So, about this moving thing. It’s not that complicated. It’s something that, personally, has been a long time coming. No one is forcing us to move (not like last year around this time, thank the gods, that was so much stress) but we’re not really packing our boxes and house hunting. Here’s the deal.
I’ve never felt like I truly belonged in Austin, the city I was born and raised in. I had hoped to escape when I started college, moving to the north where the seasons actually changed and cold could be felt in October. I planned to apply to colleges along the eastern seaboard as well as the University of Washington. I wanted cold, I wanted rain. When the whole “moving away to college” thing fell through, Fil moving here and such, I decided that staying in Austin was best for our family. Monster wouldn’t have to readjust to a new city again, he would have grandparents and great-grandparents who adore him, and cousins to play with during vacations and weekends. It was perfect, I guess.
It occurred to me a few weeks ago that I am not happy here. I’m going about my life, waking up early on the week days, getting ready, taking Monster to school, going to work, coming home, doing the dishes, reading a book, taking a shower, going to bed. I’m doing the same thing every day, every weekend I spend with my best friend (which is a nice respite, I must add), every weeknight I try to catch shows I use as an escape. I’m miserable. I know a large part of that is the difficulties I face every day, my partner is still battling cancer, which seems to be winning more every day, and the stress of working a full time job, being a full time care giver, and taking care of a 12 year old boy is getting to me. I feel my body weak with exhaustion, but I just keep plowing forward. I also know that part of this comes from my home.
I will always say I’m a city girl with small town inclinations. I love the city, correction, I love my city. I can’t stand any where that’s bigger – Pittsburgh, Chicago, New York, especially New York. But, I feel like I’m suffocating. My urge to flee the city for the refuge of a quiet, clean country life is intense, and that is never good, in my opinion. Most days, my dreams of living in the quiet of a Pennsylvanian forest are so intense, I have to force myself to read a book so I can get my mind off of the real urge to escape.
I’ve worked this over in my head, moving out of the only state I’ve lived in, moving so far from my loving family, from my only close friend, from familiar streets and the throbbing pulse of a city I know so well. I would miss the great expanse of the blue Texas sky. I would miss languishing on the porch in late September, the luxury of a faintly cool breeze and a cold soda the only company I need. I would miss the soothing sound of cicadas and crickets that herald in the summer every year.
But, I would miss my mother and my father the most. The two people who will always love me the most, no matter where I am, who I’m with, or what I’m doing. The thought of leaving them for college made me sick with worry. I cried some nights, the stress of school, planning for my future, and leaving everything I knew behind, made me twist with agony. Some nights, when I think of moving to Massachusetts or Pennsylvania, I get so emotional I almost start to cry. Is that immature, to be so unsure of walking away from your first family, to find a better life for your new family? I want my children to grow up with grandparents who are there for them, who love them and aid in their growth as people. I want my son to learn how to shave from my dad and watch my mom teach my kids the secret family bean recipe. I don’t know how I would cope with parenting my children if we were on our own. I could manage, of course, but my parents have already played a huge part in Monster’s adolescent life, and he loves them so much. How hard will it be to rip him away from the first real grandparents he’s had, how hard will it be on my parents to say goodbye to their first grandson? Are these things I should even contemplate?
And then there are the other worries, will any other place feel like home? How hard will it be to continue our vegetarian lifestyle? How do they feel about urban farms? What is the stance on gay marriage? Could I actually be with my partner on paper, not just in our hearts? Would it be harder or easier to start expanding our family?
These are just thoughts, questions, bursts of drama from my brain. We’re in no shape to move out of the state yet. I want Fil to be cancer free, or at least in remission, before we do anything drastic. We would need to move somewhere she could have an oncologist on the books, as well as a pain management specialist, rheumatologist, and a great primary care doctor who is gay friendly. I would need to have my transcription certificate and a job that is not tethered to one location, or a for-sure job in our chosen city. We would need to save so much money, thousands more than what we saved to move a grand total of 20 miles south. We’d need to sell our furniture (the big stuff) and save enough to refurnish a new apartment or rental home, as well. It’d have to be during a time that Monster isn’t in school. I won’t do that to him again, make him pick up in the middle of the school year. It would all be so delicate, hinging on the kindness of my family and our mutual dedication to relocating our family for the last time – because, whether we say it aloud or not, this would be our first and last big move as a family. We may move houses, but if we pack up and leave Texas, we won’t be looking back.
This clearly isn’t on the books for next month, or even next year. It will take a while for Fil to get healthy, it’ll take at least a year (come January) for me to finish my certificate program. And then there’s the whole fact that we haven’t really talked about this, I just loaded it all onto Fil’s shoulders – via text! go me! – and she simply said “It’s up to you.” Because it is up to me. I’m the one who would be saying goodbye to everything and everyone I know. I would be making the toughest choice (yes, more difficult than moving out of my parents’ house, dropping out of college, staying with Fil through cancer – those were a piece of cake!) of my life. I know Fil wants to leave. She gets distant and dreamy when you mention Massachusetts, thinking of crisp autumn days and bearable summers.
I can’t say I blame her.