As a high schooler living in a small Nebraska town and attending a fairly small school, I couldn’t have been more excited to head out of town after graduation. I was ready to explore. I was excited for the new beginnings in the “city” attending college. This little town with one blinking stop light, two gas stations, and a grocery store surrounded by fields of corn was not going to be in my future. I was certain.
I found myself thinking about this small little town on my last drive back “home.” I have built a home of my own with my husband and two children almost 2 hours away, yet I still call the town that holds my family roots my “home.” I think about how eager I was to leave after graduation.
As I continued to drive down the highway I could instantly feel myself relax. The highway lined with rows of corn and not a car in sight. There wasn’t any traffic to detour around or stoplights every few blocks like my normal commute. In the backseat my boys spotted cows, horses, and combines in the field. I enjoyed the bright, sunny day and the smell of fall. My mind was clearing.
While we spent a day at my parents’ house, my two boys ran wild in the open outdoor space. Laughter was heard as they played on the swing set. Bike rides around the block turned into jeep rides with the littlest cousin. Great Grandmas watched the kids play from the patio. Grandparents played with the kids. Pictures and videos were taken to remember the day.
As we headed back home that evening, I couldn’t help but think of the conversations my husband and I have on a regular basis. We discuss things like the best place to raise our family. Small town life, or “city” life? Small school class sizes or larger school class sizes? The activities and opportunities available with each option? Parent decisions are hard. Raising kids with the pressure of society can be super hard. My husband grew up on a farm with livestock. He also learned to drive on gravel roads, even had a school permit at age 14. Currently, our first son’s graduating class is half the size of our hometowns.
On the other side of things, we are happy living right where we are for the time being. We are definitely not in a small town, and that’s okay. While I crave the open fields and this sense of relaxation, life happens where we are right now. The boys are happy. We have neighbors who have become our best friends, the church family we have always hoped for, and a great school district for the kids.
We have a goal to buy a little piece of open “space” someday wherever it may be. I hope to have a long driveway, a porch with a swing, and be surrounded by open space.
Until then, you may see my family of four packed in a mini van on a gravel road driving around on a Sunday just to check the fields. We drive for miles just to breathe in the fall air and enjoy the relaxing scenery. This is our way of finding balance between our roots and current “city” life.