I never grew up with extended family nearby. We saw grandparents, aunts, uncle, and cousins only once a year. Twice if we were lucky. I thought that's how all families were. I never questioned the idea that I would graduate high school, leave the state for college, and eventually find a job in a new city (or country!). It never occurred to me that I would want to move back to my hometown after leaving; it just wasn't the model I grew up with.
Now that I have a family of my own, my desire to move back to my hometown has taken on a new urgency. My parents, sister, and brother all live within a mile and a half of each other. When we lived there for six months during the job search, I loved it. I loved having dinner at my parents' house, playing cards with my siblings and their spouses, seeing old friends from my childhood, being able to easily ride my bike or walk everywhere in town... the list goes on. Henry and I were excited to embark on a new adventure, but it was hard to leave my family behind.
My mom was able to come down for HP's first week of life. When she left, I cried buckets of tears--huge, ugly, body-shaking sobs. I wasn't crying because she was no longer going to make our food for us (though that would be missed); I was crying because she wasn't going to see HP again for months. What I had thought was normal as a child--only seeing extended relatives a few times a year--is not what I want for HP. I want his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins to be a part of his every day life. Living fourteen hours from family doesn't make that possible.
It's a hard situation because Henry truly loves his job here. He is doing meaningful work that challenges him intellectually. He enjoys his coworkers and respects his boss. How often does that combination occur? We feel truly lucky for him to have found this job. At the same time, neither of us feel truly connected to Austin. We both long to live in a smaller town, with a more mild climate, that's closer to family. But how do you balance everything you want? Is it worth it to move back home if Henry has to take a job that he doesn't love as much? If we wait for him to find the perfect job in Missouri are we going to be waiting forever?
It's not that I hate my life here--not at all. We've made wonderful friends here who would be hard to leave behind. Austin has things to offer that my smaller hometown is lacking (most notably excellent local and organic food options). It's just that I love my family and want to have more than a long-distance relationship with them.
Realistically, we'll likely meet or exceed the five year commitment we originally envisioned when we moved here. And the longer we are here, the more connections we make, and the more rooted we become, the less likely it is that we will leave. But if the perfect job came open? Let's just say it would be hard to turn it down.