.   In fact, the whole trip itself commenced with a plethora of obstacles to overcome, so we weren’t sure if it was just a negative force trying to discourage us or God telling us this was just not it.  (it’s an interesting story, click here to find out what happened).

Father teaching son a life lesson ~ photo taken by T.M. Brown

In the end, we made the decision to stay put up in New England and allow our oldest to graduate from the school he had been attending his entire high school career.  The hard part was that we had no idea how long we would be sitting pretty, nor how hard the next fourteen months would be.

THE TIME IN BETWEEN

Much to our dismay, our decision to stay in New England for the boys did not come without obstacles or stress.  Our son’s senior year, which should have been decorated with pomp and circumstance, was rather riddled with chaos.  The two catholic schools had merged into one building earlier than anticipated and it was not the peaceful merge so many of us had hoped it would be.  There was rivalry, a lack of discipline, teachers who could not teach their respected subjects, favoritism surrounding certain athletic teams and an administration that did very little to stop the injustice.  Our son’s heart, which had once been revitalized by the high school he had entered as a freshman, was being torn apart into a million pieces and beginning to form jagged edges.  The hope he himself had once tried desperately to transmit even to us (his parents) after the original merger announcement had been made back in 2015 was dwindling in his own beautiful blue eyes.  Ultimately, he decided that, in order to survive, instead of trying to change things, he had to focus solely on his academics and doing the best he could to get to where he wanted to go next.

Graduation tassle and cap ~ photo taken by T.M. Brown

Sadly, this meant that our middle son, a new freshman in the merged school, had to suffer the same experiences.  He had had such high hopes when he entered that school, but those hopes plummeted instantaneously as he encountered blatant behavioral issues among classmates and a horrendous lack of leadership.  By mid year, after having meet with the administration multiple times, he told us he didn’t feel it was worth wasting our money to send him there for his sophomore year.  That was crushing.  This was not the same school we had found for our children just a few years prior.

On a personal note, I willingly (though with some hesitation and embarrassment) admit that I was struggling myself.  To be honest, the decision to not move was devastating to me. The thought of enduring another New England winter was mortifying.  Yes, mortifying.  Watching the older two boys go through the chaos that was their 2016-2017 school year was gut-wrenching for me as their mother.   Here in tax-driven New England, I was tied to my job (one I am grateful to be able to work from home), which meant  I had little time to get out, little time to volunteer and no desire to move outside the home during the winter months.  The move to Atlanta was to be my saving grace.  I was going to be more involved in their schools, participate in more activities and be the mom / wife I had wanted to be.   So, when things didn’t fall into place, I felt as if my dreams had shattered and, sadly, it has been a difficult journey in trying to pick up the pieces and create a beautiful mosaic out of it all.

PATIENCE PAYS OFF

We spent a few months trying not to worry about job opportunities.  We got the boys settled into school and we went about our regular business, trying to keep things at least moving forward for everyone.   In time, opportunities arose and hubby began to interview again.  We came close two or three times, only missing the chance due to the slightest difference between him and the other candidate.   Each time, however, seemed to drain me of the little hope that remained.  At one point, it seemed that the entire idea of moving down south was lost and we decided that, instead, it was more important to shift our focus and make some other changes in life.  Our oldest went off to college and our other two sons changed schools.  Things began to even out.  They were going well.  We had a handle on things and it was beginning to feel like we could fathom the idea of being here another three years or so.

And, you know, that’s when it happened….

Hubby tried one more time at a plant he has been trying to get into for months.  He and his skill set were familiar to a particular hiring manager and he once again felt he had a chance with this new opportunity.  I tried with all my might to not get my hopes up, just focus on the present.  I did, however, find myself praying more.  The hard part was that the younger two boys were not sure they even wanted to move, to go through the stress we went through last year.  Our middle son was happy with his new school and our youngest  finally admitted to us that he was worried about leaving the house he had lived for the longest period of time.

Funny note ~ when he shared that with me, I began to realize that THIS house in New England is the house we have ALL lived in for the longest time since the formation of our family.   I had to let that one sink in a little bit….and then I chuckled. 

In any case, the interview process went forward and, ultimately, the offer was made.  The job was ours and it was safe to say…

WE  ARE MOVING TO FLORIDA!!!  

IN THE PRESENT

The process is in full swing and we are currently signing papers, making adjustments, picking out kitchen counters and interviewing movers.  Everybody is on board with the move and actually eager to settle in down there.  I honestly forgot how stressful this process is, though – and this is our 11th move in our 21 years of marriage (another long story for another time)!!   I admit, I’m tired, exhausted and easily frustrated when things are not done in a timely fashion or well….but I have to keep my eye on the beautiful rainbow (as evidenced by the picture taken by one of the agents involved on the Florida end).  There is a positive side to this and it’s not as far off as my mind wants me to think.   A new chapter is beginning and new adventures await us.

Rainbow promise ~ photo taken by T.M. Brown

What does this mean for Footprints?

Well, as entangled as we are in the above mentioned process, my blog posts are obviously not coming out as fast as I would like.  Once we are down there and settled, however, I see a tremendous opportunity in front of me to share so many more experiences with you.  Footprints will be right in the middle of the pixie dust and I plan to bring breaking Disney news, sharing our food allergy experiences around central Florida, and keeping you up to date on the various events that take place at Walt Disney World and more.

REFLECTION

I kept it from most of my friends, but I wasted a lot of fear, frustration and anger on that move not happening last year.  Had I just stepped back and let things move forward, enjoying what was going on right before my eyes, I think I would have been a better mother and better wife.  Ultimately, though, I can’t change the past and I have the beautiful privilege of a new opportunity…a welcomed opportunity…sitting in front of me.

LESSONS LEARNED

1 – Sometimes the best decisions come with some of the hardest lessons.  When a sacrifice is made for the benefit of someone else (this time, our boys), it doesn’t mean that the road ahead will be lined with pixie dust, but it does usually bring out a different kind of joy.  We had great moments these past fourteen months and it truly was the best thing for our oldest in particular.  He graduated third in his class and is now attending his #1 college choice.  So…it was worth it!  NO REGRETS!  We just had to endure some tremendous hardships to get to our desired situation.

2 – Sometimes our hearts don’t really know what we want.  I wanted the Atlanta move more than anything ~ like it was the only thing that could save me from the hole I was falling into here in New England (yeah, again, I didn’t talk much about it on purpose).  My heart just wanted to leave and it took me some time to grasp that I just needed to take each day as it came and cherish the moments given.  In time, I was fortunate enough to be blessed with a different move to somewhere even better for our particular family.  Now, I need to make the most of THIS new set of footprints we are about to make.

3 – Dream DO come true.  No, I didn’t’ get invited to join the  Disney Parks Mom’s Panel or even receive that coveted invite to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (yet, I dare say!!).  But, as a child, I did not have the chance to visit the Happiest Place on Earth, nor the Most Magical Place on Earth.  It just wasn’t feasible.  I was 26 years old when I visited MGM Studios for the first time and 30 when I had the opportunity to go to Disneyland Park.  When I was 33 and we went as a family of five on a REAL Walt Disney World vacation, that was when I was smitten…completely in love with the philosophy of such a magical place.  I have made some tremendous friends through my love for all things Disney and spend more than my fair share of time down in Florida.  This move makes me feel like I’m literally the luckiest person in the world right now (I’m not…I just feel like it).  I have dreamed of having more Disney in my life….and here I am moving next door to the Mouse himself.

So I ask that you bear with me as we make this transition.  There are some great changes and improvements coming in the future to Footprints and I do hope that you will continue to follow along.  Sign up for email notifications (top right corner of this page), so that you get the latest blog posts right in your inbox.  Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where I share a lot of our photo memories from our various excursions (lots of food pics, too).  Whether you are following our family because you enjoy our adventures, are a fellow food allergy family or are a fanatic of all things Disney…I am just honestly and truly grateful that you are here!

Welcome to Florida and new beginnings ~ T.M. Brown

Keep making your mark…..

~ T

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