Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Rollercoaster, Baby Baby

Okay. So here's the update. Origonaly, the plan was for all of us to move to Aspen. Even though Tom and I had split up, he had agreed to move here so I could pursue my dream, and he might find his.

About May of last year, I realized it was not going to happen. Tom and I talked a lot about what this meant, because I have given my word to people that I was moving here, my sponsors expected me to start the season here in Aspen, the Ski Co and lots of individuals in it have been incredible for the last two years, giving me places to stay and food to eat, lift tickets, and putting me in training, all with the understanding that I was going to come and work here. This move has been two years in the making.

We reached an agreement that I would do the unthinkable and move here for the ski season. After all, it would just be one season, and the boys would come down to me one week out of every four. Tom was going to refinance the house so I’d have money to move, and we’d have money to send the kids down.

This was far from ideal, but I also didn’t want to push Tom into a place where he was uncomfortable and make him move through life faster than he was capable of. My kids mean everything to me, and I knew (and know) that the life I can give them here will be beautiful for all of us.

So I found an affordable place to live four minutes from the school, I passed my Level 3 so I could teach on Aspen Mountain, live in the school district and have no commute. This way I’m off the mountain at 3:30 and home with the boys in five minutes.

I got a room mate on the ranch here, and we were all set to go. Erica agreed my kids could visit often, the price was right, the location perfect. Erica went to India where she studies yoga, and I got set to come to Colorado.

With five days to go, things changed, and I was suddenly going to take the kids with me, which would be challenging, but really preferable to me anyway. So I called my room mate and told her that was the case, and she needed then to find a new room mate, and I needed to find a new place to live.

But I'd paid her for one month in this one bedroom, (her apartment while she's in India), so I was just going to bring the kids down here and do my best to find another place. We circled the wagons, I sent out emails to friends here in Aspen, and everyone started looking for a place that would be suitable for us.

I was concerned about the abrupt move, although Ethan, that little champ, was game for it. I talked to my mom, who offered to come to Bozeman two weeks out of every month and be with the kids till June when they would come to live with me. They would still come and visit. Mom’s concern was pulling the kids out of school so abruptly, and I wasn’t sure what was right to do.
I did feel like if I could get down here first and find a place to live, it would be easier on the kids to join me at Christmas at a natural break during school, or in June depending on my housing situation and how the boys were doing.

Ethan was sad not to come, “That SUCKs, mom.” But he understood, and is excited to see his grandma. So the new plan was that I'd come down here, and she'd go up there, and I'd find a place that was suitable, and the kids would probably come at Christmas.

Ironically, I talked with a couple of therapists and counselors, who I won’t name, all of whom told me, “You should have taken the kids. They need to be with you. Kids adjust to abrupt change better than they do living in limbo.” But I was trying to help Tom in his difficult situation and make the transition just a tad smoother for the boys.

So I came down here, and I started working on all the things I'd need to do to have the kids here. I needed to have a suitable house for them, much more expensive, and because housing is scarse in Aspen, I needed to do it now, or we'd end up living down valley. One of the major reasons I worked so hard to pass my Level 3 was so I could teach in town, and we could then live in town, and we'd be in the Aspen School District. Also, I want to be close to the school so there is no commute, so I can be home by four to be with the boys.

This threw another interesting issue into the picture. I have two spa jobs that I was planning on working at night when the kids were not with me, so I could bank some money, as I have no access any funds, so I'm starting from scratch.

On that note, the next thing I did was begin researching the social help available, food stamps and whatnot to help us get through until I had a little momentum at my three well paying jobs.

So I then needed a room mate, because I can't afford the house I found (right here on the ranch! 3 bedrooms!) by myself, but I wanted someone who would be a good influence on the boys, who we all got along with, who had the same ideas about parenting as I do, and someone who might trade for some babysitting so that I could go to the MA training or to the Spa jobs a few nights a week.

My mom seriously considered moving here, and she started looking into all she'd have to do to uproot her life, and my friend Alisa decided to come right now.

So I once again emailed Erica, and told her I wouldn’t be living with her, she started looking for a new room mate, and I went and met with the Elementary school, got enrollment papers, made an appointment with the Principal, met with a teacher who told me all about how the schools are, and so on.

I spent a week getting the ducks in a row so that the kids could come here and transition smoothly. I set it up with the kids programs for the boys to have ski passes and be able to take lessons, which I’d be able to take them to. I set up babysitting at home, and fun weekly sessions at the Treehouse here in Snowmass. I looked into the employee discount at the ARC where they do swim lessons and have a full sheet of ice and a lazy river (across the street from the school).

I did a LOT of legwork. And then I realized that if I went up and moved furniture down at Thanksgiving and the kids joined me at Christmas, they’d miss their stuff and feel like limbo.

I talked to my counselor and my mom, and we realized that I’m not slammed busy until Christmas, and if they come down at Thanksgiving, I’ll have a full month to spend a lot of extra time getting them integrated, and showing them around.

I mentioned this to Tom, and suddenly the boys are not coming out to me till June if ever. Which was not our agreement at all. In this five minutes, there is another, new plan, completely different from the old plan.

The next day, the plan changed again. This roller coaster seems never ending and I have to tell you that its exhausting. I just want to play with my kids and love them and take them to school, go to my job which I love, take them skiing, play with them outside, and make em dinner and do homework and snuggle em before bed.

So we are at a place that is unsure. I do know, however, that everything is in place. And when they get here (and Bodhi’s been all, “Mom, I can’t wait to ski with you this winter! I want to ski! I want to go to Bridger Bowl!”) Did I mention that the huge back yard has a giant hill for the kids to sled down? And a pond to skate on? Like 30 feet from the door?

Anyway. That’s whats been going on, that’s why things are so insane. And I want to say thank you for all the amazing emails I’m getting from all over the country, people telling me that they are inspired by my choices, that the kids are lucky to have me as a mom. I’m grateful for your support during this very difficult time!!

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