There are days when leaving home feels like it was a mistake. When a nephew celebrates his birthday and having a gift delivered via the postal service feels like so not enough. When I’m craving a frozen coffee or in need of a manicure and a good chat, and I don’t have a sister nearby to call on. When a phone call to catch up just doesn’t provide the same comfort as seeing Mom and Dad face to face.
It isn’t every day that I regret being here, but it does happen.
I fully expected those days to occur frequently upon taking up residence in Tennessee, and so was pleasantly surprised that the first few months weren’t as difficult in that regard as I had imagined. Of course there is always an underlying heaviness in my heart at the thought of the distance between us and our loved ones, but admittedly the new and exciting was a good distraction to get us through the first few months.
What I did not expect, was the guilt that came with actually enjoying where we’re at. For every “I love living in Tennessee!“, there is an even greater “Why couldn’t we have found the same thing in Nebraska? Are we just imagining that things are so different here?” It’s difficult to reconcile that we sort of love our life here – a fourteen hour drive away from the people we cherish most in this world. Yet, we do.
Sure, there are days when the cravings for comfort strike. What I wouldn’t give for the pizza we had back home! Ugh… how I miss the ability to get in our car and drive somewhere without fifteen-bazillion other people trying to take the same route. And I must admit I’m still struggling to overcome my fear of the critters we aren’t yet accustomed to. The strange bugs with a thousand legs that are apparently good because they eat spiders, yet they creep-me-the-crap out even more than their eight-legged adversary. And the salamander (or lizard?!) that has decided to make the space underneath our deck his own – yet he must not love it that much because there was that time we found evidence that he was, in fact, ON our screened-in deck at some point – I’m having a hard time believing he’s more scared of me. Not to mention the humidity that we thought we understood coming from Nebraska. (Nope! And it’s not even summer yet.) Those things tend to give me anxiety and cause me to question how long we will be here.
The truth is, though, apart from needing time to develop a new comfort zone and longing for the Three F’s (family, friends, and familiarity), we really do love it here in Tennessee! We appreciate being less than an hour drive away from a major city where we can easily venture for a new experience, and yet we love that our house is just far enough out of the metropolis that you have to be intentional to get here. Those winding back-roads make you slow down, literally, which is quite perfect for the life we desire within our home. We enjoy hearing the frogs, the neighborhood cow, and that pack of coyotes howling each night. We can’t get enough of the hills, rocks, and trees that surround us, and have taken up bird watching thanks to the variety of fowls that frequent our yard. We anticipate upcoming days filled with kayaking down the river, hiking til we can no longer move, and perhaps the occasional fishing trip.
Six months in the South hardly trumps 30+ years as Midwesterners, and whether we move back in the future or not, we will always be proud to say that our heritage is Nebraska. Perhaps being away has given us an even greater appreciation for that truth. However, we are also learning that it is OK to have both roots and wings.
Leaving home has taught us invaluable lessons. Our individual character, our faith, and our marriage have grown stronger as a result of flying on our own. Regardless of how long it lasts, we are honored to be on this adventure. We are thankful that we will always be able to say that we have lived in Tennessee.