Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Celiac Baby is moving!

Celiac Baby is moving! A few months ago on my birthday I wrote a post about how this year I have decided to move ahead and implement some of the changes I've been needing to make in my life, called A Lifestyle Change for my Birthday.

While that post focused a lot on my health and the healthy changes I've been implementing, I have also been making big changes in other areas of my life.

My son, parking his bike at school
Some of the changes were small, like walking my son to school each day to get in some exercise, and some were bigger, like choosing not to return to teaching in September. That particular decision was two years in the making, and involved HOURS of discussion with my husband. The truth is that I have other goals I want to accomplish, and I can't do that by staying in the same place I've been for over a decade. I'm looking forward to creating my own business from the work I do here on Celiac Baby, and I've taken steps toward making that dream come true. The problem is that right now, I'm a stay-at-home mom trying to make ends meet by working freelance at the same time as caring for my toddler full time. There's not much left over for my personal dreams at the end of the day.

My husband and I spent many, many hours discussing our dreams for the future, and a few themes kept cropping up over and over again. We really felt the need for big change. We want to spend more time with each other and with our kids. We want a lifestyle that allows for more time to do what we're interested in. We want to be more in charge of our time, and to live more simply. We want weekends back. Evenings to be spent together instead of trying to get work done. We want to travel and see the world.

It's been a tough few years. We both went back to school to pursue Master's degrees, working full time and going to school as well. Then when Etienne was born, we spent almost two years trying to figure out what was making him sick all the time. He was a tough baby, rarely sleeping, always crying, and having on average 7 or 8 bowel movements a day before we figured out that gluten was the problem and were able to change his diet. I took extra time off work to care for him, and it put a strain on our finances. After Xavier was born, Etienne developed additional health issues with his lymph nodes, and I took more time off work after my maternity leave ended as we dealt with that.

The relief we felt when everything turned out to be alright (after tests for lung cancer, leukemia, and a variety of other conditions came back negative) was quickly replaced by exhaustion. Kind of the way you feel after staying up all night working on something and the adrenaline rush that had been keeping you going finally runs out. We're both tired and realized that we spend so much time spinning our wheels that we don't actually enjoy our time as a family the way we both want to. My husband commutes over an hour to work and an hour back each day. I spend most nights and weekends working on the freelance assignments I don't have time to complete during the day. We feel as though we just pass the kids off to the other sometimes.

We don't want that anymore.

At my Uncle's Surprise Party
The final push to make a big change has been the various health scares of family and friends this year and last. I've lost 2 Aunts to heart and lung problems, and several other relatives suffered severe health issues from heart attacks to cancer and a variety of other issues. I have three friends whose husbands had heart attacks this year, in their 30s and 40s. This past weekend we attended a surprise 60th party for my uncle who survived a heart attack last year. Life is short, and we need to live it to the fullest while we can.

So we're moving. Our house is up for sale and people traipse through passing judgment on the place I call home. Hopefully someone will like it as much as we do and put in an offer. We love our house, and our neighbourhood, and our neighbours. We love my son's school. We're not leaving because we don't like it here. We're leaving because it's time to experience something different. We're ready for a big change, and so we're biting the bullet and making it happen.

Our plan is to go to France.

I've been contemplating when to share the news for a while now, mainly because the details have not all been worked out and I worry about something going wrong. I'm a bit of a worry wart that way. We still have to get the visas worked out, and the truth is that until we have those in our hands, there's always the possibility that they'll be denied. Fingers crossed that France likes us as much as we like it.

My husband has applied for a few jobs and we're waiting to hear back. Initially we were going to go only if he got one of the jobs, but as time went on we realized that we wanted to do this regardless. So now we wait. If he gets hired where he applied, we'll settle in Paris, where the  job is located. If he doesn't get the job, we'll settle somewhere further south where prices are less expensive and the weather is nicer. Toulouse, or Montpellier, or Bordeaux, or Nice, or somewhere similar. We don't know, and the Type A control freak part of me didn't want to let anyone in on the plan until all the details were set in stone.

But that's part of my problem, and so by announcing my plans without actually having all the details in place I'm trying to let go of some of that. Hell, choosing to go to France without every detail worked out is a huge part of me letting go of the need to control everything. This is the first time my husband and I don't have a 5 year plan (don't laugh, our plans have helped us accomplish many of our goals). The only plan is to go for a year and see how things go. Beyond that, who knows? It's terrifying, but also freeing. For once we don't feel obligated to continue on a particular path because we have a huge goal we want to meet.

I want more time for this!
Our goals for the next year are simple. Find work that pays enough to allow us to rent a nice apartment in a nice area of wherever we settle. Close to public transportation. Close to amenities. To spend more time as a family. To travel through some of Europe with our kids. To take a deep breath and enjoy being together.

To cook fresh food and take walks and make some local friends. To have the time for me to pursue some of my passions. To focus on recharging, reconnecting, and rediscovering activities we've been too busy to enjoy. For my husband, that might be running. For me, I want to write. And I want to push forward with the next phase of Celiac Baby.

So, that's it for now. Celiac Baby is taking the plunge and hopefully making the move to Europe.

Choosing to raise a gluten free kid in the land of baguettes and croissants.

I can't wait.

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