A few months ago Kamel and I were driving around our neighborhood, coming home from something or other. It had just started becoming spring, the sun was out and everything had that almost neon green color. The green of new, like a giant sign on the highway: LIFE IS HERE. We were pulling around a curve, I remember exactly where we were and I said, “You know… only good things came of us moving here. Only good. I can’t think of one bad thing.” And Kamel said, “Yeah, you’re right,” in that easy way he has.
I did have some fears about moving to Seattle, some anxieties. I worried after that long long hunt to find a doable 2 bedroom that we really really loved, we wouldn’t be able to find an apartment that felt as good. I worried, no I knew, that we wouldn’t be able to find a daycare that was as nurturing, as loving, as supportive and wonderful as our daycare was. I worried that, alone, would be a great disservice to Gabe. I cried over that fear many times.
I worried about balancing family expectations after spending 10 years away. I worried about the weather and whether or not Kamel, who grew up in tropical Miami and mild Mexico City, would be able to adjust. I worried that Kamel would end up hating Seattle, and then my big journey home would not only be a burden, but would ultimately have a detour. If Kamel hated it, how could we stay?
And as much as I had pushed and pushed to come, as much as I had prayed, cried, crossed my fingers, lamented about ho I “just want to go HOME, Kamel!” As much as I felt like Odysseus never quite being able to make it back, there was this little voice in the back of my head asking, “Is your adventure really over then? I this it? No more cities? No overseas living? No Boston apartment blocks from the commons? This is it, Miss Wanderlust? Roots, you say?” I couldn’t help but second guess it. We’re doing this? We’re doing this.
So, we did it. And it has been about 90% amazing. A solid, big picture and day to day positive. I feel like the weather is such a massive part of Seattle, but also a huge factor in happiness no matter where you’re from and yes, there is weather here. But I am relieved to say it delights us. Kamel often marvels at how beautiful it is, continually shakes his head at all the warnings and anxieties we all had, at how he would handle the cold of the winter, the darker days, the rain. Though all of the bad exists, thankfully there is a beautiful balance, there is a pay out of 10 fold. There is no way I could have appreciated the beauty here without living in other places.
Even our daycare, which is different, not necessarily better or worse, than our daycare in the Bay Area, has been a good transition. Our apartment was a fantastic find, like it was meant to be. Sometimes I still miss our old neighborhood, I miss an apartment that had windows on 3 sides, I miss hard wood floors and having now one above us or next to us. But! I love having a remodeled unit, views of Lake Washington, being across the street from a park with a playground and a wading pool, and and and the perk of two bathrooms.
There are some things that overwhelm me sometimes. Kamel and I were an island in the Bay Area. We were our little family and that was it. Weekends were ours to do as we pleased. We lacked a strong social community, and the only family we had was an 8 hour car ride or a 2 hour flight. At times it was really isolating and difficult, especially with a new baby, but being home I sometimes feel pushed and pulled in too many directions. It sounds like I’m saying, “ohhh the perils of being popular! SIGH!” but it’s not that. It’s a lot of balancing, it’s a lot of juggling. A huge reason we moved home was to be with my community, to build our own community, to give Gabe a village. It’s part of the transition. Before it was just us, and now it is still us but us means something a little different. Now I’m home for mother’s day and father’s day, now I get to be present for birthdays and retirement parties, for the every day things like the occasional Sunday dinner and walk in the park. Now we have people to be with Gabe so we can go to the movies, or the Sounders game. We have resources. We also have responsibilities.
There are still work struggles, there are still bathrooms to clean, and clothes to wash and professional ladders to climb. But being here makes those things better. It makes looking 5, 10 years down the road easier, more attainable. We can actually discuss the neighborhood we’d like to buy a house in. We don’t have the “what-if” dangling in the back of our mind when it comes to going for a promotion or the possibility of a career change. The birds sing in the mornings and we shake our fists at the construction on the way to work, and our social calendars and our weekends are packed full to the brim and sometimes I want to hide, but mostly I marvel at how we live here. How this is our home and that is the park Gabe will one day say, “I played there when I was little.” And it happened. I am still amazed it happened.