This isn’t really a 4 Moms topic, but it’s a Q&A: I have had several people ask how we feel about living in the city after so many years in the country, so here are my thoughts on the change.
When we left our Ohio small-town 10 years ago, we were excited to finally move to the country. We had said for many years that when our children got older we would do this, and now it was happening. We moved to a rocky hillside 50 miles from San Antonio, 22 miles from WalMart, and 8 miles from the nearest gas station. We were half a mile from a paved road, but we could see three counties, ten deer and a roadrunner from our front deck almost any time we stepped outside. It was a good trade-off.
But after nine years, the 52 mile commute was wearing us down. Perry lost nearly 3 hours of his day just driving to and from work. Since town was so far away, he often ran errands for me after work. As a result, it was normal for him to be gone 12 hours or more every day. Sometimes the little ones didn’t see him at all before they went to bed.
It was hard on family life, and all the gas were burning was hard on the budget as well.
So we moved. At first I didn’t want to. Weren’t we going the wrong direction? Aren’t we all supposed to be doing our best to get out of the city? But this was important to Perry, and even though I cringed at the thought, I knew he was right. I resolved to be happy where God put our family, even if that was – ugh! – in the 7th largest city in the US.
And much to my surprise, I was quickly as excited about the prospect as Perry was. Househunting was more fun than I ever dreamed, and living in our new neighborhood is even better.
I had envisioned living in a crackerbox neighborhood where every house looked the same, with neighbors 4 feet to either side of us. I had imagined that our neighbors would be nosy, suspicious and intolerant of us and our failure to blend with society at large, with our 11 children, our homeschooling, our 15 passenger van. I thought they would dislike us for our own noise and our dog’s noise and our friends’ noise. I thought they would give us dirty looks when they saw our dented, scratched, older vehicles. I thought they would call the police every time our dog slipped out the front door, and CPS every time one of my children cried or skinned a knee.
Instead, we landed in the perfect neighborhood. We are surrounded by quiet families and friendly retirees. They say we are quiet. We think they might need to check the batteries in their hearing aids, but we are glad we’re not disturbing them.
They bring us tomatoes from their garden, and eggs from their backyard hens. They understand when our dog gets loose, and they thank us for catching their dogs when the same happens to them. Houses here are nice, but many of the vehicles are modest. The houses are far enough apart that I don’t feel claustrophobic, and yards are imperfect enough to make us feel comfortable.
We are less than 7 miles from everything: WalMart, Costco, the airport, downtown, church, work, 3 Goodwills, Deanna & Tyler, and many of our friends. We are less than 5 minutes from a library, a gym, too many restaurants for our own good, and one fantastic little coffee shop that roasts its own beans.
We are within walking distance of a super grocery store, our bank, our dentist, a big park, a McDonald’s with a huge indoor playland.
I am close enough to jump on a good Craigslist deal.
I like to say that we live in “the wood between the worlds.” If you’ve read The Magician’s Nephew (from the Chronicles of Narnia), you know what I mean. We can be anywhere in just a few moments.
I’m almost ashamed to admit it to my country dwelling friends, but I love city living.
And guess what? We even have a nice view, if the older girls let us out on their second-storey deck.