Do you choose where you live or does it choose you? As in, have you ever gone somewhere for the first time and felt like you were FROM there? Or… have you ever gone back home and felt like you couldn’t be more disconnected to a place you know so well?
Well, that’s me. And then there were three. As in, my husband, from Nebraska, me, from Maine and our baby boy, from Chicago. So our entire families live in Maine and Nebraska and our friends and jobs live in Chicago. We don’t really know where we should live, work and raise our family.
If none of this mattered, my husband would choose to live somewhere between beachy L.A. and San Francisco. He wants to surf and hike and maybe ride a boat or bike to work. He wants to eat dinner outdoors. I’m into all this too and I like all the amazing produce that California has to offer. When I was 7 months pregnant we even went house shopping in Mill Valley, CA (just across the bridge from San Francisco). Until of course we both had mini panic attacks about the cost of living, leaving our friends and making it near impossible for my family in Maine to be apart of our lives.
Then there’s me, who is completely in love with most of Europe. Specifically, I can see us living in Brussels. To me, it’s like an unpretentious Paris, beautiful, delicious and chill. It’s the center of the E.U. and everyone speaks 3 or 4 languages minimum and I could see myself working to export Antiques to the U.S. or just pushing a pram around town and grabbing meat from the local butcher, bread from the baker and produce on the corner by our flat or house. This is where I lose people but I assure you, I can paint a picture like this for any scenario, it’s how I process and how I sign myself up for life. Truly, when I used to wait tables, I’d “pretend” I was a server, even though I totally was. It made it all far more fun. Anyway… I can I see our family hopping on the train every few weekends and exploring another City, another Country. Imagine learning about world history/ geography and getting to make the connection visually as a kid? Man, I would have LOVED that when I was little. Imagine, learning 3 or 4 languages on accident as a kid? I’d love to live in a place where education is a priority, where I won’t worry about my child getting shot in school or at the movie theatre. So yeah, Brussels, or most anywhere in Europe is my dream, what’s crazy is this dream has the potential to come true. Which should be a really good thing but… it overwhelms me because this dream means that our little boy and future babies wouldn’t grow alongside our families, which kinda of breaks my heart. Clearly, this aren’t real problems. I’m fully aware.
Then there’s this idea of moving to Maine. Which both depresses me and excites me. It depresses me because I’ve already done that and there’s so many other things I want to do and I already feel like time is slipping away from me. I’m also fully myself here in ways that I never was there. For some reason, starting from scratch and knowing no one appeals to me more than “going back”. That being said, I now have the conscience of a parent and I feel as though I was given all this love and support from my family and I took all of it and moved halfway across the Country a decade ago and invested it into my friends and career, leaving my family, specifically, my parents… behind. It seems cruel and selfish. Likely because I’m realizing how much of myself I’ve invested in my 11 month old baby and I can’t imagine doing that for 20 or so years and then only seeing him 3 or 4 time a year. Okay, so… it excites me because, one, it would be different, my midwestern husband would become a Mainer, which is adorable. Maybe he’d grow a beard again and wear a lot of plaid. He’d make a fire, shovel our driveway and make sand castles with our babies. I also love the idea of going sledding and ice skating with my kids and having a Norman Rockwell esque house with a mudroom, possibly with slate floors. I love that my 76 year old dad would take my son to pick up lobster and steamers and that my mom would bake with them at Christmas and take them to the playground. My brother could take my son fishing or camping. My sisters and I could hang out more and reconnect. It feels good, warm, cozy, easy. But Maine? After living in the 3rd largest City in the Country? I donno.
I really like the many languages I hear spoken around me. I like that there’s a Korean grocery store down the street. Heck, I love that I can grocery shop on an app from my phone and have it delivered while my son naps. I like that the best music shows come here. I like that the City doesn’t die in the Winter, it just lights up more and people layer well. In the same way that people who aren’t used to Cities find them overwhelming and inconvenient, I find this City to be so alive and accessible. I can walk to the grocery store, to target, to Marshalls. The train is 3 blocks from my house and I can take it to the center of downtown and not have to park or take my kiddo in and out of the carseat. But mostly, my friends, I have irreplaceable, television series worthy friends. Over the last decade, they have become my family, loving me, supporting me and calling me out when needed. I can’t imagine my world without them.
It seems that as we try on these different ideas, exhaust all possibilities, we return, mentally worn out. As we step into the house and throw down our bags, we realize that maybe just maybe, it’s okay to just be where we are and live within this open ended sentence for a while longer. Maybe home is not the ideal always but the place you don’t want to leave. Yet.
So for now, the three of us will live in my son’s hometown.
Love to you,