Thursday, July 9, 2009

Journey

Four years ago this week, we left California. We made one of the biggest decisions of our lives, and took an enormous leap of faith. Not really knowing what the road ahead would bring us, we crossed our fingers, packed up the kids and left.

Ever since college, Tom and I had been talking about moving out of California. Our intended destination for many years was Oregon. We almost moved there for law school, and then almost moved there again afterwards. For some reason, it never seemed to work out.

A year before we moved, TJ moved to Colorado. I sent Tom out here to visit his little brother, and the conspiring began almost immediately. Tom came home from that trip, and I just had a feeling that the wheels were turning. He wanted to go. The thoughts were there, in the back of our minds for a few months. It was about March when Tom really started to get the itch. Right after Ally was born, we made a decision.

I told him that I would go. This time, we would go. But, before that could transpire, there were a lot of things that had to happen. I put quite a few conditions on the move, assuming I think, that some of them wouldn't come to fruition. Not all those things could possibly fall into place in such a short amount of time. I thought I had given myself an out. A way to stay.

First, he had to get a job there. And it had to pay at least what he was getting paid now. He registered with a head hunter, figuring that it would be months before he got a call. Less than a week later, he already had a few interviews lined up. We flew out here when Ally was only 6 weeks old. He got the job, and he was offered more than we anticipated.

The second condition was that we had to find a house that was bigger, close enough to his work and with good schools. We settled on Longmont, midway between Boulder and Fort Collins, where TJ was. We found a new development, one that had just started construction on the edge of town. Third, we had to sell the house, and we had to get what we wanted for it. Put it on the market, and it sold in two days for more than we were asking.

We had a month. A month to tell everyone we loved, all our friends and family, that we were leaving. For real, this time. We had a month to find a rental house 1200 miles away. And we had a month to pack. I use the term "we" loosely here of course. Tom packed exactly one box. Everything else, all me. With three little kids, one of which was a newborn, we were leaving.

At some point, the reality hit me. We actually were going to do it this time. I struggled with the decision we made, questioned if it was the right choice. It was hard to go. I won't lie. It was scary, driving off into the unknown that day in July. There were many tears shed, many lingering doubts in the back of my mind.

The trip out here was a long one. I don't recommend cross country moving with three kids and two dogs to anyone. Especially when most of that trip takes place through the desert in the middle of the summer. When we crossed over the Colorado state line and stopped in Grand Junction for that last night, I really started to think we had made a terrible mistake. We got out of the car, and it was at least 110 degrees, and the wind was horrendous. What was I thinking?

Adjusting to life in Colorado took a while. And I'm still not entirely used to the weather here. I like to think that I have acclimated. I have held fast to my California ways. I wear my capri pants and flip flops year round, even in the middle of winter. I have developed almost the same relationship with the mountains here as I did with the ocean in California. Accustomed to seeing them all the time, but visiting them less often than I would like.

The schools are great. It really feels like a community here. There is so much for the kids to do, and it really is a family friendly place to live. I hardly ever get questioned by people about my choice to have so many kids here. It's more normal to have a larger family. It is less about the rat race here. Fewer people drive fancy cars. More people hang flags on their front porches. We have pancake breakfasts and parades. I can't go anywhere here without running into someone I know these days. While I will forever be a California girl, Colorado has become my home too.

Now here we are, four years later. I learned many things about myself through the experience. I learned that sometimes, you just have to jump in with both feet and hope for the best. I learned that when you are doing something truly because you believe it is the best for your children, you are almost always going to be right. I learned that my home is wherever my children are. Wherever my husband is. I learned that as scary as it is, I can start over. And I learned that life really is not about the destination, it's not about where you end up. It's about the journey. Enjoy the ride.

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