Eight years ago today, I inhaled the sweet smell of my magnolia bushes hoping to eternally trap their fragrance in my brain, locked the door to my favorite home for the last time, stood in my parking lot and sobbed. Betsey and Ross were safely secured in their carrying cases buckled into the backseat of my car. Dave was waiting to start the truck we'd rented to move the 7 years of stuff I'd acquired while living in DC. I was overwhelmed with greater sadness and exhaustion than I'd ever experienced before. And then we left. And I never looked back.
I had mono. And if I had it to do over again, I probably would never have moved to Chicago. The reasons I moved don't matter now, but when I made the decision, I was in no physical condition to make the life-altering decision to move across country. But I did it.
And while I might not have made the same decision if I'd had all my wits about me, after all that's happened over the last 8 years, I don't regret moving back to the Midwest.
The last 8 years have flown by. I've had opportunities here that I would never have had in DC. I have a life. My immediate family is as close as 3 hours away and my extended family is all over Chicago and the Midwest. I've worked on a statewide political campaign. I've grown much closer with my family and I get to spend most holidays with them. I've become much better friends with Tim, Christopher and Cheryl. I probably would hardly know Tony, except for what Tim writes in his emails. I've made remarkable friends I would have never known if I'd stayed in DC. I was just invited to be an associate member of the Lake Forest College Alumni Board. None of these things would have happened had I stayed in DC.
And my being here has allowed my mom to spend the majority of the last 6 years with Nana. I'm eternally grateful that my mom has had that gift. For as difficult as it has been, I know my mom treasures the time she's spent with Nana.
So, if for no other reason, I'm glad I moved to Chicago 8 years ago today so that my mom could spend this time with Nana.