I Can Do Hard Things?

Maybe a year ago my husband started talking about moving us to Puerto Rico. It started as little conversations over dinner, here and there a mention…just dreaming. Then, one day I realized . . . OMG. . . he’s serious.

I was instantly mad. I pitched a fit. I had a 3 day tantrum. I didn’t yell at him, but I did not hide my anger and sadness. For 3 days I barely slept. I thought of nothing else. I thought about all the wonderful things we would be giving up. I love Denver! I love having four seasons. I love the kids’ school. I love our home. We have some really great, close friends. Mostly, I love the comfort of knowing where I am, where my things and people are, and where to find what I want. I love what I know. I do not like, not knowing.

It was a potentially lucrative financial decision on his part, and I understood that. He is the financial provider of this family. He works hard to do a LOT for us and if this would allow him to do what he wanted, I should be supportive. This is why I was mad. I didn’t WANT to be supportive, but I knew I needed to be. I didn’t want to be a dead weight sourpuss that sucked all the air out of his sails. I knew, deep down, almost instantly, that my objection was that it would take guts. I didn’t want to have guts. It would make me, US, uncomfortable, and I don’t like being uncomfortable. This however, was not reason enough to squash his dream.

It also COULD be, “the greatest adventure of our lives”.

On the 4th day, I came to him in the quiet of morning, before the kids were up, and said (through tears), “You are the leader of this family. If you want to go, we go. But I want to see it. You have to take us there.” He nodded his thanks and we found a week in our schedule to make the not so easy trip.

The kids also did not want to move there but were happy to be going on a trip. Izak fell in love with the surfing and wildlife and Nadia was happy to be in water (pool or ocean) all day long. The community was super welcoming and every box was getting checked off as the week progressed. We even looked at houses. I became more and more resigned to the fact that we would in fact be moving here. I envisioned us there, how it would look, what our lives would look like. I talked to God a lot. I truly let go and let things fall as they may. I somehow found a little comfort in knowing, God has a plan, and I do not get to be in control all the time. We talk about this, but when your life is facing a big flip like this, it is difficult to do. And I will say, I did it. I didn’t really have a choice, but I did it.

On the last night, Ali had a business meeting and Izak sat and listened through the whole thing, while drinking tea. He was engaged and listening and suntanned… All of the sudden he came to me, nestled into me and cried, “I don’t want to move here!” I pulled him away from the meeting and took him outside. We talked about the scary nature of this proposition. This kid has slept in the same bedroom his whole life. He is not a fan of change. A little part of me was excited for this challenge. I KNOW that kids need to learn that they CAN DO HARD THINGS and the only way to learn this is by doing hard things. This would be his chance to learn how strong and tough he really is.

To make a long story short, Ali loves his work and those he helps by doing it. It turns out that he would not be able to serve his clients to the level he wants to serve them, from there.

Praise Jesus!

I felt like I had been tested, and passed the test. I have had talks with Izak about being able to look back on a difficult situation or time, and being able to be proud of the way you handled it. When I was having my pity party, this is why I was mad. Because I knew the woman I want to be, the woman my husband deserves, is encouraging. Agreeable, at least. Not selfish. I knew the woman I want to be, would be supportive. . . a lifter up of his dreams, not a dead weight. And the selfish part of me wanted to stick my heels in the ground and DRAG until I wore him out.

Izak has spent very little time away from us, unless with close friends or family. Because of Covid and chance, he ended up having TWO week long sleep away camps this summer. He dreaded the first, and didn’t make it the whole week before I had to go get him. Honestly, I wasn’t sad about it. We missed him too! He is soon heading to the second, and he has been “dragging his heels” about it. We had a great talk today about attitude and how it helps our mood. It is OK to be uncomfortable. It is ok to be scared, nervous, fearful… but he is going either way. So he can choose to go with a hopeful attitude, or a poopy one. I do think he is choosing hope.

These tests in life are opportunities. They don’t come around often, hopefully. But each time we survive something scary, we gain confidence for the next attack. The next time you are facing something scary or uncomfortable, consider handling it in such a way that you will be able to look back on it and feel proud of how you handled yourself. And maybe remind yourself throughout it, “I can do hard things.”

This Will Never Happen Again

We are in a unique situation right now. Never in our lifetimes have we been forced to seclude ourselves from “unnecessary” work, activities and socializing. We have been hearing for years about how we should get our noses out of our phones and in front of each other, and now, we’re being forced to do the opposite. And we’re sad about it.

Before Denver ratcheted up our “social distancing” a close PA friend of mine treated a woman who they then tested for COVID-19. My friend self-quarantined for 3 days while waiting for the results. She is a lot like me. Social. Type A. She had her house cleaned (which was already clean) in the first 3 hours. She panicked, “What am I going to do if I have to be here for 2 weeks?!”

Talking to her on the phone I felt a pang of jealousy at the thought of it. I will admit, I’ve been known to be bummed I don’t get sick more often for the excuse it provides me to BE STILL.

I know. I can’t believe I just admitted that to you.

Truth is, I think facing the possibility through my friend put me in a different mindset by the time our orders came to sit still. I embraced it with a little more giddy than I should admit. I looked forward to a discomfort level that would make me use the word “bored”. (A bad word in my house growing up.) I wanted to be sick of my kids. I was excited to see how long I could go without going to the grocery store. This is big for a woman who normally goes daily. I thought it would be kind of fun to be down to the canned goods and an empty freezer… be a little bit miserable for some reason.

My husband is a financial planner. The kind who really cares about each and every one of his clients. So watching the daily plummet has been a little bit like hell for him. He was supposed to have back surgery, which of course has been cancelled, and he was fighting a cold or allergies bad enough to make even the happiest guy miserable. He’s an annoyingly happy guy by nature. Not even all this could prevent him from smiling and loving on us all like the strong, happy, loving man he is when things are going smoothly.

We have both taken the opportunity for real discussions with our kids. I have spent a LOT more time in the kitchen. I’m doing my best to keep their brains running, while also getting to enjoy a new pace. This is a challenge that I think will teach us all so much and this will likely never happen again in our lifetimes! That alone is reason to use it for good. Love each other better. Love ourselves better. Practice loving. Practice all the calm and awareness we’re usually too busy (and comfortable) to practice.