Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes.

Since the only people reading this are our family and friends, it should come as no surprise to any of you that we are now in sunny ARKANSAS. Justin accepted a job offer in November and by December 8th, we had packed up and whisked ourselves off to Fayetteville, where Justin was born and raised and where I went to college. Both of our families live in Arkansas, most of them in Fayetteville (my parents live about three hours away in Little Rock), so since the twins arrived we have had moving closer to family on our minds. He had explored a few different job opportunities, but none of them looked to be panning out, and we had decided that the time table for a move would be closer to when the babies went to school, years away. Then this offer came, totally out of left field, and we had to make a decision really quickly. Despite the pull of family in Arkansas, it was not an easy decision. We were in love with our life in Chicago.

The friends…

The city, and all it had to offer…

…our solid routine, which included nearly daily visits to tiny Lazarus Park…

…and, of course, our beloved Jessica, who has been such a source of love and education for Jack and Emme since they were eight months old.

This was the first seriously life-changing decision we had to make as parents. Before, we only had to think of ourselves. Completely selfish and self-serving, only concerned with our own life paths. It was so hard to decide what the right thing to do here was. We both had stable jobs in Chicago and a once-in-a-lifetime caregiver — Jessica gave the twins the kind of care they would get in a top-notch pre-school setting, only instead of there being 15 other toddlers to vie for her attention, there were only the two of them. This kind of attention and her concerted efforts to teach them new things on a daily basis was especially important in Jack’s case, as he continues to lag behind (for whatever reason) the developmental and learning milestones he should be hitting right now.  I truly considered her a third parent in our home and I know the twins felt the same. Were we crazy to give up that kind of relationship before we absolutely had to? Though I was eager to have our families more involved in the twins’ lives — and anxious to have them grow up around their cousins —  I had grown comfortable with the decision to wait until they were four or five, when I would have to start figuring out how to navigate the insane world of the Chicago Public School system. Further, my work is important to me, and as a staff member at a struggling, inner-city high school, I felt like there was much more work to be done and I wanted to be a part of that. And then there were our friends that we hated to leave behind.

It was excruciatingly difficult to make this decision.

In the end, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was just too good to pass up. We feared we would never see an offer like this again and would regret turning it down.

Thus started three days of intense crying.

Who am I trying to fool — it was more like six weeks of crying. Okay, all right, I still cry occasionally.

Which is not to say we are not so happy to have the opportunity to live near our beloved parents, our siblings, our in-laws, and our nieces and nephews. I am so relieved that the babies will grow up surrounded by family. It was hard, trying to do this on our own in Chicago, 600 miles away from the nearest relative. And I will not have to panic in four years, worrying about the school the twins go to, and whether it has 5th-grade gang members in it. I couldn’t imagine raising the kids in the city, for some reason. The thought of it just exhausted me.

And we live in a house, with a yard, and…a washing machine and dryer. That’s right. We’re high class now.

But we do miss Chicago. And our sweet friends (Shannon, I’m looking at you). Our cozy apartment, where we lived for nine years, and where the twins knew every nook and cranny. And we miss Jessica. Boy, do we miss her. (For some reason, she just wasn’t that enthusiastic about our suggestion she move to Arkansas.) I am thanking my lucky stars for Skype, and texting, and e-mailing. It’s important to me that the babies don’t forget that they were Chicago-born, and that means staying in touch with the people that were important to them there. Meanwhile, the many Christmas celebrations have helped them become more acquainted to the new people who will become very important to them here.

And that is a very, very good thing.

 

Shannon - January 3, 2013 - 10:22 pm

I miss you all too! That picture with Jack made me realize I not only have no pictures of them…I have no pictures with them and ME. Now, I am expecting some of your favorite pictures printed and sent in the post! 🙂

Shannon - January 3, 2013 - 10:23 pm

Those pictures of Emme at the park…priceless.

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