A few years ago, when I made the decision to give up everything to go abroad, it wasn’t a decision that was reached overnight or one that came lightly. I spent weeks and months thinking about what it might look like for all of us and took everything into consideration, weighing the pros and cons.
I did the same when faced with the hard choice of coming back.
The difference between the first move and the last, was that one was met with excitement and adventure while the other felt like a failure (I know it wasn’t) and was full of sadness.
And despite the circumstances, positive or otherwise, I wouldn’t change any of it.
This week marks the 6 month point to when the kids and I touched down on American soil – tears of joy as we arrived in Dallas, a quick trip to Nashville to find a place to live, followed by 2 months with family in the Midwest, before settling back into life.
Dates on the calendar always have a way of taking me back and today it was to those final days and weeks in Australia, a place I consider my second home full of beautiful people I get to call ‘friends.’ It didn’t help that I needed to clear out photos from my phone to make space for our upcoming summer travels and realized the last time I had done so was in December of 2015.
Nothing like nearly 4 years of pictures to take you on a trip down memory lane!
All that to say, a lot of reflecting has been done.
In those final days abroad there were many conversations with friends and family back on this side of the world as we got closer to our departure date. One I remember distinctly was with a girlfriend of mine who urged me to remember to be grateful over the coming weeks and months.
She reminded me that I had a lot to be thankful for simply because I had worked hard throughout my life to have the resources available to me that allowed me the freedom to make the choices I did. Not everyone does.
I have since talked with many women, particularly in my mother’s generation, who if given a choice to do it all over again and with the resources to do so, would make completely different ones for their lives.
Interesting discussions, that given whatever choice someone did or didn’t make, left me thinking about change, particularly all the changes over the last few years.
Change is inevitable and takes time, not knowing how long the adjustment period on the other end of those changes might last. As you navigate your way through, you simply hope the distance to the light at the end of tunnel becomes shorter and shorter. I am nearing the light at the end of this particular tunnel and it has been one that came with many bumps, twists and turns along the way. And as I scrolled through photos, I couldn’t help but do so with tears in my eyes. There has been a lot of life lived in these last few years.
One of the most interesting things I have come to find in navigating through all this change is that when you are a parent, there is another layer as you also consider the well-being of your children.
I once heard someone liken parenting to being a flight attendant: if the plane is crashing and the flight attendant remains calm, it is likely those around will also remain calm. We take our cues from those entrusted to guide us.
I heard an even better one just this past week from a dear friend of mine who said, “if the plane is crashing, there is a reason they tell you to put your mask on first!”
With both moves, I worried about everyone else, particularly my children. Would they be okay? How were they processing everything? Had I provided language that was based in love and kindness to help them navigate through a tough situation? But it took the constant reminders and nudges from loving friends saying, “don’t forget to take care of you” for me to do just that!
When you are so busy considering everyone else, it is easy to forget that you have needs, fears, and things you may find yourself struggling with. But when you are the one standing in front of the proverbial plane, asking those on board to trust you, it is imperative that you take care of yourself so you have the capacity to do so for others.
Doing so has allowed me to be “mommy” when my children need me to be just that!
We have been back on this side of the world now for six months. There have been many adjustments. There have been good days and bad days. We have made new memories to cherish. We have created a new life for ourselves. I poured myself into a business that is thriving, which allows me the freedom to be there for my children in the capacity they need and to give myself the grace I need.
And none of it would be possible if I allowed myself to entertain any thoughts of being stuck or that life didn’t exist beyond tough circumstances.
Circumstances are just that, temporary.
Difficult moments are fleeting and with each day that passes, life begins to look and feel a little more peaceful.
One foot in front of the other.
Life can change on a dime. Embrace it. Sometimes it takes having the courage to make changes for life to shift and move in a new direction.
There is life waiting on the other side of difficult moments or situations. I know because I am living it.