Thursday, September 18, 2014

Northward Migration

This time of year, the migration tends to be in a southward direction.  The butterflies, they go south.  The birds, they go south.  Even the older people, they go south.

DH and I will be heading south too, but only for a few days.  When we reverse our migratory path and return north, we will be bringing DS1 and his family with us.  This is the population explosion I hinted at in at least one post in the past week.

It has all happened very suddenly even though it has been a long time coming.  You see. . .  a few years ago, when DS1 was first faced with the option of re-upping with the Marine Corps (one year before his active duty period was completed), DH told him that if he decided not to sign on for another hitch in the Marine Corps, and wanted to go to college--utilizing the GI Bill he'd earned through is service--that DS1 could live with us while going to school.

At the time, DS1 wasn't sure he was ready to commit to college.  He wasn't sure what he wanted to get a degree, and thus a career, in.  He's a very active guy, always has been, and sitting still isn't something that comes natural to him.  Which is one reason DH and I thought that the military was a very good fit for DS1 right out of high school.  And it was.  He excelled.  He even found he had the ability to be a top student, graduating first in his class in both A School and C School. By graduating first, he was able to have some say in what his military assignment--and thus base--was.  He chose F-18 jet mechanic, and to be stationed in the Eastern half of the U.S.  Which turned out to be very wise choices: both of his deployments were of the Western Pacific kind; keeping him out of the danger in the Middle East.

In 2013, DH again repeated his offer to DS1:  move in with us, saving on housing expenses for his family, and go to college.  K2 could also finish college instead of doing a semester here and there as their financial situation allowed (she also earned a GI Bill through military service).

This summer, when Toad was born, DS1 and K2 both asked if the offer was still valid.  Apparently they have been thinking a lot about it, and had decided that once the lease on their house was up next spring, they would move to Michigan, live with us, and both enroll in school. DS1 said "you know, I'll be 25 this year, and I'd like to have my degree by the time I'm 30." *Shock DH and I!*

We of course told them "YES!!".  The grandkids would no longer be 1000 miles away, and with college degrees--DS1 going for engineering!-- DS1's and K2's futures would be much brighter. No more $10 an hour jobs being considered 'good incomes' and living hand to mouth.  Not to mention the impact on their children, K3 and Toad, that this change in finances would bring long-term.

In mid-August, DS1 called and asked "If we could get out of our lease early, what if we came up there for Christmas and just never left?  Then K2 and I could start school with the change of semesters in January."

"YES!"  Was the resounding reply.  Get them into college a semester earlier, and the whole bright future thing happens sooner.  I'm still amazed that DS1 has decided to pursue engineering.  He totally has the ability; at 17 he got the highest Mechanical score on the ASVAB that the local recruiting station had ever had.  He can look at a diagram of a machine and instantly and instinctively know how it goes together and how it works.  Yes, yes, yes!

Then, on the first Friday of September, I got a phone call.  DS1 told me he wasn't sure what was going on, but he might have lost his job.  The night before, his manager had told him that DS1 was being moved from 2nd shift to first shift, starting Monday.  DS1 had seen an ongoing dwindling in the amount of work that was available, and had figured second shift was going to be eliminated soon.  He was happy to be moved back to first shift.

However, on Friday morning, the contract house he works for informed him that HR of the company he was working at told them DS1's position was terminated.  Not switched shifts, just terminated.  Of course, this conflicted with what DS1's manager had told him the night before.  So there was some confusion on whether HR's message to the contract house was misinterpreted.  It took several days to figure out; all of which DS1 was told not to show up at work "just in case" (because this company's policy is to not have former employees on the grounds--he might get arrested if he showed up and actually had been terminated on Friday).

The first day, DH told him to forget about moving at Christmas and just to come now if he had indeed lost his job.  The second day, DS1 and K2 began making contingency plans in preparation for bad news.  The third day, DS1 had decided that after missing three days' work and pay, he was about ready to tell the company to screw themselves if this all was some big mistake and he hadn't been terminated.  The fourth day it was verified:  the position was eliminated, not transferred to a different shift.

There have been more phone calls between DS1 and this little place here since September 5th than in all of the seven years since he left home.  So many things to hash out.  So many plans to make.  So many contact names and numbers to give him and K2 for possible jobs up here, for transferring residency ASAP once they get here, what to sell if they can, what not to sell because they will need it here, accruing a few sets of warm clothes for the kids in this colder climate once they arrive. . . and please, please, find someone to take their two large dogs.  (Especially since the dogs cannot live in our house--due to allergies, it would be cruel to take the dogs from South Carolina, and expect them to live outdoors in a Michigan winter so soon after arriving).

Big changes ahead.  The human population at this little place here is going from three persons to seven, in the blink of an eye (well, after one long drive with a moving truck, an SUV, a toddler and a baby who is still young enough to quality for the title 'newborn').  When DS2 is home during Christmas Break, and DD1 comes also over Christmas, we will have an occupancy of nine.  It shall be interesting, to say the least.

There have been times when I wondered how much advice/info I have to share on this blog that is relevant to raising children since mine are pretty much all grown up.  I am realizing now that my advice doesn't run so much in the 'what to do with your infant, how to survive your toddler, how to deal with your child starting school, how to live sanely through the middle school years' category as it does the 'how to parent when your children are grown' category.

Life is always full of surprises.  I've told people time and time again through the years that my life is never boring.  I've never had a day when I've just stared at the wall, bored, because there was nothing to do.  DS1 and his clan moving in with us is proof positive that I tell the truth:  my life is never boring.  A northward migration is not something I ever thought would happen.

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