I have to admit. I’ve been holding out on all of you the last couple of days. I’ve been sitting on some huge news.
No, not to another suburb of Dallas.
We’re moving to California.
Yup. In 4 weeks, to be exact.
Jesse and I both got jobs at our old high school in Atascadero. Jesse will be working fulltime, teaching Junior and High School English, along with one elective. I’ll be teaching just one class– 9-10th grade Honors English, for a total of about 4 teaching hours/week.
So, while I let most of you (some already know and have been under STRICT obedience not to post anything on the internet! Thanks mom!) recover from shock, I’ll delve into some of the details, pros and cons.
Pros: Both of our families live in the North County. By working/living in Atascadero, we will be 1 mile from my parents, 15 from Jesse’s. That, I think, is our #1 reason for moving back to CA. I never knew my grandparents very well and neither did Jesse until he was in high school. Both of us wish we had and want that for Gregory. We have awesome, amazing, incredible friends in Dallas, but they aren’t family. They can’t take care of us when we’re sick. They can’t love Gregory like he’s their own, because he isn’t.
I made a promise to myself that I would never let anyone babysit or watch Gregory unless they loved him so much, they’d be willing to die for him. I broke that promise to myself last week when I let one of my piano moms fulfill a babysitting “coupon” that she gave me as a baby shower gift. I was gone from Gregory for almost 2 hours (most of which, he was asleep for), and I died a little bit inside. If he’s going to be away from me, even for just a few hours, I want him to be building a relationship with someone who loves him in the same way that I do. Unconditionally. Not because of monetary compensation. Because of pure love. Other than Courtney and Julie, both of whom are, for all intents and purposes, family, we don’t have that in Dallas.
I don’t mean to sound paranoid. Really, I don’t believe that behind every smiling suburb mom is a serial killer (in fact, the mom who watched G is one of the sweetest, godliest women I’ve known in Dallas!). But these moments with Gregory are so precious and so fleeting. There are times when he wakes up from a nap and I could SWEAR he is bigger than before he fell asleep. He is learning new skills on a daily/hourly basis. I would never forgive myself if I let a stranger or even a casual acquaintance be the one to witness his first steps, his first words. But if it was one of his grandparents? One of his aunts? I think I could live with myself. I know I could. As long as he is building a relationship with someone who he’s going to know for the rest of his life, I feel okay being gone from him a few hours a week.
Other pros…while Jesse is now making good money at his job in Dallas, it is not what he wants to be doing for a career. We both agreed when he took the job that this was to be an “in between” job, something to pay the bills while we focused on more important things, like having our first baby and figuring out what the heck we were doing with the rest of our lives.
We still aren’t exactly certain about the second part, but Jesse knows for certain that the mortgage industry is not where he wants to have a career. Jesse has a teacher/shepherd’s heart, and he’s had to ignore that part of him for the last 2 years. It kills him, I know it does. The fact that he’s “good” at what he does with his current company is nice, but it isn’t a selling point for me. Not to brag, but Jesse’s good at anything he sets his mind to. Wherever he goes, he catches the eye of whoever’s in charge and becomes a wanted commodity. The guy still wears shirts he bought in high school (read= not a fashion expert by any means), and yet 2 years ago he was one of the top sales associates in his department at Nordstroms! Those who knew Jesse at the time probably couldn’t have cooked up a job more foreign to his skill set or personality, and yet he did well. By the time he left, he had two managers fighting for him to come work for their department. I went back to return something months later, mentioned to the sales associate in the children’s department that my husband worked there , and her manager overheard me and immediately knew who I was referring to even though I hadn’t named him. She made sure to tell me to tell him that he was missed. In other words, he left quite the impression, even in less than a year at Nordstroms. The fact that his current company is no different does not shock or surprise me. It isn’t that the company is a good fit for Jesse, thus he excelled (which he did– even the VP of the whole mortgage company knows him by name!)– it’s that Jesse makes himself into a good fit wherever he goes.
So, long and short, even though the pay is less than what he currently makes, I know that this is what Jesse needs. He’s wanted to be a teacher since the day we arrived in Dallas, but unfortunately he doesn’t have “what it takes” on paper. No credential. BA in Psychology, near MA in Philosophy. Not math, not english, not science. Only 2-3 years of part time experience at a floundering school in North Dallas. Ever since he finished his full-time schooling at UD, he’s applied to many teaching jobs, without any success. I firmly believe that in the world of teaching, you have to be either severely over-qualified, or you have to “know” someone. Especially in this economy.
Cons: Our hearts have been breaking as we’ve had to tell people in Dallas that we’re leaving. Jesse told many people at our church last Sunday, and I received sad tearful text messages for days. I’ve started telling a few of my piano families, and one woman broke down and told me that I had changed her son’s life by teaching him. Heavy stuff.
Not to mention our good friends, the Unruhs and the Folsoms. Not many days go by on this blog without one of these families being mentioned. While our lives got busy enough during this last year that we only saw them on the weekends (if that, at times!), it was something I always looked forward to. Our last parting when we all moved on from Biola was hard enough, and that was before we had kids together! I am very sad that Gregory will not grow up knowing his two godbrothers, Christopher and Jonathan.
Also, our MA degrees are not completely finished. This is a big one, but I think that it will work. It will have to. In fact, in many ways, it could work out better! We will be finishing our MA Thesis documents (all 45 pages worth!) from afar. We’ve already cleared this with our professors, who are elated for us to have this opportunity. I might even be taking an Intermediate Latin 2 class long distance, and the professor in charge has been more than supportive– in fact, he’s the one who first suggested it, before I could even tentatively ask if it was even possible! More than likely, writing our MA thesis documents would have been long-distance/correspondance anyways, even while being in Dallas, because Jesse works fulltime and I have Gregory. It won’t be much different, in that regard. In fact, we will have access to better libraries here in CA! We will probably have to fly back to Dallas to take our comp tests in January, but we were also given the option of setting things up with a proctor at another university.
There are also many loose ends that we have to tie up, including selling a car or two, selling most of our furniture, clearing some of Gregory’s health insurance bills (stupid audits…)…so I am overwhelmed. To put it lightly. But I’ve done it before, and I’m sure I will survive. My cousin, Heidi, has offered to fly out from Fresno to help me pack. Even if it doesn’t happen, the gesture reminded me once again of how family is always there when you need them.
Please keep us in your prayers. Please please please. This is all happening VERY fast (we move on the 14th of August!). While I had already planned my current vacation to California, long before this was ever in the works, it worked out well. Jesse and I will be meeting with the priest of the local Orthodox church tomorrow, just to discuss future plans and get to know him. My parents and I have been driving around town, checking out potential apartments (and, *gasp* houses! While many are suffering from the CA housing crash of 2008, it is becoming awfully tantalizing for people like us….). I found a nice apartment/condo that is a 5 minute walk from the school. Even though it is much less $ than what we are paying now, has a yard and washer/dryer connections, they have a no-pet policy….but something will come available. Something perfect for us.
How do I know? Because whenever I doubt as to whether this is the right move, God reminds me of His faithfulness. He opened EVERY door that we currently have available to us, with nearly ZERO effort on our part. I now know what people mean when they say, “If God wants it to happen, it will happen!” This choice was unfolded to us in such a way that it was undeniable. We’ve met with nearly universal support and encouragement. Before we can even formulate words for a need that we have, God works out the details ahead of time. It’s been rather incredible to witness.
As Jesse’s spiritual father, Metropolitan Jonah, put it, “You mean, they just handed you the job you’ve always wanted? In this economy? Near both sides of the family? That is a divine gift from God.”