Written March 24, 2012.
Right now it’s 10:30 on Saturday night, and we’re eastbound, just past Crow Agency, Montana. It’s been six months since we first signed a purchase agreement for our new place in Minnesota, and about six years since we first started talking about making a move to leave Montana and head back to the midwest. And now, we are on the road, headed home.
Laying in bed this morning talking about our day and things to do, we had no plans to move out today. I talked about our baby girl’s upcoming 1st birthday party on April 2nd, wondering when and where we should celebrate her big day, and we had a general feeling of ennui, just tired of waiting to move, but we had no intentions to leave just yet.
Then at breakfast, our 6-year-old event planner asked if we could go to Minnesota today. I jokingly told her to hurry up and grab her little suitcase and get her bunny, and maybe go out and start the van for us. We laughed and I went back to making eggs, and then a few minutes later Jarred said to me, “What if we did go to Minnesota today?” And then we looked at each other, and a few minutes later we had a plan for the day that included getting on with our life.
It’s been a long time coming. Moving away from Jarred’s hometown of Broadview, Montana and coming back to the area where I grew up in Minnesota is an extension of a continual discussion in our lives. Late at night, over lunch, or driving in the car, we entertain a million different ideas about what to do with our lives. We have definite preferences about what we like and ultimately want for ourselves and our children, but we are flexible, adaptable, and adventurous enough to also know that we could have a good life in many different scenarios.
There are times that I think life decisions might be easier for us if we considered more choices to be black and white. If there is only one “right” path to take, it’s easy to follow that road. It’s much more tricky looking at a big road map, and seeing there are lots of ways to arrive at the same destination. For us, we seriously tossed around Alaska and Hawaii and many things in between, but where we ultimately fixed our compass looks really similar to a late-night scrawled “wish list” that we wrote about four years ago.
Late one night after the kids were in bed and we had time to think, we jotted down a wish list on the magnetic cardboard backside of a used up grocery list pad. The list stuck on the side of our fridge for several years, got covered with notes and pictures, and later got tucked away in a box. In packing to move, I came across the list again after not seeing it for a long time.
On our dream wish list we wanted green grass, room to roam, large established trees, space to ride a 4-wheeler, a garden, a house with history that had elbow room enough for a big family, a shop for Jarred’s metal working tools, a tree swing, a big front porch, living within 20 minutes of family, and a short work commute.
Finding the list again, it’s amazing to read down it and see how nearly all of the 20 or so wish list items are met in the place we’re headed to in Minnesota, right down to the short work “commute” that will be Jarred’s upstairs office and his shop across the yard. At the time we wrote those things down, they seemed like a far off “some day” dream, something that might be 10 or 20 years in the making. And now, I really can’t wrap my head around the fact that at this very moment we are driving to that home we’d always hoped to find.
As overwhelmingly antsy as we all have been these last few weeks while Jarred is finishing up his scale and hopper installation project, pulling out of Broadview, Montana this evening was no easy task. I love my family here. Two days ago I watched our baby girl fall asleep in the arms of her 86-year-old great grandpa. Just before we took off, we had supper at Jarred’s sister’s house. The dining room overflowed with a sea of busy kids, a mountain of spaghetti dinner, and a family with grandparents down to grandkids all gathered around two tables.
Knowing it would be hard to leave, we did our goodbyes fairly quickly, like pulling off a Band-Aid in one quick motion instead of slowly prolonging the sting. Just the same, as we left, I was going to be a big girl, but I burst into tears and it quickly spread to everyone else. Our kids said goodbye to everyone, we made one last stop to say goodbye to the house we’d lived in for a year.
And ironically, just when we were ready to head off into the sunset, two trains went through town, and one stopped and blocked the roads out of town for about ten minutes. The trains come through Broadview several times daily, blaring annoyingly long horns night and day. It only seems appropriate, then, that the good old Burlington Northern Santa Fe gave us a goodbye, as well.
Tonight we’ll drive straight through the night, cross through South Dakota, hit the Minnesota border around daybreak, stop for breakfast at the Perkins in Worthington, MN where we “always” stop since it’s happened three times in a row, and then roll in to my mom’s house just in time for Sunday brunch at noon.
We didn’t tell anybody in Minnesota that we’d be arriving Sunday morning, so even though they know we’re moving here, nobody (including us) knew it was going to be today. And best of all, once we eat at mom’s, we will make the short drive to our house that I haven’t seen for six months, pull into the driveway, and I’ll tell the kids, “We’re home!!!”