There’s a phrase out there that so many say. The brave ones exclaim it out loud. The more cautious tread lightly and let it loose under their breath.
“I would never__________________.” You fill in the blank.
In my lifetime I have said those words about several things including decisions involving colleges, jobs, food, trips, etc.
I’ve also said the following: I would never live in Florida.
Before all the Floridians hate on me here, allow me to explain: I’m an Ohioan; I was born and raised in the Buckeye State. There are four very distinct seasons in Ohio; Florida was always a vacation destination. It’s where Mickey Mouse lives, rockets are launched from its coast, and it’s where we go to play on the beach and get away for family vacations. Finally, Florida is far away from Ohio, where my entire family is located, and my family doesn’t move. They have all settled in Ohio, so I’m one of the only ones who lives out of state.
In 2001 on the campus of Ohio University I met a really cute guy who happened to be a Floridian (go figure!).
I married that guy (15 years next month). Our first home was in Northwest Ohio, so it was still in the same state as my family. After I had completed my graduate degree and my husband had three years of a sports administration job under his belt, we received an opportunity in Knoxville. It was like wading in the ocean as the tide comes onto the beach. It was moving away from the familiar and comfortable, but not too far from Ohio…a very reasonable drive down I-75. For 12 years we have lived, worked, and raised children in what has been a wonderful community. Honestly, I wasn’t sure that we would ever leave this place.
This past spring my husband got a job offer from his alma mater.
His alma mater is Florida State University, meaning I would be moving to the place I said I’d never move. I’ll spare you the details of the number of times we sat on our screened-in back porch after tucking the kids into bed at night and discussed the risks and benefits, the advantages and disadvantages, and the pros and cons of the decision. Sometimes I dreamed about life closer to the beach and sometimes I cried at the thought of moving away from friends who were more like family. This would be a big move, a sacrifice. When it was all said and done, our answer was “Yes.” With a willing spirit, a loving attitude, a cheerful outlook, and a peace that could only come from God, I let go of my, “I’ll never…” and said, “I will…”
Change is scary but exciting.
It was a big change when I moved to Knoxville 12 years ago and it turned out to be pretty great! I’m looking forward to our family’s next adventure in the Sunshine State, specifically Tallahassee, which is a mere 45 minutes from my happy place: the beach.
In the next month, we will pack up our belongings, say farewell to friends, and soak in every little thing Knoxville has to offer. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to live for over a decade. I knew nothing about this East Tennessee town before I moved here and it has become home. A fellow contributor, Ashley Keck, wrote a post in the fall about why she loves Knoxville, and I couldn’t have said it better.
So about those, “I will never…” statements: You can bank on doing those very things. The irony is that you might even end up loving those very things you declared that you would never do. You never know where God can take you. His ways are often mysterious, but His plans are always good.
Knoxville Moms, it has been an absolute privilege to write for you for over one and a half years. Y’all are an amazing and diverse group — keep on doing your thing. If I could leave you with any motherly advice, I would encourage you to learn all you can about parenting. Yes, read the books and blog posts. Yes, consult with professionals. Yes, ask your friend’s advice. Know, however, that you are your child’s best expert. Knowledge is power, but a mother’s intuition is even more powerful.
Knoxville Moms Blog Contributors, words cannot express how much fun I have had with y’all. I love that while we are different, we have a common purpose: To inform and reach out to moms across East Tennessee. I have learned from many of you and laughed and cried while reading your words. Keep writing from your heart; I know I will.