We are moving across the country at the end of June.
When we were 30, my husband and I came out to California for an adventure. After 12 years, we’re heading back to Philly. We’re packing up the apartment we’ve lived in those 12 years, and then we’ll drive two cars and two cute twins and head back to where we left from.
I think my husband and I have always known we would move back East to raise our girls near family. As we were struggling with my cancer last year, I think the timetable just moved up. And it’s for the best, I think. My daughters are in Kindergarten, and it’s got to be better to make this move now rather than when they’re older and really rooted here.
We actually found a home to rent on my sister’s street, 150 footsteps from her house, to be exact. Cup-of-sugar borrowing distance. My girls will walk to the bus stop with their big cousin, my sweet nephew. It’s a great street where there are block parties and the kids all play together. I can teach my sis to knit, and maybe she can show me how to sew a skirt.
I have a new job at a terrific school, and there are some interesting opportunities opening up for my husband. We’ll be able to regularly visit lots of relatives and friends that we haven’t seen much over the last 12 years, including my 91-year-old grandfather and my mom. We’ll get to see my husband’s family, too, both in Philly and at the Jersey Shore. We’ll be able to spend time in the Catskills, too, and in our family’s cottage in Maine.
But, we’re leaving our amazing community in So. Cal. where:
-we have warm, lovely, thoughtful friends we’ve known for the years we’ve been here. These friends have clapped, cheered and prayed for us as we got married, had kids, made big career changes, fought cancer and then decided to return home. My girls call my women friends “Auntie,” and one of them, “Auntie Lisa” has been like an aunt to them. She listens to their secrets and understands them and has watched them grow up. Lisa supported me through my whole cancer journey, from freak-outs in her office when I was sure I was going to die, to hanging out with me during what I call the “blue meany” days of chemo. I have lots of other stories about things big and small that my California friends have done through the years, good times we’ve had.
-we have made brand new friends with two special families, just within the last few months. One is a family we met through my daughters’ Kindergarten friend and the mom and I bonded over Obama, knitting, Harry Potter and more; and the other is a family we met when the mom picked me up in a Trader Joe’s when she saw me there last spring, wearing a bandanna over my bald chemo head. With both of these families, we have all had fun hanging out together, and it’s crazy to think that we’ve found families where our kids are the same age and where we all have fun together, and now we’re moving.
-I have met some amazing, strong women who have fought breast cancer. These women have helped me through by sharing their intimate stories, by e-mailing, spending time together and much more. One of them is a special friend at work who was the first one who told me that I’d make it through to the other side. She leaves me cards during the hard days and made me care packages during my year of treatment.
-my father lives only about an hour away. I’ve had a complicated time with him in the last three years, but we’re finding our way to some peace again. And, I recently was able to reconnect with my step-brothers, too, so it’s hard to leave now because of that. And seriously, I am so grateful for Facebook, because I know I’ll be able to keep in touch with my step-brothers (and lots of other folks, too) that way.
-I fought breast cancer with the help of terrific doctors and nurses.
-we love our daughters’ school and our town.
-I have an interesting job and also journalism contacts. My husband’s career blossomed here, and he’ll be leaving all the people he’s met along the way, people who gave him opportunities, encouraged him and championed him.
-we’re leaving the sunshine and the broad, open light, palm trees and flowers year-round.
It’s a hard transition, bittersweet in so many ways. What gets me through is knowing that we’ll be closer to so many people we’ve missed for so long and that my daughters will grow up knowing these people, too, in addition to the wonderful people we’re leaving behind in California.
They say you can’t go home again. We’ll have to see about that.