At the start of 2020, during Seattle’s long winter nights, Mike and I decided to make the move back to Ohio. We’d entertained the idea before, almost always during Seattle’s long winter nights, but had always found enough reasons to stay. We love the nature here, the grand mountains and moss-covered forests and driftwood beaches. We love our friends here, and the educational opportunities for Ethan, and the summer weather, and the proximity to Canada and Hawaii and Alaska. Perhaps most importantly, logistically, is that Mike’s job – which he loves – is here. And the cherry on top? We bought a house less than two years ago.
So why the decision to move? Mike and I have (and have always had) a continuous dialogue about How to Live – what we want to experience in life; what our responsibilities are, as privileged people, as parents, as partners; what we hope to fill our days with; how we hope to connect with the world; the kind of ancestors we want to be; etc.
This is the same dialogue that led to my leaving my job before we headed to Machu Pichu in our 20s. It’s how we ended up moving, with our two dogs and nine-month-old baby, to Seattle over five years ago. It’s how we decided that the three of us would turn a UK work trip into nearly two weeks in London and Paris last fall. It’s how we chose vegetarianism and homeschooling. It’s why Mike worked from home 2-3 days a week before the pandemic. Because the way we want to live our lives prioritizes family, education, adventure, and compassion.
We chose to move to the PNW because it offered us space to grow as a family. It offered Mike a place to learn and grow in his career. It offered the promise of adventure. And my goodness did it deliver.
And though, five years later, our values are the same, our needs are different – so we adventure on to Ohio. Because Mike can work remotely from anywhere and still stay with the team he loves. Because in the Midwest we can afford a house with a big backyard and an office and a schoolroom. Because Cincinnati offers us better access to the arts and museums. It offers us proximity to the unexplored East Coast and European flights. And, most important at the time, it allows for a closer connection to our extended families.
When we made this decision, it was incredibly important to us that Ethan learn (and know) that he is a part of a bigger community of people who share love for each other. Who show up for each other. Who value and prioritize each other. We wanted to give him a chance to feel that familial bond with his cousins, to have dinners and dates with his grandparents, to celebrate the holidays with aunts and uncles, and to grow closer to the people Mike and I love in Ohio.
And then came COVID.