Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sure, crickets are nice...

On Friday night, I got together with six women who were my closest friends from elementary school. I drove to my hometown 45 miles away to meet up with everyone at the house of one friend who still lives there.

It was a really nice night. We reminisced and laughed about the past, shared information and updates about people we grew up with, and told our stories about our jobs, kids, spouses, families. I was so impressed by how confident, smart, and accomplished each woman was.

Everyone seemed to be generally at ease with their lives and choices, but each person (myself included!) also seemed a teensy bit jealous of a different life. The stay-at-home moms lamented the loss of their careers and lack of independence financially, the working-outside-the-home moms wished they could have more time with their kids. Nearly everyone admitted they don't do enough other stuff outside of work or parenting (except for one friend who works out all the time and does 100-mile charity bike rides with her husband!).

And, I couldn't help admiring the hosting friend's house and yard - so much bigger and more updated than mine. Our hometown is a lot more affordable than where I live. Her kids have a lot more room to move inside and outside. Her neighborhood was SO quiet, with just crickets chirping and birds singing at night, with an occasional car passing by.

As I drove home late on Friday night, I wondered if I had made the right choices. Maybe I should have returned to my hometown to raise my family? We could have bought a bigger house with more land, could have been nearer the ocean, could have taken the commuter rail to work. Maybe even if my family wasn't there (although maybe some of them would have stuck around longer or permanently), running into high school friends and their parents on a regular basis would have felt more like home.

But then I drove up to this:

(Photo from
And this:
(Photo from Ignite Boston!)
And this:
Every time I come home to Boston after being away (even, apparently, for a few hours), I feel so happy and peaceful inside. It's home to me.

And, even though I don't live in the city proper anymore (I'm just a few miles outside), the city is still a huge part of my life. Of course, I work there, but it's more than that. It's the subway and the museums and the Common and the shopping and restaurants, and it's the culture and diversity and "metropolitan-ness" I love. And, I'm glad it's part of R's life, too. Yes, we have a small house and a relatively small yard, but we can be in the city in about 10 minutes. Or, we can hop on the bus and ride the T to get pretty much wherever we want. (And, when you have a boy who was obsessed with trains as a toddler, riding the subway is an exciting adventure in itself!) And, we do. We'll decide spur of the moment to go to the Museum of Science or to Castle Island or to the Boston 4th of July fireworks. (On the 4th, we decided at 9:15 to go to the fireworks that were starting at 10:30. We drove for 15 minutes, parked in a $7 garage, walked two blocks, and had the most perfect view of the Boston skyline from the Cambridge side of the Charles River. We were smack in front of the fireworks barge and surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people. It was WONDERFUL!)

So, yes the grass can be greener in the suburbs. But the city is a whole lot more sparkly. :-)


sandwhichisthere said...

you have many of the memories of your home town that I have of mine. The innocence and purity of youth colors many of those memories. Mine was a small town within a larger city. It is now just a humungous interchange on the Mass Pike. I couldn't wait to get out and see the world. After many years of travel, I learned that it doesn't matter where you live in Massachusetts. It is still Massachusetts and there is no finer place in the whole country.
The town you refer to in your blog has many pleasant memories for you. For me there is the memory of the commute. I worked in Boston so I was gone at least twelve hours a day for eight hours pay. During the week I saw very little of you and your Mother. Your Mother may not consider that to be a negative memory.
A bigger house just means more room for more stuff. A bigger yard means more grass to mow, trees to trim, and weeds to pursue. Those things may seem attractive to you at your stage of life but condos are the last sanctuary of my generation.
It is no wonder that you remember your home town so fondly. You were the Queen of the town. I remember your sister lamenting once "It's not fair. She has long straight blonde hair. She has never had a pimple or a B. It's just not fair!".
Crickets are nice as long as they are outside. In the Fall, when they decide to move inside, is a different tale. I can remember scouring through the house in the dark, trying to locate one little insistent chirper. When you finally locate it, they are really creepy. I located one with my bare foot in the dark. I may have set the world record for the high jump that night. That was before I discovered that all you need is a kitten in the house. A kitten, unlike a large well fed cat, will pursue any noise or movement in the house and eat it.
It is pleasant to reminisce but remember the words of Thomas Wolfe,

Anonymous said...

The grass is always greener (unfortunately), and I think 99% of women over the age of 25 question their choices regarding work and family. You have found the best home for your family! The sparkly city is nearby, your son has grass and parks to play in, and your hometown isn't that far away. I love you!