When my husband and I moved to Arizona almost 11 years ago, it was supposed to be a temporary thing. An adventure.
Our ticket to the life we had always dreamed about.
My husband, a former journalist, had been working from home as a programmer for a media software company based in Scottsdale. His bosses wanted him to move into management to help the company go public. That required a physical move as well.
Two years, they said.
That was all.
The company would pay for our relocation to Arizona and then move us back east when our time was up. We would earn enough from stock options to build a house on his parents' farm in Pennsylvania, something we'd talked about since we started dating.
I had to give up my newspaper job, but I was sure I would find work in Phoenix.
And, when all this was over, he and I would both be able to work from home while we raised a family.
We weren't counting on me getting pregnant before we even got there.
We weren't counting on the company going under.
We weren't counting on living in Arizona for five years, or in Cincinnati for six years.
But we went where life took us, always believing that things would work out in the end.
And they have.
In seven weeks, we will move to Pennsylvania with our four young children. We bought a house to live in while we build our final home. The house is in a burough of about 700 people, where the nearest mall is 50 miles away and the convenience store has hitching posts for the Amish.
And we can't wait.
For the first time, we will be near family and that's far more important than the convenience of 24-hour grocery stores, multiple fast-food restaurants and a selection of wi-fi coffee houses (Okay, so maybe I will miss Starbucks and Panera).
We will be able to help care for his mother as she ages and we will be free to travel to my parents' house when we have vacation time. My husband's sister and niece live within walking distance, and two of my sisters and my stepdaughter are only a short drive away.
My husband will keep his job.
His company has been gracious enough to let him work from home.
We will miss all the people we have come to know in Cincinnati, just as we miss those who we left behind in Arizona. Our older children have roots here. This is where they attended preschool, kindergarten and most of elementary school.
But both kids value family tremendously.
They are as excited as we are.
The twins will have few memories of their birthplace, but we will bring them back. We will remind them that Cincinnati has been good to us. We have plenty of good friends here and lots wonderful memories. Best of all, Cincinnati gave us two healthy young boys.
Arizona was equally good. We left there with a healthy son and daughter; a greater understanding for Mexican/western culture; and an appreciation for a different kind of nature than we were accustomed to. We plan to spend many weeks each year of our retirement there.
And so it is that, with a sense of contentment and fulfillment, that we say this:
Good-bye and thank you.