Friday, December 23, 2011

2011, you were quite a year.

I really loved 2011.  I didn't love it because it was easy or because it made any sense.  I loved it because in so many ways, I feel like who we are as a family finally crystallized.

What I learned:  When we believe in something, we will do anything to make it happen.

Whether it's Russian camp for Jack (1000 miles from home), or Steve going back to school for his CPA, the family somehow figured out ways to make it happen.  When Andrew didn't want to leave his Play and Learn class, we drove back an hour each way from Williamsburg to make sure that happened for him. 

Could our family be just as happy with less-extreme measures?  I've wondered that. 

But then I look at the Other End of these decisions that seemed overly-complicated, and I am overcome with gratitude for our feisty, impulsive, non-conventional ways.

In the thick of things, sometimes I wonder what the hell we're doing.  When I was orchestrating the complicated chain of command to send Jack to camp alone...including his solo flight on Southwest to Chicago to Steve's parents...the hand-over to my dad in Wisconsin Dells...then my dad driving him 4 hours to Northern Minnesota...

When someone else looks in on that and wonders, "Is it really worth it?"...I do understand that.  On the surface level, those efforts aren't really necessary. Will a week at camp at age 7 bring future fluency in this language he loves?  No.  He might not even remember a lot of it a year later.

But what I hope we taught him is that he can dream big goals for himself, and we will find a way to make that happen in his life. That we believe in his interests, the things he loves, and we'll take measures (financial and time) to help him do what he really craves doing.

Steve's career change certainly seemed risky and impulsive, too.  When I told Han, our friend from China, that Steve used to be a math teacher, she thought at first she didn't understand me correctly. "I am confused, because in China, you do not do this.  A man who has a family does not change jobs."   I laughed, and told her it's pretty odd in America, too.

But omigod.  Look at the other end of this. What if we'd said "no" to the uncertainty of it and didn't take this risk?  What if we'd edited our lives too early, because we didn't have a guarantee on the other end?

What 2011 taught me was to take those risks and keep believing, even through the complicated path towards making those goals happen.  Watching our savings whittle down without a new stream of income wasn't a great feeling.  That wasn't the part we signed on for, it was just a necessary step in the process.

But Steve getting that Deloitte offer...the chance to explore Richmond, a whole new chapter of our lives...finding the new schools for the kids and wondering about what lies ahead?

Even more so than a year ago, I really believe in what life can offer.  How truly magical it can be to make those decisions that aren't black-and-white great decisions, but feel very very right on a soul level.  How life can just explode into arenas that you couldn't even imagine. 

I love these children of mine, and I adore my husband.  And if their life needs something extra to be who they're supposed to be, then I will back them 100%.

And if it's the wrong answer?  That's okay with me too.  Because I'm seeing that things aren't etched in cement, they are molded out of play-doh that's filled with chemicals so it doesn't dry up. :) You can fix things.  Make new choices.  And close doors on mistakes and said: "Well, THAT won't happen again." 

All of it fills me with gratitude, and excitement about what's in store.

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