Change brings challenges and opportunities for new beginnings

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

Courtesy+image+of+Melissa+Garcia+and+her+mom+Maria+Chaidez+on+January+2020+on+Cabrillo+Blvd.+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.

Courtesy image of Melissa Garcia and her mom Maria Chaidez on January 2020 on Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Melissa Garcia, Staff Writer

I thought my whole life would be spent living comfortably in Chicago, but my move to Santa Barbara made me realize I took a lot of things for granted. 

It wasn’t until I moved across the country and started high school I realized how much my family’s love and support meant to me.

My parents divorced when I was only one and a half, and my father wasn’t the best at showing up for anything I did. My family always tried their best by going to all of my events because they knew how much it meant to me. The relationship we built just from their caring efforts made it feel like they were more than just aunts and uncles to me. 

It taught me when someone truly does care about you they will do anything and everything they can to be there for you.

The first couple of months in Santa Barbara I had to adjust to living in the same household with my mom’s partner, which was quite the experience. Something else I had to accept was sharing the time I had with my mom. 

Arguments, tears and laughter have been exchanged between the three of us from either the excitement of going through this new chapter in our lives together or not communicating directly about what was happening and how to deal with it.

Not only were the three of us facing this new change in our lives, but my stepfather’s two kids would also visit three times a week. My mom and I had to get accustomed to sharing my stepfather with other people. It was such a distinct experience for all of us and we had a hard time processing it. We learned the activities we enjoyed doing together once we were out of the initial awkward stage. This brought us closer together and made our separate families become one blended family. 

Now five years later, I participated in marching band and track throughout high school, only having my mom at my competitions and meets. I learned to appreciate her since I knew others didn’t have anyone.

Moving also taught me how to live in the moment. Currently, I enjoy what is happening in my life and I do not worry about the past or what will happen in the future.

However, family gatherings do make me feel out.  It always makes me sad getting to see pictures and videos of everyone together while I’m thousands of miles away not able to celebrate with them. It’s taught me to appreciate the time I  have with them when I visit.

Of course, with COVID-19 everybody’s world got turned upside down. Although people relearned the value of spending time with family, I wasn’t even able to go visit for over a year which made it even more difficult. Difficult because in times when you don’t know what’s going on in the world, the best thing possible is being comforted by your family members to reassure you everything is going to be okay.

Throughout the change my life took, I couldn’t be more grateful for where I am today. I do miss my family, hometown, friends and everything I was used to doing for those fourteen years, but I learned valuable lessons in the process. Such as cherishing my family and their love. 

Change is always scary at first, but it’s how you adjust that truly reflects and affects who you are.