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March 19, 2010

Choice

is a 4 letter word in our household at this moment.  Normally in Peter's line of work, it sometimes feels like there isn't much choice about where we go next. We can bid on our top spots, or opt for a position in a country whose language (other than English, of course) we have been fluent in since we could walk, but end up continents away.  For us it has all worked out in the end, and while we may not have made the final decision we realize that we had experiences we couldn't have otherwise imagined.  They help shape us, and our future and we begin to realize that while we enjoy having a say, sometimes it's easier when someone else makes the crucial decision.

There is one time when that does not work out, and that time is now.  I should clarify: it has worked out for Peter.  I, however, am at a complete and utter crossroads.  I have too much choice, the clock is ticking, and the reality is that in 74 days or about 10.5 weeks, if everything continues as is, we will be without a home.  By we, I mean the girls, Nicholas and I.  Peter has had his housing assignment for over two weeks now and need only worry about the color of the sheets he wishes to take with him, or whether to go with merely a good laptop or a great one. I, on the other hand, have begun to doubt whether I should leave, and can't make a decision about where to go (definitively).  I know I am driving people nuts and making their heads spin...I am a total champion of free will and choice, so why can't I handle it anymore?

My tween is the primary reason.  The more we have discussed the impending move, the more ambivalent she has become.  I know she is only 11, and I know there are other issues at play.  However, she was the champion of moving back east, and was more excited about looking at houses than I was.  I noticed a change over the past few weeks though, and finally asked her point-blank if she wanted to move.  The result?  A near break-down and dissolving into tears, as she no longer knew what to do. Invitations have been more frequent, friendships have strengthened, and the anticipation of a year not only without Peter, but in a somewhat new environment has her freaked.  Kelsey has not been quite as emotional, but has shared several worries that just tear me apart. 

The irony is that normally when we receive a final assignment, we are not given the option of living in one of 6 different places (or more, for that matter, since we can go anywhere) around the country in which we can live.  Once an assignment is handed down,  we have choice within the general area, but nothing like our current options.  If we had any clue where we were headed next, it would be a tiny bit easier to decide.  If we knew language was a necessity, we would have a much more limited area to work with.  Or we could opt to stay here, and simply have one big move.  However, not knowing has made it that much more difficult.

I wish I knew the right answer.  I wish I could foresee next year, and tell Kelsey that she will have oodles of friends, as she does here, and will not have to worry that anyone will think she is "uggely" (her latest and saddest fear of no known origin).  I wish I could more convincingly tell Cait that the Middle School will be so much  fun, that riding a bus again will be awesomely fun experience, and that I know for a fact the perfect choir is waiting for her.  I desperately want to move to be closer to old friends and family, however, it can't be denied that the settled-in feeling exists or the friendships that have been made and will be sorely missed. 

I know what I should be able to do, but feel like I am failing miserably.  Ideas, anyone?

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Well by now you should have received my ridiculously long e-mail ... which as you know, centers a lot around this very topic.

I certainly have very little answers to provide to you as we are going through this exact same thing... only slightly different. yeah, that made sense, eh?

It sounds like you're definitely at a crossroad and it's basically a decision of ... going where you want to go or where the kids want to stay. That's a tough one to make. As you know, I had a similar one to make - and while I REALLY wanted to be near my friends, as my support system with them is FAR stronger in DC vs LA, I was trumped by my kids needing to be near the family - despite knowing that I won't get as much help from them. I have 4 girlfriends this cycle whose husbands are going on unaccompanied tours... how nice it would have been to have that support all in one nice, neat place.

My personal opinion for you... stay near me... though I'll be in LA, I'll be visiting my family regularly in Fremont and it would be so nice to have someone else who is going through the same thing! Someone else who gets it, who understands, and whose kids get it too... but that's just me being selfish. Very, very selfish.

Whatever decision you do ultimately make, it's going to be difficult. Because being away from daddy - and hubby - isn't easy on anyone. But we're DS spouses. We're strong. Hear us roar. Loudly.

I'm sure you've said this before, but is continuing to live in your current house an option? If so, maybe that does make sense. But as I know you've said before, that's a lot of extra flying -- and less time with all of you -- for Peter when he comes for visits.
The best way I can think of to make somewhere back east more palatable is if your kids have great friends who are permanently in place (i.e., won't move away during your time wherever they are). And maybe that's not a real option, either.
Drama, drama, drama, as I say at my house.

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Thanks!

Oh Jen. Hugs to you.

I don't have any advice for you. I'm awful at decisions! It must be so hard for you...

I could literally never, ever make this decision, if it were I in your shoes! In my life, when I'm faced with something like this, I always do whatever James thinks would be best. I ping all over the place emotionally sometimes, and he can cut through some of the emotion and make a good decision without feeling so emotionally pulled like I am.

All that to say: I could NEVER make the decision you are pondering and wrestling with. I would whimper and turn to my husband and say, "Okay, where are the children and I living?" And whatever he answered, so would it be!

Thinking of you in this difficult time with all these hard choices...

Jill, I got it and I owe you one in return...it is in the works! Ugh, I hate being torn!

Zoe, the travel is a good part of it, but then again, there is the drama factor (can barely broach the topic now...)...

Kolbi, Honestly, I am not sure that's a bad idea. I am so used to our location being decided for us, that my biggest worry is making the wrong decision...if someone else makes it, well....thank you!!

oh Jen ... I absolutely have NO answers for you ... and I can only say that I'm thinking of you ... hoping that you can make a decision soon that you are at peace with.

The cool thing is that kids are resilient and while us momma bears want to make sure we are always protecting and sheltering them, your tween (maybe the most affected by all of this) WILL thrive and survive ...

The only advice I have for you (as the mom of a teenager who moved him internationally last year) is to just KEEP those lines of communication open. Let her know that it is 100% ok to be pissed, angry, sad and nauseous about all of this. If you think she can handle it, tell her how YOU feel about it. She'll appreciate it.

Hugs to you!

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