family, life

Almost Perfect

May 19th marked the second year anniversary of our move out of Florida and back to where I grew up in the Chicago suburbs. Many of you who followed me in Florida, know how much I wanted out. Still, I wasn’t sure how well I’d do back home after twenty-seven years away.

I’m happier than I could’ve imaginedΒ  (so is the hubs).

If it weren’t for chronic pain that I deal with and work to keep at bay (sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t), my life would be perfect.

On occasion, I find myself so happy I’m moved to tears! Like on a mild spring day when we drove to a lovely park with a walking trail, a small lake and lots of tulips blooming. Mom called while we were there. She happened to be out and passing by, so she stopped to join us. When we drove home, my lips reached back to my ears from smiling, and my heart overflowed, flooding my eyes.

In Florida, of course I wouldn’t have been able to see Mom at a park, nor would I have been able to tolerate the heat. And what’s more, there were no parks like the ones we frequent here.

Friends and family just stop by my house now. It’s what I dreamed of for years. It’s the way I was raised. When I was a child, if I heard a car door slam outside, it was usually grandma stopping by, or another relative, but probably grandma (grandma, laughing as usual on the far right, below).

Since I moved back, my mom stops by, or my sister-in-law with the kids, or one of my two besties.

My heart soars even while writing about it.

Dad moved to Wisconsin, and it’s an hour and ten minutes. Much shorter than the two-day drive from Florida. Last Friday, we made a last minute drive up to Dad’s for a visit and dinner out. Once again, the joy spilled out my eyes on the drive home.

This is not to say that family is perfect, but I’ve never appreciated family so much in my life. I wonder what would happen if everyone was separated from family for a time and then reunited. How much more might they tolerate from their loved ones that they couldn’t tolerate before?

I laugh when people think it’s humid here. The hottest day in summer in Illinois doesn’t reach the weight of the smothering heat and humidity of Florida. That’s not to say that I wasn’t boiling at a couple of the summer fests I attended this year. The difference was that I was able to sit in the shade for respite. Shade made no difference in Florida.

If I’m being honest, sometimes a teensy bit of resentment creeps in … all those years wasted with no family or friends. I thought for sure we’d be alone forever, and that no one cared. But, the resentment is minor and doesn’t last long. Because now, loved ones actually think I’m worth coming over to visit. I love having people in my home, and I also love visiting.

So, my blogging buddies, if you’re ever in town, stop by and see me. I wish for everyone this much fulfillment and contentment.

P.S. All of the photos are of the actual people and places mentioned. Including me as a kid on the far left striking a pose with family.

P.P.S. I see a “coming home” novel in my future.


22 thoughts on “Almost Perfect”

  1. This is amazing, you sound so happy. It makes me wistful to read something like this as I have no idea where to settle for the rest of my life. Hub and me are both foreigners in the country we live in, and we haven’t made good friends (partly due to it being VERY, VERY family/children-oriented here) – at age 45 we’re starting to feel like we need to go somewhere where we have community. What you describe sounds beautiful! I don’t have parents (mother long dead and father remarried and estranged) and I’m starting to realise that from the 40s onwards is the time that people really appreciate having them, as ‘friends’ (if they’re lucky to have a good relationship with them)….. My hub’s folks are in a country where it’s hard to get decent work (Italy), so we’re stuck for now wondering what to do with the rest of our lives… Your post is inspiring though and has got me thinking through stuff…. It’s lovely to hear contentment like this and I hope you keep the pain at bay as much as possible! Ooh yes do a coming home novel!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so true, once I hit my 40’s, I started appreciating my parents as friends. They no longer treat me like a kid, but like I’m their friend.

      I’m not sure why we didn’t really create lasting friendships or a community back in Florida. We did try. It may be partly due to the fact that most people are parents, and they are usually friends with other parents. The good old friendships from Chicago are the ones that have endured. These are friends I had long before marriage (and their kids).

      I understand why you’re living where the jobs are. We originally moved to Florida because it wasn’t affordable to live where we grew up. I wish I could give you some good advice on where to settle. Do you have a place where you grew up to connect with childhood friends? If you put the message out to the Universe, for a good community to live in, I’ll bet it will happen eventually. When my husband was finally ready to move (I was long before him), a job offer landed in his lap that he didn’t even look for.

      Keep your eyes open for something and it may just show up. Thanks for reading, DS.


  2. Wow. I loved reading this, as a new visitor to your blog. So many here in New England who have retired either move full time or half time to Florida. They can’t stand the winter. I admit, when the snow gets deep and the temp below 30, I wonder if I’d like to live in a warmer climate. But you show how it’s not the weather that matters…it’s the people. It’s being near friends and family and laughing and loving those who matter. I live 9 minutes from my daughter, who has 3 young children. I stop by a couple of times a week and hug a child, pet the dog, bring some home-baked cookies, play a game of Monopoly with the 7 year old, dance hip hop with the 4 year old. THIS Is what makes a difference, not the temperature outside. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi there. We have crossed paths before through Jill. I’ve stopped by your blog on occasion myself.

      You brought up a great point about how it’s not about the weather but the people. In fact, that’s a great idea for a future blog post that I think I’ll write. After around 3 to 5 years in Florida, the excitement of warm winters wore off and I was ready to come home. Unfortunately, we were there a lot longer.

      Your grandchildren will always cherish those moments with their grandma. As you read in my post, my grandma stopped by the same way as you, and those memories warm my heart. I’m sure your grandkids are as thrilled as I always was to see Grandma.

      Thank you for sharing your perspective of my post. Great to cross paths with you again, Pamela. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Crossing paths in ANY kind of weather is wonderful. πŸ™‚ Funny you should mention you’ll write a post about “it’s not the weather- it’s the people.” I wrote a poem (An Ode to Weather) that I’m planning on blogging in a month or so. xo

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  3. I can’t believe it’s been two years already! Seems like it was just a short time ago I was reading your posts about moving back. So happy to hear you’re happy. Family is important to have around (as long as they’re not toxic). Wish I had family near me, but I travel a lot to visit them, so it seems to work out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right? Two years since the move and three years since hub’s accident, the motivating factor for the move. I’m not sorry we made the original move to Florida, but wished we could’ve moved back sooner.

      It’s good that you get to travel to visit family often. I didn’t get to more than once a year.

      Thanks for reading, Carrie.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right? Two years since the move and three years since my husband’s accident. If it weren’t for that accident, my husband would still have us wilting away in that humidity. It woke him up to move onto greener pastures.

      Thanks for the nice comment, Jill.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful post! You look so happy to be back home and I think that is absolutely lovely. Where you grew up looks cute and beautiful~~~ Congrats on over 2 years since your move!

    Liked by 1 person

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