We were sitting around the kitchen table in our rented condo with R’s parents and my father. The wine was flowing, and the kids had already scattered from the table, enjoying the 72 degree breezes coming in from our open doorwall. It was the first day of our annual sojurn to Florida for Christmas. R worked late and like a dog all year long so we could make the hike down to Florida for a week of warmth and fun with his parents and my father at the holidays.
We’d driven again this year, but planned it that way, driving my new SUV that we’d purchased with this in mind last spring. I could hardly believe that we were able to afford such a nice car, with leather seats and navigation and satellite radio and a DVD player for the kids. But we could, and we did.
“So you’re not moving to Michigan after all?” R’s mother asked sadly, taking another bite of the key lime pie my father had brought up to share on our first night.
I was a little sad about it too, actually. I was tired of the angry, bitter politics of my little New England town. I felt bruised and battered and unwanted. And though I loved my girlfriends, the beauty of our small town and the proximity to New York, I’d been looking forward to a fresh start. A big house with a pool and no little woodpecker holes. A sewer system that allowed a garbage disposal (we had septic in our little town). A town that was a bit more anonymous and less political. Getting to choose a school system that wouldn’t wrangle over money every year. And of course there was the draw of being near both R’s family and my brother and sister; family holidays that didn’t require more than an hour or so in the car. Plus, the idea of moving back home felt good to me. When I’d traveled back home for my high school reunion the previous year, there was much that was changed, much that I missed.
“No, we’re not,” R responded, taking a sip of wine. “They wanted to fill the position locally, so they brought in a guy from the outside, a guy who used to work for GM. I guess it was cheaper than relocating me. They really are trying to keep the whole facility locally employed, so even though I was a good fit for it because I am from the area, at the end of the day I still have to be moved there and that isn’t cheap.”
I sighed, took a sip of wine, and willed myself to think of the here and now, and how lucky I was to be here. A warm December night, the sound of the Gulf of Mexico outside, three kids all healthy and doing well, my close family all gathered together. We wouldn’t have to pick up and start all over, at least not now. That was a good thing, I told myself.
A good thing.