Troy and I sat down with the kids last night and had a long discussion, so now it’s all out in the open and I can talk about our planned life change here. Which is good, because it’s basically all that is on my mind at the moment! But it’s going to change so much…we’ve decided we’re moving to Ballarat.
Even for us this does feel a bit like it’s come out of nowhere, but we’ve thought about it a lot and there are a lot of factors at play in making this decision. The main one though is the fact that the kids are growing up and so what they need, and what our family as a whole needs, is going to change.
At the moment, it’s a pretty safe assumption that Nicholai and Emma will go to university after they finish high school. Going to uni while living in this house would be really pretty difficult – we are twenty minutes from the closest train station, and although there are buses they are not particularly frequent. Being realistic, the kids would likely have to spend three hours or more a day on public transport just to get to and from school, which sounds horrible. We can’t afford to support them in any meaningful way that would allow them to move out either.
Nicholai’s autism is also a really big factor in our plans – while I absolutely believe that he will, in time, learn to drive and live independently, we can’t put a timeline on him attaining those skills. We have to be prepared to have adult kids living at home.
All of that led to the idea of Ballarat, which has a couple of universities and is a city in its own right, but just on a much smaller scale to Melbourne. When we looked into it there are most degrees that the children might want available at uni, and there are good high schools and primary schools for them to go to in the meantime. There is everything else we might need too. (Like medical and psych care for me, public transport, orthodontists, opportunities for me to work etc etc).
Obviously Troy’s work was the big issue at this point- he’s a partner in the business and we want to keep that, so we had to figure that one out. In the end the plan is that Troy will work from home three days a week, then he will drive back to Yarra Glen and work at the office for a day, stay over at his mum and dad’s that night, work at the office the next day, and then drive home. That will be a lot for him, but he doesn’t mind driving and is pretty confident that he will make it work.
Once we had worked sorted out (at least in Troy’s head, the details have not been worked out with the rest of his work since he is on holidays now) we decided which high school we wanted the kids to go to, then I narrowed our real estate search to houses that fell within their zone borders. We want something that has an office space for Troy to work in (separate from the living areas), four or more bedrooms, walking distance to the primary school and high school, and with room in the backyard for a trampoline. We’ve found a few homes that potentially fit all our criteria and then some – we’re looking at newish houses in housing developments (a soul sucking estate!ack!) and they have multiple living areas and often lovely outdoor living spaces. We’ve even found a couple of five bedroom places, which would give us the ultimate in luxury of every child having their own room, something I never even considered as a possibility.
So after a lot of talking and planning, things are really happening. Troy and I are going to see three houses on Tuesday and then to talk to the bank on Thursday. We had the real estate agent around to look at our house and give his opinion on what we might get for it (which…holy crap, I just about fell off my chair when he told us. I mean, we might have no actual money, but the house can certainly give us money to be traded for goods and services, ha ha ha!)
We talked to the kids about it last night. It went better and worse than I thought really – everyone was shocked, but the three older kids seemed to come round to the idea of it being kind of an exciting adventure and an interesting new way of life for them. My baby little one though…oh, Soren just sobbed. He is so frightened of the whole idea! I think it’s mostly because he’s eight years old, and just doesn’t have the experience to understand what’s going to happen. He sat on my lap and cried into my shoulder- we had to explain that we would all come back and visit Grandma and Pop sometimes, and that they will come and visit us as well, and then we had to reassure him that there is a pool in Ballarat and we can find swimming lessons for him there, and that even if we get a house where he can have his own room he’s still allowed to share with Jericho if he wants to. We showed them the houses that we were going to look at, and then I pulled up google maps to show him where the schools were, and the pool, and the park and the supermarket. He was very quiet for a while, and then his teary little voice said, “There is a pizzeria…we can get pizza from there.” I should have known it would come back to his stomach!
I think he’ll be okay. It’s going to be a huge change and I know there will be a lot that will make all of us anxious or scared or sad at times…but there will be lots of good things too. We just have to take it all one step at a time.