Saturday, June 19, 2010

Home is where the heart is

When I was in Alabama several weeks ago I had composed the beginning of the perfect mental blog post in my head.

My children were napping and so I borrowed my parent’s car to go and do something fun. I was driving out of their development and down the mountain when Sweet Home Alabama came on the radio. I looked ahead and to the right and the left and saw the beautiful foothills of the Appalachian mountains. The vista was gorgeous. Almost breathtaking, for Alabama (or the southland for that matter*) in the springtime is just amazing. It won’t stay that way for long – development, er, over-development is rampant in their area and within the next mile of my drive my reverie would be broken by traffic that during rush hour rivals most big cities. But in that moment and for that time, I felt like I could breathe. Like I could see more than just the road in front of me and the buildings on either side.

I composed my post as I was driving – yet another monologue on where to raise our family, which is the best location, should Mr. Quimby and I look harder for jobs that are . . . that are . . . well, not here. Just someplace that isn’t quite as crowded. The trade-offs are hard. I would be scared to live some-place with people who aren’t open-minded. But even as I write that, I grimace. It’s been my experience that well-educated Washingtonians are only open-minded about the things that they believe are right. But that is truly a post for another day. I’ll just summarize that based on the things that Mr. Quimby and I value, there are trade-offs but there are very desirable reasons to move away from this major metropolitan area.

Some day. That's as far as I got in the mental blog post because then I started thinking too much. How could I write a post with so much indecision in it ? It would just be left kind of hanging. But here I am, using this blog as just one big brain dump.

I'm left with this: the longer we stay, the harder it is to think about leaving. It's further complicated by the fact that, for the most part, life has become somewhat simpler, easier even as the girls get older.

The girls and I have had a couple great days recently. Yesterday we ran some errands, had great playtime outside, and capped it off with a family dinner of hamburgers, potatoes, and peas. Last week we spent a lovely morning on the metro and at the National Gallery of Art. Today was cutting some flowers, taking a dog to the vet, a walk to the library, a picnic on the front porch and some playtime with the hose outside. This evening I’m having dinner with some friends from college. They’ve known me for 18 years, although we lost touch for several years in the middle.

18 years people. 18 years I’ve lived here.

I lived in Alabama from the time I was 2 until a week before my 18th birthday when I came to college. I’ll be 37 at the end of August, which means that on or about August 24th, I will have lived here for 19 years.

I will have lived HERE for longer than I lived THERE.


Today, I was struck by the feelings of how good life is and I wanted so desperately to capture them. Even more than usual, and partly because Beezus is turning 5 in a couple months, I feel anxious, panicked almost, to try and capture and remember these moments. So I grabbed my camera and tried to take some of those arty looking photographs that appear so often on blogs – the ones where the foreground is in focus but not the background. All I can say is, they must photoshop them because I can’t make it work with just the camera.

I love the life that Mr. Quimby and I have created here. When we talk about moving, it is with some trepadation, because it’s hard to imagine life being better when it is so good now. Yet I know that it would be better in some ways and other ways would be challenging. With the occasional exception, I love my life. There’s a couple things I would like to change at some point, but by and large . . .

Life. Is. Good.

*Major, major bonus points if you caught the reference to a fabulous song by a fantastic folk duo. I first saw them in concert in 1989 at the University of Alabama at a small ampitheater. Beat that.


Sandy said...

Beautiful post Ellen. Enjoy the good life as it is now. It does continue to get easier and there will always be questions about moving and where to raise the girls. Enjoy these moments!

Laurie said...

We have the "do we move/don't we move discussion" nearly every 6 months. I sometimes still feel like a transient here and then I realize we've been here over 10 years now. I can't believe it!

PS - I love Sweet Home Alabama.

Helen said...

Lovely post. But I hate when you talk about moving.

"It’s been my experience that well-educated Washingtonians are only open-minded about the things that they believe are right." True, which is to say they aren't open-minded at all. But I think that's true everywhere. Real open-mindedness is pretty rare. I include myself among the non-open minded.

You always write such interesting posts. Though as I said, I hate when you talk about moving.

AwwwTrouble said...

I love this post. Sigh.

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