The first steps: in a way the easiest, and least demanding; but in another way, an incredible leap of faith. My husband, S, told his boss last week about our plan. S called home mid-morning with a few things to tell me, reminding me of something to get if I went to the store, perhaps, something very banal like that. And then he said, “I called Dr. S—–‘s office this morning, to see if he has time to talk to me today.”
My heart starts to race. “Oh yeah?” I say.
“Yeah,” he says. “I’m going to tell him today.”
“Oh my god.” Because once he does that, once they start the process of replacing him, which they’ll do almost immediately, there is no turning back. There are no cold feet. We’re going.
S met with his boss, who was completely surprised. It was bittersweet for S, of course, because he was told how appreciated he was, how much of an asset he is to the department, if there’s anyway that we’d consider postponing the move a year? Six months? S had to break it to him that late summer/early fall makes sense for us. Our hope to rent our condo out to a visiting professor and his/her family hinges on the right timing. We don’t want to have yank our daughter out of her second year of school here; we’d rather keep her out during the summer and transition into a new school in New Zealand. And their schools are on a quarter system, the fourth of which begins on October 15. Really, that’s the main time constraint right now.
The minute S told his boss about the need to have this adventure when the kids are young, well, there’s no real argument against that. S’s boss understood, while still sad to see him go. His boss told him that there would always be a place for him in the department, which was reassuring to hear. It’s a relief to know that, no matter how little we think we need it, there’s a safety net down there somewhere. In fact, it probably gives us even more confidence to be bold, to live the life we want. To search the globe over for our home.
While it was nice to know that S is respected and appreciated, (even liked!), in his job, listening to his boss tell him that he always has a place here conveyed something else. As S put it to me that night, “At the moment, I don’t have a job after August.” And that’s why telling his job, although not demanding or emotionally taxing, was still the hardest thing we’ve had to do so far in this adventure. It’s the step off the cliff, or onto the tightrope. It’s the first step that commits us in the direction of New Zealand. It’s the first step away from our beautiful life here. The first step Away and Toward.