My husband’s worried. He’s worried about the victims and the destruction of Hurricane Sandy. We have family and friends in New York and New Jersey and most of them came through the hurricane without a scrape. But one of our friends lost his house, many lost power, some are still without power, and there are all those people that we don’t know, but we’re pulling for them, trying to rebuild their lives.
I thought about moving the other day. It went something like this:
What are we gonna do? How are we gonna survive with two kids and no family around? We need to move closer to someone. But where? Matt’s family lives in the Virginia sticks, where there’s a bun in every 14-year-old oven. That’s not an option. We could go to New York, but if we go upstate, near my best friend, my past will haunt me too much. There’s the city. My birth mother lives there. The city would be great if we had no kids, but we do. So that’s not an option. And if we lived there we’d be two hours from my best friend. No point in that. I have family in San Francisco. Now we’re talking. Nice weather, friendly Californians, but too brown. Seattle’s got me so used to green. There’s Southern California – close friend there – but she’s got a snake fence, a bear fence and a coyote fence in her backyard. Add that to overcrowded schools and gangs and it’s completely out of the question.
So what do we do? Now that we’ve got two children we need double the break time but it’s doubly difficult to get. Their grandparents are all the way across the country so we can’t dump them on anybody. We have to move. But I love this house, and there’s so much we’ve done to it, it’d be a shame to sell it. Not to mention I love my woods here. Not gonna find that in California. I really don’t want to pack and unpack all of our stuff anytime soon, either. And there’s Matt’s job. He needs to be on the West Coast to cover his territory. And if we do move, we’ll have to do it before the kids go to school. For Rose, that’s another two years. Not much time. I could wait another three years until they switch her school. Hmm.
I tossed the idea around for a good couple of weeks. I thought it about so much that I must have gnashed my teeth to nubs. Last week I needed an emergency dentist appointment. My jaw hurt so bad I told them I must have an infection. Nope, the doctor said, it turned out I ground my teeth so much that my body decided it needed to grow some extra bone.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the dentist. She could only take me during nap time and even if we’d skipped naps I couldn’t have gone to her office with both kids. So I called Laura – one of our friends from Maryland who’d recently relocated here. She had nothing going on, so she came right over to sit with the kids. She said she could do it anytime, at least until she got a job. And there’s a recession on. Hot damn! I thought. We DO have grandparents to drop the kids with!
And then Thanksgiving came up. We invited our friends from West Seattle. They’re two families – one from South Africa and one from Australia – and they haven’t got family here, so we see them every holiday. Their daughters are Rose’s two best friends. And we see them every couple of months too. They’re almost like – cousins!
When we had Christian, my friend Jackie offered to take Rose when we went to the hospital. We wound up with a live-in sitter that week, but I realized Jackie was one more connection in our support network.
Our Maryland friends invited us to a wine and food tasting last weekend – grownup night. I have a friend who loves Rose but she works so much she doesn’t get to see her. I asked her last minute and she sat for the kids – for free. There’s another part of our Seattle family. Yup, family. Maybe we don’t have to move at all, I thought.
I don’t know whether we’ll stay in Seattle forever. If we don’t, I don’t know where we’ll go next. Maybe we’ll stay until the kids get out of school. Maybe we’ll move in a few years. But now I know that we CAN stay, as long as we want, because we DO have family here. Turns out we’ve had it all along. And like they said in the Wizard of Oz, there’s no place like home.