It wasn’t a decision that was made lightly. I didn’t think it would be forever, maybe just temporary. Freshly married, off we went into the unknown, leaving behind our families and the town we grew up in, where we had always called home. It wasn’t easy, but we did it.
That doesn’t mean I don’t miss the place I grew up. That doesn’t mean everything is super easy without any family around to help out. That doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t ache for my kids who can’t just take a 5-minute drive to their grandparent’s house like I did growing up. That doesn’t mean I don’t get teary-eyed knowing grandparents and great-grandparents are missing milestones in our lives I know they’d love to see. That doesn’t mean I don’t ponder on what is lost because we made the decision to move away.
That also doesn’t mean I regret making the decision. It just means it was thoroughly thought out, and it was one my heart had trouble making. I’m glad we made the decision to pack up and move away from all we had known because I think I needed to.
Moving away made me grow up. I had to.
Just because you get married, doesn’t mean you automatically become more mature overnight. When you later have a child, it doesn’t automatically give you a sound mind that makes all the right decisions. (Boy, don’t I wish).
Moving away taught me to rely more on myself and that I was capable of doing things—even the hard ones. Moving away made my husband and I rely on each other instead of on our herds of family members in the town we had just left. It gave us room to grow, separately and together, and now I hope it has given our children the courage to see the world.
Sitting here in my home in a state I never thought I would be living in, I’m happy.
We made hard choices and fought many battles to get here, but here we are nonetheless. We have made a new place home, and I love it. I love the fresh faces, new scenery, and previously unheard of opportunity that the new place I call home brings my family. I wouldn’t go back to change a single thing that brought me here and I sure don’t want to uproot my family from the place I’m contently and happily calling home. The place my kids will get the chance to call home as they grow.
I never want my kids to think they have to live where I do just because of familial obligation, pressure, or because they thought they never had the chance to leave where they grew up. Part of me thinks my kids may end up in the place I grew up, one day raising their own families. Nothing would bring me more joy than to know they had the courage and freedom to make that choice themselves. If they end up next door to me, I know my heart would rejoice more than anything, but I want them to do it because they want to.
Choosing where to live and raise a family is a monumental decision, and I don’t think anyone takes it lightly.
It’s even harder on the people who choose to lock in on a place that is away from all the people they know and love. It takes courage, heart, and a whole lot of determination. There’s fear, sometimes there is regret, uncertainty, and questioning. Occasionally, there’s longing for the people you love and there are tears when your children ask to go see their grandparents but they can’t.
But, there are planes and interstates. There are family vacations and FaceTime. There are cell phones and landlines. There are stamps for letters and there are packages that can be sent.
There will be love no matter where you decide to call home. There will be opportunities and support, too. You will make new friends who become like family to you, and boy, are they great. There will be long-awaited visits, both coming and going. There will be excitement and sadness. There will be chaos of emotions almost all the time. That’s life. But I can testify, there is freedom in allowing yourself to face the unknown and to chase opportunity.
There will be joy in finding a place to call home for your family.
No matter where it ends up being, allow yourself to be happy.
Home is where you make it.