When my husband and I moved to Seattle in November 2010, we knew it was the best thing for us. Sure, we'd miss our families and life-long friends back home, but there was a world of opportunity for us here that never would have opened up for us if we had stayed. We'd always have vacations and holidays to go back for visits, and Facebook and Skype for all the time in between. I never regretted our decision to move for one second. And then we had our son.
Until then, I never really appreciated how important a support system of close friends and families could be. It was really tough in the beginning. Becoming a first-time mom in a new city where you don't know anyone is not something I would recommend. Of course, it's nothing you can't get through. But having all those crazy hormones and emotions running rampant and not having someone (other than a sleep-deprived husband) to help out is so hard.
Then one day you wake up and realize your baby slept through the night. And it gets easier. Then they start doing really fun things. First they sit up on their own. Then they start scooting and crawling. Next thing you know, you look up from your laptop to find they have pulled themselves up and are standing at the baby gate. And there's no one around to dance and clap and celebrate with you. And it gets hard all over again, but for very different reasons.
I can't help but think of all the things my son will miss out on. On his first birthday, he won't be surrounded by family and friends urging him to smash that cake. There won't be weekends spent cuddling with nana. No fishing trips with papa. No sleepovers with his cousins. My best friends' babies will never be his best friends like we had always planned, because we live 2,000 miles apart.
I try not to dwell on it, because it breaks my heart. Instead, I try to focus on the positives. LIke how much more comfortable his life will be and the opportunities he will have that he never would have back home. Better schools. A safer community. Mountains. An ocean. And summers where you can actually bear to be outside. These are the things that make it worth it. Or at least more tolerable.
What about you? Are your kids growing up surrounded by close friends and family, or did you move far away from home? What are the pros and cons?
2011 September 3, Owens first birthday party by Flickr member gardener41, used under a Creative Commons License.