Root Where You're Planted

i feel like i should explain myself. 

but on the other hand, i don't owe anyone an explanation.

so instead, i just have some jumbled thoughts that have spilled out on to this page. 

the past year has been a strange one. we moved to ohio last august but didn't really feel settled until the snow started to thaw and the temperatures started rising. until theodore was born in april we barely knew our neighbors and didn't have many friends. now, a year later, i can say with relief and great appreciation that we have many wonderful friends and we love our neighbors. this community has offered itself up to me in a way i didn't think possible and i've ran head first in to it. someone told me this summer "root where you're planted." and i did. i rooted deep. i dug in to this ohio earth and i held on tight.

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but this past year has also been one of great personal growth. for myself and brad. we've made lists. so many lists. mostly goals, dreams, ideas, hopes for our future both as individuals and as parents. how we want to raise our children, what kind of environment we want them to grow up in, where we see ourselves in 5, 10, 20 years? about halfway through the year it became abundantly clear that ohio, the place i was raised, the place i had begged to go back to, the place i finally decided to put down roots, was not the place we saw our future selves. not where we saw ourselves raising our children and growing as people.

to my great surprise and dismay, the place we were both dreaming of, the place that fit every one of our goals for our family was the place we had just said goodbye to. i wanted to ignore it. to stand rooted here in ohio and make it work. i threw myself in to new friendships, new relationships, new routines. desperate for something to click and tell me that YES this is the place for us. we can make this work. and i nearly got there. but there was something always nagging at me. something that wasn't quite right. 

these midwestern people, as much as i love them, they live to work. and in southern california, those people work to live.

the vibrancy of the attitudes back at the beach is almost intoxicating. the lust for life, for adventure, for exploration is unmatched by anything i've ever experienced. especially compared to that of life in the midwest. here, it's easy to let life happen. there, you make the life you choose. the life you want. it's not about the weather or the museums or the robust farmer's markets (though those certainly don't hurt!), but about the mentality of the people. do i want to raise my children in an atmosphere of complacency? living a perfectly comfortable life, following the path that we as parents and our parents before us have laid out for them? or do i want them to experience more? those visit california commercials aren't exaggerating when they say you can ski, hike and surf all in one day. again, it's not about the activities, but about the lifestyle that the culture supports. 

if we stayed in ohio, we'd always be reaching for something more. wondering 'what if'. looking for the next opportunity. but for how long? how long would we cling to our hopes and dreams before they fade away and are replaced by 'well it's fine here', 'we're fine'. i don't want to be fine. and if that means breaking the rules, uprooting myself and making the tough and somewhat embarrassing move back west, then i'm all in. it's not going to be easy. it wasn't last time. and i don't regret for one minute the year and a half we've spent back in ohio. i'm sure that if we had stayed i still would have been pining for 'home'. but coming back has taught us one very important lesson:

home is where you make it

we made our home 4 years ago when we welcomed william in to our lives. we made our home when we moved up the coast to our tiny beach cottage and awaited charlotte's arrival. with every milestone, every step, every cry, we made a home. not a house with four walls and a root. but a home as a family together. we don't need to live in familiar places, close to our extended families (though, this will definitely be the most difficult part of leaving) to be home. moving back here has made that clear. we already had a home. and it took us moving across the country to realize it.

so, ohio, this is goodbye. we'll be back to visit occasionally and we'll bring some of that midwestern hospitality back to california with us. and we'll definitely root where we're planted once we get there.