Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Best for her Family

It was the last dinner before an early departure the following morning.  A barbeque outside on the back patio seemed fit; a beautiful, sprawling property the view.  Their three sons ran throughout.  Two dogs following close behind.  It had been a wonderful weekend.  Our minds would be busy pondering this place and its way of life for the ensuing weeks.

That night I lay in bed absorbing it all.  Soon we would need to start making decisions.  Only six months left on our lease, and then it was decision time.  If only decisions could be made for you.  I wear the same pair of jeans every day just so I don’t have to decide on something else to wear.  Nothing but my Mom Jeans, of course. 

It was true; I loved this place.  It seemed perfect.  The rolling hills, the picturesque neighborhoods, the idea of owning land, and most of all, I loved the possibility of living close to my cousin and her family.  I imagined carrying a green bean casserole topped with those crispy onion rings up to her front door on Thanksgiving Day.  I fancied the thought of hay rides before dinner.  In the winter we would all pile on a sleigh, covering ourselves with thick, flannel blankets while being pulled by horses along icy roads as small, white snowflakes found their resting place upon our eye lashes.

Could this be the place?  Because I thought the first place we visited was.  But this was my first cousin I would live near!  “Dan, I am tempted to choose this place so that we could be close to this family.”  In moving we would be leaving our family, friends, everyone.  But this, well this here was our family in a wonderful place to raise our children.  Oh, to move away and still live near family!  Just the very thought overthrew my emotions with excitement.  Now calm down, Janna, we have some things to think about.  Ah yes, I did have an inquiry, and an important one at that.  Should major life decisions be based on others?  What if we moved to be close to someone and they decide to get up and move themselves?  Or what if you move near someone and your lives don’t even cross and you end up never seeing them?  Heavy expectations on relationships, maybe not.  

I knew deep down that my cousin, as much as I loved her and her family, couldn’t be the deciding factor.  We would need to make a decision based on whether or not this place was best for our family. 

Best for our family

Gosh, I wasn’t used to thinking of us as our own entity.  Our past choices for our family had always involved others, the extended family members.  

True, this was the perfect place for my cousin and her family.  And sure, they sacrificed a lot to be here, but they were pleased with their decision never-the-less.  Sacrifice.  Hmmm, something to consider.  We would also be making large sacrifices in our choice to move.

My thoughts drifted back to one of my conversations with my cousin.

“It has been a couple of years, do you still miss your people?”  I asked her sincerely.

“I do.  We had such a wonderful group of friends.”

“Do you have that here?”

“Hmm, I have prospects,” she answered.  “It takes time to form deep relationships, years.” 

I was intrigued.  She left her mom, dad, husband’s parents, cousins, sisters, friends.  She left everyone.  And here she sat before me saying she was content with her choice.  How could this be? 

Because she knew it was best for her family. 

Best for her family.

Was this the epitome of what a wife and mother is?  Someone who sacrifices what she wants and desires for the benefit of her husband and children? 

“My husband thrives here.  He is different.  More at ease and happy.”

This was a good mom.  This was a good wife.  And she was a great example to me. 

So much to ponder.  It felt like layer upon layer of understanding was being added to my core.  I was learning who I was, who I wanted to be, who I was to become.  And it felt very uncomfortable, as growth always does, but I knew it was what I needed.  To grow.

As we came to the end of our visit, I was sad to have to say goodbye.  I hate goodbyes.  I wondered if we would be moving here someday.  I wondered what could become of our relationship if we did.  My heart smiled to think of the possibilities. 

The next morning we woke early and began packing up our things.

As we walked out to the car with baggage in hand, we heard clamoring from their horse arena.  There was my cousin’s husband working hard breaking in a horse; his cowboy hat and chaps finishing off his mannish look.  He glanced over, jumped down from the horse, and while he walked closer to us to say his goodbyes, I briefly glanced over at my husband.     

He was staring at the chaps.

And I knew what he was thinking.

I wanted him to have them too.

He can wear them while he is roping things.


  1. I am taking the plunge, Janna. In two weeks, I am moving to a very small, southern town, far away from the fast-paced life I always envisioned for myself. Funny thing is, I do still want that crazy, chaotic life, but I have come to realize that it's not what is best for my family. However, I'm starting to understand that it stopped being about me when I made the decision to bring a life into this world.

    Thanks for peppering your blogs with humor and wisdom--that spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Each time I read your blog, it gives me the confidence to know that I am doing the right thing--not just for my family, but for me.


  2. are asking really good questions. ...wrestling with really important things here. Still love reading each post!

  3. So true ... that seeking the best for our family. I liked your cousin's observation about her husband thriving in their new locale. This gave me more to ponder.