I can’t wait to share the exciting news with ya’ll! I have been accepted into one of the world’s top culinary schools– The Culinary Institute of America! Opening the acceptance email was SURREAL! I cried, I got nervous, I did an excited dance. So. many. feels!
There was so much that went into this huge life-changing decision, and there is still so much we have to sort through. I am nearly 30, in the middle of motherhood, homemaking, and building Sea Salt Savorings, and am just now deciding to start college. It’s an intimidating leap of faith!
Levi, my husband, has been patient with my ever-changing mind since he has known me. He has seen me change opinions, careers, and paths so many times, but he has always encouraged and supported the growth. It’s no surprise he was the catalyst for my acceptance.
I was chopping vegetables and preparing dinner in the kitchen as I rambled to Levi about my near future goals. One of them was to become a chef and to provide my learned knowledge of food to my audience- it was the next natural step.
I tossed around the idea of attending local programs but Levi could sense I wasn’t thrilled with those options. He did a quick Google search- “best culinary schools in the world.” The Culinary Institute of America was among the top three best schools worldwide and it’s located in our beloved New York. He knew I’d like the sound of that.
I was so quick to dismiss this idea. How could I expect my whole family to pick up and leave their lives and start fresh because I am just now (at 29) deciding to start college? Also, I was not certain I would even be accepted into the school, so why waste time?
Levi was not hearing it and we applied anyway. For days, weeks even, our nightly walks were consumed with planning in the event I did get accepted. Would we sell the house? Rent? Where would all three kids attend school and where would Levi work?
We love our home in Pensacola and the kids have such a wonderful life here. They feel content and settled- everything a mom could want for her children! I felt selfish for even entertaining the idea.
Then it came- the email we had anticipated! I was in the middle of getting the kids settled in from school and in the midst of the chaos, I opened it. I read it, re-read it, and read it again. I could not believe I was reading the words “you’ve been accepted!”.
The excitement was balanced with fear because this is a major shift. There is no way that you get accepted to a school like this and NOT go, but there was so many moving parts we had to figure out to make this happen. This is where Levi steps in and (once again) amazes me.
Levi looked at me and said, “I think you need to go alone.” My stomach was in knots. “I’ve been playing around with the idea, and I can arrange my work schedule and stay here in Pensacola with the kids and take care of them by myself.” I stared at him wide-eyed. Three kids… by yourself… for the sake of me going to college?
You see, Levi has always been a team player, ever since I met him in the Army. He’s always believed that rising tides lift ships and he’s always helped me make way for my dreams. He is so genuine that I knew he truly wanted me to take this next step- and he was willing to do whatever it took on his end to help me make it happen. He believes in me.
We were met with many questions from our friends and family over this decision of him staying in Pensacola with the kids while I attend school in New York. Many were surprised yet refreshed to witness our balance of roles and trust in our family and relationship. Levi was dubbed as “brave” for taking on the additional role as the homemaker (which he is!).
It is not a common decision to be in the middle of your life, with kids, a home, a career, and to just move and start something new. While it is a temporary life change, it’s still nerve-wracking.
There are going to be difficult days. There will be lonesome days when I look at my empty grocery cart as I shop for just myself instead of 5 people. I will miss out on birthdays, milestones, even Evelyn’s first day of kindergarten. Levi will have days when the house is a mess, dinner isn’t made, and the kids are wild. This won’t always be easy.
What will be easy is the effortless support I receive from my husband, the fact my girls will witness what a supportive partner looks like or what it means to chase your dreams. My son will look up to a man who is not afraid to bend the gender role norms and who is endlessly supportive.
I hope this serves as a reminder to make goals, but don’t just stop there. Do everything, and I mean EVERYTHING to make them happen. You are never too old, too stuck, or too deep in your path to turn around and start something fresh. YOU GOT THIS.
So, cheers to new beginnings, to more delicious recipes, and to you, Levi, for always being the catalyst. I can not wait to take ya’ll with me on my journey through culinary school! Here I come, New York!
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