Every Single Day. The morning.

Early Rise after a night full of cuddles and (consequently) uncomfortable sleep positioning. The blonde curly head popping up to declare, “Ya-yee up…stairs!” that surprises you before the sun. With the cuteness factor reaching its limit, her mispronunciation of his name and the fact that “up…stairs” really means “downstairs” hardly computes.

The “I’m finished!!” bellowed from the downstairs bathroom (that generally prompts the blonde head popping) is likely all Daddy hears in the earliest hours. I can’t speak to his level of joy, but I’m often thankful for the little tiny body attached to mine that acts as my anchor to the coziness.

Then the morning hugs. There is nothing better. A moment of zen for which there is no substitute.

As I still lay in bed I often don’t have to open my eyes to recognize the careful patter of the tiniest feet and hands in the house (not paws, Mela, rather the human kind) maneuvering their (tiniest) body onto the large, antique chest at the foot of the bed in order to allow for a presentation that awakens the senses. “Watch this, Mommy!” Thump! A perfect landing, like that of an Olympic gymnast, onto the carpet below. All she needs is her arms straight in the air and her back properly arched, my fuzzy mind’s eye still in a dream-like state creates a stenciled image… and I beam with pride.

Daddy is downstairs wiping a butt… most likely simultaneously (slightly) lamenting the fact that we have no need for alarm clocks anymore. We have jobs, school, work, preschool… but because not one of these obligations begins before 6, we are well ahead of schedule. Every… Single… Day.

The whirlwind of breakfast and playtime and preparation for school/work is ever-changing and ever-the-same. I get to play with the curls and evaluate the cuteness factor of the day’s outfits, Daddy gets to prepare exciting lunches, and we all get to explain (yet again) that today is not Friday yet but school will be fun. And then we tell ourselves the same thing.

It is inevitable that I’ll feel a bit frazzled. I forget to smooth the little gal’s frizz-bop, my nails are half-painted, my lunch consists of a bottle of water and a small bag of sprouted almonds, the little guy can’t find his water bottle, or my keys are somewhere in one of Daddy’s pockets… or all of the above. However, the day is bright and new. Love, hugs and kisses abound with goodbyes. A very short commute to work with a quick call to Nonnie. Somehow the sun is almost always shining, the temperature is almost never uncomfortable, and the fluffy white clouds compliment the mountainous landscape that peaks above the homes and businesses in view.

 

The basics about our new life

We made it!

We are here. We feel happy. We have settled in… although living with boxes and disorganization, we are still unsure whether or not some favorite things made it over. But we have what we need. This move was a downsize, a giving of ourselves to a greater good and a freer life. We mourn a bit for some of the things we gave away, but have learned from that mourning that material things are like chocolate…yummy, filling on the surface, and addictive… but they only pretend to fulfill our basic needs and when they are gone we realize what it is we truly long for.

 

Professionally.

The day after I arrived without my family, I began work. The special ed teachers and teachers’ aides acted as if they were expecting nothing more than an illusion and …I could tell they wanted to grab my arm and feel that I was real (“She speaks Spanish too?!”). Confetti fell from the classroom ceiling in my K-2 building (figuratively speaking). As I talked to the principals, began to learn the ropes from the amazing special ed team, got a glimpse of the RtI process already in place, and began to settle in…all of the little things that might normally “turn off” other professionals new to the district such as limited resources, lack of mentorship, limited-to-none help from technology, and even some staff resistance to change and lacking flexibility… those little things remained little to me. The feeling I now had was one that rivaled that of my first year of teaching Spanish Immersion. I felt needed. I felt knowledgeable. I felt as though no one was a better fit for the position. That feeling was something I hadn’t yet had as a district school psychologist (only as a contractor when I worked for the amazing IU’s) …not because I wasn’t needed or knowledgeable, but because I finally *felt* it.

 

As time inches on, I have nuzzled into my position more and more (and more everyday) by allowing myself to find ways in which I can help the people around me. It is in addition to my workload, but I can’t help myself. I go in to work daily with an excitement and an appreciation for the drive I see in my administrators and close colleagues. We work with a population that has more needs than I could have imagined. Almost daily, and sometimes multiple times a day, I’m told of crises and struggles of students or their families. I’ve made it my new habit to look for ways to help…and to walk into situations ready to lend a new perspective and provide resources wherever I do not have the answers. I’m confident in a way I have not felt confident in all of my life. My administrators have directly told me that I’m incredible, that my talent is an anomaly, that they will not praise me in public for fear that I’ll be stolen. I feel as though I’m making a difference in the lives of children, families, and teachers who devote their lives to the community. Honestly, at the moment, I can’t imagine feeling more fulfilled in my professional life.

To top it off, when the weather is nice (often) I can ride my bike a few minutes to my work/schools!

 

Home life.

Home life is simultaneously distinct from the past and blissfully ignorant to the change in location. It is sad, joyous, tearfully nostalgic, and ridiculously perfect. Obviously I have mixed feelings. I need to first say that from the moment I stepped into life here…even when I just came (alone) to visit in August to check it out, I felt completely connected to this place.

 

This is where you stop reading if you don’t believe in fate, in the stars aligning, in “meant to be” and in a power greater than us. It’s here. We are in it. I followed it and have accepted that those feelings are clues to my belonging. Countless times meeting people here I felt that déjà vu that makes us say to someone, “Don’t I know you?” or “You remind me of someone; have we met?” I never felt the urge to say it…because I knew we hadn’t met (on this timeline…in this life…). In our community, in my schools, even in places we frequent here, this has happened. Although I miss our friends greatly and feel as though we are losing valuable time with loved ones in other places, this feels meant to be in a way I cannot explain.

 

It’s not perfect. No place is.

Adjustment for the us and the kids has sometimes been hard…especially when I wish that my mom could be here instead of a video chat, we realize how much is still left unfinished when it comes to the move, and how much we just don’t know in thinking about the future for the kids and for us…

My work is hard. I am learning so much as I go, have less time than what’s needed to do it, and sometimes the obstacles seem too great. But constantly trying to push myself to “be the change…” is exciting.

Daddy is expected to do more and be more at work and we are learning little by little how to address those needs and communicate about them.

 

How are they adjusting?

Little Hero says he never wants to leave California (sorry family!). He talks fondly of friends and family, but wants everyone to visit us here. When our friend Jamie visited in early October we had not yet been here 3 weeks. Little Hero told Jamie, “This is paradise.” We don’t disagree.

Lady Love is in love with her new neighbors and everything around her. Missing Mommy to full-time working is balanced by Daddy’s amazingness. She now happily waves bye-bye to Mommy (although she barely lets me go when I return). Many times, I’m able to meet them for lunch (because the lifestyle here is just fitting for us…and my work is so close). We are all adjusting very well.