Do you ever wake up, after having hoped and planned for something new and challenging and different, and suddenly feel as though it's destined to fail? Just because you want it?
Yeah. That's me this morning. I woke up early and was suddenly struck with the sense that our impending potential move to XXXX is all a dream. Someone is going to come along and say, "Oh, the Stone's want this? Well, the heck with them. Not happening."
It seems like the last few years have been full of a lot of challenges for Man in his career. Not to go into details, but the ideal that we have worked and hoped for feels like it was pulled out from under us. He is still technically in the same place but so far from where he would be happiest, that it feels like, not a failure on his part but on the part of the people around us. I know that sounds about as vague as it possibly can but that's how it feels. Vague, insubstantial and a loss.
So now that we are faced with the hope and possibility for a new opportunity to open itself to us, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I am suddenly filled with a little bit of dread.
This isn't going to be easy. We feel like we have been headed on the downslope for a few years. When we were in Fort H, we had a big, beautiful, brand-spanking new home. It felt like we were finally moving up in the world. He was happy in his job because it felt like a stepping stone to what he really loved. It wasn't perfect for him, but he had a close friend, support and was content. I was doing the things I loved. I was starting to run, putting together a yoga program that paid well, building a strong photography business that just took off. I had some friends that I knew I would love forever. I enjoyed living close to schools and feeling part of a community. It didn't happen overnight and we did have struggles but overall, it was a very good time in our lives. The kids had amazing friends and a safe, close knit school and community. Miss skipped a grade (could have skipped TWO!) and boy struggled to deal with anger and frustration. He was such a good kid that saw the world in black and white. When it didn't work out the way he thought it should....he would get so angry he couldn't see or fight to right the wrongs. I had a minor setback with my running, but it turned out to be a blessing. Man and I started to cycle and it was a great bonding opportunity for us....plus a great mental break for Man.
We had prayed about a big transition to Korea and while I thought I got the answers that I was looking for, we did not go that route. The Army decided we were headed to a tiny town in San Angelo TX. It took a bit to realize my prayers were answered accurately, I just didn't listen to the question I was asking. I knew we needed to be together as a family....and we were.
We bought a house in TX when we moved and it was a big step down, but it felt like a small, temporary place. I didn't feel like we had a strong bond in the church there and it felt a lot like a stop instead of a home. Man loved his job though. More paperwork than he expected but he had a team. He got promoted, finally...big hopes for our future. My photography stalled out. I started to get frustrated and turned my attention to volunteering at the school. Despite a frustrating school year for Miss, I must have made an impression there and ended up getting hired to teach the following year. I love STEM and I love teaching, but I am so grateful that I had this opportunity. I realized that I was not cut out to teach full time. I did not enjoy it as much as I enjoyed working with the kids. I had a wonderful year and learned a lot about myself. While I would not go back to school, build up debt and work full time teaching, I do love working with students and wouldn't mind another position at a school like that! I also put a lot of effort into fitness and started to feel really good about where I was. We did a 150 mile bike rides and I managed to finish 2 centuries while I was there. I got certified to teach Pump and RPM and I felt like I was on the upswing. Miss was thriving with a smaller, but still tight group of friends and a strong 5th grade team. Boy was growing and changing and against all odds, thriving. His world changed in the middle school world and he learned to trust in his teachers and he learned that the world was grey and he could be the light in it....without being so angry. He started running and life started to click for him. When we made the jump to Colorado, it felt like we were headed in the right direction.
It was supposed to be a great place, great job and great people. The school system was a dream, but housing was rough. I finally found us a place, we rented it, photos only and showed up with all our stuff in a truck. I cried. Oh, I cried. I was sure that Matt was going to hate it. After all the work I put in to finding us a home, it was a disaster. Filthy, small, ugly, cramped. This was a big step backwards. No AC and it was over 100 degrees. There was nothing else. I had searched for months to find something we could afford and this was it. I was devastated. But, my love came through. He negotiated some AC units and a cleaning crew before our personal belongings arrived the next morning. He reminded me that WE make a home and it would be fine. He wasn't worried that it was probably the worst place we had lived in 18 years.
He was right, of course. We managed to squeeze into the space that was much smaller than we realized. The kids started school and while it was highly rated....my motherly instincts told me that I should not send my 10 year old to this rough middle school with a bad reputation. We were in the good school district, but the worst middle school in the area. So against, little Miss's best laid plans, she repeated 5th grade. It was nothing like the amazing TX 5th grade but it did give her time to gain confidence and maturity. She headed off to middle school, stronger and taller and ready the following year. We have time left here so we start braces for both kids....at the same time.
Boy thrived. Middle school was okay, he did well grade wise when he remembered to turn in the work but both kids turned to each other for friendship much more than other people. Wrestling was fun and he bonded with his dad over that. He started to love the challenge, but as we like to joke, "he found his tribe" in cross country. The summer between middle and high school, he started to run every day with the high school team. He was slow. He wasn't the slowest kid but he was struggling. But something from wrestling stuck and he had a drive to improve. It wasn't long before the season was over and he stuck with it.....starting to run with the Varsity, record breaking guys. The coach was disappointed to find out we are military. He sees a champion in Boy...and with this program, he knew Boy would be headed for serious speed in the next few years.
I started to find a niche. Photography was still on hold, despite a few past clients flying me out for jobs. I was too expensive or not pushy enough. I decided that I should just keep it on hold for now. I feel a bit like a failure in that sense...but I focused on improving my fitness. The work I did in TX was paying off. I found several jobs and I hustled to build a rep. I taught multiple formats at several gyms, snagged a few new certifications and felt great.....till a fall.
I was told that it was a sprain. I felt like a wimp. I just couldn't push past it. I couldn't heal and I started giving up my classes and getting frustrated. I tried therapy and never seemed to make any progress. Long story short, June injury turned into November surgery. Now in February, I'm feeling fat and out of shape. I gained a lot of fat and lost all the strength and muscle that I spent the last 7 years building. I feel frustrated and a few times, I felt like giving up. Stuck, immobile in a cast for two months didn't help. But occasionally, I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I went from not walking, to walking with crutches to a boot to where I am now, in just two months. I still feel pain when I try to go back to what I was doing. If I was aiming for a boring, regular lifestyle, I'd be better by now. Way ahead of what the surgeon expected btw. But I'm not ready to teach. I confess, I'm still a bit scared of failure. I feel like I've been a failure in life in a lot of ways and I guess that this is feeling like that too. What if I can't go back? I put off college to be a stay at home mom. I have no degree. No photography business. The "job" I have didn't put me in a spot to do anything other than teach fitness classes and I sometimes wonder if I was any good at that. I know I was not bad....but great? Not yet. And now I"m starting over. From before square one. I feel embarrassed to see my reflection at the gym. I don't look like an instructor. I don't move like I'm fit. My clothes don't fit well and we can't really afford to go buy all new stuff.
I'm cycling through the "I got this!" and "I'm doing great at being healthy and cooking and parenting and etc etc...." to the "I'm useless and it's hopeless" and "I'm tired of trying for no results"
And all this while Man's frustration at work was growing. I saw it. I didn't get it because I was wrapped up in my own frustrations. I didn't get how bad it was until the end. There was nothing I could do to help or fix things. I felt hopeless to support him. It was at the best and worst time. I was completely dependent on him. No driving or even the ability to take a freaking shower without help. It meant that he was around to help me, but there was nothing I could do to help him.
He was miserable and unhappy. He was let down by those he should have trusted and now we were left feeling like a kid, home from trick-or-treating, looking in our bag and finding it empty.
So he looked into options. What can he do? Where can we go? What direction do we want to take?
Now that we made a decision and prayed about it, I started to get excited. It wouldn't be easy. Heck, it would be a downsize again. I'd have an even harder time finding a job of ANY kind. Our debt wouldn't decrease and our opportunities would be out there....closer but not guarantee they would be anything real. And, we would be setting aside a lot of the good we have found in CO. We would have to start over with less awesome schools and figuring out how to finish braces and just getting there would be a struggle. It wouldn't be a career push for the Man. But we looked at each other and decided to go for it.
Now, in the middle of the night. Despite the assurances of those in power that are saying it's almost a done deal....I"m waiting. Waiting for the bad news. Waiting to be told that even though we are willing to risk it all, it's won't be worth it.
And another fear. What if we do make it? What if it's a disaster? What if it all goes wrong and it wasn't worth it? What if we are wrong about it all?
These are the things that go through my head at 3 am.
Maybe some sewing will clear my brain.