After the death of my grandmother, my parents decided to buy her house. For awhile they didn’t know exactly what they wanted to do with said house…only that they felt very strongly they needed to purchase it. They tossed around dozens of ideas—whether to move into it themselves, rent it, sell it, what. Plan after plan was hatched, debated, and abandoned.
Finally, they proposed an idea to me and Kyle that would make it possible for us to move into the house and live near my family in Arizona after ten years of being away.
When they first came to us with their idea, we were shocked. Mesa, Arizona is not my favourite city in the world, but nevertheless I have dearly missed living near my family these past ten years. Kyle’s family is amazing and we love having them in our lives, but it doesn’t change the fact that I miss my own family. (In a perfect world, we could have both our families just down the street from us.) And it’s been with a certain degree of sorrow that I’ve welcomed Hutch and Holden into this world, knowing they would never have the close relationship with their cousins that I had with mine growing up. There are friends, and then there are cousins. Mark my words: cousins are better. (They have some cousins near where we live, but they are older than my boys, and though they share an awesome love, it’s just not the same when you don’t grow up together.) From the minute I chose to leave Arizona, I’ve known it would cause me heartache not to raise my children there.
Still, as much as I long to be closer to my family, we have settled into a fairly comfortable routine in Canada. Slowly but surely we’ve plugged away at debt until we are now completely free from it except for a very modest mortgage. Kyle has a comfortable job at a family business which he will someday own jointly with his brothers…and more than that, it’s where he’s always lived, what he’s always planned on doing.
And me, I’ve gotten used to the idea of raising adorable little Canadian boys, and indeed become excited at the thought of sending them to French Immersion school, and ice skating lessons, and teaching them how to build snow forts (after learning how myself). Not to mention the healthcare situation up here, which is so simple it’s actually confusing to me sometimes—(You mean I can go to any doctor, at any time, for any reason, for no cost? And when I need a knee surgery I just need to get a referral for the specialist and wait a little while? And when it’s my turn, I will get my surgery, and pay nothing? And if we decide to have a baby I don’t have to plan ten years ahead of time to start saving for the hospital bill? We pay nothing? Except $40 if we want a private room in the maternity ward? And if there’s an emergency and we need to go to the hospital for life-saving medical care, it won’t bankrupt us because it’s free?) And maternity leave, for after having said baby: it’s a year long, and it’s paid.
On top of that, the truth is that I just plain like it here. Not all the time, of course. But the summers are heaven-sent. Growing a garden, basking in the sunshine, the novelty of 11 p.m. sunsets. The people are friendly, the playgrounds are abundant, the Canadian life is pretty awesome. I even like the snow a little bit, sometimes. The peaceful quiet that it brings. The beauty of everything covered in white.
All of this is to say, we did not make our decision lightly. Moving to Arizona at this point in our lives would be a huge, life-altering change. We talked with international accountants, we talked with immigration lawyers, we thought about it nonstop for what felt like months. What if Kyle can’t find a decent paying job with healthcare? What if we don’t make enough money to get by? What if Donald Trump becomes president? What if there’s a zombie apocalypse and we’re stuck in the desert without enough water? What about Zika?
But finally, in the end, we made our decision.
We are moving to Arizona.
At least, we’re hoping to. We’ve started the process of applying for Kyle’s green card, and it sounds like we should expect it to take at least 12 months before it is approved (and hopefully it will be approved). We still have so much to do—so much!—and it is overwhelming to me, but we are really excited for the possibility of how different our lives might be a year and a half from now. At the end of the day, that’s what it came down to: we feel that making this move will be the best choice for our family.
(And for the record, Kyle never really had to come to terms with any of this the way I did. He was on board almost immediately. Even now, I have a lot of reservations about it, but he is 100% excited and confident we can make it work. Where he gets his faith I may never know.)
So anyway, that’s the news. And the best part is: my grandma’s house comes on a piece of property that includes a vacant lot next door. On this lot my sister will build a new house, and we will live as next-door neighbours. Our children will grow up with cousins just a stone’s throw away!
(The second best part is that my overachieving sister is also PTO president and has, at my request, talked to the elementary school principal about instigating a Spanish Immersion program at the school my boys would likely be attending. So there’s hope for me after all.)
Wish us luck. I’m actually scared shitless.