Our second guest blogger here at MP is the fabulous Cathy who blogs at Mayberry Mom and The Full Mommy, and also runs a site devoted to family fitness. She has two kids including a son she really does call Opie. I've always loved her blog name since I stumbled upon her site and seem to hear whistling in my head when I read the title for some reason...
My husband and I went to college, separately, in Philadelphia. We met in New York City, where we both lived and worked for more than 10 years after college. Our first home was a two-bedroom condo in an urban neighborhood just across the Hudson River from Manhattan Island. Our first child was born at NYU Medical Center. We even adopted our dog from a shelter in a fairly seedy neighborhood in New Jersey.
So five years ago, when we announced to friends, neighbors, and colleagues that we were moving to a small town in Wisconsin of which they’d never heard, they all thought we were 100% crazy. What about restaurants? Culture? Shopping? Temperatures above 10 degrees?
There are actually restaurants in the Midwest, we assured them. Theaters, too. And a season we like to call “summer.” Most importantly, there was a roomy, charming, old house that cost the same as the selling price on our apartment. There were jobs that required a zero- to 10-minute commute, instead of a 60- to 90-minute one. There was a community, with neighbors that would know us and our kids. There was a park across the street, and a community pool around the corner, and a lovely library a few blocks away. There were decent public schools and child care centers.
It was a trade we were happy to make, and we’re still glad we did (although at this point in the year, the winter? Kind of a drag). Yes, we miss living in the city sometimes. We especially miss the friends and family we left behind. But as parents of young children, we weren’t exactly painting the Big Apple red every night. Dining out often and seeing the latest shows and exhibits didn’t fit into our schedule, let alone our budget.
And guess what? The performing arts center located 10 miles from our Midwestern home gets all the traveling Broadway shows (not to mention the cheesy kids’ ones too). We’ve discovered some good restaurants and a lot more time to enjoy them.
Above all that, we have the community we hadn’t quite found in New York, where our friends and family were scattered across the five boroughs and the surrounding states. Here we have neighbors who drop what they’re doing to chat with our kids or care for them if we’re in a pinch. We have friends who drop off meals during times of crisis. We have teachers and doctors and shopkeepers who really know us. We have sturgeon, for goodness sake!
I think we’re going to stay a while longer.