I’d always wanted out, but I was lazy and resilient to change. Finally, in my early-ish 20s I left my hometown in Northeastern Ontario and moved to Toronto. The big smoke! It was a natural progression. My siblings and relatives lived in Toronto and around the GTA, many of my closest friends lived in the area as well, and growing up we’d spent a lot of time in Toronto. I somewhat knew my way around and I wasn’t intimidated by the large city. I quickly got a great job and fell into a routine.
I’m not exactly sure how long it took, maybe a couple days, maybe a couple weeks, but I soon realized I was not a good fit for big city living. I wanted out, I needed out. My northern accent was too thick (eh?), my spirit yearned for crisp cool air and the rugged landscape of rock and trees. I didn’t miss home, not yet. I missed not having to share my personal space with five million other people, I missed not feeling “city stress”, and I also missed not being at the mercy of whatever delay making my drive home either 20 minutes or two hours. I slept with a nine iron (fore!!) under my bed just in case I needed protection. I was out of place and I quickly took a job transfer out of Toronto.
Over the years I took two more job transfers and ended up back in Northeastern Ontario, even further north than my hometown. I bought a house, met my husband, got married, and had the first of two children. By now the ache was real – I needed to move back to my hometown. It became an overwhelming obsession. I knew it would happen eventually, there was an office I could transfer to once an opening came up, and my husband could move anywhere, he travels for work.
After years of wondering what life would be like if we lived in my hometown, what house we would buy, where my kids would go to school, I got the phone call. I remember my entire office going silent, they knew as soon as I answered the phone it was the call I’d been waiting eight years for. We were moving home.
We sold our house in a matter of days, bought a new house, packed up, said goodbye to a chapter of our lives, and moved back to my hometown ready to embrace the next chapter. We ended up settling in a couple blocks away from my parents, who still live in the house I grew up in. My hometown had changed, it had a lot more stores now, a lot more restaurants, more houses, schools had changed and moved, the university and college had grown, old friends and their families had long moved away. But it was the same place, and it felt amazing.
I had left social media for a few years by this point and really didn’t know who was still around, but we quickly found new friendships with old friends, made new friends, and settled in with our new life. My children will attend the same elementary school my siblings and I did, pedal their bikes on the same roads, meet with their friends at the same parks, ski on the same ski hill, maybe even play on the same sports teams or join a club, representing their high school and city with great pride just like we did several decades before.
Each day I am flooded with happiness and gratitude. Happy to be home and grateful to be where we are in life, knowing every decision and sacrifice we made wasn’t without reason, that everything truly has come full circle. We are surrounded by family and friends who have become family, their support and kindness filling our home with happiness, helping us and helping each other raise our families, carving out new stories in our hometown, memories that will someday fill our children’s hearts with happiness and gratitude, that will leave them aching for the comfort of home wherever they may be. I now know that after so many years away, home was exactly where my heart stayed and needed to be.
xo Guest Bad Mom Sarah
(Sarah is excited to share a few insights with you about her momming over the next couple of weeks! Thanks Sarah!)