Remember when I had a breakdown in July? (I do.) Remember how I mentioned that GC and I came up with a Plan for our family? You do? Wow, you must have an awesome memory, and we probably have kids with a similar ability. Anyway, I wrote that I would share The Plan when the time was right. Now seems like a good time.
Ever since the formulation of The Plan GC and I have been hard at work executing Phase I. The flooring has been fixed, moldings have been put up, sealed and repainted. All the trim and doors are newly painted, and the hand prints and kid smudges on the walls have disappeared beneath a fresh coat of paint. The closets have been de-cluttered, light fixtures changed, shelves and pictures hung. I’ve sorted and purged and made piles of things I just can’t let go of yet. We painstakingly ripped the crabgrass from the yard, aerated, reseeded and watered a new lawn into existence. It has taken us a few weeks to get the house ready, ready for the “for sale” sign that was planted under our big, fat tree out front last Saturday morning.
We’re moving. When we sell our house, whenever that is, we’re moving…
To where I was born, to where my parents still live in the house I grew up in, to where my sister is busy raising her three children. To where I went to college, learned to steer a canoe, grew up camping and playing outside, to where I still have friends I’ve known since high school. To where the Roc will have people who love him surround and support him, and us. Because we need it. He needs it. My marriage needs it. My sanity needs it. I need it. GC needs it. We need family. We need help.
Help with the everyday, “I have an IEP meeting, and no one to get the Roc off the bus!” Help when GC and I want to go out for dinner, to a movie, to a party, or away for a weekend perhaps! GC and I haven’t spent any time alone since the Roc was born. Help when I don’t feel that I can go on, when the Roc and I need to be separated from each other, lest someone lose a limb. Help…and while we truly need some help, it isn’t the only reason we want to move. Family. Family meals, family time, visits, birthdays, holidays, all the good stuff you get when you live close to family. I’ve missed that over the last 10+ years.
As we discussed The Plan back in July, in the back of my mind I wondered when GC would change his mind. He is the one who mentioned the idea while grasping my hand across the table, but he is also the same person that told me once upon a time that he would “never” move to Minnesota, and so long ago I gave up my dream of living closer to my family. But he hasn’t changed his mind, and he keeps surprising me with his random positive comments about Minnesota. He found that there are hockey teams for kids with special needs, much like the baseball team the Roc was on in the spring and the soccer team he has been playing with for the last couple weeks, and he’s excited about the prospect of signing the Roc up. He found gaming stores, golf courses near where we are thinking of living, (near my sister!) and he has mentioned buying a boat or most definitely a canoe. (I vote canoe!) He thinks he may take up hunting (oh god,) wants a dirt bike and/or a snowmobile (yikes,) and because of all the things we are apparently going to be hauling while living in Minnesota (??) he says he will need a truck. That a truck will be better than an SUV (which is what I want) when we take up camping (oh really?) He says he will drive to Colorado to snowboard with his brother rather than snowboard on the ice hills in Minnesota, and has stated quite vehemently that he will “never” cross country ski (remember how he said he would never move to MN? Once upon a time he said he would never eat meat again too…) I’ll admit to being worried about the winter weather, but he says it won’t be too bad for him because he has so many hobbies that are best enjoyed indoors (D&D geek!)
So I am surprised. Surprised by his eagerness to uproot from the East Coast, his home, and start new in the middle of the country, or according to him “basically Canada.” Surprised by his enthusiasm and casual comments about how he is looking forward to moving to Minnesota (“the frozen tundra.”) I am cautiously excited, not really believing we are really going to make it there, waiting for something to happen or someone to change their mind, but still delighted. I am excited to live near my parents, my sister, and her family. I am excited to spend time with my niece and nephews, for them to know the Roc and the Roc to know them. Hoping that it will not be too late for them to form a bond. I am eager to strengthen the bond with my sister, to be able to spend time together and support each other. I look forward to being able to make spontaneous plans with my Mom instead of buying a plane ticket. So much, we will gain so much just by moving. Holidays and birthdays and family dinners, being present in the everyday lives of my family and them in ours. And friends. I have a few great friends I’ve had for years who I look forward to seeing on a more regular basis. Friends who know me from way back, and there is something to be said for friends like that.
I know it will not be perfect. Moving will not magically fix the wrongs, will not irradiate the behavior problems we’ve been slogging through the past few months, it will not suddenly color my vision rosy. Autism will come with us. The problems we have here, we will have there, and new ones will most likely arise because of the move. It will be stressful. Stressful to move half way across the country with all of our stuff, 4 cats, a dog, and a 6 year old with autism. It will be stressful for GC to find a job, stressful for me to set up a good team for the Roc in whichever school he attends, stressful to figure out where to live, buy a house, and everything that comes along with a move like this. It will be stressful for the Roc, in ways that I can already anticipate, and in ways that I will most likely overlook, we may all be blindsided with the fall out. It might be stressful to settle back in to Minnesota – I’ve been away for 10 years, and my family has lived their lives without me. We will all have to figure out how we best fit together again. We don’t have a perfect plan in place, we don’t know when we will get there, or how, or the logistics of how it will all work out. We do know we will figure that out as we need to.
I think it will be worth all the effort.