Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Big Changes are a Coming

It seems as if our house is always in a state of fluctuation and change. Perhaps this is the way that most couples feel, but I honestly believe there has never been a time where Josh and I looked at one another, sighed in boredom, and expressed a need to shake things up.  Big, earth-shattering, life-altering changes that come out of nowhere and tilt our world upside-down are kind of our norm.

We've become so accustomed to this periodic upheaval that we barely make an effort to fight the inevitable outcome beyond our control. At least we try not to. And, I dare say that while we may have even reached a place where we can generally roll with just about anything.

What we are not used to is slow, gradual, thought-out deliberate change. Change that is thought out, decided on, pursued, but involves a lot of patience. At least I am not good at this. I shouldn't speak for my husband on this matter, because he is a BIG PICTURE kind of guy, and can see the forest through the trees or whatever, so he doesn't have my tenancies towards feeling anxious and uneasy while we wait for the change to take place.

For the past 7 moths we've been in this ambiguous place between rolling with it and patiently waiting. Josh has been job-hunting and his search led to many possible positions all over the United States. From Texas, to Washington, to North Carolina, to Kentucky, to Minneapolis, it really seemed as if we would be moving out of state. 

The idea of moving to a large city both terrified and excited me. I was ready to embrace whatever adventure came our way, but I am a Michigan native and have never lived more than 30 miles from my parents. Since I was 5 years old I resided outside of Oakland County. I am a home-town girl. The principal that hired me for my first full-time teaching position was my Kindergarten teacher and several of my high-school classmates were either colleagues or parents of my future students. I relish the small-town feel of Rochester and the connections I feel with almost everyone I meet. Forget six-degrees of separation, in Rochester it's more like 2.

So when an opportunity came up for a position in Ann Arbor,  I (somewhat) selfishly encouraged Josh to go for it. I would have gotten behind any job or location that would be the best for our family, but this opportunity felt like a compromise to my homebody self.

But there was SO much WAITING before we heard anything. Although Josh was still working throughout this process, and was focusing on multiple opportunities at a time, the length of time we had to wait between interviews, call-backs, and decisions was agonizing to me.

Shocking to NO ONE - I am not the most patient person in the world. Especially, when I have no control over the change or the outcome.

But finally, at the beginning of October Josh received and accepted a job offer from the City of Ann Arbor! His position as Deputy Manager of Parks & Recreation officially began last week. Fans of the sitcom Parks & Rec will understand my complete delight in explaining that my husband is now the Leslie Knoppe of Ann Arbor! Feel free to congratulate him by sending framed pictures of the Notorious RBG, Hillary or even Amy Poehler to him! Or to me, because I get a bigger kick out of that joke than he does.

So while we are NO WHERE NEAR the end of the changes that our family will be going through this year - house-hunting, relocating to Ann Arbor, switching schools mid-year, dealing with a LONG commute in the meantime, etc.... I do feel as if Josh and I have regained control over the changes that will be occurring. Still difficult, but they shouldn't be as drawn-out and agonizing as the job search was. We are ready to roll with it and are looking forward to embracing life in Ann Arbor.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Picture Day

At first I was super embarrassed and upset I am a recovering perfectionist after all and still have the tenancy to feel very self-conscious and blame things like crooked pigtails on my low vision. But then I remembered the morning of Picture Day; Emy barely able to contain her excitement, not able to stop bouncing around long enough for me to do her hair. So impatient get to school that after the 3rd attempt to straighten the pigtails I deemed them, "good enough" and sent a bouncy, smiling five-year old out the door.

This is our reality and I am happy to have it captured in a photo.

Kindergarten September 2015

Seriously, how adorable is she?

This picture will serve as yet another reminder to myself that I have to let the little shit go. Crooked pigtails happen and sometimes they make the picture SO much better.

Kindergarten is Kicking My Ass

It's hard to believe that Emy has been in kindergarten for two months. On one hand, she has adjusted so well that it seems as if she has been there forever. Riding the bus, staying at school for a full-day, making new friends, getting to know different teachers, handling early bedtimes and even earlier wake-ups, being away from mom and dad - these are all things she has taken in stride - just like the independent, outgoing, adaptable kid she continuously reminds me she is.

Then there is me. I am not sure I'm adjusting quite as well. Being on the parent-side of elementary school is a whole different experience that what my teacher-self is used to. Add an unfamiliar school environment, knowing very few parents whose children attend the school, and that it has been 2 1/2 years since I've been in the classroom, and I am officially out of my comfort zone.

I'm okay with this.
It's not about my level of comfort, it's not about me at all. Emy is ridiculously happy and thriving, so ultimately that is what matters.

But it's hard.
It's hard to watch your kid begin to live a life independent of you. It's hard being regaled to second-place (or face it - WAY LOWER) by your child's teachers. Even though Mom may have a Master's degree in reading, it doesn't mean a damn thing, unless I'm doing exactly like her beloved teacher.
It's hard to enter an elementary school and be reminded how deeply I miss teaching students. Lunches are hard, being on time is hard, homework is hard.

It's just hard.
But like life, there is so much wonderful there too.

My kid LOVES school and EVERY.SINGLE.THING. about it. She wants me to sign her up for after-school care so she can spend more time there. She is making new friends left and right. Friends that great her with hugs and screams of delight when we run into them at Target or a local restaurant. I have time to spend volunteering in the media center and her classroom, assist at school events and parties. I am becoming known as "Emy's mom" which is a title I cherish, even more than "Mrs. Landefeld - teacher."

And every day, I see my bright-eye, bouncy, smiling girl get off the bus, with new stories and experiences to share; reminding me that this is not about me, it all feels a little easier.