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Pulling Up Our Roots

alec vanderboom

We reached a tipping point in crime incidents around my neighborhood. For a few years, I've had my head in the sand. I cancelled our subscription to our local paper two years ago because the crime stories were freaking me out.

This week, my husband asked me to stop going to the Downtown Library without him. "I'll return any books you want after work. Just don't go alone, especially with our kids. It's not safe anymore."

There is this invisible boundary line of mental safety that I didn't know was there until it got crossed. On these golden Spring Mornings, it's not safe for me to go to my church by myself. It's not safe to go to the library. Losing those two anchors, its like I lost my whole town overnight. It hurts so much to not be able to sit quietly by the Tabernacle when the entire church is quiet. We Carmelites affectionately call that precious prayer time "our Desert time."

We're moving. We picked out a new church in a new city twenty minutes north of us. There are so many pluses for moving. There is this amazing City Park with Trumpet Swans and a free Art Museum. Housing prices are similar to our current house. There are more educational and sport programs for my kids. My husband loses 30 minutes on his super long commute. It's a housing upgrade in every category.

The only sourpuss is me. I hate moving. I hate change. I hate the work of cleaning, packing, unpacking, and all the resettlement details. I hate the stress of finding a new dentist, a new vet, a new car mechanic. I hate the ugly parts of the new house poking me in the eye until I can get the time, energy, and finances to get the irritating problems fixed. I hate the stress of all the finances going in flux because you don't know how much the heat will be in winter and everything needs to be repaired at the same time.

It feels really good at age 39 to simply be honest about where I suck. I suck at change. My husband and I have reached the stage of marriage where we can be honest and loving and funny at the same time. We were talking about our feelings about this move and he started teasing me gently, "The kids and I are going to make this move regardless. You're welcome to rent this house yourself and sleep alone here each night." I started laughing at that image. I told him, "I'll have to drive the dog home with me every night. There is no way I'm sleeping in this high crime area without something for protection!" It was really funny to consider for a moment everyone changing houses in this family except for me.

I'm worth a move. That is what I'm telling myself this week. Yes, it's a pain to move. Yes, there will be unforeseen complications. Yes, we might do all this work to put the house on the market and have it not sell. Yet,  I'm worth a move.

If one day, we can sketch Trumpet Swans from real life as a free Home-school Art Lesson, that's a pretty big payoff for a few months of high anxiety and stress.