We live in Texas now. The story starts way back when we received our rent renewal letter asking us to sign another year’s lease. In an apartment. A tiny, two bedroom apartment. We thought about raising the boys in an apartment for another year, and we decided, nope, there are plenty more cities in the US to select to live in where we could afford a great education for them and a home with a yard. We looked at homes in the Stamford area, and concluded that a 1500 square foot house built in the 1800’s that cost more than half a million dollars was not the promise.
We considered Atlanta, where we lived for five years in undergrad. We still have a handful of very close friends that live there, but in terms of career, where would we work? I’m a brand snob, so besides my company’s largest competitor, there were no mega CPG players in the area. It seemed like my only option was a paper towel company, and nothing was sexy about that. We weren’t excited about renewing the lease, but we had no alternative. Hubby stated he was ready for us to relocate, and to me, that was the green light. We had a few pieces of criteria: low cost of living, warm weather, great schools for the boys and a city with career opportunities for both of us.
A few weeks later, I attended the Consortium’s Orientation Program with my job’s diversity recruiting team, which was comprised of folks from all three of our divisions. We have three main US locations, New York, Chicago and outside of Dallas. You can see where this is headed… Before I knew it, I was meeting folks in the Dallas office, and by the end of July it looked as though we would be relocating shortly. In August, I found out my start date was early September. That gave us basically no time to figure out what this meant for Hubby. We definitely never planned on living off one salary, so the big question was how do we transition two post-MBA careers in less than a month?
Anybody who knows us, knows that we do everything together, so the thought of us living apart during the moving transition was very foreign to us. The days crept up on us and soon it was time for me to head to Texas. I flew down for a week of training. During that week, I secured childcare for the boys and found the perfect temporary housing for us. I was given a relocation package, which has been a blessing and very helpful in shifting a family of four across the country. Instead of corporate housing, which was about $123 a day, I found a wonderful Extended Stay-type Marriott less than ten minutes from work. We had a double bedroom, with a living room and full kitchen. There was a laundry room, free internet and breakfast everyday – all for $59 a night! Oh, and a shuttle that took us anywhere within a five mile radius. The shuttle was a wonderful thing, because I took it to and from work before my car arrived, and I took it to work when Hubby was working in his company’s Dallas office (I’ll get to that later).
After my week of training, I flew back to Stamford to get the boys. Hubby’s lovely cousin, Mauricia, flew down with me and the boys. I vowed I would not fly alone with the boys anymore, and even though it cost me a fourth plane ticket, it was worth it! We brought huge suitcases with us since we would be living in temp housing for a while. There was no way I could have handled the luggage, stroller, The Lion and Gadget without her help. Thanks cuz!
The boys wear uniforms to their new Montessori. It’s really cute, and it helps that I don’t have to think about what to dress them in everyday. I worked here in TX for two weeks with just me and the boys. I truly felt like a single mom. If I didn’t do it, it wasn’t getting done. During the first week, the Lion woke up every night at 2AM crying “I want Daddy!” I told him that I wanted Daddy, too, but that he HAD to go back to sleep. The Lion cried and screamed every morning when I dropped him off at school. Every evening he complained and cried, and gave me a really, really hard time. It was time for backup. I called my parents and told them to drop everything and come to Texas for a week. They came and helped and it was great. I was able to breathe again. The Lion needed time with Grandpa to recharge his paternal tank.
Hubby arrived the following week and stayed for two weeks. He is so blessed! He was able to work here in Dallas for two weeks with his company. He was in a teeny weeny office downtown. When the two weeks ended, he returned to Stamford. Sad face. And the drama with the Lion started all over again. One night, after Bible Study, the Lion didn’t want me to touch him, but he also didn’t want to walk to the car. A gentleman was gracious enough to offer to carry him, which I quickly refused because I had everything under control. Ha! I so did not have everything under control. The stranger carried him to the car, and the Lion was grateful. After he left, the Lion balked and refused to let me strap him in. The frustration welled up and I sobbed the entire drive home. Gadget kept telling me it would be okay and to “stop crying mommy.” But the Lion was crying, and I was alone in Texas, and Hubby wasn’t coming back for days on end, and it was just too much. If could articulate how immensely overwhelming it was taking care of the Lion without his father around, you would understand how much I prayed that this transition period would end soon so that we could be settled. I knew the move was the right thing at the right time, so I have no regrets. In fact, I wish we had done this sooner, but those weeks without hubby were hawwwd.
Regardless of the overwhelming, single-mother type responsibilities that fell on me all at once, Hubby and I were super excited about the opportunity, because it brought us to a region we’ve never lived in before. We always knew we wanted to return to the South. After all, we feel in love in Atlanta and got engaged in Dallas, and now six years into our marriage we are returning. In fact, on one of our first date nights in the city, we headed straight to hotel where we got engaged. It was super romantic for Hubby to bring us there. On March 19, 2004, he proposed to me, and on December 4, we celebrated our six year anniversary.
The only drawback with living in Texas is that it happened so fast there were several open items and logistics we worked out in just two weeks. The first question out of everyone’s mouth was ‘What is Hubby going to do?’ Well, we were very flexible, and realized that we both have careers that are very important to us. In 2007, we quit our jobs, sold our first home (thankfully, right before the housing market plunged), and moved to the Big Apple for our MBAs. We made a huge change then, with the focus on career transitioning, and thankfully, we were blessed to come out on the other side with careers in the desired function and industry we sought after. It was a huge accomplishment, and now, one year after starting those jobs, we are transitioning again.
I was not able to publish this post during the process, because we didn’t know where and when Hubby would transition roles. Thankfully, he has found a new role in Dallas and started after the New Year. I am so grateful to him for his patience and dedication. We are settled in Texas, and have purchased a home big enough for us to grow in. We feel very blessed that we were able to transition two careers in such a short period of time, but also that we are living in a place that fits into goals and vision for our future.