I live in Laramie. Not exactly a thriving metropolis nor just a little podunk town, either. If I had ever asked myself, "Self, where do you want to live?" I probably wouldn't immediately picture Laramie as being it. Yet, here I am with my family, trudging along through life in Laramie, Wyoming. And I have to say, I HATE the weather here. I can't tell you how sick I am of winter trying to hang on for dear life here. It's June and the high yesterday was fifty-something. Ugh!
Jon's dad has come to visit us before and he cannot imagine why we would want to live here and he has expressed this largely to us. He has been living in Colorado the last 10+ years and is pretty well off, I might add. He sees this town and it doesn't have the beautiful mountains that he saw every day from his home. There aren't neighborhoods and neighborhoods of beautiful, brick, expensive houses that he was surrounded by. Oh, and we have ONE WalMart and two other grocery stores here and that's about it (I imagine he gasped when he heard this). There really isn't much here.
But here's the rub, I actually LOVE Laramie. I know, I know... I said love (don't judge me too much please!). This little city has grown on me. I can truthfully say I hated it in college, but as my life has changed so has my heart. Mostly, I love the people who are here with us. And when I say here with us, I mean living with us. In the case of the Archers, that is literal (we actually live in one big house together), and with all others as I mentioned in my last post, we do many mundane things together. We go to the store together, have dinner together, our kids play at each other's homes. There is just something to say about the community here. And I truly believe that something like this is extremely hard to find just anywhere.
Just this last Sunday, I was chatting with someone after church and I watched as our friend, Tod,(and coincidentally also Jon's boss) was with his son and was crouching talking to Emerson on the floor. She was making big motions and tilting her head as she was talking to them. It was really, actually very cute. Not any big deal, really, but I got this overwhelming awareness that I was in a place where people love my children (my eyes are actually tearing up as I'm writing this). We know and love and live with the people at Emmaus (our church), which we were here for the inception of way back in 2002. Our hearts are very firmly attached to the people who make up this family at Emmaus.
And beyond the University that is here, the community is small. I am constantly running into my friends and familiar faces throughout the week at the library, the store, the gas station, and I love that. The people at Teriyaki Bowl know our faces (and probably dislike mine because I don't actually ever eat there, but bring my own lunch each time!) because in this small town, it's a favorite local place of my husband's and our best friends. I love all these things. I believe relationships like these, familiarities like I have, and growing your family in a place that feels safe takes time to establish and can't happen just anywhere
And this is the part that is excruciating to me. Jon and I, for the last several months have been wrestling with the notion that we need to move to Cheyenne. First, Jon is working two jobs which is proving to be hard on our family sometimes. There are weeks that are good, but then there are weeks that Jon is gone most nights and lunches and only sees us maybe a half hour during the day. I just don't think that is healthy, but there really aren't any other options for us at this point while we're in Laramie.
More importantly, though, our families are there, and that is what is giving us a strong urging to pick up and move our family there. Jon's grandmother, in particular, has run into many health problems the last few years. Jon has grown up with her (she lived with him since he was 11) and I love her more than I think most women love their grandmother-in-laws. A year ago, when we thought she was slipping away, I realized how much I loved her and how much I wasn't ready for her to go. I wanted my kids to know her and her to know my kids. I wanted to be more apart of her life and be there to help and love her as well as his mom. My own grandmother has been struggling more and more with Parkinson's disease and I desire to spend more time with her and her sweet spirit and also want my kids to know her. While we are in Laramie, that is proving to be hard to do. But family is important. I think God instilled in us humans the the intentions of unconditional love and sticking together and taking care of each other in the bonds of family.
So, what do we do? What is the right answer? I am completely torn in this decision of moving. I'm praying, yet I'm feeling pulls and urges in both directions. It's been very emotional for me. I have asked God a few times why it is that we can't have the best of both worlds. It's hard to hear his calling for us. Maybe I'm not being still enough and listening hard enough. And I'm so bad about letting my emotions dictate my decisions sometimes, too, but I want this to be what He has for our family. And I know that God's plans for us are sometimes never what we want for ourselves or even think that He would have for us.
So, if you've made it this far, would you pray for us? This decision is weighing heavily on me right now for our family. I want what is the absolute best for us. I know God always provides, so I guess I just need to turn up the amplifiers in my heart to hear God's voice or just hope that he writes the right answer in big letters on one of our big red walls... and preferably, soon!