There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind
See, I've decided to move to Nashville.
The end. Goodbye.
OK, maybe some explanation is required.
A few months ago I had a door open that started stirring something in my heart. I got an internship at this amazing little museum and botanical garden called Cheekwood. I actually fell in love with the place last summer when I was visiting my sister. It's really beautiful and they have some very exciting projects underway. This summer the whole grounds have been taken over by Bruce Munro's Light exhibit. If you're in the area, you should definitely check it out.
I felt inspired being on those grounds and started daydreaming about working there. So I decided to go out on a limb and apply for a summer internship. To my surprise, I got it. I will be teaching art in their summer camps as an assistant. Essentially I will be doing what I've been doing for the last five years but with the bonus of having access to the gardens. As I was talking to the woman interviewing me she mentioned that several of the people working in the arts education department had interned for several seasons before they were hired. I knew that this was definitely a place that I could see myself working long term. So this information set off a trigger in my mind: if I could get to Nashville I could continue interning through the next year while I finish school. I decided to begin the process of transferring to Belmont University. I wasn't sure if I'd get in. I'm half way through my junior year. I decided that if I didn't get in, then it wasn't meant to be. Well, I got in. Then I had a problem.
I think a part of me was hoping that I wouldn't be accepted. Then I wouldn't be faced with making this monumental decision. I now had two doors open in a city where I would have family and friends nearby. And even if Cheekwood doesn't work out, Nashville is full of opportunities in the arts. So being there would give me a year to network before starting an active job search. But our life is here, in Matthews. My kids go to school here. I currently have a job that I love here. The kids friends are here, good friends who they love. My boy is thriving in band and in his middle school. We love our elementary school. Sicily's gym is here. The girls dance here. We love our church here. Everything is here. And a major factor: their dad is here. Even as I type all of this I know that it seems crazy to leave an established life and complicate a already complicated situation.
I struggled for weeks to make this decision. I prayed hard. I sought advice from dear friends. In the end, everything and everyone said it was time to go. Even the major factor I mentioned above, Steven, gave his support and encouragement. All arrows were pointing West. In my heart I knew it was time. It's the scariest decision I've ever made because it doesn't just affect me. This decision will have a major impact on the three people I care most about in this world. If I'm making the wrong decision here, then I'm taking them down with me. I've never made a major life decision like this on my own. I've had a partner to help make these decisions since I was 18. If we failed, we failed together. This time, if I fail, I fail alone. There's something incredibly terrifying about that.
Everyone's first question is how did the kids take the news. The short answer is that they all responded differently. Sicily laughed, because that's what she does in awkward situations. She did the same thing when Steven and I told her we were getting a divorce. Analiese threw herself on the ground and cried. She fits into theater naturally. Chris retreated into himself because that's what he does in difficult situations. Over the course of the weeks after I told them,though, they've become supportive. They are still sad to leave behind their lives here, but they seem to understand why we're going. The boy in particular has been encouraging. Oh he's definitely mad some days and he doesn't want to go. But he has said things that let me know that he sees the bigger picture. He's an old soul. I don't doubt that the transition will be hard for them. I think I'll see their real responses when we get there, but I think they'll be OK. I hope.
I've nearly chickened out several times this week. I've shed a lot of tears and had a few meltdowns as I pack. I'm coming off of a great performance with the studio. If I could pack up the studio and bring it with me I would. I knew it would be the hardest thing to let go of. I have had immense creative freedom there. I don't know that I'll ever have that again. We're also coming to the end of the year. The kids are preparing for end of the year traditions at their schools, traditions that we've come to love. We have two weeks left here. I'm starting to say good-bye to dear friends who I don't want to leave. But it's time to go. Not only are doors opening presenting new, exciting opportunities. Not only do I have family there who I'm very excited to be close to. But this is my fresh start. I need that more than I often admit. The last three years have been a personal nightmare. I've lost a lot. I've cried a lot. I've had my heart broken. And I can't seem to move on here. So I'm literally moving on. Is it the right move? Honestly? I don't know for sure, but it feels right. It's a leap of faith.
And so we begin a new chapter in this book. I'm going to call it Nashville. Stay with me. A new story is beginning. Let's turn the page, shall we?....