The Last Move


It's 7:50am on a Wednesday morning. My house is a complete disaster - boxes in every room ... some full, others waiting to be packed. Every room has stuff everywhere ... and if I look around and think about it for just a second, I end up on the verge of a panic attack. But the tiniest begged to watch Madeline, and the older tiny just got on the bus for her next-to-last day of school, so I am ignoring all the mess and using the time to write. Just write.

We are about to close yet another chapter on our "Rowes Move to Boston" adventure.  We hope this is the last ... and that the next chapter becomes it's own book. It's been a long road - one that has many twists and turns. It's been a lot of wandering. A lot of wondering just what we were doing. A lot of questioning just what in the world God has in store for us here.

It was almost exactly two years ago when we received the call inviting us to come to Boston for the first time. We planned a vacation around my husband's interview - knowing that this would be a huge move, and a decision he wouldn't be able to make on his own. I remember that week so vividly. The hotels we stayed in. The adventures we had. The Boston Common, the Public Gardens, Copley Square, Boston Public Library, Franklin Park Zoo, Historic Lexington, the Boston Children's Museum ... it was one of the best vacations we've taken as a family. I could live here, I told him.  I think we'd really love it here.

The day of his interview I took the girls to the most amazing playspace I had ever seen. They were so tired by the end of the day that I ended up walking half a mile from the bus stop to our hotel wearing a sleeping A on my back and carrying a sleeping E in my arms, while also carrying our bag for the day. What was supposed to be a 2-hour interview turned into 5. We took that as a good sign. 

I can remember our conversation that evening as clear as day - we were on the T, headed to dinner.

If this happens, we can't say no. It's an incredible opportunity. There's no reason not to take it. Massachusetts is one of the best places to raise kids. You can go back to school for very little cost. This is a no-brainer.

And then it happened. He got the offer. We said yes. And it wasn't until we had a buyer for our little Grant Park bungalow that the reality set in for me. We were leaving everything I had ever wanted. Grant Park was my dream. I had fabulous neighbors. I lived across the street from a beautiful park. An incredible farmer's market was just blocks away. We could walk to one of the best zoos in the nation. We spent our free time at art museums, botanical gardens, history museums, parks. All of our memories were in Atlanta ... and we were giving it all up. 

I remember a friend telling me it would all be okay. You guys build community wherever you go. You'll find your village. You'll find your tribe. And so with those words in our mind, we left our home in search of a brighter future. 

We never thought it would be easy, but I can't say we expected it to be as difficult as it has been. Building our village here has been so hard - and so slow. We've made incredible friends - yet this place has never really felt like home.

When we last visited Georgia as a family, we were wrecked. When we walked through the park, I sobbed like a baby. This is my home. I want to come home, I said. I cried out to God ... literally ... in tears as we went to bed at night.

God ... please ... I want to come home. This is where I want to be. Please. Please. PLEASE! I'm begging you.

We made a plan. We decided D would look for jobs and we would hope to be home by Christmas. We contacted friends and neighbors who may have leads for openings. He called old companies, sent in proposals, updated resumes. With as big a network as we have, and as skilled as he is, we thought it would only be a matter of months before we had an opportunity to go back South.

And then I had lunch with a dear friend of mine. She was the first friend I made here - and quickly became the best friend I've had in all my adult life. As we watched our kids play together, I told her - I'm not sure I'm ready to go back. I don't want to stay. But I don't know that I want to go back. She's so wise - this friend of mine. I will be crushed if you leave. But I want you to be happy. And I don't think you're happy where you are. Are there places here that you could live that you might like better than where you are right now? 

So while we were looking for opportunities back home, we also started searching for a community here that would be more like home. We looked at train lines. I talked to people. Summer came - finally - and we ventured out to find beaches and splash pads and all things outdoors. We discovered Beverly. And as I drove through it for the very first time, it reminded me of home. It was gritty - and yet beautiful. It was historic - and yet slightly urban. It had beaches. Parks. Playgrounds. A splash pad. Coffee shops. Museums. The best Mexican we've had since we moved to Massachusetts. It had sidewalks.

You could say we fell in love. Hard and fast. After just one day there, the girls and I came home so happy that D said I need to go see this place. So we went back. Over and over and over again. And every single time we visited, we were filled to the brim. After just two months, we decided we'd move there. Sure, we had a house to sell - but we felt confident this was a move God was pushing us to make. We felt like this was the answer to our prayers.

God wasn't going to let us move home ... because there is a better home for us here. We just had to find it. 

Stay tuned for the rest of the story - coming one week from today!

EDIT - You can read part two of the story here!