Bean and I were talking the other day about life and some of our past experiences. We were talking about the two months he spent in 5th grade in public school. He was reflecting on what a life-changing experience it was for him. He learned so much in just a few short weeks. He told me, "I wish we had moved up there a little sooner so I could have been in that class longer."
That really made me stop and think.
Three years ago right now (just three years!) we were living on our farm in Oklahoma and the Badger was interviewing for the new job out west. I knew we needed to move, but I was hoping and praying that we could have just a little more time in Oklahoma before we left. We had just started that homeschool co-op and the kids were doing well in gymnastics. I wanted a chance to finish out the year in those activities, among others. I asked the Badger, "do they really need you now? Can't you start in April or May?" No, they couldn't. That really frustrated me, and made the whole situation harder to deal with.
But, off we went. It was hard. It was rather traumatic, in fact. Selling the farm, selling the animals, yanking out our roots....
But looking back on it, Bean wishes we could have left sooner. Because now he knows what was coming. Ms. M's amazing 5th grade class. I had no idea we'd be public schooling-- I had no plan to do so, especially since it was so late in the school year. But the Lord had other plans, which He was very clear about to me, and they were amazing plans.
That was good for us to think about right now. It's been almost a year since we moved to Kansas, and it still doesn't feel quite like home. We have had some good experiences and met some wonderful people, but there has also been a lot of struggle. Bean, especially, has had a hard time. He doesn't have many friends, he doesn't have the outlets he has enjoyed in the past (like the trampoline or woods to play in), or the freedom he had in our last town where he could ride his bike everywhere. He hasn't gotten out of the house a whole lot over the last year. For him, this has been a really hard year.
We haven't yet seen the "aha, that's why" about Kansas yet. Life isn't bad here by any means, but so far my kids have not had anywhere near the opportunities and experiences that were causing them to thrive when we lived out west. They've kind of been floundering.
I know, though, that sometimes you don't see it for years. My parents moved me from Minnesota to Provo when I was 15. I was so miserable that first year. I was definitely floundering, after coming from a situation where I had had some really amazing opportunities. I didn't feel like I fit in at school. It was hard to make friends. It took a long time before I felt comfortable, and years before I could see all the reasons why it was a good idea.
Here's one reason: my first year in Utah-- my sophomore year-- I had an English teacher that ended up making a huge difference in my life. It was a regular English class and I should have been in Honors, so honestly I thought it was boring and there was nothing special about the teacher at first. But by the end of the year, she had come to appreciate my skills and so asked me to be her Teacher's Assistant the following year. That sounded fun and easy, so I agreed.
TA-ing for Miss D not only gave me a feeling that I belonged somewhere, but Miss D and I became friends. I agreed to TA for her again my senior year. At the beginning of that year, she said, "I'm planning a trip to Africa next June. Do you want to come with me?" After I recovered from shock, I said, "absolutely!" and I started saving my money.
That trip to Africa was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it shaped who I am in so many ways. If that had been the only reason I had to move from Minnesota to Utah, it would have been worth it. But there were so many other reasons as well, and in the end I am so grateful for that horrible, difficult move.
Miss D and I are still friends. She has a small farm with horses and donkeys that the kids always beg to visit whenever we are in Utah, so she is now a beloved part of their lives as well.
When the boys complain about going to Wednesday night activities at the church because they don't feel like they fit in with the boys their age, I tell them, "Keep going. Always go. It might be boring and you might hate it. But you never know when an opportunity might come to you from someone there. Maybe one of the leaders there will notice a quality you have and offer you an internship or a job in the future. Maybe over time you might develop one of the best friendships of your life with someone who you didn't really like at first. It might seem like no big deal now, but it could be life-changing."
I still feel a lot of pain when I think about our last move. And even after a year I still feel like things are upside down and backwards. But someday, the conversation will come where we say, "it was all worth it because if we hadn't moved to Kansas we wouldn't have been able to ______________." And we will all nod our heads and say "yes, the Lord had His hand in it all along."