Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What Happens in Wisconsin

Years ago, when I was training to be on staff with InterVarsity, I loved visiting this crazy midwest city called Madison. I came out for seminary courses. I frequented the restaurants. I loved it's charm.

I NEVER thought I'd live here. I'm an east coast girl. What good can come from moving to the midwest? 

Before moving here, I had never been more than 2 hours from the ocean. And for a beach-lovin' woman, moving far from the shore is no small thing. Not to mention being far from everything I've ever known...friends, family, I-95 being at the heart of all long drives.

Ok, so I actually don't miss that last one.

But 3 years into Wisconsin life, I am actually at the point where it is going to be hard to leave. 

I am in love with the cheese. And seriously, friends, the cheese aisle at the store is HUGE. Never have you seen such a cheese aisle. I have dreams about this cheese aisle.

The people are amazing. They are just unashamedly who they are. Friendly, honest, hardworking, kind. No veneers. Lots of laughter. Some granola, some not. Good for a last minute meet-up for a meal or a beer. Generous with their time, no fewer than fifteen people stopped to help Jayce and I last summer when we were stranded on the side of the road. Some brought water, some offered to drive us places, all just wanted to make sure, from one human to another, that we were ok. We had people bringing us meals and sanity for months after both babies came home. MONTHS, people. I am seriously going to miss our friends and neighbors.

The summers. I can't say enough about the summers. 80 degrees, no humidity, light breeze, sunshine. PERFECTION. There are days you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner outside and close out the day around the firepit, during which you might find yourself deliciously needing a sweatshirt as you sip your beer that probably comes from a brewery up the road.

Ok, ok, so you have to EARN those summers. You have to deal with months on end where your nose hairs are perpetually iced over and your toddler wails "cold hands, cold hands" over and over until you question the need for hands to exist in the first place. You have to heed 2 minute frostbite warnings and fall on your butt multiple times a week just trying to walk to the car.  And then you have to join in the corporate whining that takes place from March through May when you FEEL like it should be spring but it's rainy and cold and still, occasionally, snowing.

That summer always comes, though. It always ends up being worth the wait.

There is even, dare I say it and risk a lot of scoffing from my NY friends, a pizza place right here in Sun Prairie that TASTES LIKE HOME.  I thank God weekly for this miracle even though 2/3 of my children cannot eat it and the other 1/3 doesn't get why I am crying with joy over it. I think you have to grow up in NY to understand.

But beyond all this, all the incidentals of life that have made us happy here, we are a different family for having come. We came with 2 adults, 1 kid and 1 dog. We are leaving with 2 adults, 3 kids, 1 dog and 2 guinea pigs. (Although if anyone WANTS Leia and Loretta, let me know. They are only complicating our cross-country move at this point. And don't tell Josh I asked.)

And beyond that, we have a whole other extended family that came through adoption and we love them. No matter where we go and how far away we are, this will always be partly home. We will always come back. My boys will grow up knowing their whole family. We are inextricably tied to this place, emotionally and physically. Some people might find that an inconvenience but when we said yes to our boys, we said yes to it all. That's our life.

So, saying goodbye is just for a time. We will be back. We will eat more cheese. We will visit and cry and ache and rejoice together at how the boys are growing. We will likely plan those visits for summer and not winter, because let's be honest.

As it turns out, what happens in Wisconsin is good. 

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