Hello readers, I have been MIA with mucho happening on all fronts and here I am to report back from the bus!
Oh dios mio, where to start? OK #1 we are moving. We are moving! Across the country! I told you I was thinking about it. I think I had already decided when I told you that but, as with all big decisions, I made it before I “officially” made it- it’s just nice to dwell in that officially-undecided space a little longer to let it all solidify and become real. The decision is made. It feels real. It’s happening!
We’re moving to Chicago. Specifically, Oak Park. As someone who has been a proud city resident of SF, NYC, DC, and even Paris, I will now be a suburbanite. I sort of never thought it would happen and then I had a kid… It’s a well-established transition. I get it now. I feel like I’ve spent the last couple of years of new-motherhood preparing for this move and massive identity shift- life has gotten smaller and slower and now I super duper crave for it to get easier. I have often thought, “I can stay home every night in a much less expensive city.” And when I park my car on the street two hilly blocks away and carry a sleeping 30+ pound boy and four bags back to three flights of stairs to my apartment I think, “There’s got to be a better way.” I spend 2.5 hours a day commuting.
My official and concise and most truthful answer about “why” is that we’re moving to be closer to family. The cousins will grow up together. My sister and bro-in-law will back me up and vice versa. My parents are across the lake that feels more like home to me than any other place.
But once I took on winter as a hypothetical (and, believe me, this was a BIG stretch as I have REALLY enjoyed a long hiatus from the freezing cold and estrangement from the sun), so many benefits leapt into the picture- the ease of life. The affordability. The family-oriented community. The schools. And then my company said yes: work from Chicago, it sounds like a great move both personally and professionally.
That’s when it got really real because there’s nothing else holding me back. And it felt: peaceful.
I have a hard time talking to friends here about my move. Of course I’m not happy to leave dear friends. And I will not bad mouth the city itself- I don’t blame San Francisco, we’re just no longer a match. I have LOVED it here and will miss many people and many things (hiking trails, burritos, mild winters…). And I have a sense that I no longer need to be in the center of the action. I want to be just a little off to the side where we can do our thing with a parking spot and new friends and a train-themed restaurant where a little train brings your dinner. And family dinners and lawns and changing leaves and real summer. And put down some new roots.
Two people have congratulated me on my courage, my therapist and my sister B, and it made me realize that I had a narrative going in my head where I was giving up or bailing out or betraying my teammates in city living. That I was giving up for the easy out. Especially the moms I’ve become close to- we’re all trying to build community and it sucks to pull away from that. But I realize now that of course we need to go where we will thrive, and that choice is different for each individual, and that place for us has made itself really, really, REALLY clear!
We’re going next month to find a place and we’ll move a month after that. Meanwhile, I’m lingering on the sweet details of this season of life, where the drive to school every day includes a waterfall and buffalo and Golden Gate Park and a fire truck. And the way the golden early evening sun angles through my kitchen as I prep dinner. I couldn’t have hoped for happier times and I have faith that the next chapter will be lovely in a whole new way that is welcome and wonderful.
We will especially miss Aunt B and her girlfriend Jenn and I rely on their world traveler statuses to get them to or through Chicago on a regular basis. And we will be back to visit… I love that everyone is so present online and I love that I’ve been in better touch with my friend E during her year in China than when she was here… I hope it will be like that with many newly long-distance friends. And especially the single mamas who are chilling out post 8pm and want to FaceTime…
So soon it will be farewell to “San Acisco” (which is what E calls the Golden Gate Bridge).
Lots of love,