Face of hope

Face of hope
Courtesy: TIffany Kay Photography

Saturday, November 8, 2014

One Window At A Time

Spending a large part of my childhood overseas, I remember going through all the old historic sites and buildings.  Often, there were those houses or castles where you could barely see out the windows - the glass was that old bubbly thick glass that obscured the view.  You could see bits and pieces of what was outside, but there was always enough blur to leave some mystery as to what was behind that window.  I remember in one castle in particular looking out to see blurred green which I assumed (correctly) were rolling hills and landscapes, but there was also a blur of colors I couldn't make out.  Upon exiting the castle, I realized those colors were the most amazing garden of all different kinds of plants and flowers...bright and beautiful and very clear to the eye.  If I had not ventured outside on our tour, I would never have seen that garden - my vision would have still been blurred by the bubbly thick window we were stuck looking through from within.

We are definitely in one of those moments right now.  For months, we have contemplated switching our older girls' school.  Details aside, we felt the environment was not as it used to be.  We had noticed other families making changes,  and our girls were becoming increasingly unhappy and frustrated with school.  This was unusual as they are girls who absolutely loved school and used to chat about better experiences a few years before. In recent years, though, silence.  We continued to stick it out in the hopes of change, but I soon started to see this was not the best for the girls.  We finally reached a point where as parents, we knew a change had to be made and this past week, we took a leap of faith, and pulled them out of the school.

I had mixed emotions of course.  I was sad because we had made some wonderful memories through the earlier years - and along the way made some lifelong friends. But I was happy because I knew things had changed and academically and health-wise, I knew this was the absolute right choice.  Making a decision with mixed emotions is hard because it involves a lot of contemplation and research - and then you have to take the leap of faith towards whichever direction you feel is best.  And then you pray.

Leading up to this, I had an involved meeting with our children's new principal.  She was extremely welcoming, detailed, and highly organized. Her love for children was obvious and her background in special education was apparent as she described many inclusion minded programs throughout the school.  She answered all my questions with honesty and thorough information - and she showed me several parent surveys she does each year.  100% of parents responded that school communication was excellent.  I was able to tour the school right then, and observe the classrooms where my girls would be placed.  I even got to look in on the inclusion classrooms where Meagan would eventually be if a spot ever opened up.  Outside of my interview with the administration, I talked with numerous families who attend the school, including several families who had gone through the exact transition we were about to embark on.  From families who had attended years ago, to families currently there, all had wonderful things to say.

 Just when I was almost sure of our decision, I received a phone call.  It was our county special needs coordinator.  She said that although they hadn't expected it this year, family had moved - and there was now space in the special needs program at the new school for Meagan. [If you remember, we originally had decided to not send her since she had been placed at a school further away, and I wasn't impressed with their program.]  Now, with my girls transitioning to the new school, and a spot opening up there for Meagan at this exact same time? And the fact that I loved the special needs program at the new school?  All my girls in the same school? An inclusive and vibrant environment?That was it.  I knew it was a sign from God we were headed in the right direction. This was sounding good.
I still had some reservations though, because I had not told my girls yet of my decision.  When my kids got in the car on Thursday,  I told them Friday (the very next day) would be their last day and we would be starting at a new school, a new adventure that following Monday. I will admit...I was nervous for their reaction.  However, within seconds, those nerves were turned to joy.  What I saw was my girls smiling, almost melting in to their seats with relief, and an immediate sense of excitement for our new path.  They started chatting up a storm, asking questions about their new teachers, and pouring out stories of how they were secretly yearning for a new environment.  The joy was palpable - and for some of my kids, they were the most relaxed I had seen them in over two years. My slightest doubts immediately dissipated and my vision was becoming clearer.

Sometimes we are so intrigued looking through that bubbly glass that we lack clarity.  We get so comfortable, we settle for "what is."  We accept that the glass is flawed and we just have to "get through it."  However, if we never step outside the boundaries and accepting what will "just be" we will miss out on something greater or more beautiful.  If I had stayed inside that castle as a little girl, I would have never seen what those colors were through the warped glass.  I would have always been wondering "What was out there? What was around the corner?"  I'm so glad I stepped outside that day and saw the most gorgeous gardens I have ever seen.  The colors were no longer a muddled mystery, but a clear vision of beauty.  That is how I am choosing to view this transition in our family life. When things are blurry, all we have to do is look to God and what He shows us is best.  Even if there are doubts, He will ultimately make things clear and show us to the clarity we need - one window at a time.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Headed to school on Monday... with her sisters...
 just as it should be! She's so excited :)

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