My parents decided they wanted to leave Virginia when I was in the eighth grade--the plan was to leave before I got to high school so that the transition was easy. They couldn’t do it anymore--live in Virginia that is--and I couldn’t blame them. It had been five years, and I knew they weren’t happy, so although I desperately wanted to stay, I knew I couldn’t change their minds. But they did.
Every year my volleyball team played an all day tournament at a local school. We played quite a few games throughout the day and hung out as a team when we had time off. My best friends were on the team, and the whole dynamic was just joyful. We worked well together, had fun, celebrated wins, and supported each other through mistakes and losses. Volleyball season was the happiest time for me, and my parents saw that--so did my friends’. At the tournament my parents saw my joy--the way I interacted with my friends, my team. Other parents came up to them, talking about what a shame it would be to split this up, and multiple even offered to house me for the next few years. My parents made the decision right then and there that they didn’t want to disrupt what I had. They knew that if they did I would be fine; that I would make my way and find a life wherever we went, but what they were seeing was special and it changed their minds--volleyball essentially changed their minds, and in turn my life. I got to announce it at the end of the day--that I wasn’t leaving, and I think it was one of the happiest moments of my life.