There are so many songs about leaving home and also so many about coming home. My little family and I have done both in the last 14 months. On December 31, 2014, we left Texas for Northern Kentucky so that my husband could work on a job over there temporarily. I’ll never forget watching Ryan Seacrest in Times Square on the hotel TV where we stopped for the night in Memphis during our 1,000-mile journey. I was still in disbelief about the entire situation, and popping a champagne bottle was the last thing on my mind as the four of us crammed into the King-sized bed together with our two dogs sleeping nearby in the bathroom. It seems there isn’t a hotel suite large enough for 2 adults, 2 little kiddos and 2 dogs. And what we were headed to wasn’t a whole lot bigger. Our home in Texas was a house with plenty of space and a yard. Our temporary home in Kentucky would be an apartment, smaller than our house, and with no yard. Speaking of home sizes, let me give you the first bit of silver lining in this story. Many times, obstacles are simply tools we can use to be grateful. And that’s just what the Kentucky apartment was for us. We must all remember to be thankful for the good things we have, whether it’s a house we love or simply our favorite pair of jeans. And I must say that Ryan and I did a good job of that. We mostly focused on the fact that this smaller home meant no yard work or maintenance, therefore more fun time together. And we were right. It was nice not having as many household chores to complete with a 1-year-old and 4-year-old to take care of. There were many adventures taken during our 14 months in Kentucky. We truly had a whole lot of fun and did so many things we wouldn’t have otherwise. But, the worst part, by far, was the pain it caused our families back in Texas. They were all so sad when we were gone and so happy any time we were back in Texas for a quick stay. The traveling back and forth was another positive though. Our little kiddos got very good at handling airports and airplanes. I always said I wanted my kids to be well-traveled, and this situation was a great start for that. But in between all of that traveling I was spending many hours at the apartment taking care of the kids alone while my husband was at work. We were in a strange place and knew nobody when we arrived. I mean, we literally knew NOBODY. That’s a very scary feeling. But after the first 2 months of stress, fear, anxiety and sadness, things started to look up. I met a friend (by the same name, mind you..ha!) and we started getting in a good groove as a family. What was once a heartbreaking, stressful situation began transforming into a happy, exciting experience. And even though our hearts weren’t 100% in Kentucky, things were truckin’ right along as we saw new places and did new things (bourbon, horses and baseball bats, oh my!).
Not too many weeks ago I was walking out of “my” grocery store in Kentucky as it began to snow. I remember smiling and lifting my chin a bit. (It doesn’t snow back home, so snowfall remained an exciting novelty for us.). In that moment, it hit me. We were leaving for good. Just a few short weeks from that very moment we would be back home in Texas, and quite possibly, never in Northern Kentucky ever again. And suddenly, I felt sad. This place that was a stranger to me 14 months prior now felt almost like home. The employees at that grocery store, the guy that hosted the family story time at the local library, the lady at the dry cleaners, my hair gal, our incredible babysitter (I cried after my last goodbye with her – hey! She loves my babies!) the preschool staff, my 2 friends, my son’s friends – they were all a part of this journey. They all mattered, and at times, I probably counted on a simple chat with them more than they realized. What a beautiful privilege it is to be able to thoroughly experience a new location. If you ever get the chance and can make it happen, go for it. I learned so many things – too many to list. But most of all, I learned that a family can make a home anywhere. All you need is teamwork, determination, optimism and love (and some wine helps, too).
Moving across the country is hard work, y’all. We are so lucky that my Dad and brother were able and willing to make the move with us. It turned the 2-day drive into another fun adventure. Thankfully, our move is done now, although the settling in part will certainly continue for many months. Our son, Rowdy, is happy to be near his grandparents again and also very happy to have his stairs (kids are so obsessed with stairs). Our daughter, Romy, is nearly 2 and won’t remember any of this. But she’s a bright light and seems super excited to be back. We’ll always tell her about that time we stayed in an apartment Kentucky where it snowed each winter, where she took her first steps and where she went on her very first bourbon distillery tour.