During high school, I couldn’t wait to get out of Acadiana.
I lived in a small town in a fairly large family, and I yearned for freedom and space and independence. So I went to college in the “very far away” town of Baton Rouge (so far, right). I don’t know what it was about that hour of space between my life and home that made me feel free, but damn it did. And college was a BLAST! I mean, I loved everything about it: the crazy roommates, the testing of relationships, the forging of new friendships, the challenging classes, Tigerland (it wasn’t as sketch “back in the day”). After college came grad school, also in Baton Rouge.
Then I married my high school sweetheart (a first kiss last kiss kind of deal) and moved to Shreveport to be with him.
We lived in Shreveport for six years together, and it was sweet to settle in as newlyweds away from family. It’s where I got my first job, had our first three babies (2012, 2013, 2015 – not a typo), and really forged our relationship with some fire – the kind of fire that comes from being each other’s one and only because family was far away. And somewhere between bébé one and two, a switch flipped.
I wanted to go HOME.
Home home home home HOOOOME. I yearned for people who understood my cultural and religious background. I wanted my family to see my children growing up. I wanted boudin and cracklins. I wanted my Mama. So after six long years, my husband completed his residency, and we moved HOME.
Through older and more experienced eyes, Acadiana became shiny and new and special.
Home is now a place where my children have grandparents no more than 45 minutes away. We live one block away from two of my aunts. Our parish priest was my parish priest as a child.
But it was harder than I thought it would be.
We left our friends, our professional community, our pediatrician, my OBGYN (who was basically like a friend because he was the only person I consistently saw each month besides coworkers and my husband and kids) … It was difficult to make new friends with three kids under 4 hanging on me constantly. All of our college friends had moved away or had new lives in Baton Rouge (again driving an hour with those three children was a no-go). Many of our high school friends were in or around town, but they had branched off and grown and had their own lives just like we had. It is a good thing my husband and I have been BFFs since 2000 because we were pretty much each other’s only friend in town for a while. Then our oldest started school, and we began to meet new people and make new friends.
We are slowly but surely reinvesting ourselves in Acadiana.
We actually know about events happening in our community and *gasp* attend them! And while the grown up adventures are fun, it’s been truly a blessing to have all that Lafayette has to offer moms. There was no Lafayette Moms Blog *tear* but I followed Red Stick Moms Blog and New Orleans Moms Blog and daydreamed about magically appearing at all this fun stuff happening one and three hours away. MacaroniKidLafayetteLa saved my sanity. They listed all the kid-friendly events around town each month.
Our public libraries are pretty darn spectacular and now offer THREE levels of Storytime: Baby Time, Toddler Time, and Story Time. We are partial to toddler time with Ms. Meredith at the Storycastle at the Main Library (seriously, she is amazing). When I only had my three (oh yeah, we threw a fourth one into the mix so now we’re 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016), I joined Hike It Baby Lafayette and we met for weekly walks around different parks in town. And now that 2012 is at big-girl school, and 2013 and 2014 are at part-time preschool, I have been able to meet so many nice moms and families; y’all, I have even hosted two play-dates (you read that right, two. Introverted much?). We live on a fun street with 15 young kids so sometimes we get to play a bit on a bike ride.
I am finally comfortable being home, and I totally fell in love with Acadiana all over again.