Ok, I am clearly nervous to write this because I just wrote the first paragraph and deleted it four times. It’s just that I haven’t had to break up with anyone in a long time. It’s strange to be back in that mindset.
I feel relief with my realization, but also such guilt. I’m looking forward to things to come, but also thankful for what we’ve had. And I have learned a lot about myself.
Chicago, I love you. I really do, and I will always defend you as one of the best places I have ever lived, but this isn’t going to go anywhere. I’m leaving you.
I know I thought that this would be a lifelong relationship, but things have changed. It’s not you, it’s me. And let’s still be friends, as they say.
Friends, I am as shocked as you are about the following statement:
I think I want to move to the suburbs. Yes, want. Or even better? A smaller town. Just someplace with yards, trees, and space for kiddos to play. Somewhere that still has easy access to the city by a train, so Justin can still work at his dream job. And I still want to be able to visit when we please.
Yeah, in the back of my mind, I guess I knew this day would come. But I figured it would be many years down the road. Up until a couple of months ago, I was 100% sure I wanted to raise city kids. There are a ton of advantages to doing this, including access to a lot more culture than kids who live outside the city limits are exposed to on a daily basis. Thousands of people do it. I could list a hundred reasons to raise kids in the heart of a city that I love so much.
But all those reasons? They involve a lot of scheduling. They involve close supervision without exception. Logistics that would make your head ache. Oh, and about a million bajillion dollars.
Justin and I did not grow up in big cities. Our best memories of childhood are those that involve riding bikes, capture the flag with neighbor kids, creeks, dirt, treehouses and a crap-ton of fresh air. Now I know that times have changed a bit, and you can’t just let your kid run a muck without a care. But I can’t imagine not being able to tell Benton to “go play outside.”
I feel very strongly that part of the reason my brother and I grew up to be such creative and imaginative people, is because we didn’t have a playroom overflowing with toys. We didn’t have a schedule of playdates where our parents had to oversee our every move. We didn’t have to wait to run and dig and explore until the (wood-paneled) minivan pulled up to the park. We just went outside and the world was ours.
Mom was always available and there to check up on us, but I don’t remember her having to facilitate our playtime and watch our every move. We were free.
I want my kid(s) to be free. And when I picture my family growing, it is not inside a noisy city apartment or condo. Our every activity isn’t carefully considered and planned out. Parking is not an issue. City noises aren’t sabotaging nap time. Playdates are not the only time they get to see a friend because there are kids in the yard next door.
I know this may sound crazy but I see a place that has more than a couple of rooms to live in. A place for Justin to have an office that is occasionally quiet and off-limits to grubby hands and squealy voices. I see a yard. A tree or two or ten that I will get to know and love. Someplace that has chair for me to sit in while I watch tiny bare feet run in the yard before the sun goes down.
Does it sounds extravagant? It does to me. I almost feel greedy. But when I really start to think about it, not that far out of reach. I am not that crazy for wanting this.
I want to go to there. I want to go home.