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I'm documenting my journey to motherhood while sharing my favorites and tips along the way. I'm so glad you're here. 

on leaving the city

on leaving the city

{Photos taken by the very gifted Lisa Quinlan of Gray Duck Studios, on our Stillwater house’s closing day, I had been crying all morning about leaving Minneapolis. Thanks, Lisa, I love these.}.

One of the best parts about living in Stillwater so far has been how much easier the transition from city to suburban-little town (I’m still not sure what the correct category of this place is) has been. We have lovely neighbors, visited a nice church, on my runs I’ve spotted too many beautiful homes to count, and imaged a few future photo shoot locations.

I anticipated a harder experience, it’s a relief when things are easier than what we anticipated.

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I used to be a very intensely “city only” person. I guess I just used to be more intense. That’s another blog post. I was hardcore about living in an urban area, despite it being expensive, and while I didn’t look down on people who left I did sometimes side-eye them. I realize now that that was wrong. There are good people everywhere. People make their homes in a variety of places for many reasons. Urbanites aren’t any more elite, they just have their resources closer and a wider variety of them.

Much of my identity has been wrapped up in being a city dwelling lady and mama. I take quite a bit (maybe too much) pride in not being “basic,” as if enjoying things many others do is a sin. It’s not. I don’t believe I’ll ever be cookie cutter, but I’m finding myself settling in and loving non city life quite a bit. It doesn’t hurt, this magical house. I’ve longed for and wanted to live in an old home for my entire adult life. I love Victorians. This particular house has so many unique, interesting, lovely features that it would be impossible not to adore it.

Still, leaving a place, a part of my identity behind has been tricky. I used to get this feeling when I’d land at the airport after going on a trip. I’d start down a particular stretch of highway and it would hit me— this is home. Well, I was somewhere in Richfield when this feeling would overtake me, but it’s one in the same. I have always loved the Fargo view of Minneapolis from 35 as the skyway looms ahead. I just loved looking at it, like a photo of a loved one. It kept me company.

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In each apartment, including my first one after college, I could see a glimpse of the skyline from a window. It was always watching over me, like a guardian angel of steel and concrete. I could hide and come up for air in the city, I’d walk for hours around lakes or in parks and on trails. I’d open the windows on hot nights and prop my feet up with wine in one hand and a show on. While Seth and I waited for Priscilla’s arrival I’d listen to HCMC sirens make their loop down our street, silent prayers crossing my lips for the drivers and passengers.

A month ago we walked into the Government Center to pick up our wedding license. It was a more emotional event than what I anticipated, the new name I’m taking typed out and knowing I was steps from an office that helped start my photography career made me pause. I had to catch my breath. The courtyard with the fountain was windy and I looked around, Priscilla happy in her stroller, and I, contemplating the complexities of the building. The government center is a sea of often sadness and pain amongst some of the more resourced businesses, commuters coming to do their jobs among the homeless and family court crowd, their only interaction in this life being that of a skyway glance. That’s the ugliness of this city I thought, the part I don’t like: the racial covenants on South Minneapolis houses, the gossip, Philando’s death, the stupid high rent, the congestion, the shady behavior, the lament of our achievement gap. I thought of my own personal tragedies: the humbling job loss, the breakups, the arguments, the ending of friendships. All of it happened here, in the city.

Around every single corner a memory it seems.

How can I say good bye or move on or start anew when so much is packed into those streets and sidewalks, the sweat dripping off cold press glasses at Groundswell, the autumn leaves bursting in an almost horrifically beautiful way on Blaisdell, the winter wonderland of Downtown Highland Park after a blizzard. What am I supposed to do without my old haunts to drive by, the plain faced servers who smile at Priscilla, Sunday morning brunches of breakfast sandwiches with Seth, the men who holler at me a the gas stations before I tell them I’m taken?

I don’t know, but I am. I’m taking all that the city has given me, and I’m keeping it with me like a locket. The heartbreak, righteous anger, joy, and delight wound up together in a holy mix.

And the beauty is, I can go back whenever, but it’s time for our family to create new memories in a new place and I like to believe that it’s going to be good.

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But the city, oh I will miss it.

June Review

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settling in

settling in