to the future

Thursday, July 10

There is a grad school down in Austin, Texas that my husband has been dreaming about since he met the founder of the program 3 years ago. When we moved to Virginia and started to look at the options for graduate programs, there was always that should we or shouldn't we pull toward Austin, but it always ended up losing out to the "but" statements behind our reasoning. "But we just moved here." "But we have a new baby." "But we just started at this great job." "But it would be really expensive." "But we can just go to school here." So that's what was decided in the end. The responsible, logical thing! Work full-time and start on a part-time three-year graduate program here in Virginia that would check box that almighty degree off the list. The thing with my husband though, is that he's not much of a box checker just for the sake of checking boxes, and after a year and a half of being enrolled in this grad program, he felt fully disappointed with the education that was pulling so much time away from our family. I mean it's one thing to be pulled away from your most important thing for something that makes you feel as if you're enriching your life and improving your family's future. And this was just another.

I remember one night after midnight, Tyson came rolling back in from class, and he sat down on the couch with his shoulders looking heavy. They always looked heavy. We talked about what we wanted to do with our lives that night. Like really DO. And how to find our own balance between the responsible and logical choices in life and the ones that actually felt right. After that night, in a decision that felt scary, but the kind of scary that leaves you feeling like you're taking a step in the right direction, he withdrew from the classes he was signed up to take that next semester, and seriously started to pursue the idea of attending this new school.

After making a trip down to Austin a few months ago to visit the campus and meet with the faculty and some of the student body, that was it. It was just one of those yes moments, when your head and your heart link arms and skip around the block together. This was where he was supposed to be. This was the next step for us. This was right. And all the questions that we'd had, and the "but" statements that felt so weighty before, were answered with a, "Well. We're just gonna figure it out." And we began the process of applying for the school.

Long story short, he got in {high five!}, and this experience is going to be what makes up the next year of our lives. Because the program is only a year, it's incredibly intensive. The first 5 months are completed online, followed by 6 months on campus, where the students are told to expect a whopping 4 hours of sleep per night. (I mean who am I married to? This is the stuff that puts a grin on his face and makes him talk for hours with excitement. 4 hours??? ;)) The online portion will begin next month JUST in time for baby's arrival haha, and then December will bring the move down to Austin to complete the remainder of the program. For our family, there were several ways that we could choose to complete that 6-month portion in Austin, and it has been a topic of conversation for months on end. MONTHS. Back and forth between our options until that dead horse done been beat. And in the end, we decided that Tyson would move down to Austin, and I, with the kids, would move in with my dad in St. George.

The period after Everett was born was a challenge for me in a way that’s sometimes hard to explain. I don’t know that it was post-partum depression so much as it was that we had just moved across the country, and I felt incredibly far away from family and friends. And the isolation that comes from jumping into the colder months with a brand new baby felt a little soul crushing on some days. In a way, upon gaining this new role as a mother, I felt like I had lost a part of myself in the middle of it all, but I didn’t know exactly WHAT I’d lost and how to re-find it again.

I mention this, because it’s that experience that was really the main driving point behind our decision to live separately for those 6 months. It’s going to be hard. OH IT’S GOING TO BE HARD to live away from each other. I get so sad when I sit down and think about being without him. But at the same time, the thought of having a toddler and a four-month-old baby in a brand new city where my husband would only ever be home to catch his four hours of sleep and then head back out again, felt really overwhelming to me. It was both of our goals to put me in the strongest position with our kids for those months. And I really am excited for Everett and our baby girl to get that kind of time with my family. And me! I’m excited for me! Because family support is EVERYTHING with kids, I’m convinced. Tyson and I will fly out to see each other as often as possible, and we’ll Skype all the time, and we’re just going to DO IT and make it work. It’s only 6 months after all, right?


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