A year ago we made the difficult decision to move N. and me back up to the Great White North. For health reasons, for safety reasons, for financial reasons, for sanity reasons, I wanted to be in a place where health care is secure, schools are safe, and family support was close by.
I spent four months apart from Hubby, including the majority of N.'s first month at school. The end of the year meant he was home, applying for positions and working on papers, and then this contract for a sabbatical replacement came. I embraced wholeheartedly my role as stay at home mother while he went out west on a very short term contract, keeping N. happy and reassured that Daddy will be coming home. Nightly Skype, cards and letters, and sending his very special stuffed animals to keep Daddy company helped, but some days are more than tough.
N. would often ask when Daddy was coming, wanting a countdown... in an effort to distract, we came up with countless things to do together - we even worked together on his first sewing project, choosing fabric of his own to make a big stuffed pig that he called the "Daddy-Pig". When he missed Daddy he could hug Daddy-Pig, and many bedtime snuggles ended with a sad-faced boy squeezing that toy for all it was worth. Things got even harder for me as time went on, when N. stopped pestering every day for an answer to "When's Daddy coming home?", and seemed to accept our lot for the time being. Hubby also missed a host of family birthdays, including mine and N.'s, but we've done our best to keep our heads up and spirits high.
And, a reprieve of sorts has come through.
The person Hubby replaced this semester decided fairly last-minute that he wouldn't be returning. Which means for the time being, Hubby has a 14-month extension; proper job posting requires procedure and time, neither of which they had to nail things down for the 2014/15 year. It means more courses to teach, more committees to sit on, and more responsibilities. And hopefully a chance to prove beyond a doubt that he's a huge asset to the department and that he should stay permanently.
What does this mean for us?
Operation Bug-Out 2014.
So many good things. So many bad things. So. Many. Feels. GAH.
My goal in coming here was to keep N. in *one* school for the year, which we did. He's happy and thriving, but the play-date ethos around here is different. Aside from the occasional birthday party or school function, there's not much to do evenings and weekends; the boys in the neighborhood are older, and clique-ish, and N. doesn't seem to have any interest in breaking through. But, N.'s happy and well adjusted, loves visiting my brother and SIL, loves when his cousins come for the weekend, and doesn't seem to be wanting for anything, except Daddy.
This new contract means a full school year in a GREAT city, with Daddy to have breakfast waffles with, and to read bedtime stories with and help with homework. My aunt is two hours away, which is amazing - she moved out west 40 years ago, and we see her so seldom. My cousins are both in the area, and one has two little ones, a boy very close to N.'s age and a little girl two years younger. It's a chance to spend some time with them and get to know them better (my aunt is a kindred crafting spirit, but that's for another post).
I'm ready, I think; in terms of the move, it's just details at this point. Most of our things from last year are in storage, and 80% of the prep is just re-sealing boxes that we fished through for our base needs. A little bit of new clothing, books, and toys need to be organized, along with some fabric and yarn that found its way to me (of course), but the rest is there. We're not crossing the border, health coverage transfers seamlessly between provinces, and the move comes at the end of the school year rather than the middle. Easy-peasy.
It also means leaving behind the people we love for the next adventure. I don't think I'll ever be ready for that. The amazing blessing of having N. live with and truly get to know his family here for an extended time means it'll be orders of magnitude more difficult to leave. But, I'd much rather have the kind of family and friends that it hurts to leave behind. The year has been hard for me, leaving behind so many people in the US, and now I leave another chunk behind here.
I said to some friends that I had gained a great deal of sympathy for Voldemort in the past few years, with my soul split into pieces and scattered across miles. I also know that it's nearly impossible to gather every piece into one place and stick them back together again.... I'm looking forward to at least getting the nucleus back in the same space, and I'll figure the rest out...