If I leave

Being brand new to blogging, I don’t know much about the community or the support available.  Honestly, I picked WordPress because my dad uses the platform (check out his blog here) and I liked the themes I could pick from–you should know I’m a visual nerd/snob–but I had no idea what else I was getting with this site.  I’ve been nothing but pleasantly surprised.  WordPress offers so much to bloggers to help us come up with ideas and learn about this process.  Today I stumbled on the Daily Prompt, and I’m thrilled to respond.

Life is a series of beginnings and endings. We leave one job to start another; we quit cities, countries, or continents for a fresh start; we leave lovers and begin new relationships. What was the last thing you contemplated leaving? What were the pros and cons? Have you made up your mind? What will you choose?

I’ve often thought about moving back to Virginia.  In fact, it would be impossible to NOT think about moving back to Virginia for as often as my husband mentions it.  After every vacation, Stu and Cari are crying for miles as we leave my mother-in-law’s house.  We get texts from my sisters-in-law, letting us know that there are jobs available in neighboring counties.  We get Facebook messages from friends telling us there will be two teaching jobs at the high school where I was hired right out of college.  We long for Virginia’s more temperate summers, colorful falls, and snowy winters and snow days.  Cari misses her precious cousins.

But leaving Florida is scary for me.  I don’t want to leave my parents, not because I don’t think I can survive without being close to them, but because I don’t want to.  I moved to Florida to be close to my mommy.  No lie.  I don’t want to leave our school, not because I don’t think we could be successful elsewhere or because I feel like the place would crumble without us, but because the school where we work is special to me.  I feel like I make a difference there, and have made a difference there.  I feel like I matter.  I don’t want to leave my church because I feel like we fit there.  I feel like I have a role and I’m good at it and I have fun.

But Florida is not the greatest state for education.  While I love my school, I’m not thrilled for Cari to go through middle school here.  Our local middle schools are just too scary to subject her to.  Plus, there is a reason why Seth Meyers runs a segment on Late Night called “Fake or Florida.”

“By the way, you should know, the blindfold looks like a bra for your eyes.”

Florida is comical in its ridiculousness.  In the ten miles of US-19 that run north to south closest to our house, there are so many strip clubs, pain clinics, and pawn shops that it’s hard to believe they do any business at all with all the competition.  Going to Walmart at night is almost hazardous; Cari and I have witnessed theft and police activity, on separate occasions.  I never knew what meth addicts looked like before I moved here.

I must acknowledge that there are great things about Florida, too.  I love, love, love that in January, when the rest of the country is bundled under heating blankets and staring, miserable, through windows into gray skies, that we can expect weekends of unexpectedly warm weather.  Like flip flops and short sleeves weather.  I love that one of the most beautiful beaches in the world is only an hour from door to sand.  I love that we can visit Disney regularly.  And I love that we’ve made relationships with extraordinary people in the ten years that we’ve lived here.

I know that no place is perfect, and I feel like we might be romanticizing Virginia a little bit.  But I know that it isn’t time for us to move back to Virginia yet.  The doors haven’t been opened for us to even consider going with any real intent.  But the option has almost held me back from moving forward here.

So the idea of “if I leave” is a powerful one for me and my family.  I’m trusting that God will reveal to me when, and if, it is time to go.