When fellow mommy blogger (and new Facebook friend!) Goslyn asked me, "What is your happiest memory?" I had a flood memories rush to the front of the line. I have lots of happy memories, considering my perfectly regular childhood, a lovely marriage, and sweet children. But the one memory that stands out? The one I turn to when I'm feeling down?
I know I should probably pick a memory that involves the girls, but a trip to Maine? A surprise trip to Maine? A surprise trip to Maine where we honeymooned more than 10 years earlier? Well, really. It's hard to top that.
It's funny because the timing was far from perfect. We didn't really have extra money to be spending on travel, but decided to do it anyway. Jason had to take along all of his study material for the comprehensive exams that he would be taking a month later. I hadn't exactly stopped nursing Jules, which is to say that she knew how to use a sippy cup, but still used me at sporadic intervals throughout the day.
She and I went cold turkey when I stepped on that plane to Maine, and even though I did nurse her one more time when we got back it was essentially the end of the nursing road for both us. My mother-in-law was a saint for taking Jules, who adjusted just fine. As for my adjusting, I ended up being rather uncomfortable--even a quick stop for cabbage didn't help--and developed a pretty terrible cold as a result of my body not quite working right.
It didn't matter.
Afterall, it was being together--driving down that snowy road listening to Alicia Keyes--that made it perfect. I never fail to smile when I remember our trip. It goes to show that the timing is often never perfect, but you go forward anyway.
Fellow Oregonian Diane asked me, "Why oh why would you think of moving out of Oregon, dearest CB?" It's a good question. Especially since I do love living in Oregon, particularly since Sydney was born. It's a great state. No sales tax. Home to Nike and the famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Strong identity. Easily recognizable on the national level (as opposed to Washington, which always has to be clarified as "Washington State" when one is traveling to the east coast). Even celebrating its 150th birthday on Valentine's Day. There's a lot to love.
So why the move?
The answer is that my parents gave us 2 1/2 acres in Brush Prairie, Washington. I can tell you that if it wasn't for the land, we wouldn't make the move. But the 2 1/2 acres is all the reason we need. It's the land where I grew up; it's the land where my great-grandparents lived many years ago. It's where my parents, my grandma, my aunt and uncle, my brother and his family, and my cousin and her family live. It's three miles away from the pre-school that Jason's mom owns. It's eight miles away from where Jason's parents live. Property, family, the chance to build our dream house: it was too perfect to turn down.
Fortunately, Brush Prairie is still close enough to Portland (a mere 20-minute drive away) that we'll be able to stay connected with a lot of our friends who make regular trips there from Salem. Plus, southwest Washington doesn't have any of its own news stations, so all our news is Oregon news anyway. It'll almost be like we still live in Oregon, except we'll have to pay sales tax and pump our own gas. But hey! the property taxes are low and the family is near. Can't beat that with a stick.