I like Seattle. The weather isn't half as bad as you think. It's nice when it ought to be, in late spring and summer. And when it's shining, it's glorious. I've included a few photos of our backyard view, as proof. It's lovely. The mountains, the sound, the islands, the lakes, the trees.
Thanks to three cross country road trips, I've visited 45 states. (I still have North Dakota, Nebraska, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina left.) And while certain places may tie this area for physical beauty, I've never been anywhere that beats it outright.
Nice, right? But it doesn't feel like home. Even after six years. There are so many people, but I don't know any of them. Wherever I go I feel totally anonymous.
We live in a lovely and quiet neighborhood full of little old ladies, many of whom have lived in their homes since ours was built, in 1959. They've known each other forever, and they stick to themselves. They will wave, but only if I wave first. I like our neighborhood. Great views, great park, great beach access. It's great. But it's surrounded by... how shall I put this. With the exception of a few small neighborhoods, our town (a semi-urban suburb of Seattle) is not-so-great. Not such great schools. Not such great houses. Not such great safety. And to go elsewhere requires a freeway. Oh, how I hate freeways.
We only get one earthly life, and who knows how long our go-round will last? I just keep thinking, is this where we really want Nicknack to spend his one and only precious childhood?
I want him to have the roots I never had. A hometown.
And I guess I don't want him to be as lonely as I am.
I know it's my own fault. I've lived in six states in the past decade. I've attended one year of college. I've attended three different high schools. I've never stuck around anywhere long enough to cultivate real friendships.
And I'm a homebody. I've turned down oodles of invites (over the years) to stay home in my PJs, sit on the sofa, and watch tv with Penn. I signed up for the Junior League. But then I got intimidated and never went back. And even when I have made friends, here and elsewhere, I've let them fall away. I haven't kept in touch with work friends. I've never taken them up on their (half-hearted?) invites to lunch or for drinks. What would I do with the baby? What would I talk about, other than the baby?
So I exchange a few pleasant e-mails a year with sort of old kind of friends from places I have lived. One friend from high school. Two from college. A few from Connecticut. They're going to do a marathon. Going to wine and cheese parties. Going to Greece. Going back to law school. Going out on the town. I've changed so much since we were really friends. We hardly know each other. Now we're just acquaintances.
My favorite people (other than my mother, of course), the people I really keep in touch with, are my aunts and my mother's lifelong friends. The women who have known me since babyhood. I love these women. Their opinions matter to me. I could talk to them for hours and hours and hours. But none live in my town. Or even my state. They can't pop over. I don't see them at the grocery store. I can't wave to them at church. I can't meet them for lunch or head to Target with them.
I want something more for Nicknack. A place that he loves and feels loved, with people he knows and who know him. Long term friendships with peers. A home base. With lots of happy memories. And I guess I still want all that for myself, too. If it's not too late. And Penn! He doesn't have a friend to do guy stuff with. A Christian friend to talk to. All his old high school and college buddies have chosen a very different road in life. And besides, he's home in his sweatpants, with me!
So this is where we are. I feel kind of stuck. Is it wrong to want something different when we are so ridiculously blessed? How can we discern what God wants? Are these selfish desires? Are these shallow dreams for our son?
Should we, instead, focus on the old, "Bloom where you're planted?" concept? Surely God could do something with us here in Seattle. This is a largely unchurched corner of the world. The needs are great. Has God put us here for a specific purpose? Or are we free to leave?
I'm hoping the latter. But above all, I really do want to do what God wants me to do. I realize that this life is not my home and I have a hometown waiting for me in heaven. Complete with main street, harvest festival, church potlucks, and white Christmases. Maybe not literally. But you know what I mean.
I feel so conflicted about this right now. What do you think? I guess I just need to mull this over with God for a while. Thank you for listening!
(This photo was taken June 26, 2006; Nicknack was only about one month old. He was so LITTLE!)