So far, the rhythm of my life seems to be a big change every 4-5 years, usually a geographic one.
Like clockwork, here it comes: we're moving to North Carolina! This one is coming a bit later than "normal" (I've lived on the West Coast for almost 6 years), but not far off. And for Dave, other than Nicaragua and a brief stint in Nashville, he's lived his whole life in Washington. And hey! so have Esther and Butter! Waka waka waka.
When I tell people we're doing this, they assume that it was my idea. But it was actually Dave's, for a myriad of reasons. Mostly, it's to be close to my family (melt my heart!), but it's also financial.
Seattle, while relatively affordable when I first moved here, is getting insanely expensive. Several huge brands have their headquarters here (Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon, etc), and are still growing and hiring. Thus, there are massive housing developments all over the city, which is driving up rent and home values everywhere. We live in a neighborhood that was once very affordable, but is quickly becoming trendy and quite pricey. Dave and I realized that if we ever wanted to buy our own home, it probably wouldn't happen here. We have a long-term dream/hope of living on both coasts, since his family is here, and mine is in NC. We knew that if we were going to own in both places, we couldn't start that dream from the West Coast, so it'd be best to start small on the East Coast and go from there.
Dave has also been delving deep into research about timber-framing and natural building (which started with an interest in tiny houses) over the past few months, and has been feeling the itch to do some of these projects on his own. Conveniently, my parents have a company building houses, and so Dave and my dad are making plans to construct a tiny house this year. This never could have happened in Seattle, because there's no space!
When Dave and I took our babymoon in October, we spent a lot of time thinking and praying about the future. There were some major life stressors at the time, and we knew we needed to make some changes. The theme that came out of that weekend was "margin." Time, money, family, hobbies, raising kids... We needed more margin for all of it. The more we thought about it, the more we realized that living in an urban environment just wasn't going to work for us in this new season.
Our lease ended in February, and we negotiated an extra month for packing/cleaning, so we're headed out at the end of this month. Like in 3 weeks. WHAT!? Dave and his two brothers are driving a UHaul across the country with Butter, and my mom is coming out (YAY) to help us with all the things that need to be done. Then she and I and Esther are flying back to NC (so glad to not be in the UHaul with a baby for 6 days — thanks Dave & co! :)).
My feelings about all of this? Complicated.
My mom wisely observed that most of the important events of my life have happened since I've lived here — I landed my dream job, met my husband, got a puppy, had a baby. And have had a thousand small, wonderful adventures in-between those huge sea changes.
I love Seattle. I've loved our life here, loved our environment and our home and our friends. We have our favorite spots — Phoenecia for casual date night, La Rustica for celebrations. Mioposto for weekend breakfast, and Empire for coffee. Volunteer Park Cafe for lunch dates with my besties. Jess on Beacon Hill for haircuts. Vic for when our car needs some love. Our Crossfit RE community, and a pretty great yoga studio. The best, best BEST Buy Nothing group, which has been such a blessing in so many ways. An incredible church that we've been a part of for only a year, and are super sad to say goodbye to. Lincoln Park for sunsets, Lake Washington Boulevard for weekend walks. Some AWESOME midwives. Coworkers. Friends. Community.
It takes a long time to find and build these things, and I'm just now at the point where I'm feeling really settled in Seattle. Like we've found our groove, and could keep grooving for a long time. Maybe that's the point when you know you're supposed to move on.
And I say that as a true "maybe," because what ever happened to putting down roots? Living and dying in the same small town? Holding the same job for 45 years? And yet, I don't think that life is meant for everyone, even 50 years ago when it was more common. Today, uprooting over and over again is the norm, and I think is made possible in many ways by technology and the ability to communicate with those you love across great distances. I can't decide which is the more favorable way to live, for part of me loves newness and change, and part of me longs for roots.
So we are returning to my roots and parting from Dave's. And much as I love Washington, I love North Carolina too. Even in the sadness of leaving, memories from home pop up throughout my day and increase my excitement to be back — fireflies and thunderstorms, humid summer nights, clear winter days, Chapel Hill in all seasons, the unpopulated and unhurried beaches, the first sight of our low Appalachians somewhere after Winston-Salem, the patio at Cafe Driade, friendly strangers and Chick-fil-a. People who have known me most of my life, and loved me through some serious dorkiness.
These are just the things that I know are there. Home has changed so much since I've been away, and I'm excited to explore a place that I'm familiar and also unfamiliar with.
And above all, family. I am so, so thrilled to be close to them and with them. Coffee dates with Mom, sleepovers with Jessie, family dinners, reconnecting with my brothers and their wives, Dad's ridiculous stories — ALL OF IT. It's a gift in this season of life, a long time coming, and I'm so thankful.
So here we go — at once diving into the known and the unknown, returning to established roots, but growing our own new ones too. All the while, we'll be maintaining our connections in the Northwest, because (speaking of rootedness) Dave's family is here forever, and we'll be back to visit lots and lots. Esther might develop a Southern accent, but I think she'll keep some of the wild Northwest in her too.