I’m moving! I’m actually moving very soon – 10 days-ish – and I should be getting things organized, getting rid of things, etc, etc. So I’m doing what is so typical for me – anything but what I should be doing. This morning my mind said, “I know! I’ll write a blog post! I haven’t posted in more than two months, so I will do it today!” Does anyone wonder why I was the queen of the all-nighter in getting through school?
I always thought one day I would be more prepared, plan appropriately and follow through accordingly. One of my college roommates would study for a few hours every evening, then smoke a bong (it was the 70s), then watch Johnny Carson’s monologue, and then go to bed. Every night. She was so organized, and I was so in awe. I knew one day I would be just like her.
I’m almost 60 now. I’m beginning to think my behavior can’t be changed. But I’m still holding out some hope…..
Here’s the story. I’ve mentioned this before. For a very long time, I’ve wanted to someday move closer to my children, and especially to my grandchildren. Everyone else has flown the coop. Leah is in Elgin. Lindsay is currently in New Orleans after moving from New York City and about to move back to Baltimore, but most importantly, she’s not in Mahomet. Even Dave and Cindy left town! This was not part of my plan! They’re in Washington DC. So, I’m the last of our Chestnut family in Champaign County. And with Mom now gone, I don’t have a reason to live near Peoria. Soooo…..
It was easy to say that someday I’d be closer to my babies. It’s a bit harder to actually make it happen. I’m mostly excited, but not completely. I have good friends here. I love my little house here. I’ve spent almost 30 years of my life here. I’ve loved living in a major university community, where I’ve bled orange and blue and always will (some years have been bloodier than others). I loved most of the 20 years I worked for the Champaign County Forest Preserve District and will always love most of my coworkers (you know who you are, and just a few know why you aren’t). I’ve always lived south of I-80 and really think of myself as a downstate girl. I’ve loved deliveries from Filippo’s on more nights than I care to admit. Ok, when I start on the food, I know I need to move it along…..
Twenty-nine years ago, when Dave said, “I really want to take that job in Champaign,” I knew we needed to go because when I said, “I really want to be with my babies and not go back to teaching,” he had agreed to that. It was a very painful move for me. I loved Springfield…….LOVED Springfield. It was the first place I had felt like a real person. I had felt successful as a teacher. I had made many fabulous friends. I had the Barrel Head, where everyone really did know my name. And I was finishing up a master’s degree in Governmental Public Relations in the state capital where jobs were just waiting for me to apply for them! (It’s possible the jobs part was just in my head.)
So, I moved AWAY from the state capital! Excellent career move! We had a four-year-old, and we also had a two-week old colicky baby, AND I was in the midst of some pretty horrible post-partum depression, which then developed into some paralyzing panic attacks. Sure, moving to a new city sounds good! Let’s do it!
I told myself we were only going for a couple of years, and then we’d move back, although I knew in my heart that wouldn’t be the case. It did help me avoid many goodbyes though, so I went with it. Turns out I suck at goodbyes. Still do. Fortunately, now the world is much smaller, and I have learned that the friends I’m meant to keep, I will keep, no matter where they are, or how far away from them I am. At the time, though, it helped me a lot to think and say it wasn’t a permanent move.
Every time I drove back to Springfield, which was a lot because of the always-growing number of Chestnuts who still live there, I’d see the capitol dome and get a stomach ache because I missed living where I had been so happy. Then one day, after about two years, I realized I felt like a visitor to Springfield, that Champaign County was my home, and I actually was happy.
So, I know I can do this. I will make friends, and I’m not worried about that anyway, because I already have incredible friends. I will find new doctors, new restaurants, new shortcuts, new parks, new stores, other fun places to go, blah, blah. I can do it! And I have the added benefit of my grandsons (and their parents) being just 20 minutes away. No more three-hour drives. I’ll be 20 minutes down the road. AND I’ll be 50-ish minutes to an airplane that can take me to whichever city Lindsay happens to reside in on whatever day.
Love you, Champaign County, and especially Mahomet. I really do. You were good to us all. I will have fond memories of you, just as I do of Springfield, but I know it’s time. So, here’s to the next adventure….