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 Babson.edu)And this:
(Photo from Ignite Boston!)And this:
(Photo from The Rundown with Teddy Minch)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. :-)