There is something to be said for “looking back” while “looking ahead”. Over the last year I have begun to understand it’s something that is essential.
As you all know, we relocated. I have been quite clear on how very hard this decision was, along with how we were resolved to the fact that it was the best thing we could do for our family. What I haven’t been so vocal about is just how much has happened since that decision. Our already hard thing, has felt a bit impossible since we got here.
After a year of researching, traveling to our top two locations, discussing, researching more, discussing more…we decided on a location. We announced it and got amped up for this to be the best thing. Then, in less than 2 weeks our excitement was taken away from something we hadn’t ever considered: the Covid-19 Pandemic.
A couple of months go by watching everything slip away, but we were lucky. We were healthy and when we saw our window we sold our condo in record time. Packed up our lives (leaving more than half of it in storage in San Diego) and drove to our new home.
When we arrived to downtown San Antonio, it was desolate. Texas was back in a second lockdown just as we arrived. We had an empty fridge and finding places to get food was really frustrating. Coincidentally California was starting to open up right as we left. So, there we were in a new state during their second lockdown where we didn’t have any history or support. But we had each other, we were healthy and this is still the absolute best thing, for our family.
In less than a month, we get word that Gil’s company was folding. Totally makes sense, they operate tablets that manage the data and content for hospital patient surveys. All hospitals were tending to Covid-19 patients and not touching anything unnecessarily, so surveys on tablets were out. Luckily, I was able to secure new work and Gil got two new part-time gigs. Things weren’t as expected, but we were ready for this, all our finances had been set with the relocation.
After months of setting goals, researching San Antonio neighborhoods and making sure we were set to buy our new home we embarked on the real estate road. I mean, we thought we were ready; sold our previous home, moved to a place with a significant lower cost of housing, all would be fine. Ummm, nope. Even though we researched the hell out of everything we could think of. What we couldn’t have imagined was how the mortgage road would lead us down every single kind of lending path with a result of zilch. No matter what we found or who we talked to, it was not happening: lenders don’t lend unless you have a full-time job that comes from someone else. Especially after the crash in 2008 coupled with the Pandemic. Even the ones that advertise as “working out of the box for you” or “doing what it takes.”
With this one I couldn’t swing the positive. For months I’ve been wondering what we did wrong and why all signs were pointing to us having made the wrong decision. What were we going to do? All time seemed to be bringing was more bad news. It was a low-low, for me. All while the kids were having more frequent upsets about so many things. They didn’t liking it here, they wished we were in our “real home” in San Diego, they were really missing friends. Along with not liking me working more, not liking Gil working outside of the home. Missing their old life in San Diego, “hating our new life” in San Antonio, missing “us as a family”. All of this along with some mighty epic behavior that was very tough to combat, as a parent.
Already, I felt heartbroken from missing everything we lost with relocating. So this felt more than overwhelming.
Then, a very close mom-friend of mine from San Diego came to Texas for a quick visit. As I was driving home enjoying an incredibly supportive conversation with my sister, I felt my head and heart get situated. I was able to put all my messy feelings together.
Life is complicated, that’s not new. What can be new is how we approach tough and disproportionately hard times. Gil and I made this relocation move for our kids, I mean, it’s about finances and our future; but really it breaks down to what we can do for them, what we can do with them, and how we can experience life together.
In San Diego we were rich in friends, but were struggling with everything else, so we did the best we could with the information we had. We had no idea what Covid, or life, or the Pandemic, or jobs, or the housing market, or anything else would throw at us. It’s not something anyone can predict. All anyone can do is take what they know at that moment and do the best they can with that information. That is exactly what we did — now I can accept this and it’s easier to see the positives…even with all the loss.
What I know for sure is that Cecito is thriving. Last year he had a teacher that was very invested in him at his new school, someone who saw all his amazing qualities that has nothing to do with the spunky 2 and 3 year old that was just beginning to learn control and felt eclipsed by his super social, super sweet, people-pleaser sister. The sister that he basically orbits because he adores her so much. He’s was able to start fresh and has now become the kid who tests the highest in his class and will begin this year in a high performing class for his grade.
As we were watching our little dude become all we knew he could, we were also seeing LL change. She was doubting everything about herself and turning inward, especially in the education category. There was no more spark for school or any kind of learning. Even with a positive bond she had formed with her incredibly caring teacher. Her mood was increasingly negative. As each day went by I saw my Little Love turn into someone I didn’t recognize.
Once we received test scores that didn’t jive with her daily grades I was compelled to have her evaluated at the school to make sure there wasn’t something we were missing. A few months later we discovered she is dyslexic. Finding out was like a flipping a switch in her. Her light came back on from within. In days she was back to her happy self, looking forward to school, making all the effort she could muster with sparkle. As a parent, this was a huge relief, and I can’t be more grateful for her new team that never gave me a hard time or the run around with getting her everything that she needs to be successful. It’s a heart explosion to see LL thriving in this new environment.
Now when I look back at all we have been through I see a new path for our kids. If this really was about them and we gave up California and all our friends for their future, then I have a pretty good answer right there that we did the right thing. It’s still hard and we continue to work through the big changes, but we will be ok. I can feel that, even when the days get tough.