After ten or eleven moves within a 20 year span, you would think we would be exhausted and just want to stay put, right? Nope – not this crew! Maybe it was all the moving with the military that did it, but we totally crave adventure and exploration! Even our oldest, who is just about to enter his senior year of high school, has been eager to begin writing a new chapter. So, when the opportunity arose for a transfer within the company for which my hubby works now, we saw it as a welcomed answer to prayer…but the question was whether it was really a part of God’s life plan for us.
The whole situation was a whirlwind of sorts. The interview had only been iffy, according to hubby, and we weren’t even sure the job was going to be an option. We spent a great deal of time praying for clarity and, sure enough, after stellar recommendations and an extensive review, the job was Walt’s if he wanted it. We thought we had our answer. Wwhoo-hoo ~ adventure is out there! The position was somewhat of a lateral move, but it allowed him to work in an area of the company that fascinated him and would expand his skill set even more. It also offered me the opportunity to get away from cold and snowy winters and that much closer to my favorite vacation destination (Hmmm – any ideas where that might be?). Hubby was excited. I was excited. The boys were even excited! So, within one day of his being offered the position, we planned a house-hunting trip down to good ol’ Atlanta, Georgia! We could not WAIT to explore our new potential home!
We’re a crazy kind of crew when we travel. We usually start early morning and drive through until we reach our destination. The boys are amazing passengers and have learned through the years how to keep themselves occupied on long trips. The drive from our spot in New England to Atlanta proper is nearly 16 to 17 hours, so we hopped in the van at the crack of daylight and made our way down. However, the trip was near immediately met with challenges. The tire gauge light went on within one-third of the trip and, at one point, we had a fellow driver signal to us that there was something wrong with our van. Once we stopped, we found the PSI in one of the tires to be 10!!!! We were nearly driving on a flat! Once we filled it with air, however, it only took 30 minutes before it was down from 37 to 20 again! This was going to be a looooooooong trip. Top this off with a period of motion sickness with the youngest and a tremendous storm in the black of night….torrential rains, zero visibility, heavy winds, cloud to ground lightening…..yeah, it took longer than 17 hours to reach our hotel.
We made it, nonetheless…
The next day started off with an unscheduled trip to the garage for a new set of tires (we were actually due), but the day didn’t end its challenges there. Every school was closed, our initial agent couldn’t meet with us until the next day and, when it came to eating at a restaurant with a child suffering from food allergies…let’s just put it this way ~ I was in tears before we even had a chance to order. I could see the frustration growing on my ten year old’s face with every question we asked. We didn’t realize how spoiled we had been in our little New England state, where you can go to nearly any restaurant and have something prepared safely. Eventually, we found something that worked, but we knew we would be facing an uphill battle with this move.
The house-hunting part of this excursion was a similarly exhausting undertaking. In and out, out and in…people home when we viewed their homes for sales, belly up water bugs in the middle of kitchens, the wrong keys being left in the lockboxes, one agent who barely made eye contact with our boys and another who frequently got lost while leading us to another home. We had never experienced such chaos with house-hunting. To top it off, our youngest had an allergic reaction after exploring one home. I can close my eyes and still see his face and neck covered in welts and red blotches. He was so itchy, he was inconsolable at one point. We actually came VERY close to having to administer epinephrine and visiting the emergency room. (sigh).
And still we had no home options.
The last day of our trip was filled with school meetings and final decisions. Yup – we packed this trip tight! In the morning, we explored our top choice high school (which was in our top choice housing district) and the boys fell in love. Wide open halls, bright colors, friendly faces, tons of options and a fantastic campus. It was graded a “9” on the Great Schools scale. We were all pretty psyched at that point, which gave us the energy to continue looking for the right home. One downside to the school portion of our trip was the fact that we could not communicate with anyone from the middle school in the area. This, to me, was a must because of our youngest’s health situation. In any case, as we were looking at more homes that early afternoon, hubby received an email from the principal of the high school telling us he would be available later that day to discuss any questions we had. We took him up on that – however, this ended up being the “knife through the heart.” This is where it went downhill faster than a wagon on a street in San Francisco!
Our kids are overachievers by nature and have been spoiled with the high academic standards of our current home state. They have worked tremendously hard to get to where they are and have put in a lot of effort to accomplish what they have (academically, socially, medically and in their extra curricular choices). When we sat down with this principal, he destroyed all hope of their being able to carry their achievements with them into their new school. He was cold, coarse and almost condescending. They would have lost credit, lost course options and we were still not even sure our youngest’s health condition would be cared for as well as it has been in New England. Though they maintained an attitude of respect, I could see the countenance in each of my three boys drop like someone had flipped a switch. It broke my heart into a million pieces.
The ride home from the school to the hotel was met with confusion, frustration, fear and anxiety. It was like we had been hit with a tidal wave and we didn’t know which way was up anymore. Nobody wanted to the be reason for someone else in the family to not get what they deserved or wanted. We were so anxious, we pretty much coasted into the hotel parking lot on fumes as we hadn’t even realized our gas tank was on empty. We began a huge conversation as a family, asking questions, talking different scenarios, exploring various avenues on how to make this work. It became increasingly apparent that the boys had lost hope…..and so did my hubby. There wasn’t even a sense that we were simply supposed to have faith. This move was going to be more of a detriment to our sons than a welcomed adventure. How could we do this to them? How could we throw away everything they had worked so hard to accomplish just so that we could be away from the snow and closer to Disney (yes, that was my motivation)?
We couldn’t. And we didn’t think God wanted it either.
Phone calls were made, discussions were had on both sides of the move. My husband works for a great company and both the sending and receiving ends of this were more than willing to listen to our conundrum. They were amazingly understanding and whatever decision we made was trusted by both sides to be the right decision for our family. It helps that my husband has built himself a great reputation – the adage is true….a good man is hard to find (and I consider myself lucky to have found one).
And so we decided…it wasn’t the right time for this move.
I’ve received both criticism and encouragement on this issue. Some say we should have never even considered this at all, while others say, “Chin up, God has a plan for this.” The decision to move has always been a fairly easy one for us in the past, particularly since we spent most of our marriage following the job or “orders” from the military. This was perhaps the first move in a long time that was actually propelled by a desire to be somewhere else, ready for a new adventure on our own accord and not because it was obligatory. We had discussed on a daily basis the potential differences, the risks, the challenges and the possibilities. I asked the boys every day if they were ready for this, all being ready to jump in with both feet. If anything, this adventure taught us a lot about our family as a whole. We mean the world to each other and we all want what is best for the family. Am I sad? Yes – I won’t even pretend to lie. I’m heartbroken actually on a selfish, personal level – but I am 110% certain that nothing would have hurt me more than to have made this move and watched my children suffer for it. My boys come first.
Am I glad we took this trip down? Absolutely. Had we not gone, we would have been left to wonder or even worse….we could have made the wrong move. The good thing was that we kept our hearts open to each other and to all aspects concerning this move. If it hurt one, it hurt all. In the end, this one was just not meant to be.
So – how did we end our trip? We needed to smile and have fun. Right before we began our long journey home (this time taking two days and only encountering the oil change light on our four year old van), we ventured into Atlanta to tour the World of Coca-Cola. Yup – this was the smile we needed. This was a release the boys craved and a great way to remember Atlanta in a positive light. It also gave me a chance to cross something else off my very long and extensive bucket list.
Before closing, let me clarify quickly ~ I loved Atlanta! I would go back in a heartbeat. There is so much to explore and so much happening. I have numerous friends in that area and would have loved to have been able to pal around with them more often. The above post is simply an example of how timing is everything. It’s just not our time to be there at this point.
Until the next time, Atlanta ~