When we first found out that we were going to move, I remember talking with one of my friends, who was also a client, while her color processed. She and her family had made a big move with her husband’s job, and were getting ready to move away again. I clearly remember her saying, “You will feel like everyone has died”. As you can imagine, that was super encouraging.
Thanks to social media, texting, and my parents moving with us, we didn’t feel totally alone, but it was a lonely time. Rather than lonely, I would say, I felt defeated.
I felt defeated, because I felt like maybe we had ruined our children’s lives, the younger two, anyway. Summer was like an extended vacation and then reality hit when school started.
When school started, it was quite overwhelming.
First, my kids did not know the Texas pledge of allegiance, which they have to say everyday. I’m not sure they even know it now. I think they just mumble along.
Then, they had to get used to “Sir” and “Ma’am”. It’s a great habit that I regret not teaching them earlier in life. We have had to reevaluate our Illinois, “Hey!” that we love so much (unless it’s followed by “y’all”).
Also, we’re pretty much allergic to the state of Texas for about 2 months of the year. Russ used ALL of his allowed absence days – maybe even went over (we will see). The last two weeks of March were rough. I was seriously worried about failing grades.
They did fine navigating the bigger school, tons of kids, and new routine. The hardest part was not knowing anyone. We knew people everywhere we went, back home. This was just so different.
My boys left some pretty great friends and family in IL. Literally, every time both boys came out of Sunday School at our new church, I asked, “Did you talk to anyone? Did anyone talk to you?” When they came out of school, “Did you hang out with anyone, where did you sit at lunch, were people nice to you?” They usually responded with, “Not really, but it’s okay, mom…” If they didn’t feel bad enough already, I made it worse.
Defeated is how I felt when my kids were angry, lonely, or nervous. I felt defeated when they missed their dad, because his schedule was the complete opposite of theirs. I felt defeated after dropping them off at school knowing they were miserable deep down inside. I felt defeated because, once again, they were home sick, and I didn’t know how to fix it. Many days, if both boys were actually in school, I felt like God had performed a small miracle in my life.
Through this year, especially the last couple of months, we have had some “little wins” that felt like “big victories”. They seem small to someone on the outside, but in this mom’s heart they are BIG, and this mom celebrates.
The first time that Russ came to the car after school, and he told me that someone saved a seat for him at lunch, I cried the whole way home. – Little win, big victory!
The first day Jono came home and use the phrase, “my friends and I”, I made him repeat what he had just said and then I called Derek just to tell him the phrase Jono had just used. – Little win, big victory.
I’m telling you this, because God has been so faithful to our family. These little wins have just been filling my mind and making me realize how big the victory really is.
Jono is ending this year with invitations to 2 birthday parties. His grades were great all year. He was the crocodile in “Peter Pan”. He earned a very special award for hard work. I know that sounds frivolous, but just a few months ago, I would not have imagined that happening. At his completion ceremonies today, we took pictures with a few of his teachers and his good friends, as they smiled and laughed together. Little wins, BIG victories.
Right now, Russ is trying to get in touch with his friend down the street so that they can play some basketball. He will be going to youth camp in New Mexico in June. He is playing in a basketball league this summer. He gets his permit very soon. He earned exemptions for his final exams (he didn’t fail 9th grade because of absence). Little wins, BIG victories!
What makes these victories so big, I think, is the defeat we experienced at first. We value these friendships, because we know how it is to be lonely. We value our time together as a family, because we know what it’s like to be apart. We value health, because of sickness. We value being a part of something, because we have felt lost.
Although defeat is not fun, I’ve realized our victories are much sweeter because of it. It’s ALL a part of God’s plan – the victory and defeat…