An End and a New Beginning

6 months since my last entry.  Shame on me.  During those six months Team Hilliard has been living life at warp speed with some very significant changes going from mere thoughts to reality.  Reality that is going to take shape in a number of days.

Have you ever felt the need for change?  Have you ever felt as though something was missing?  Something you once captured was no longer there?  That’s what 2013 brought our way.  We were getting antsy, we were getting stagnant, we were getting complacent.  We needed something but we weren’t sure what it was.

Matthew adjusted to his new school in a way I could have never hoped for nor imagined. He shone so brightly this year.  He grew, he learned, he advanced and he matured.  His school year was amazing.  So amazing, in fact, that he ended the year on an academic high.  Honours.  Not that I didn’t think he couldn’t succeed academically on this level, I just really always focused on making sure he understood and grasped the material he was learning and anything over and above that was bonus.  Bonus, indeed.  Watching him and the other students enter the gymnasium the night of the banquet filled with me a pride that brought me to tears.  All the nights of trying to help him understand math problems, all the tears shed encouraging him to read, thinking of every trick I could to teach him to spell; every one of those times came crashing back to my mind as he walked up on that stage to receive his Honours Certificate.  “Only” a piece of paper according to him.  A milestone according to me.  What a phenomenal way to finish up his junior high school years.  What a contrast from the beginning only 3 short years ago.

We found ourself back into transition mode before we knew it.  Grade 10 meant a new school.  High school.  Reflecting back to his grade 6 to grade 7 transition we knew we had to make sure the move was done carefully and adequately this time to ensure his comfort and alleviate any unnecessary stress.  We certainly didn’t want a repeat of our summer only three short years ago.

Meeting with the transition team from his current school, they assured us all necessary steps would be taken to make sure that we felt comfortable with Matthew’s move.  School board officials and school staff were on-board and were willing to do whatever needed to be done to make the move happen seamlessly.  After careful consideration of what each of the three high schools had to offer and after speaking with administration and staff who all offered their opinions as to what school best fit Matthew’s needs we decided to go visit one of the schools.  After meeting with the grade 10 teacher at the new school we realized very quickly that yes, this is the place for Matthew.  However, it was not quite that said-and-done.  Another meeting with the new transition team, accompanied by Matthew’s current teacher, provided us with the reassurance we were looking for.  Now to see how Matthew feels.

A lengthy process of introducing him to his new school began.  First, a brief visit and introduction which consisted of a tour through the school and the initial meeting with his new teacher.  Mike accompanied him to this and was pleased with the positive response he received from Matt.  So far, so good.  Next Matthew would be spending half a day in his new classroom setting with a TA from his current school.  This would let him see the class in progress, get used to his surrounding, hear what the bell sounds like, find out what entrance and exits he would use and live the high school scene on an introductory level.  The following week gave Matthew a full day test run at the school, again accompanied by a TA.  It was a long day for him with a lot to digest but he coped wonderfully.  Both Mike and I felt quite confident with our decision and Matt seemed satisfied with his new environment.  A final “touch base” will be done in September prior to classes resuming.

Adamant that we would not see him in turmoil over this transition we are satisfied that everything that had to be done was done.  All who needed to be there to support him through the transition did so in exactly the ways he needed.  I honestly believe September will come and go and Matthew will ease into his new environment wonderfully.

Speaking of new environments, I opened this entry speaking of a need for change.  Well, change doesn’t happen by sitting on your butt and being complacent.  If you want change, if you need change, you have to do something about it.  That can be scary at times, especially with the type of change we were contemplating.

Due to circumstances beyond our control called life, Mike and I felt it was time for our family to change.  It was time for us to offer help to a person who has done nothing but help us all her life.  Mike’s Mom, like many seniors, has been feeling the burden of rising  costs on everything except pension cheques.   So after many lengthy discussions and lots of thinking on our part we decided we needed to do whatever we could to make life a little easier for her, which in turn would bring peace of mind to us.  We decided to sell our home, look for something bigger and have her move in with us.

January through March saw us getting acquainted with the real estate market and wrapping our heads around what we were about to do.  All the pros, the cons and everything in between.  We kept quiet, for the most part, about our plans, only telling our parents and my sister.  We didn’t need a whole lot of outside influence at this point as we wanted to be sure that what we were embarking on was right for our family.  This was certainly nothing to take lightly as it was going to impact our lives in a way that we never experienced before.  We had to think about the boys, about us, about all of us collectively, about Mike’s Mom and even about our pets.  The dynamics of our family were about to change dramatically and it certainly wasn’t an easy decision or one we could just jump into.  We started looking at homes, we thought about building, we talked and talked and talked.  Building a new home quickly became a passing thought as it was a road we didn’t want to travel.  Perhaps if we had land and a sale for our current home, the timelines would have worked better for us, but that wasn’t the case.  And honestly, I just didn’t want that headache at this point in my life.  I know we would have gotten exactly what we were looking for, but at what cost?  What time frame?  Hopefully there would be a home out there that would suit our needs and give us most of what we were looking for in this move.  Viewing homes became a weekly occurrence for us.

The end of March saw the For Sale sign go on our lawn.  Talk about bitter-sweet.  This home, my home, was now for sale.  The home my Daddy built.  The home I grew up in.  The neighbourhood I returned to so I could raise my children the same way I was raised. It’s difficult to put into words what this all meant to me.  Matthew grew up here.  Marcus came home from the hospital to this home.  My family is all around me here.  Our little hidden-away neighbourhood is one of a kind.  It’s an old-fashioned way of living where the kids are outside playing all the time.  They could be in my yard or a yard half the neighbourhood away.  You knew as long as your kids were outside, they were safe.  They were treated the same way at someone else’s home as they would be at our home.  If they misbehaved, they were sent home; if someone fell and skinned their knee, the closest parent would fix it up.  The kids played through the entire neighbourhood and they knew every person at every house.  It’s a special place.  Unique in today’s world.  Those surroundings we’d certainly not find again – not easily anyway.

A few weeks after we listed our home we had had quite a few showings but no real bites as yet.  On a whim I was on-line looking at homes when one in particular caught my eye.  After looking at it I messaged Mike to have a  look.  He had already looked at it but wouldn’t even suggest it to me as it was more rural than we had talked about.  I loved it though and I wanted to see it.  I was on a mission.  Am I out of my mind???  It’s “the country”!! I can’t live in the country!  I’ve lived in the city my entire life.  Yes, I know I spent time over the years at the cabin, but that’s different.  That’s not all year round.  What about the winter?  What about school for the boys?  What about when Mike is working?  Geez Louise……….

There’s no way this is ever going to happen. I don’t know why we are even bothering, but something was just drawing me to this beautiful log home overlooking the Mira River.  Mike and I took a drive out the evening before we were to view it to make sure we knew where it was.  As we drove up the country lane way, we saw the owners out in their yard burning twigs.  We couldn’t very well turn around and leave at that point.  I rolled down the window and introduced us as the people coming to look at their home tomorrow.  What a shock and surprise when we realized the home actually belonged to someone we knew!!  Matthew’s grade 4 teacher owned this amazingly beautiful home that he built himself.  I can remember Matthew saying that his teacher brought in pictures of his yard and how beautiful it was.  Matthew loved it from the pictures alone.  And now I understood why.  He invited us to walk the grounds with him and we jumped at the opportunity.  We spoke about Matthew, we spoke of our plans and intentions and we spoke of the property and the home.  By the time we got back into the van I would have bought the house right then and there just based on seeing the yard.  What an immaculate property.  So quiet, so serene, so…perfect.  I knew no matter how many other homes we would look at, even not seeing the inside of this one yet, my heart had a sold sign hanging around it.

Needless to say we were not disappointed the following day after the viewing.  I could so see our boys here.  And Mike’s Mom would be in her glory surrounded by trees, plants, flowers and “country”, with a breeze that only the Mira River could deliver.  The basement wasn’t exactly what we had hoped as there was no kitchen for her but we quickly realized the redundancy of thinking we had to have two stoves and two fridges running in the first place.  We had to cook and eat anyway, and we’d have more than enough room in the dining room, so we talked with her about joining us for meals.  It will be no problem to set up a space in her suite for a small fridge, cupboards and the like so she can still have all her snacks and small items at her fingertips, she just won’t have to worry about her meals as she can join us for that.  Awesome.  In return she could share the shower with us.  The jet tub upstairs will be nice but at times nothing beats a shower, so if she wouldn’t mind sharing her bathroom with us for that, we could work past that, as well.

Mike and I talked and talked and talked.  We showed the pictures to Mike’s Mom and she fell in love immediately.  We talked to my parent’s and my sister.  Were we going after something we had no business going after?  We were dreaming too big?  We still didn’t even sell our home yet.  We continued trying to talk ourselves out of it until we were blue in the face but we were so drawn.  It had absolutely everything Matthew had on his “Wish List” {lots of trees, a big yard, a fish pond, gardens, flowers, a ‘real’ garage, a big bedroom and close to water}.  It’s like he wrote his list with this place in mind.  Kinda spooky actually.  And here it is.  We found it.  17 minutes away from my work, and about 23 minutes away for Mike.  Not much for most people but we are used to being to “down town” within 5 minutes of leaving home.  17 minutes away is pretty rural…lol.

After a few days we decided we wanted to make an offer – but it had to be conditional on selling our home.  Long story short, our offer was accepted and almost two months later we sold our home.  It was an emotionally draining couple of months.  The boys knew nothing.  We didn’t say anything to our extended families.  We couldn’t.  We couldn’t risk Matthew finding out for fear that the sale could still very easily fall through.  It was nerve-racking.  I wanted so much to share with him my excitement.  I wanted to show him what could be ours very soon, but I couldn’t.  On the off chance that something awful happened I couldn’t give him his Wish List and then have to tear it away from him.  It would be upsetting enough for Mike and I if the offer fell short; we couldn’t do that to the boys.

The day the SOLD sign was placed on our property Matthew elevated to another level of anxious about where we were going.  It was time.  We took him in the van and went for a drive.  a drive to our new home.  Although he was only able to view it from inside the van he saw enough to know that he loved it immediately.  He was free to go home and share our news.  We were moving to the country.  When we were able to take the rest of the family for a viewing it was clear we made the perfect choice.  Not the easiest choice for sure, but a choice that we feel very confident and comfortable with.

Leaving here won’t be easy.  Like I said, this is my home.  My community.  The community where Mike has been a volunteer firefighter for almost 23 years and Matthew has also started his own career in the fire service here as a junior ff.  Unfortunately, because of the distance, they are going to have to hang their helmets with GLRVFD.  That makes me sad.  That’s an end of an era for Mike.  So many years, so much work, so many wonderful people.  An end and a beginning.  Sad yet exciting.  Such a multitude of feelings.

Whether or not we’re doing the right thing, who knows??  We’re doing it, regardless.  We’ll make new memories, new beginnings, new ways.  It’ll have rough patches, I’m sure.  I expect that.  There will be growing pains, naturally.  But you know what?  If we didn’t jump, we’d never know.  So yes, I’m glad we took the leap of faith in each other and in our family to think we could achieve something like this.  I’m going to miss it here but I am going to love our new home and all the wonderful times that await us.

This will be a summer of change rolling right into the autumn while watching the leaves change as my big boy goes off to high school and little Moo starts elementary.  We’ll be changing right along with the seasons.

We have 10 days to go.  Wish us luck and stay tuned, I’m sure we’ll have some great new adventure to share in the upcoming months.

Until next time…

About angeloftheisland

Welcome to An Angel’s Island. I’m Tracey (aka angeloftheisland). I’m also Mom to 19 year old Matthew who constantly keeps me on my toes. He’s our “special” boy who shows us daily how he deals with the world of ADHD, a Nonverbal Learning Disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome. He’s my hero. Marcus is 8 and reminds me everyday that he’s in no way going to make the school years boring for his Dad and me!! I’m also wife to Mike for 25 years now. Mike is my best friend and soul-mate and he has showed me over the years, that yes – dreams do come true. Our life may not be the most exciting but there’s always something going on. Welcome to our Happy Place, newly renamed Hilliard's Happy Hideaway. I hope you enjoy what I’ve shared about our family.
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1 Response to An End and a New Beginning

  1. Tanya Savko says:

    And you will have each other! I had to sell my beloved home last year, and I know how hard it is. I hope the transition goes well for all of you.


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