When I'm home alone, and it's quiet (like now) it's easy to think about how much our lives have changed in the past year. And then I start to congratulate myself for not having a mental breakdown, because it's been a lot in a short time.
Last summer we left our wonderful big house in the country to move into the front apartment of my mother in law's house. Now, let me explain the situation here, because it's easy to misunderstand. We share a house, yes. But, we are in a separate dwelling. Essentially, it's like living in a duplex. And really, we don't have any less space than we did at our old house. We have three bedrooms (the boys share) we have a bathroom, and another room that will be converted into a second bathroom. The kids have a yard that is twice the size of our old yard, which was really huge. And they have Grandma right next door, which I know they love.
The transition was a pretty big mess in the beginning. We all had to figure out how to share a house with someone, the dog had to realize that this was home, and he wasn't being abandoned every time we left the house without him, the kids had to realize that a house doesn't make a home, the people sharing it do. It took a few blowouts between us and the mother in law in the first week, but we all made it through relatively unscathed.
I'm happy to say now, things are so much better than I thought they would be when we first moved in. My mother in law is an amazing support for us. She takes the kids whenever we need her to, she's able to get them on and off the bus if I have early or late classes, and she's constantly going above and beyond for us. And in a plot twist nobody would have predicted, I actually enjoy spending time with her. We're finally starting to have the kind of relationship I'd always hoped we'd have. I'm not about to start calling her mom or anything, but, it's a start.
Probably the biggest change for me was starting school. I had honestly thought about going to college for years. I toyed with the idea of night classes, or online degrees. But, when we decided to move, Rob and I talked about it and decided that if I was ever going to do it, now was the time. I applied for the HSF course last Spring, and was so excited when I got my letter of acceptance. This past 6 months have changed my life. I know that sounds silly, but it's true. I went into this course knowing that I wanted to work with people, but not really knowing in what capacity. I originally thought that social work would be the job for me. But, over the course of my first semester, completely changed my plans, and in December I applied for the ECE program and got accepted for September. That means another 2 years of school, but at the end I'll be going into a job that I'm so excited about! I have also made some really amazing friends. I am not a person who makes friends easily, but somehow these people found me, and I'm forever grateful they did. We are in one of the smaller programs, so going to class, it feels like a family. We're there for each other, we look forward to seeing each other, and we genuinely want each other to succeed. This program has been so eye opening for me. The things we're studying and the knowledge I'm gaining is so amazing.
There have been some drawbacks to this move. I miss my family. I never realized how much I took for granted being able to drive 7 minutes to see my mom, or 10 minutes to see my dad and my best friends, or 15 minutes to see my Grandparents. I don't see enough of anyone. I feel out of the loop. And, I know that I'm to blame for the disconnect too. I went from talking to my mom multiple times a day, to seeing her once a week, and generally not talking at all during the week. I miss my best friends. I know I don't message them enough, and homework has me occupied most weekends, but I need to start making time for the people I love. I feel so lonely, and far away from my people. An hour really isn't that far, until you're an hour away, and then you realize how far it really is. I miss my little County so much. I miss the small town feel, I miss the people, I miss the community.
I know this move was the right thing to do, not just because it was our only option. But, because it has put us in the position to maybe, some day not be financially strapped. It has given me a chance at a real career, which is something I've always wanted. It has given my kids a chance to grow up in a culturally diverse place, and it has given my mother in law so much more time with the kids, not to mention it has given Rob's 95 year old Grandmother a chance to spend whatever time she has left surrounded by her great-grandchildren.