After a weekend spent in WA, I am now back home. MC and I just spent the last 4 days moving all of our boxes and assorted oddball belongings from a storage unit to a tractor trailer. Our things will then be driven the 3000 miles to TX where we will call in every favor to have our friends and family help us cram it all into our new house.
The trip went well in spite of being rained on the entire time we were loading. We had a lot of people show up to help and we finished in record time. That was an unexpected surprise. We ended up with more time to spend with family and friends and I cherished every minute of it.
The rain stopped pretty much as soon as we were all done loading up and then we were left with typical fall weather. The air was just crisp enough that I put on a light jacket but it stayed dry so that I was able to walk around outside and get some pictures.
I've been in TX now for 5 months but being back in my parents' house it felt like I had only been gone a few days. Life has a different rhythm depending on where you are at and who you are with. Going back home was like reciting a synchronized routine. It felt like slipping into my favorite pair of jeans. Comfortable. Familiar. Cozy. Worn, but in all the right ways. My dad still lounged on his bed--barefoot--in front of the TV with his box of See's chocolates on the nightstand. My mom was still up impossibly early to make sure all the meats were marinated and rubbed and the salads were prepared for another of our traditional BBQs. My sister and her kids were still irreverent, sarcastic and fun. My grandma was still playing hermit in her house while unloading the contents of her closets on me. My girlfriends were still loud, obnoxious, and so funny that I was in danger of wetting myself.
I had to admit to myself that life continued on.
Yes, I have a life here in TX and moving was a decision that I absolutely had a say in and could've vetoed at any time, but I didn't. I packed up my family and moved here so we could do more for our kids, so my husband could see his family and spend time with them for awhile. And for the most part, I'm okay with that decision. After all, it wasn't made lightly. It came only after about 9 months of discussion, prayer, research and many pros/cons lists. The kids are doing great and my husband has really enjoyed being away from all the rain and close to his family. I am the only one who really had to give up anything to come here. And I felt that loss when I went back home. I knew it was coming and I almost didn't want to make the trip, but the pain of missing everyone would've been worse than the pain of saying goodbye again.
And it was painful. I miss the fall weather, the changing leaves and the drizzly days that force everyone inside to huddle in front of the wood stove. I miss dinners with my parents where the conversation is completely inappropriate and quite possibly offensive but we all walk away from the table with our bellies full of food and sore from laughter. I miss late nights at coffee houses with my girlfriends where we open up and dump on each other and compete to see who can make the others laugh the hardest, and who can refrain from wetting her pants the longest. I miss the 97 different shades of green that surround everything and the bright sunbursts of yellow and red leaves that break up all that green. I miss standing on my parents' porch after it's rained and listening to the silence, that moment when you close your eyes and everything is so quiet and peaceful that you feel like you're camping in the middle of the mountain with no one around to intrude on your solitude. I miss driving through town and knowing that every where I go holds some kind of memory for me, whether it's a shopping trip with my mom, or an outing with my sister and our kids, or just seeing the same landmarks for 30-some years. THIS is my home, THIS is where my memories are, THIS is where my family is.
I sat on the airplane heading south and I wanted to scream for the pilot to turn the airplane around and take me back. (But pick up my kids first.) Texas just isn't the same, I wanted to shout. I can't hang out with my kids at the beach every week in the summer and catch starfish. We can't go hiking and "blue tarp" camping in the mountains. I can't sit around a bonfire with my family and watch the bats come out after sundown. We can't drive an hour to go tubing in the mountains in the winter. My kids aren't going to find live frogs in their plastic eggs at Easter and we won't be able to go stomping through the mud at the tree farm to cut down our tree at Christmas. And no matter how clear a day it is in Texas, the mountain will never come out.
So I sit here and I get depressed about all that I've left behind and I want to cry and wail about the unfairness of it all.
And then I see my husband with his 3 brothers. I see him with his sister, his dad and his best friends. I see them laughing until they cry. I see the family jumping in without a moment's hesitation to support MC and his family. I see their joy at having us so close and having the whole family together again. I see my husband connecting with old friends, having the social interaction that he never quite had when we lived in WA. I see my husband enjoying the weather and not grumbling about always having to work in the rain.
And then I remember the last 13 years of us living in WA. 13 years that I got to spend with MY friends and MY family. 13 years that I was connected and involved and living close to those who love me. And I realize that for 13 years my husband lived without those connections. For 13 years he accepted our every-other-year visits to see his family and friends as status quo and never complained. He contented himself with the occasional phone call or FB chat in lieu of late night Acquire marathons. He endured the rain, my family, distance from lifelong friends, and the lack of sun because WA was where I wanted to be.
My husband is my best friend. I love him more than anything. But I'm coming to realize that I've been very selfish. All these feelings of loss and sadness and "life is so unfair"-ness are all things my husband has probably felt throughout the years. Why do I think that I have a right to have everything my way while he is left out? What makes my wants and desires a higher priority than his?
Is TX my favorite place to be? Not by a long shot. Would I rather be back in WA where some of our business goals that we've worked on for years are finally coming to fruition now that we've moved away? Absolutely. But this is the decision we've made. Together. It's time for me to give up a little bit and let my husband get to enjoy life on the other side of the fence. We can make a good life here--and we will. The kids are already settling in and enjoying themselves. MC is reconnecting with friends he hasn't seen in awhile and getting to spend time with his brothers on a regular basis. My family is happy. I'm making the decision that I will be, too.
Our kids will grow up with the great memories of living in TX and spending time with their family here. When they are older, they will come back and drive through town and reminisce about all the fun things they did while living here. They will grow up knowing that home is where you make it. It's where you plant your roots and invest your heart, even if it's not your first or even second choice. Home is not a place that is handed to you, it's a place that you build with your own sweat and tears and smiles and laughter. It's the place that you think you can't wait to leave but run back to every chance you get. That is home. And that is what I am making for my family--no matter which state we live in.