We are the Willards, and WE are living a secret, not so secret, life!! It’s crazy to think that we have been on the road traveling around Canada, US and Australia since March 2019!! The kids were almost 3 years old when we left on our first road trip to Minnesota. Looking back now, I’m pretty sure I must have been highly medicated or drugged in some unknown way? Imagine saying yes to a 20-hour road trip to a place that’s colder than where you’re leaving and going there with 2 year old twins, knowing that your husband will be working – a lot!!
What was the alternative though? Nick has spent his fair share of time out of town and boy it is tough and unfortunately, it can be devastating for marriages and family life. People make it work all the time but we decided very early on to try something different – make the most out of this one life we have. Travelling with kids and uprooting everything is tough too – You just have to choose which type of tough you want to deal with and for us, as long as we’re together, we have a better shot!!
This is what travelling has given our family (good and bad;)
- We are ridiculously close
- We have an unmatched codependency – we’ll all unpack that later in therapy;)
- Individually, we have all become very adaptable
- Discovered that we like simplicity – small place, less stuff
- Situational Awareness – The kids Texas teachers both commented and informed us that Jake and Lily are highly advanced in this area – a direct result of all our travelling
- Our families ability to communicate is second to none
- Beyond school, we only have ourselves to depend on and that can be a bit much – Sometimes you just NEED a break;). Like, sometimes, I just want to eat a whole meal quietly, without the commentary. Mom, what is this green stuff? Do I have to eat all of this? What’s for dessert? Why is it touching? Stop looking at me! Mom, he’s looking at me. Yeesh!
- Sometimes we communicate too well and it’s exhausting;). I just want to be an 80’s mom and say – Do you want me to give you something to cry about? Are we really upset about this? But noooooo, We give them space to talk about their feelings;););).
- It’s also given us the opportunity to always think outside the box – life isn’t cookie cutter, you can make it what you want……especially if you’re not tied to things.
Our travels have evolved into spending 6 months in Canada and 6 Months in The Woodlands, Texas for the last 2 years. What an interesting life we’ve been living – straddling 2 different countries, 2 different school systems, and 2 completely different styles of living.
In Canada we downsized considerably and now have a small 3 bedroom home with a backyard in Suburbia where we can walk to school every day. In Texas, we live in a small, 2 bedroom condo that is in a fantastic location – on a lake, close to restaurants, and trails. The building is trendy and cool, which is the opposite of us! Believe me, when we march through the lobby with our hairy beast dogs and sweaty kids, I wonder why they let us sign the lease;) We appreciate both ways of living and are happy that we get to experience each throughout the year. In both places, it is clear that we are an outside family, although I can say that the Texas weather helps with that in the winter months;)
I enjoy the winter – really, I do!! I love being outside, since I was a kid, that was my preference and when you live in Canada, you have to embrace the winter or you’ll go crazy….right!! You know what I mean – when the beginning of March hits and you start getting hopeful that spring’s around the corner and then all of a sudden we get a big dump of snow and its instantly -20C, ugh. It can make a person question their life choices;). This is even more true if you’ve spent most of your time working outside, which is what Nick did for the first 15 years of his career. He can’t stand the cold, like, his hate for cold weather is big and real and the older he gets, the more his tolerance drops!
Before spending the winters in Texas, I had never really thought about what it would be like not to fall victim to frostbite and to not have my eyelashes freeze together every time I stepped outside, but let me tell you – It’s pretty great;) To be fair, we still get to experience the best part of winter – we don’t leave Canada until after Christmas and as we’re headed South in January, it’s hard to look back as we start hitting the warmer States.
You want to hear a First World problem of mine, specifically (absolutely not Nick’s)? It might make you want to slap me – and I wouldn’t blame you;). Just give me a heads up if you’re going to follow through, that way I can keep my newly found TKD skills under-wraps;);) Here goes nothing – after surviving Texas winter/spring and then arriving back to Canada in time for Summer – by September……..I’m sooooo done with warm weather – Yep, it’s true!! I get so tired of being sweaty and hot, I set my sights on cozy sweaters again!!! Poor me, right!!! You should absolutely feel bad on my behalf and I would appreciate any support you can offer;)
We are gearing up to head back North, the kids are finished school at the end of May. I would say we found our rhythm quite quickly this time. The kids were familiar with their school and were very excited to see their old friends and teachers. I was instantly comfortable driving around – having remembered to switch from polite waving to an all out bare knuckle brawl for whatever lane I need! Nick fell back into the routine of doing school drop off, wooo hooo!!! He also ran another half marathon and has taken to running in the mornings, followed by ice cold showers. I have taken to maintaining scalding hot showers and zero running. Potato – PotaTOE;).
Can you handle a confession? I made a mistake (yes, it happens;) – I went ahead and signed the kids up to an unsuspectingly competitive soccer league. Looking back now, the signs were there!! I mean, I was under the impression that rec league would be chill, but what I didn’t factor in was that we are in Texas and Texans are very serious, sporty people. Nick and I are the opposite of sporty, just ask our old Slow Pitch Team;). The kids were excited to play but more so because they each got their own team – No Coed for these 6 year olds (legit, not an option)!!! As I’m telling you this, keep in mind, they’re playing 3v3….. and they’re 6….. but we show up and there are teams that already have a play book, signals, a team cheer and have been training together for 3 years!! Nick and I glanced at each other and exchanged a look filled with surprise and horror – go on ahead kids, remember – soccer is the game where you kick the ball, good talk!!!! This was the very first time they had ever played a team sport!!
Kids are just so brave, aren’t they? It’s remarkable, actually. They both just joined in and tried their best and had a great time – although for Lily, her Canadian kept showing – mom, I’m going to die, this heat is killing me…all the while she’s rolling on the sidelines….this was in February!! Also, mom, why do we have to run so much? Do you mean to tell me that soccer is pretty much just running? Some hard truths!!! P.S. If we had chosen the actual competitive route, they run Combines for 6 year olds down here!!!!!
Taekwondo is also a part of our Texas life and we plan on making it apart of our Canadian life too!! Although, it’s going to be tough to find a comparable instructor!! We hit gold when we met Master Anthony, he’s the best guy and we are all fans!! We earned our Orange Belt the last 6 months and I couldn’t be prouder of the kids – we all had to learn an 18 step Forms routine and it was super challenging to everyone except Lil;)
We have grown accustomed to bouncing around and find ourselves craving it. I am constantly monitoring and making sure the kids are thriving and not suffering because of it and so far, so good!! Nick and I didn’t have easy childhoods and we would NEVER want our kids to endure what we had to, BUT we still want our kids to be challenged and have to overcome hardships and if at the end of the day, what brings them to their future therapist is, my parents moved us around too much, I will consider that a win.