“When I heard you were moving here, I asked why you would leave your wonderful place in Chicago with that marvelous view.”
Oh my. I’ve heard similar exclamations from my Chicago friends, but this was the first time in my soon-to-be new hometown of Sioux Falls. From another grandma, no less. We were there last week for our annual four-day babysitting gig; we don’t move until June. But this comment, plus a friend posting a video on Facebook of a stroll through Millennium Park, my current front yard, were a smack in the face. I had to wonder if I’m in my right mind.
No doubts! We haven’t factored in the presence of our little grandchildren, ages 5 and 6. Being closer, seeing them from time to time, is the primary reason we’re moving. But I must be frank with you: having been a minister’s kid used to moving every 3-4 years as a child bred a restlessness that makes me look forward to new things, a curiosity to learn and see something different, so this move from an urban high-rise to a city subdivision is an adventure that’s exciting.
And I have a backup plan; my husband says, “If it doesn’t work out, we’ll reconsider.” The same backup plan we had when we moved downtown Chicago from a southern suburb 11 years ago. Each year we have asked ourselves, Is this still working? And each year until this year, we unanimously agreed, yes. This year, though, we agreed it’s time, in our mid-seventies, to rearrange our priorities and get our highs from grandchildren (and their parents!) instead of the city.
On more of the good side, I was ecstatic during our babysitting stint to discover a Barnes & Noble, a real live bookstore just 10 minutes from our new home. I enthused my happiness to the barista who informed me this store is the only one in South Dakota. Imagine my glow as I sipped my skinny mocha surrounded by the woodsy aroma of books made from real live trees.
But then, on another day, I had an aha moment when I stopped into a Hy-Vee, a grocery store chain advertising a Starbucks. When I sat down with yet another mocha, a scene in my peripheral vision made my heart race. I was about to get up and tell the women about city safety when I realized I was not in Chicago, that life here was different, and would be different, once we’ve moved. The infraction? The women draped the straps of their purses over the back of their chairs. If I’d been home in Chicago, I would have assumed they were tourists, and I would have gone over and reminded them to loop their strap around their arm and keep their purses on their laps, or at least far away from anyone being able to snatch them.
Instead, I relaxed, and left my iPhone out on the table and my backpack on a chair (mostly) unguarded, while I leisurely sipped my mocha and read my book.
I liked the feeling.