I tend to think I'm pretty good at "living in the moment"...or I've at least spent some time working at it over the past couple of years. I know that these kids are going to grow up before I know it so I'm trying to soak up these early years, even though it can be such a battle a lot of the time. For as many challenges they throw at me, they give me just as many...actually way more completely amazing things, so I try to recognize all of that whenever I can and really experience it in the moment. Something about this holiday season so far though has made me realize that there has been a big chunk of our life that I haven't been appreciating and experiencing down to my bones. I've been keeping the East Coast (aka "Home") close to my heart since we moved to Colorado...it's where I grew up....I love it and feel I will always belong there. Nathan and I both hope to be able to move back there after he's done with school and although we've been enjoying everything wonderful there is to enjoy out here, I feel like we've just been sort of waiting to go back East. All of the sudden though, I've been realizing that somewhere along the way this place has turned into our home. I think raising kids in a place must do that to you automatically because as parents, we are in the business of creating memories for our kids...we seek out ways to make life for them special, memorable and comfortable...in doing so, those feelings seep into my psyche as well so how can I not end up feeling attached to this place when all is said and done? I've come to the realization recently that when the time does inevitably come for us to say goodbye to Boulder, it's going to be really sad so even more than ever I'm trying to really take everything in.
We went to the "Festival of Lights" parade in downtown Boulder last night in the freezing cold weather. We've gone every year since we moved here and although it's not the most spectacular parade in the world, something about it makes us feel really at home and happy. This year was no exception and the added bonuses of Owen being aware of everything, Zoe being older and more tolerant of the cold and chaos, finding a better parking spot than we normally do, eating dinner beforehand instead of at the actual parade and the fact that it's now officially "tradition" since it was the 3rd time all made it feel...well, just completely awesome. Nathan and I couldn't stop smiling as we watched Owen's little face light up at all of the trucks...his big eyes tearing up from the cold and his little voice chirping "dukdukduk!!" as they passed by. Zoe wanted me to hold her most of the time, and even though she is really way to big to be held for so long like that I didn't mind in the least because I could hear everything she said and I got to see her face when Santa came rolling around the corner. I tried to see Santa pass by as she was experiencing it...I felt content as I remembered what it was like to really believe in him and we clapped and cheered...the moment was topped off perfectly as a parent nearby yelled out to Santa "YOU ROCK!!!" and we all walked quietly and happily back to the car, recounting all of the highlights and talking with Zoe about how busy Santa must be right now.
I don't know where we will end up after all of this but I know we have at least a few more years to make the most of this place. I do dread leaving but am excited about our future too...Zoe put it perfectly when we had this conversation the other day:
Zoe: "Mommy, when are we going to move?"
Me: "Not until you are about 6 or 7."
Zoe: (frustrated sigh)
Me: "Why do you keep asking that lately? Wouldn't you miss all of your friends if we moved?"
Zoe: "Well yeah I would definitely miss my friends, but I just, like...wanna see what else there is...I mean, I could always visit."
Think I need to take a lesson from my kid there...it's hard to resist getting sentimental especially when you've experienced difficult goodbyes and faced the reality that visiting the people you love most is sometimes so impossible that it literally never happens...but we can't dwell in that because if we do, we miss out on the stuff that's happening right in front of us and in this moment, there is nothing more important to me than my little family. THEY are what make a place "Home" and as long as they are with me, my life will be filled with wonder.