I cried for days before we moved away from Chicago 18 months ago. When we walked out of our condo for the last time and drove away from the city, I balled my eyes out. For months all I could think about was moving back. And now we are. And I was so incredibly sad to leave Denver.
I feel torn apart – bits of me drawn back to Denver, other parts reaching out for Chicago with everything I have. I am literally at an in-between, as we stop over for a few days at my parents’ house in Wisconsin to wait for the movers to bring our stuff to Chicago. As I sit in this transitional space, I can see what I love (and don’t love) about each place, but I still don’t know for sure that we’ve made the right decision.
Our last night in Denver was filled with good friends. We sat in our backyard with the people who had become our closest friends over the last year and a half, and at one point I had to go inside to cry for awhile before I could go on. These people had seen us through the incredibly difficult transition to parenthood, and many of them had made that transition with us.
I watched Adeline with her two best friends, Izzy and Darcy, running around our back yard; bare feet, huge smiles, beautiful laughter. I wanted to watch them grow up together. I wanted Adeline to have friends who had known her for her entire life – probably because that’s something I don’t have. I love those little girls, and I’m lucky enough to love their parents, too. How often does that come along?
The people helped me come to terms with Denver, but once I let it in, I found even more to love. I felt healthier there, both physically and emotionally. I did a cleanse and started doing mindfulness more regularly and I even did yoga in the mountains. And speaking of the mountains, I wish that I’d been able to get up there more often, and I think I would have once Addie got older. I’m sad to leave that behind just as it was becoming more possible.
In a very real sense, though, I never felt that I belonged in Denver. Everyone there was just so… perfect. I, on the other hand, am not perfect. My life has been full of mistakes, I have no idea what the hell I’m doing half the time, and I’m riddled with weaknesses and faults. I felt at home in Chicago because I felt that the people there were flawed, just like me. And I felt that I had the anonymity to carry those flaws without feeling watched and judged.
And, of course, Chicago has the trump card: family close by. As we wait here in Wisconsin, I begin to imagine, again, what our future will look like here. Adeline will spend a lot of time visiting her Nana and Grandpa, sailing and spending time on the lake. This house, my home, will become a second home to her, too. She’ll come to know it just as intimately as I do.
I think that I face many sad days ahead. But I hope that once we get settled in to Chicago my love of that city will be rekindled. Change has never been my strong suit. I’m trying to embrace it now. Wish me luck.