Since September, my husband José and I have been playing with the silly little idea of moving back to New York. By November, the little idea was no longer so little, or so silly. It had begun to dominate our pillow talk. It was obvious that my waxing pregnancy had quite a – pardon the pun – heavy influence on my sudden, intense homesickness.
But as much as we acknowledged that pregnancy hormones were clearly the driving force behind my preoccupation with moving “back home,” we couldn’t ignore the fact that it would be a good move for our children. The science is clear that living near their grandparents is good for grandchildren, and living near grandchildren is equally as beneficial for grandparents. It helps kids become more resilient, less ageist, and naturally heightens their intergenerational awareness. And even though this move is obviously about more than free babysitting, babysitting is scientifically proven to boost grandparents’ longevity.
The thought of our newest child living out his/her babyhood entirely separate from Grandma and Grandpa made my heart feel like a stone. It was often too sad a subject to contemplate, so I pushed it down in my mind and tried not to think about it. But the stone must have been hollow because it somehow kept bobbing back up to the surface.
Moving was a huge endeavor however that I also did not care to think about. After two years in Colorado and 18 months in our house, we were just finally beginning to call ourselves “settled.” We’d so desperately wanted to be settled that uprooting ourselves yet again felt just a little bit insane.
But the idea persisted, and I couldn’t get it out of my head, or out of my conversations with José, so by February we were 90% sure: we were moving. By that time our new arrival had arrived, over 18,000 miles away from her grandparents. Then in March we found out that our best Colorado friends were also moving. I suddenly felt a lot less attached to Colorado. There were only a few details now standing in the way of that remaining 10%: New York schools’ extreme vaccination policy, and our extreme attachment to our Colorado house.
If you follow this blog regularly, you might already know how I feel about house buying, and that José and I own houses in two of the states we’ve lived. Over the two years we’ve lived in this house, we’ve truly fallen in love with it. José has painted all the walls downstairs, tiled a backsplash all around the kitchen, installed solar panels and a whole-house humidifier, and upgraded all the appliances. I may not have contributed any lasting effect, but I too have made my mark on the essence of the home, konmaring the entire house, creating a family command center, and keeping every corner clean right down to the baseboards. And now that our daughter Alice was free birthed in our living room, it would be even harder to say goodbye to a place so filled with our family’s memories.
Beyond the memories so attached to this physical space in the universe, we’re also attached to this house itself. It has become a container for our home, but it is also a beautiful space in its own right. My favorite place to be and what I am loathe to leave is the amazing open floor plan in the downstairs of the house. My heart breaks every time I sit by the fire and see through the dining room to my lovely kitchen, and every time I look up from cooking at the stove to my children playing on the living room floor. It brings me so much joy to have breakfast at our table in the center of the house, looking at our family command center, with the curtains blowing in the breeze coming in from the back door.
We all have our happy place, and the whole downstairs of our house is mine.I’ve gotten so spoiled by my happiness here. José and I have been having a hell of a time trying to find a new house for our family in New York. If it doesn’t have an open floor plan in the downstairs, I can’t imagine myself living in it.
I love our Colorado house so much that I wonder, are we making a mistake moving to New York? We may be looking for free boxes in Colorado, but we aren’t looking for freedom in New York. I already know at a deep and profound level that a new beginning will never set us free, so I don’t expect this move to suddenly make us happier. Happiness is not what this is about. That is a delusion I have thankfully lived beyond.
So what is it about? Is it just for the kids? Well, yes and no. It’s for family. I have major FOMO every time we miss another graduation party and birthday party and wedding. As soon as I heard that my friend was probably moving away from Colorado, I knew that we would too. Because I realized that as much as we love the mountains and our house and the life we have created for ourselves here, nothing could make up for the fact that almost everyone we love lives in New York. And love really is all that matters in this life.
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”Alan Watts
The purpose of life is to be alive, and I would add, to love one another. Suddenly, it didn’t make sense anymore to live in a place so far away from so many people we love. Love for a place can go deep into a person’s soul, but love for a person, well, that can go much, much deeper.
And so it was decided, whatever else came of it, we would move to New York and we would be near all these people we love. We have nothing tying us down here, no jobs to quit, no commitments to put an end to. But there’s a lot I’m still scared about. I’m scared that our children won’t be able to go to school. I’m scared that we won’t find another house we’ll fall in love with. I’m scared that we’ll miss the mountains and the memories we made here. But I feel the magic pulling me to New York like a compass needle can’t help pointing toward North.
For better or for worse, we are saying goodbye to Colorado. Our plan is to sell our house, hire packers to put all our stuff in PODS, and road trip to New York some time in June. It may be a busy time for us, but I promise at least to update the blog once our life has changed enough to warrant a new report!
In the meantime, we are looking for closure in Colorado, and looking for a new home in New York.