When I was six, I convinced my little brother to join my club. For his contribution of nine dollars, he could be vice-president, while I was president, secretary, and treasurer. Even though I only contributed a dollar myself, as the treasurer, it was my responsibility to ensure our money was spent in an appropriate manner, and I opted to purchase hair scrunchies and pink animal cookies that I didn’t share.
Hardly a day goes by in my adult life in which my brother doesn’t ask for a return on his investment and insist that I officially dissolve the club. Of course, being wiser in the ways of the world, I tell him it’s in the club’s best interest to stay active. After all, this is the club in which meetings are held in little red tents, attendance is taken with heart-shaped stickers, and the president is officially recognized as a princess.
Last week, I heard my brother invite my nine-month-old son to join a club with him. As he laid out the terms of what the club would entail, I could tell he had wised up since his days as the runty little brother. Watching my brother crawl around and “zoom zoom” across the room, my little one in tow, I was reminded for the thousandth time why I’m so glad we opted to move closer to home once our son was born.
I was the girl who couldn’t wait to move out of her hometown after high school and was ready to embark on a new adventure after college. Two weeks after getting married, my husband and I moved from Indiana to Charleston, South Carolina, where we officially began our life as husband and wife. Our days were spent teaching and our nights and weekends were spent exploring and hanging out at the beach.
A year and a half into our marriage, we adopted our puppy, and almost exactly a year later, we welcomed our son into the world. The arrival of our sweet little guy brought grandparents flocking and made life feel perfectly connected. Our first week as parents was exhausting, but knowing we had reinforcements made our sleepless nights much more bearable.
Once that first week was up, and our parents had to make the 15 hour drive home, we were left feeling discombobulated. Our exhausted haze was no longer viewed through rose colored glasses, and two people who had always sought independence and adventure were left missing family. Don’t get me wrong, the occasional tear would sneak out upon leaving family after Christmas break or summer vacation, but for the most part, we really enjoyed having our own lives in our own place. That changed the day our son was born.
Without jobs, a home, or really any clear life plan, we moved everything we owned up to Indiana when our son was 8 weeks old. Knowing in our hearts that it was the right decision, we hit the road and never looked back. People frequently ask me if I’m glad we moved, and as I sit in my brother’s apartment (the one next door to ours), I feel at peace knowing that Kevin’s childhood will be full of fond memories of family, and that’s the greatest gift of all.