I left home one month after my high school graduation and embarked on a 4 year
adventure in the United States Navy, traveling to multiple countries and sailing through
the Pacific Ocean. I lived in San Diego, CA and Yokosuka, Japan: a small town girl in awe
of the big city lights. Being on my own, young and free, living in a small apartment one
block away from my favorite restaurant: it was an amazing adventure. After Shawn and
I got married and finished our time in the service, we moved to New Orleans, spending
the first 4 years of our marriage wrapped up in love in our favorite city. Late
nights, drunken revelry, friends around every corner: it was our time to just BE. I loved
the freedom of walking to the neighborhood bar, Sunday afternoons in City Park, reading
the paper at our local coffee shop. The big city life was fast and cool and magical.
I loved it.
But then Isabelle came along and a whole new place in our hearts opened up and
swallowed us whole. I remember being 38 weeks pregnant, my belly so big and round,
my parents driving down to the big city to spend the weekend with us and help with the
final preparations. I remember standing on the curb as they drove away from
our apartment, waving as they headed back to my hometown on the bayou. I
remember crying big tears as I blew them kisses: a little Cajun girl missing home.
When Shawn and I found out that we were pregnant for Belle, it took us all of 3 seconds
to decide we wanted to move back home. As much as we loved the city life, we
couldn't imagine not having our baby around all the aunts and uncles and cousins.
We couldn't imagine not having her near her roots, the place I am so strongly tied to,
the place Shawn now considers his home as well. And so we packed our 2 week old baby
up, put our few belongings in a U-Haul truck and made the drive to the town that has
made me who I am.
It wasn't easy at first, getting used to the small town life. We were bored, no longer in
our element, wandering what to do and where to go. It took us quite a while to get used
to the quiet, the slow and easy pace. But, slowly, our hearts began to open up to the
comfort that only a big front porch and a sunset over the bayou can offer. We could
no longer walk to Starbuck's for coffee, but we could walk to my grandmother's house
for afternoon tea. Our favorite restaurants were no longer seconds away, but we got
to enjoy big Sunday dinners with the whole family instead. There was no need to go to
a park for Isabelle to play: we had acres and acres of land for her to roam through. Our
lives became redefined, our priorities changed. And, over time, living the small town
life became the life we were always meant to live.
Though I sometimes miss the anonymity of city life, I value the familiarity of our lives
here. When I walk into the post office, the post master hands me my mail as we talk
about our gardens. Grocery shopping is filled with hellos and how are yous as I
pass neighbors and familiar faces. The local mechanic, police officers, and church clergy
are the very same people I knew as a little girl. There is a sense of community
and comraderie as we have surrounded ourselves with people who know and love us.
The convenience of the city is still missed as I have to drive further and make more of
an effort to get things done. But, I've learned to take the good with the bad.
This small town life is part of who I am, my Cajun roots tied so deeply in the depths of
my family. When we are all together, things just seem right. Life has slowed down and
so have we. Here, in our little small town, our girls will be surrounded by the things
that matter most to us: family, love, and simplicity.