Mar 18, 2011

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

When I was an emotional little (and not-so-little) girl, sobbing to my mother about the unfairness of life and the cruelty of the human race, (probably because she wouldn't buy me GUESS jeans) she used to say "Emily, you need to go to bed.  Everything looks brighter in the morning!"

I must have heard that a million times as a kid.

And truer words were never spoken.  Last night I was a mess.  But this morning I woke up to sunshine.  

It has now been one week since the earthquake.  Easily the longest week of my life.  And while things didn't seem quite so grim today, there is definitely a huge question mark floating over every head in Misawa.  "Should I stay here or go back to the states?"   And for those who've already decided, the question becomes "Am I doing the right thing?"

The hopeful news of the day today was that school will start up again on Monday.  That definitely tipped the scales for Doug and I into the "Okay, the boys and I will stay and stick it out" camp.

See, if I went home with the boys, I don't know if we'd make it back.  We are at the end of our time here in Japan.  Our PCS (Permanent Change of Station) date is mid July.  I'd probably just want to enroll Max and Sam in school somewhere in California and stay put until Doug could join us.
(Our trip home would have to be 30 days minimum, possibly longer.)

That would mean my little change-averse boys would have to leave Japan, their home, abruptly and under extremely stressful circumstances, and go to a new place/home/school, temporarily, without Daddy.  Yes, we would go stay with family, but it would still be a major shock to their little psyches.  (And in case you haven't read the posts immediately prior to the earthquake posts, I'll just tell you that we're already a little shaky in the psyche department.)

BUT, that still leaves us wondering:  How bad will it be here?  Will school open for a few days and then close again?  How limited will resources become?  Will we be a burden to the base and community by staying?

My phone has been ringing off the hook all day.  It's not an easy decision for anyone to make.  Especially when we have fairly limited information.  But we're going with what we know and having faith it'll work out.  


In other news, a friend reminded us yesterday that it was St. Patricks Day!  Hope you had a good one!
My attempt at normalcy in the midst of chaos


Dear Family and Friends of the Sendai Teachers,
This guy worked really hard to help your kids!
Also, when Melanie and Kelsey are safely home, will someone let me know?  Thanks!  I'm pretty bummed I didn't get to say goodbye.  :(


Kristen said...

I do not think I could make your decision easily. One thing seems to outweigh everything though... I know they have told you that you are at a safe distance from the radiation but I would not take any chances. I would take my little ones and getnas far away as possible.

That said... I tend to over react, especially when it comes to my kids and a threat of cancer. I may not be the right person to give sound advice in this area.

I feel awful that you have to go through all of this... That your family and the people of Japan have to go through this hardship. It really is terrible.

We continue to pray for you. I know that you and Doug will be inspired to make the correct decision for your family. Heavenly Father will give you guidance, whether it be to stay or to go. Trust in that!

Lots of love!

Lisa said...

Do you have to make the decision this week? Maybe you can wait a few days, see how things are going and then decide. Are most of your neighbors staying or leaving?

We have been praying for you guys, and the people of Japan.

Jenn said...

Ugh.. The life changing decisions are hard and I know you know who you can turn to for help! He is always there for us! Good luck on what you decide to do.. Keeping family together is real important for me so I will be thinking of you lots and keeping you in my prays! Love ya Em!

Anonymous said...

Hi Emily,
Still praying for you and your family. Loved the St. Patrick's Day tattoos. Especially the one on your baby! Melanie should have left Haneda 20 minutes ago according to the schedule she gave us. She is on her way to Honolulu - Seattle-Sacramento- then home to Dallas. She is supposed to arrive Saturday night! Kelsey is on a different flight and is supposed to arrive at her home on Sunday! Thanks again for caring so much. Praying for your tough decision!
Beth Fullerton

Anonymous said...

I want to hug those boys and zurbert Gray-Gray's tummy. I'd zurbert your tummy too Em but it's just way too skinny.

I love you guys and know you'll feel the right thing to do.

Melissa Abby said...

Praying for your decision and that you feel at peace with whatever you decide.

jen said...

Id be on the next flight outta there...ur kids r tougher than u think & would adjust just fine:) u could come hang out with us in Utah for a while...we would have so much fun! but whatever u do ill b praying for u guys!

deemom said...

Just wanted you to know you are the talk of all the people I know and the wish list for emergencies has powered a new way of thinking about lots of things... we will be adding a few of the things you were wishing you had to our emergency kits.... WE are praying for you all everyday and for the wonderful people of Japan.... I ended up coming home when one of our children was sick and my husband was coming Stateside for a TDY.... WE ENDED SEPARATED FOR 6 months HOLY COW.... it worked out but that doesn't always happen.... HAVE A BACK UP PLAN.... dee

Mrs. Dub said...

I don't know what to tell you - I want you to be safe above all, but I also want you to do what's best, even if that means staying put and playing it by ear. If you have any breathing room, wait a bit and see how you feel. Follow your gut/Spirit. If you think you should stay but conditions worsen, forking out airfare will be the least of your concerns. You can always leave, but you can't necessarily come back.

I think you are wise to be factoring in your children and their emotions. You have the advantage of leaving soon anyway, so you know any decision is temporary. Could you handle a sudden move? Yes. Does that mean you should? I don't know.

Hang in there!

Misti said...

Oh Emily! Heavenly Father has placed you and your family in Misawa at this time for a reason! Your blog, your thoughtfullness, your cheery, loving countenance is just what that base needs right now! Be strong - be compassionate - be prayerful - be faithful & know that you are a blessing to all who have the pleasure of knowing you!


Anonymous said...

It is too long a story to say why but I've lived this. I think you should stay. As I said before, this will be a formative experience in your children's lives. It will be an indelible facet of their character as they grow to become men. As challenging as it is, you should not deprive them of this experience.

It will be much worse to go stateside, live in one place temporarily separated from their father, only to be re-uprooted a short time later for the family to be resettled again. If they are change averse, the disruption can cause them to lose detailed memory.

Speaking strictly as an ex-army brat myself, my siblings and I never lived so vibrantly as we did under terrorism and natural disasters. As an adult, I would not have had the fortitude nor strength of character and conviction to minister to others in a war zone had I not had these experiences. I can readily survive deprivations and conditions that others cannot. This knowledge instills confidence.

Your kids may also fear for their father's safety and blame themselves if harm comes to him. Children assign themselves inordinate and irrational power!

I *know* it is challenging to parent in these circumstances. Maybe the boys have taken their blessings for granted and need to man-up. This is an opportunity for growth and maturation. Children are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. Perhaps it is time for them to become heroes.

@lliE from FreshlyCompleted said...

Hi, Emily (another cousin here),

I just wanted to say Hello and that I think you are wonderful, and brave-- and funny.

And I wanted to say that as a family with prayer You'll know what is best for your family. That's the only way to feel good and know what you should be doing.



Juju said...

What a small world we live in thanks to the web. A friend forwarded your blog to me and I recognized the details of your life and your story from the many, many wonderful things my sister Liz has said about you and your family. Bless you for the kindness and the comforting presence you have been in their lives especially this past year. We will remember your family as we continue to pray for our family, the Japanese people and all those affected by the earthquake.

Anonymous said...

This is an easy one. They pulled back the 7th fleet, and now you've got a free ticket to get out of Dodge. I think the major pain in the neck it would be, would be worth it. My nephew served in Russia near a "working" plant that released gas every now and again...the locals said it was normal. He got a weird cancer on his knee of all places.
I'm freaking out and I'm in WA State. If it were me, I'd go, but I know you don't know me from Adam. However, it reminds me of the guy who is facing a flood. He stands on the couch then the second floor, all the while praying. A boat comes by, he says "Nope don't worry about me, I'm praying!" Now he's on the roof..I'm sure you know the rest...he's at the pearly gates and complains about not having his prayers answered to which St. Peter replies, "We sent three boats!" Best of luck, I wish you and your sweet family the absolute best.

Unknown said...

Come home! (now watch... we'll get a massive quake and California will break off and sink into the ocean... at least you would would be safe from the nuclear radiation). Love you. G said...

Thank you so much for blogging! I knew the Broughs in Philly and I have been trying to gather things to send over there. We now live in Oregon and the people here have really been pouring out love. So far I have about 15-20 boxes worth of stuff, but after reading your blog I have found out they don't want us to send stuff. I am going to hang onto it until I can send it to anyplace in Japan.

DebZ said...

As a former Army wife, I empathize with the decision process. Whatever the choice, your family will be blessed. We don't know one another. I learned about your blog via facebook. A friend of my sister posted the link, my sister shared it on her page, I shared it on mine, my friends have it now on theirs, and on it goes. You need to know how you have touched and inspired blog-readers around the globe. Watching news reports is nice to be informed. Following your real-life day-to-day experiences reveals the heart and soul of those going through this tragedy. We all thank you for sharing yourself with the world. Every day I read your blog, one Biblical phrase comes into my mind: "FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS!" You and your family are, indeed, a light unto the world. The Lord will watch you, no matter where you are, because He loves His children, and He is, afterall, in charge.