Hopes and changes

Last time I noted that we’re now over halfway to our planned moving date. And, as probably should be expected two years in to a four year plan, circumstances don’t always remain static! Expectations, rationales, and just plain hopes for 2022 are not necessarily going to be the same as what we thought back in 2018.

In other words, when it comes to life, especially with teenage kids, you need to be a bit more flexible.

With that in mind, here are some updates on what we’ve been up to.

First off, the wife. She’s still working hard! As someone employed at a hospital in the age of COVID, things are more difficult. New rules and requirements keep everyone safer, but a lot of them also make her job harder. But she’s still there every week day helping her patients. In preparation for the move, she’s decided to go ahead and get the Florida license required for her job. That way if the perfect position suddenly becomes available, she can get her application in and hopefully have a leg up on any other out of state competition!

I’m doing something a little crazy before we leave Tennessee. I’m going back to college to finish a music degree! When my wife and I got married, I left college to move with her to her first job. I eventually got a job doing what I was going to school for, so never got around to finishing college. Two kids and two decades later, I’m just a few classes short, so I decided to go ahead and try to get it done. This was the main reason for my absence the past few months. Because of the pandemic, the more boring non-music classes I still need are available to take online, so I decided to knock them all out at once without having to leave the house… a decision I’ve come to regret somewhat! It’s been a lot of work, but after I get through this semester I won’t have much left, and all that will remain are the more enjoyable classes.

As you might remember from one of my early posts, the impetus for us finally deciding to move close to Disney was the fact that our daughter was going to transfer to UCF for college after her sophomore year. Well, things change. While she is still interested in hospitality as a career, she’s impatient and not happy about having to waste time on classes like Western Civilization or Early American Literature. So rather than get a bachelor’s degree, she’s now working towards an associate degree in hospitality. It seems like hospitality is the kind of career where advancement through experience is very possible. So while I’d like to see her get the four-year degree, I think the path she’s chosen will still serve her well. The more disappointing decision is that she is planning to stay in Tennessee. More on that in a minute.

Our son is in his junior year of high school. Because of the pandemic, he is doing virtual classes at home through his school. But barring a massive upswing in cases, he’ll be heading back to the classroom in January. When we started this process, he was a lot younger and willing to follow along with what his parents wanted to do. But now as a seventeen year old, he’s not thrilled with the idea of leaving Tennessee either.

Even with the internet now allowing old friends to stay connected, they’re both convinced that they can’t leave because, I assume, they’re afraid of losing friends and having to make new ones.

My parents were in the military, so we moved every few years. I grew accustomed to saying good-bye to friends, but always hated it. The final time it happened was after my sophomore year in high school when my father retired. I tried to convince him to stay where we were, but after dreaming of retirement for so long and getting the chance to finally move back to his home town after twenty years away, I really had no chance! And looking back as an adult, I don’t blame him at all. I made new friends easily. And despite my then girlfriend and I making promises to get back together after high school, we both quickly moved on as well. Life went on. And it was just as good as what I’d had previously.

So I get where they’re coming from. I’ve been through it. Kids never seem to understand that their parents have gone through the exact same things they have. I get what they’re thinking. And I know how it turns out. But you can’t convince the young of that in the moment. They’ll never believe it when I say things would work out fine if they moved with us. It’s a hard choice, so the easier option is not to make it. And, for now, we’re not going to make them.

My daughter will be finishing her associate degree and my son will be graduating high school the month before our planned moving date. So she can get a job in her field and begin her adult life. And he, like many other kids his age, can start college in a town away from mom and dad.

Because, even though this plan started as a way to stay close to our kids, it’s grown into something else for my wife and me. This has become how we want to spend the rest of our lives together. And at this point, we’re going. If it has to be without them, then they need to prepare themselves for that. But whatever choice they make, we’ll always be there for them… though that “there” will just happen to be in Florida!