Feels Like Home

Monday, September 23, 2019

I'm so glad we made it.

I picked Ava up from school today, just like every other school day... except, today was different. As we walked backed to my car, Liam in his stroller, Olivia hand + hand with her sister, Ava could not stop talking about art and how excited she was. We got in the car, I asked her to slow down and explain -- she gave me her backpack. Inside was a neon colored permission slip with information about a 1st grade art club. If you know our oldest, you know she loves art! So naturally, I could tell why she was so lit up. I started reading through the logistics and apparently this is a very popular club. It is a first come first serve type of club and anything after the available slots will be waitlisted. I called Justin shortly after reading the info and confirmed that he was on board, and then we went right back to Ava's school to hand the permission slip in (no way was I chancing a waitlist for this kiddo).

We walked inside her school and were immediately greeted with familiar faces from last year. The receptionist, playground teacher, and even the nurse. We turned in the permission slip, talked about the art club a bit, and headed to the office door to exit. As we were leaving, I heard, "HOWLAND!" real loud and we turned around to see that it was indeed Ms. Christy (attendance office). We started having a conversation about Ava's extended absence this fall (trip to New York) that was approved by the principal and her teacher, series of bee stings going around their school, and the "big chops" two formerly long haired boys had coming into first grade this year. As we left, we laughed once more, Ms. Christy waved goodbye to all three babies, and we headed back to our car. While we were walking, Ava said, "I love this school." I stopped in my tracks, smiled a big smile, and I replied with, "So do I baby." Truthfully, I never thought we'd get to this point. Not here. For the last eight months we have been waiting for this school to feel somewhat similar to what we had in Texas. Month after month, it just didn't happen. I'd make comments about the condition of the school, the lack of connection we had with staff, and I even made TWO attempts to waiver Ava into a different district. A "better" district ... our plan for moving back to Washington included a different city, our preferred district, and a freeway commute for Justin. I know thats probably a huge reason as to why I didn't feel connected to where we actually ended up. I spent months doing the research on a different area, getting comfortable with that area -- only to end up here. But you know, I tried to keep hold of the positives. We were making due and that was fine... and then today happened.

I realized, inevitably, I had already made connections and interactions with people, who are quite literally watching my children grow -- the same school community that has continuously watched me shuffle my toddler, infant, and school aged child into those school doors for a variety of events. Maybe I already had this figured out subconsciously? I signed up to volunteer at school this year without hesitation and not only because I want to aid in the success/experiences of my girl. I want to assist in the success and experiences of her peers as well. A concept I didn't warm up too quickly enough last year.

It feels good that things feel like home, in the place that I've always called home. A huge part of being a military family means that we are constantly trying to adapt when we move... I thought moving back home would be natural for me because this is where I grew up. Even that was wrong. I was so sad about a lot of the things we had to give up with this move... dare I say I even felt guilty? Uprooting your child from a really, really awesome structure is never preferred but I think those days of guilt and missing what we had have finally come to a close. It took us nearly 3/4 of a year to make it happen... but it happened. Here's to relishing in what we have, now.

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