You know how on Medium.com articles, they tell you how long they will take you to read? I’m not going to do that. Just know this will take you a long time.
We are moving to Pennsylvania.
I’m sad. Especially this week. Let’s back up.
At least once a year since 2011, Trav and I seriously discussed moving. As living expenses rose, the housing market reached volatile levels, and priorities shifted, we examined what we wanted and needed. And each year, I said, “Not yet.” Though Denver never felt 100% like my home, I knew that it made logical sense for us. We were growing as individuals and our marriage was thriving. We had rich community and jobs that were fulfilling and challenging. I missed my family desperately, but I even convinced a few sisters to come out here. Things were good. Great, even. It never made sense to leave.
But then in 2017, after 6 years of discussions, we felt like we were sprinting away from a feeling of restlessness, trying to make sure it didn’t catch us. So we decided, let’s go on an adventure. We sold our home in Denver and went to Kenya for 4 months. It was fantastic and just what we needed. We kept our things in Denver, assuming that we would purchase another home when we got back and settle in for the long haul.
Then? I got pregnant. Cliche alert: it changed everything. We got back to Denver and everything felt off. We were in a new neighborhood, far from our familiar favorites, and marching ever so slowly (seriously I was pregnant for a hundred years) toward the event of having a child. In my heart, I knew it was time. Denver had given me so much, but I was ready to go home.
But I was pregnant. Pregnant people are hormonal. I did not trust my thoughts or feelings and kept telling Travis that we would re-evaluate once the baby was here. HA! Did I think that my hormones were going to just level out right after having a baby?! See? I knew I shouldn’t trust my pregnant brain. It wasn’t functioning.
EP came and all the desires to go home just amplified. I need to interject here and say that this has nothing to do with my family and friends in Denver and everything to do with this life phase. More on that later. Oh yeah, we’re like halfway done here.
The day I brought her home from the hospital, my oldest sister and her family moved back to Pennsylvania. I dealt with it calmly and logically. For real. Then? My mom went home four days after that. And then the next day, the doctors put my sweet 1-week old baby into a harness with instructions that I could no longer put clothes on her, bathe her with any regularity, or take it off for the next 12 weeks. And just like that, all the calm, logic, and rational thinking I had held onto for the past 9 months just flooded out of my body. The doctor was giving me instructions and I was nodding my head, smiling like a maniac, as rivers of tears just poured out of my eyeballs. I was losing it.
It was in that office that I realized I didn’t want to do this hard thing without my mom. My sisters. My home. It was too much. It wasn’t about the harness. It was merely Velcro and time. It was about me. It was about the fact that a week into motherhood, I understood for the first time that my life is not really just for me anymore. For 8 years, I worked really hard for me: to build, grow, and change. That’s what your 20s are for, right? I did the thing. I built a business. I grew a community. I changed parts of myself that no longer served me.
But in that really hard and emotional moment, looking down at my sweet baby, I realized that she was going to build, grow, and change me all over again. It was going to be hard and scary, and I needed the other parts of my life not to be. So ironically, I was waiting to make this huge decision until I was in an emotional state of zen. But opposite day. I made it as I was feeling like a crazy person, when I was at PEAK FEELINGS.
Travis and I did not discuss any of this that day, and probably not for several weeks. But he knew. He saw me withdraw and go inward, fearing the future and speaking about it like a lost little kid. He made the decision for our family that it was time to go. I don’t think I will ever receive a kinder gift for the rest of my life. That’s a blog for another day, but GET YOU A MAN #AMIRIGHT?! (Sorry I needed comic relief cuz I’m crying.)
It was a process to find him a job and make trips out there. I had so.many.conversations with so many people about this decision. I knew it was the right one, but I was terrified. I’m still terrified. I’ve never been an adult in Pennsylvania. Honest hour: I was a cocktail waitress the last time I lived there. Things have, uh, changed a bit. Everything feels like such a huge deal, like each little decision is permanent and I can never change my mind again forever. But that’s an exhausting way to live, no? Putting so much pressure on every choice until you’re paralyzed into just not doing anything. I can’t live like that, so I’m choosing not to.
This is a season and it’s the right thing to do for the season. I’ve had a really difficult time even thinking through my emotions surrounding this, let alone writing them down. But I’ve learned that writing about and sharing my thoughts often precedes even my own understanding of them. So I’m going to break this down to make it easier on myself.
About Denver: Trav and I grew our relationship here. We got engaged, then married. We spent time with his family who adopted me immediately as one of their own. We started our careers and a family. We traveled a ton, fell in love with city life, and made friends that we know will last a lifetime.
About PA: My family. Hoagies. The Eagles. Wawa. Public transportation. Green grass. Soft serve. Houses under $500K. Pizza. Lifelong friends. Soft pretzels.
(I’m really gonna pork up, huh?)
I’m going to spend just a few sentences here because my brain has lived exclusively in this space for the past few weeks. I have amazing friends and family in this city. Who welcomed me in and made me feel loved, known, and cared for. Leaving this community is hands-down the hardest part about this move (and have you seen Denver’s weather?! It’s like perfect.) I can’t adequately describe what it’s like to have your heart in two places, but I feel like most of you have felt that so maybe I don’t have to. I’m simply moving to where the other half of my heart has been this whole time. That doesn’t mean this isn’t excruciating. Trust me, it is.
Also, leaving behind Mexican food. That’s up there, man.
Motherhood, to me, has felt like a long, dark tunnel. Intellectually, I know there is a light at the end of it. But as of right now, I can’t physically see it. I’m just sitting here, walking slowly and surviving. It’s not a bad tunnel. There is a really cute baby that I absolutely adore! But this tunnel? It’s a boring one. I never knew something could be so hard and so wonderful and so boring all at the same time. Reading the same books, singing the same songs, feeding in the same chair, literally wiping the same shitty butt—I’m bored. I’ve tried my best to switch things up and keep it interesting, but the fact is that I have to be home from 9:30-11:30 am and 2:00-4:00 pm and then again from 7 pm – 7 am every single day. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room here for me.
And I’ve said this 100 times since talking about moving. If I’m going to be in a long, happy, but boring tunnel, I would like to do it while sitting on my sister’s couch. It’s not that great of a couch. But she is there. And sometimes my mom will be there and my other sisters and brother and all my nieces and nephews. And I can yell at those kids if I want. I can help myself to the food in the fridge. I can show up late or not at all. I can sleep over or pop in for 5 minutes.
The point of all of this is that I need to be where my life is comfortable right now. There are seasons where it’s OK to do the emotionally easy thing. I don’t always need to be pushing my life outside my comfort zone. I want to celebrate what I’ve done over the past decade, enjoy my sweet baby, and lament about the tough parts with the people who know me best. And they are at home. I can’t wait to be bored on that average couch with my favorite people in the world.