Ever since moving from Denver a mere week after marrying Scott (15 years ago this August) my one goal in life (besides keeping everyone alive and healthy) has been to move back to Denver. After we were married, Scott and I moved from Denver to Minneapolis (cold doesn’t even begin to describe that winter) to northern New Jersey (had two sets of twins there) and to San Antonio (and added another child).
Although San Antonio is technically “driving distance” to Denver–we actually do the 15 hour (18 with stops)–in one day, I’m still not close enough. I miss home.
The challenge is that in San Antonio, Scott is home. He was born and raised in San Antonio and most of his family lives there. And, I have to admit, I’ve actually enjoyed living in this city (oh, we’ll forget about the summers) and have created some incredible relationships there.
But, I’ve missed Denver.
I had this crazy idea this winter that maybe I could create a compromise. In the summer the kids and I could rent a place in Denver and experience a cooler and my-side-of-the-family version of summer. Scott could drive us there. . . spend the some time helping us get settled. . .fly back to San Antonio to resume work. . .fly back to Denver to drive “home” with us.
Using my favorite phrase (written as a question but really a statement): How hard could it be?
Last winter I started putting the pieces into motion. A family friend offered us her house for the first week of our stay while she was in Italy and I rented a house a house in an urban neighborhood in Denver online through www.homeaway.com.
And we did it. . .or rather we are doing it!
Last night, after driving us to Denver and spending a week with us, Scott returned to San Antonio to resume his work schedule.
Have you ever had a dream and then achieved it (or a version of it) and thought, Hmmm. . .is this right?
Now left alone with the children in a city I haven’t lived in for 15 years, I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. Should I really be here? Is this fair to the children to take them from their home and friends for a month? Would they be better off having attended basketball or soccer camps, playing with their friends, swimming in the neighborhood pool?
Will cried the other morning that he just wanted to go back to his house in Texas and Marc called one of his friends this morning.
I think of all the kids who are spending the summer in camps where they are learning a new skill or practicing a developing talent and we are. . .well, today we walked over to the neighborhood pizza place and ordered a pizza for lunch and then ate it on the front porch of the 1920’s bungalow we are renting. The air was cool, people walked their dogs by our house and nodded hello. Dylan played with his scooter on the sidewalk riding it back and forth. It was. . idyllic.
I felt so much better after reading this post that on Facebook that a friend shared from the writer Elizabeth Gilbert, from the Eat, Pray, Love fame. Having just returned from a trip to Greece, she posed the question, Why Do We Travel? and then proceeded to answered it.
Gilbert wrote that she could have stayed home rather than traveling to Greece and gotten a lot of things done, but then she lists all of the things she wouldn’t have been able to do if she had in fact stayed home. And then she says that if she had stayed home this summer and ten years from now if you would ask her what she did in the summer of 2015, she wouldn’t remember a thing.
Now, she had a summer experience that she’ll remember for a lifetime.
That was exactly what I needed to read.
My dream has been to move back to Denver. And while this isn’t out of the question in the far future. . .I could realize part of the dream by living for a summer in the Mile High City. Yes, this is my dream and I’m taking the kids on it with me. . .but really what will they lose? Nothing. What will they gain? Oh, I don’t know. I know what I hope they will gain. . .but as I am continually learning we can’t control our children’s memories. That is theirs alone.
But, I’m hoping that in ten years they will be saying, “Do you remember that summer when we rented the house in Denver for a month and we had that cool front porch where we’d sit on the swing and read or watch people walk by? Do you remember when we played ‘Nerf War’ with Uncle Chad and went to Uncle Tim’s house in the mountains? Do you remember riding our scooters to the neighborhood school and playing on the playgrounds?”
I’m also realizing that even though I’m a mom, I can’t keep my dreams at bay while dutifully raising my kids. I can’t wait until they are grown-up to pursue my own (sometimes crazy) possibilities and passions. The fact of the matter is that right now they’ll have to come along with me and experience it with me and hopefully they’ll also gain something from the journey. And honestly, I’m enjoying their company!
Most of all I hope my crazy summer plan will one day encourage them to spin-off into following their own journeys–maybe with their own kids in tow.
All of this makes me think of the Langston Hughes poem that I taught my students in eighth grade.
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
like a heavy load.