Hidden Blessings



Endings and Beginnings are a part of life. I know this. You know this. And yet it doesn't make those transitions any easier. There is always a bit of sadness at the end because the end requires a let go. And there is always a nervous anticipation at the beginning because there is uncertainty, but more importantly, there is hope.

And here I am at the place in between the two. Actually, here we are at that place in between the two. What I mean by this is that my family and I have decided to move back to Tucson. So here we are at the end of our two years in Flagstaff, and nearing the beginning of our return to Tucson. It's a bittersweet time, a bittersweet decision. 

We moved to Flagstaff with high hopes of this being the place we would call home for a long time to come because we love Flagstaff and think it's a great place to call home. And yet, our time here has been full of challenges we did not see coming. We took a risk moving here knowing that our funds would be less as Jason had just started his own business and the cost of living was higher. We really thought that by year two we would be able to get on our feet financially, but we have struggled to find solid ground. 

We have also bumped up against some challenges at home and with school with Liam. Liam has had a very hard third grade year. In fact, I would say it has completely sucked for all of us. He has hated this year of school, and has refused to go for most of it. And it all started with a teacher that just was not a good fit for him. I knew this the first week and tried to get a class change then. but we were asked to work it out with the teacher. I agreed, and we all tried to work it out.  

Add to this trying-to-make-things work business, the fact that Liam does have sensory integration issues (known as Sensory Processing "Disorder") and it's made for a most difficult and frustrating year. Fortunately, though, Liam has a bright mind and is doing well academically. And it is really Liam's high reading level that has saved him from having to repeat 3rd grade. And, thankfully, the school has really stepped up and is working with us to help Liam finish out this year.  

We have known that something was off with and for Liam for a while now, but I just thought he was an extra sensitive kid. That part is true, but now we know that there is more to that sensitivity than we thought or even knew until recently. Really, we are just learning what all this means.We are just learning what Sensory Processing "Disorder" is and how it affects Liam in his day to day life and the people around him. As you can see, I don't like the word "Disorder" because to me it implies that there is something wrong with Liam, and I don't view it that way at all. He just gets overwhelmed by all that goes on in school and in the world and his nervous system and brain just need extra help settling and organizing. 

Thankfully, we are on the road to somewhere as we have been seeing a wonderful family and child therapist here who has helped us find some direction forward. As we work on one thing, the sensory issues, we can then address the other issues like his separation anxiety and then the behavioral stuff. So our starting point is Occupational Therapy, and this week we started the O.T. sessions. We are hopeful that our O.T. sessions will help Liam and our family find our way back to balance. I am grateful to have finally found some help and direction with regard to Liam and how to get our family back on track because life at home has been chaotic and difficult, and we are all ready for that part to change. 

Because we have had all these challenges over these last two years, we realized that we really do need the support of family. We also realized that the financial stress was something that we could decrease just by deciding not to live in a place we really cannot afford. And with the news that our landlord was going to raise our rent in June and the knowledge that most 3 bedroom houses in town cost $1,400 or more a month, it didn't make much sense to keep looking because paying more is not an option right now.

At first read, this may all sound like our time here in the mountains has been a bad experience, but I don't see it that way at all. I could choose to look at the challenges and difficulties as problems or as bad, but I will not choose that. Instead, I aim to learn from this time and see the best in it rather than see our choice to move here as a mistake. 

Actually, what I see, as I have reflected on our time here, are a lot of blessings and opportunities that have been mixed into the fold of our time here in Flagstaff. I think our move to Flagstaff was exactly what we needed and was most certainly a stepping stone in our journey.  

Let me explain...

What our time in Flagstaff has gifted us with is clarity on where my family and I need to work, where it is that we need to focus our energy and attention,  and who can help us. It has also shown us that we can make things better by making choices that will support our desire to create harmony in our lives. But more importantly, our time in Flagstaff has shown us how important family is. I knew this, but choosing this means we are willing to do the work required to create peace in our lives. We are willing to make changes in order to change things. 

As for school...

Our difficulty this year at school may also appear as a "bad" experience at first glance, but this experience too has offered us more opportunities to learn and grow. I'm not saying that it hasn't been hard or been a total pain because it has. What I am saying is that I have learned a lot during this time whether I wanted to or not. There the lessons were, lined up waiting for me, for us, nonetheless.  

From this 3rd grade year, I have learned a lot. I have learned that I have to be an advocate for my children. And this year taught me exactly what being an advocate means, and how to be a good advocate at that. I've learned how to make sure that Liam is getting the support and help and opportunities that he deserves in order to thrive in school and in life. I've also learned that sometimes being agreeable is just not worth it. If you know something is not a good fit for your child, don't agree to it.Trust your gut, and say no thank you when you need to. 

And as this 3rd grade year comes to a close, I am grateful for all we have learned. At least I will leave this experience armed with a new knowledge and awareness on how to support both my son and daughter in school as we go on. At least now we have a better understanding of what our children need in a school and what we need to look for in a school and teacher to help them flourish and grow in a happy, healthy way. As I see it, school should be an encouraging environment, one that aims to nurture a child's natural love of learning and allows them the to be kids, not little adults. I want my children to enjoy their school years, to enjoy this time in their lives, not dread it, so Jason and I will work hard to find the right place for Liam and Lila.

It has been a long process toward progress and we still have a long way to go, but at least we are getting somewhere. And, even though,  progress and change have been slow, it's been worth the effort. 

So here we are at the end and the beginning, that bittersweet place in the middle. I am sad to leave the trees, the seasons, our sweet, quiet neighborhood, and all the beautiful people that we have met and befriended while here in Flagstaff. We have met some wonderful people here, and I will miss them. I will also miss the Yoga Experience community and the students that became a part of my life and time here. For me, the people are by far the best part of teaching and the reason why I teach in the first place. I'm fortunate to get to meet so many amazing people through the line of work I do. 

New friendships and connections have been forged and this is not goodbye, this is a see-you-down-the-road-friends kind of thing because we will come back for visits. And perhaps folks from Flagstaff will come down to the desert to visit, too. 

As we let go and say thank you for our time here in Flagstaff, I give thanks for all the blessings and hard won insights. I look forward to our move and give thanks for the beautiful Tucson community that is already welcoming us back.We are fortunate to have friends and family in Tucson and strong community ties.We are fortunate in so many ways, and on days when I feel shaky or full of doubt, I will remind myself of that.

So thank you dear Flagstaff friends and Tucson friends for filling mine and my family's life in so many ways. The threads of connection are evident and will continue to strengthen.To all the blessings and lessons that await, I give thanks. 

May the next couple of months be totally enjoyable and the move and changes ahead be smooth. 

Blessings and Thanks,
Marcia


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