Remember my pen-pal in Alaska named Maxine? Well, here's my letter to her (and to you!).
September 1, 2015
Here I am writing this long-overdue letter to you from my mother’s home in Spring, Texas. It may come as a surprise to you (mostly because I’m only just now telling you or because, like me, you never imagined that this could happen), but Chuck and I have relocated along with our three kids to Spring, Texas. Did you gasp? I did. Several times, in fact. Isn’t it bizarre? I have to admit that never in all my years of marriage did I ever foresee that we would live in Spring. Of course, God has his own way of surprising us at every turn, so I don’t know why I’m continually taken aback by the twists and turns in life.
Of course, I guess you’re probably wondering what led us here. Frankly, so am I, but when I think about it and tell people it all sounds quite reasonable and normal. Nonetheless, it feels anything but normal in my shoes these days. The process all began very late in the school year—maybe April or May. Chuck was receiving calls from multiple headhunters and the opportunities just seemed to be falling in his lap. It’s no secret that the last couple of years have been a bit rough and led to some drastic changes in our life plans and career plans. Still, we were okay just chugging along in our Fort Worth home of over 10 years, but one opportunity was just too good to pass up. So we took it! Well, Chuck took it anyway.
He was offered a position with a large bank to be in charge of something to do with all of their auto finance across the country (forgive me for my lack of specificity, but I still have no idea what he does on a day-to-day basis…it’s seriously above my head). The catch was that bank's United States headquarters are located in Houston, Texas. Specifically, near the Galleria if you know where that is. Honestly, I’ve only been there a handful of times in my life and would have to get directions just to go have lunch with my husband! Anyway, the bottom line is that he loves his new job. It’s a huge culture change and very different from working in subprime auto finance as he had been for the last 15 years (although it can’t be too different since it’s obviously still auto finance overall). Nonetheless, he’s embraced it and is quite complimentary of all his co-workers, which I think is lovely. We are all very excited for him!
On the other hand, we all gave up quite a bit after 17 years of making Fort Worth our home. I basically left all the social circles I had enjoyed over the years, including my friends from college, law school, the legal community, junior woman’s club, various charities, my book club, and all the kids’ schools. In fact, some of our closest friends threw us the most amazing going-away party! It was like saying goodbye to our family.
Moving wasn’t actually a difficult decision to make. It was logical. Chuck was offered a better job in a city where we would be closer to family and better able to provide for our family. We would actually be selfish parents if we had turned down this amazing opportunity. Lucky for us, things seemed to fall into place as soon as we made the decision. Our house sold before it was really even on the market. We found a house in Spring that fits our family perfectly and is in the right school district and is super close to my mother—the person our children adore and will feel most comfortable with. And even though we aren’t quite in our house yet and school has started, my mother has generously invited us—all of us—into her home indefinitely. And just to be clear, “all of us” includes, my two dogs, two cats, two hermit crabs, one fish, three kids, one husband, and loads of suitcases and boxes that didn’t quite make it on the moving truck. She’s a saint. Period. Lucky for us, we move into our house today!
At this point, we are still just waiting on our things to arrive and for some final finishing touches to be put on the house, but we are planning to sleep there tonight. It really is quite beautiful. I never imagined I would live in this neighborhood when I was growing up, so it’s kind of like achieving a childhood dream to live there. Of course, I no longer look at everything with the eyes of an awed child anymore, so it’s different than I thought it would be in almost every way. For example, when I was younger I never noticed how meticulous the landscaping was in this neighborhood. As an adult, I’ve caught myself thinking, “How will I ever keep my yard looking as nice as all the neighbors?? How much does a landscaper cost? How long will it take to mow this large yard with our tiny push-mower?” I know it’s weird, but those are my thoughts. So adult, right? When did that happen?!
With all that said, we are loving the idea of having a “new” house. The constant repairs and creaks in the 1942 Fort Worth house were no longer as quaint as I had perceived them to be ten years ago. I’m ready for something that’s a little “newer” (as in built in 1993). The windows in this house weren’t installed during World War II, and I’m very grateful for the advances in insulation, and an A/C system that wasn’t inefficiently retrofit into my house. Plus, the kids each get their own room with a spare room available for guests. We have a pool and a spa, a huge kitchen, and a three-car garage. Huh. I just realized how suburban I sound! But, in all honesty, that’s what we have become—suburban.
For years we rejected the Fort Worth suburbs, not because there is anything wrong with them, but rather because we loved being in the middle of everything—the zoo across the street, amazing museums and restaurants just minutes away, a well-established and award-winning elementary school in a tree-lined neighborhood, a hop skip and a jump from downtown, the art district, and the historic stockyards. How could I possibly give all of that up? Not to mention all of our friends?
It was hard, and yet so easy at the same time. It was the right decision for Chuck and our family, but we all miss it so much already. We moved down here almost three weeks ago after we closed on our Fort Worth house. We finally closed on our house in Spring last Monday—the same day the kids started school. We are hoping to get settled this week. The kids are ready for that, and so am I. I’m hoping that once we are surrounded with our own junk, we will start to feel more at home and less like homeless vagabonds.
I love that Chuck has so easily found a place at his new job, but the rest of us have to work a little harder to start a new life down here. The kids all started at new schools—Luke in 6th and in middle school (gasp!), Evie and George in 4th and 1st respectively and attending a new elementary school just down the street from our new house. We actually walk there! They have already made friends, which is wonderful. They are so resilient!
Now that we are here, I’m surrounded by all of my siblings. (yes, they all live in some area in Houston, too)! All five of them—Cathy, Joan, Mike, Mary, and Tom (and their respective spouses and children). Oddly, I’ve seen or talked to all of them in the last few weeks. It’s definitely a record since we aren’t in the midst of a major holiday. At least there are positives to this move!
So, the real question is why haven’t I told you until now?
Well, I really don’t know. Maybe I didn’t want it to be real. Maybe I thought it wouldn’t actually work out. Maybe I’ve just been too busy to breathe. Or maybe it’s a combination of all three and everything else in life that keeps us all busy running hither and thither. But now you know. Now it is real. I live in Spring, Texas. Again. And in my sentimental moments I realize that I have returned home – where I grew up with my family, where I went to school, where my oldest friends live, where I lost my dad and healed my heart, where I planned my wedding to the love of my life, and funny enough, where I met you! How could this be anything other than wonderful?!
All of that aside, I’m smart enough to recognize that my location in this state, this country, this planet, doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of my life. The most important things and what defines my “home” are my husband and children—my family. And how blessed am I to have them under the same roof with me—healthy and safe and loved?!
So, there it is. That’s my crazy news, without all the crazy details of the move as it unfolded over the summer. I probably should have recorded all the insanity that goes hand in hand with relocating a family of five, but between the whirlwind of activity and exhaustion, there was no way to accomplish such a feat.
On the bright side, maybe I’ll remember to pick up a pen more often and send a letter. And if I’m super lucky, maybe I’ll also remember to stamp the envelope and put it in the mail (truly the most difficult part for me – I can’t tell you how many letters I’ve written and never sent!).
In the mean time, I hope you are well and enjoyed the warmth of the summer! You are in my thoughts often and I’d love to hear how you are!
Much love always,