Its June. Teddy and Patrick just completed the third and first grade. However for our family, the time to learn and grow is just beginning.
Daniel has accepted a 3 year job in Kaiserslautern Germany. It was a difficult decision for us to make. We are so comfortable in our life here in Vail Arizona. The kids are thriving in school. We love our home. Rowan is in dance and registered for Kindergarten. The boys are dominating the soccer field. We just built a swimming pool! I have an great opportunity to write and work from home for a local newspaper. Daniel has a reliable job, albeit a stressful one with a long, daily commute. Life is good.
From the moment our feet returned to US soil in 2001, Daniel and I always told ourselves we would love to venture back overseas if the opportunity ever presented itself. Travel was our greatest educator in life. We made the biggest changes and growth in our lives thrusting ourselves outside of our comfort zones. 12 years, 4 children, and a very comfortable spot in life for ourselves, and opportunity has decided to test us once again.
The big question here is about change. Is change good? Is it better to maintain a steady environment (school, home, and routine) while raising a family? In my mind, there is no clear cut answer.
I have a dear friend who just returned from 3 years in Italy with her family. They saw everything from the tulips in The Netherlands to the vineyards of Tuscany. I asked her what she thought about us moving our family for 3 years to Germany. Her response has rung in my mind since this opportunity presented itself. "What do you want? Do you want experience or do you want comfort?"
Comfort is an easy answer. It is never easy to pack up 4 young children and a household and move it overseas. Daniel and I have made 2 cross country moves and to be quite honest, it was the most taxing experience ever. Our family and our children would greatly benefit from us making the decision to stay put. There is so much mental, emotional, and physical comfort from the status quo. But now let's take a moment to consider the other side. Experience. Change.
There is a quote I have always loved.
"Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely." ~Karen Kaiser Clark
With change comes a plethora of emotions- excitement, anxiety, wonder, and sadness just to name a few. However I keep reminding myself these are just growing pains. We need to embrace the emotion, the pain, the excitement, the sadness, and know these are just emotions that accompany the greatest opportunity for knowledge and growth in life- experience.
We have already experienced a range of emotions and we have yet to pack a moving box. Anxiety with packing our house, renting it out, and what to do with all our stuff. Sadness with leaving a school we absolutely adore- our friendships and our teachers that we will miss so dearly. Excitement with the prospect of exploring and learning about a whole new culture. The wonder that accompanies all the new places we can explore, the mountains we can climb, the streets we will peruse, the people we will meet, the new customs and traditions we will experience. Life is not about the destination, it is about the journey. So make it a good one.
We know in our heart of hearts, this change, despite the accompanied pain, this temporary change will only make us stronger, wiser, and more deeply connected as a family. For a short while, we can lower our expectations. The kids will probably have their meltdowns, as will mom and dad. We can acknowledge and accept the change and the emotions that come with it. We will experience, embrace, learn, and grow. How fortunate are we as a family, that we have been granted the opportunity to experience the gift of travel? This job opportunity has removed any risk involved. The only thing left to consider is comfort. Its time for this family to throw off our lap blanket, roll off our comfy couch, hike up our skirts, and run. Yes we will probably experience a little lung burn, but the end result will make it all worth while. And more likely than not, the sunny days we encounter will far outnumber those when we are face with a little rain.