It has been awhile since my keys hit the tablet again, nearly a whole summer. Life has been busy. Thankfully, there have been far less health crisis or issues presenting to the table and more adventures and positive movements in a forward direction. Plenty of changes developed and daily challenges unfolded (including this new desk I am typing on today) causing moments of joy even some fear and anxiety at times. Everyone’s life parallels this in some respect, so why should mine be any different?
For the Steltzer family, a good busy has been happening and those fears and anxieties about the next moments have been less of a focus. This photo of all 4 of us was taken laying in the grass of the University of Wisconsin Madison Arboretum sorting out our family’s next destination and home as the spring school year was ending. We planned to go to the zoo that day but it was packed with no parking available. We stumbled upon the Arboretum as a random suggestion by me. This moment lying there was truly peaceful despite having an offer on the house, closing date in a few weeks, and uncertain moving destination or even plan going forward. The key people impacted were in the circle and engaged. In addition, it was a particularly healing moment because my daughter demonstrated her tremendous growth this year as a young adult. Her valuable insight of potential valid and reasonable option was eye-opening to me.
How do we logistically pack up, relocate, and find a new home to sustain growth in each of the 4 family members in a practical and reliable fashion?
YIKES!!! A daunting charge for sure when considering a developing teen entering high school needs reliable resources, education, and support. Add on a college student that requires a different level of support continue to grow, separate from the nuclear family in college housing, and develop independent roles within the community at large. Lastly, add parents with fairly specialized careers requiring flexibility and collaboration to be sure each spouse has a good fit in a career. Moments of high tensions presented in all 4 of us and they sometimes clashed. Some ideas seemed down right crazy and others less practical or realistic. Being respectful of the ideas is the most important lesson learned by all.
Can everyone in the family truly find a good balance and fit??? Are we asking too much to even explore such a goal???
Some might say perhaps yes, but I disagree. In life we don’t always get what we wish for or desire. With honest open dialogue, the ability to hear/speak one’s concerns, and a bit of faith, I truly believe balance and good fit can be realized.
Many following the journey recall that it has been almost three years since relocating from Boston to Whitefish Bay without a secured job in place for myself. When I returned to Wisconsin, my nuclear family and “mother hen instinct” naturally took priority to get settled and then extended family health needs surfaced. Over time, my passion to return to a career renewed and it became clear that stars were not aligning as we anticipated for my husband or myself in Wisconsin despite shaking all the trees and branches we could find. When the path leads to a dead-end, where do you go? Not an easy answer but moving out of state was certain.
Surely no one would disagree that it is never any easy choice to relocate a family even if one city away much less state away. Past moving experiences relocating to Cedarburg, to Boston and back has taught our family about the challenges presented when navigating the variables of family, home, and careers. It has also given us insight into being efficient and practical movers too! Boxes, moving companies, address changes, new doctors and dentists, the list goes on and on. These all take time and patience to re-establish a new normal. Don’t get me wrong, we loved each and every destination in our path. Our allegiances and new friendships with many of the people and teams in these great states are forever branded in our hearts.
There are many moving parts of the process. There are things we can change and many we cannot. Realizing this and responding to the change is an essential piece of the puzzle despite how much we wish for dreams to come true. While logistics mean that moving away from family and friends is necessary, they don’t have to mean lack of connection. With today’s social networking, maintaining relationships has many other resources. One thing for certain, a larger metropolitan area was required to sustain and grow both our careers. Sights became set on the east/west coast and Chicago area. Luckily all three are attractive destinations to visit for some family and friends.
Pros and cons are present in all life’s experiences if you look hard enough. Too often people see and focus more of the cons (or risks) in life. Our lists for all destinations included a full detailed list of both (pros and cons/benefits and risks). Plans overlapped and clarity was not always easy to tease out or visible to the naked eye. At times, it was quite humorous to the onlooker hearing our ideas and plans. “You’re doing what?”
Exploring Chicago as an option was not high on my son’s list, particularly once he learned of my interest in a solid career advancement option in California. While a reasonable good fit career wise, the timing did not align with our family’s calendar needs to start out the Freshman year at the beginning of the school year in Palo Alto. The phrase, “Things happen for a reason,” is not a favorite of mine, particularly in the setting of the many deaths in the past few years. Honestly, I believe the phrase holds true in this case. In the end, both east and west coasts were not a good fit. Our heart and inner gut feelings helped shed light and provide better clarity on other options. The opportunities in Chicago proved a much better fit with continued growth potential for all 4 of us and we found our way there.
As August 2016 comes to a close and September begins, I am grateful our family is officially relocated, unpacked, and finding our way to new grocery stores, shopping, and fun activities in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. I am excited to start an opportunity to join the team in Pediatric Cardiology at the Willis J Potts Heart Center at Ann and Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago once the piles of paperwork and credentialing is complete. My husband is advancing in his career opportunity at Research Park in Skokie, IL. My son is registered and excited for his high school career in Lincoln Park, playing JV soccer, meeting new friends, and finding private bass music lessons close to our new home at DePaul University. He’s actually becoming quite savvy navigating around on his new bicycle confidently and independently to practice and other activities. My daughter had her first visit yesterday, played on a newly tuned piano, and successfully returned home after driving to Chicago ready to start her junior semester in college. We are all finding ways to enjoy the new normal and adventures of city living.
May we continue growing and follow our hearts wherever we go!
GO PACK GO!!!