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It all seemed to happen within the same month.
A bunch of our friends packed their bags and headed to the suburbs with their kiddos.
I honestly expected that I was going to deal with it very well. We’d see each other! We’d simply schedule trips, and text and FaceTime on the reg. And let’s be serious: we didn’t see each other in person that often anymore, because life is crazy after kids. So it things weren’t going to feel that much different. Just a little.
Logically, I should have handled it phenomenally.
But I suppose you probably know what I’m going to say next: I didn’t.
The weekend that most of them left, I was in tears on multiple occasions. I knew I wasn’t actually alone; I had a beautiful family and wonderful friends–some still in Chicago and some around the country. But I felt alone. And worried, I guess? I had that terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.
And then I realized that perhaps my sadness stemmed from something additional. A worry.
If we plan on living our lives in the city, does that mean we’ll have to go through this again and again? Will we continue to make best friends only to lose them to the suburbs a few years later?
Here’s the thing: I completely understand why our friends made the “big move,” and I 100-percent support them and are truly SO happy for them. And as I watch them settle into their new lives, I know that they made the right choice. Do they miss Chicago? Yes. But things are different now. Chicago was no longer offering what they needed.
Moving to the burbs in your 30s also seems to be very, very common. And there’s a reason for it! Life in the city is difficult without kids, and it’s especially difficult with ’em. Mitch and I have certainly learned that over the course of the last couple of years. Everything requires extra effort. Everyone’s short on space. Things are more expensive and everything takes more time. Most city dwellers are far away from family, too.
I have to admit that Mitch and I have discussed leaving as well, because it’s hard. When our friends told us about their plans, we wondered whether we should do the same thing. It did–and does–sound lovely. A single-family home; a backyard with a fence so Emma and Noodle could just run around and play; a garage; additional (and larger) bedrooms; storage; lower taxes and lower bills in general. When I was in my 20s, I couldn’t imagine wanting any of this. (Honestly, six months ago I didn’t think I wanted it!) Now, though, it all sounds so appealing, and it’s become so clear why young families leave the city in droves. And while we’re not ready to leave quite yet, I can’t say for certain that we won’t eventually opt to live in a smaller, slower-paced location.
(Or maybe we’ll stay!)
Regardless, it’s painful to wave goodbye to friends we love dearly. We went through so much together: the end of our 20s, pregnancy, and the early years of parenthood. So many wonderful times and so many memories. I wish it could have lasted longer, and I kind of have a sense of regret now, too. We should have hung out even more. We should have done this together in Chicago; we should have done that. Silly, I know. But the regret is there. I also imagine what life would be like right now if we’d chosen the burbs from the get-go. Would we have a close group of “lifers,” all with kids around Emma’s age? Would we all live happily ever after together on the same cul-de-sac? Because that sounds nice. Or maybe that’s not reality.
If we do stay in Chicago forever, perhaps the exodus to the suburbs will come to an end. Maybe when Emma’s in middle school? Maybe when we’re in our 40s? Surely most families know whether they’re in it for the long run by then. Right? Right?
(OR MAYBE NOT!)
So many maybes. Are maybes what make up life?! And why is writing this blog post making me feel like an older, mom version of Carrie Bradshaw, without the fabulous shoes?
I don’t have a great way to end this, probably because I don’t have answers to my questions. I will say, though, that I feel a lot better now. We’ve scheduled trips with our friends and have FaceTimed quite a bit. :) And I do know I’m not alone. I’m a very lucky girl to have so many incredible people in my life.
But I’ll leave this article here, because it perfectly conveys what I’m failing to say right now.
I miss my friends.
*Question of the day: How has a move–either that you’ve made or someone else in your life has made–impacted you?! Very open-ended. Remember to leave your email address!*
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