Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Sweet and The Bitter

A few short hours after meeting my husband, I agreed to go home with him. But it is not what you think.

I was in law school and working at the County Jail, in the law library, helping inmates access legal information. This is where you start to suspect I married an inmate. Don’t worry. I didn’t.

Hubband was in law school too. The same law school. But we had never met, until there was an opening for a clerk at the library. He showed up for his first day of work, took up the desk facing mine, and began training for the job. I was training him.

It could be boring work, trapped in a dusty, windowless corner of a warehouse. So we passed the time chatting about ourselves, our lives, our families. Sometime before lunch that first day, he told me in great detail of his family’s farm in Washington. It had horses, blueberry fields, two ponds, the original barn and a windmill.

“Oh, that sounds beautiful,” I said.

“I’m going home for Thanksgiving. Do you want to come with me?” he asked.

“Okay,” I said.

Who does that?

Before we left, my father gave me a piece of advice. “This boy is proud of where he is from and he going to want to show that place off." he said. "You had better be appropriately impressed.”

My dad was right.

We drove north together in a dusty old Ford Bronco that smelled like dog and made so much noise I could barely hear Metalica playing. (This was a plus.)  As soon as we pulled off I-5 Hubband began pointing out the highlights. “There is so-and-so’s farm. We helped them with their livestock when it flooded. There is the river. There is where my uncle used to live. My junior high Spanish teacher lived there. She kept llamas for a while.” On and on it went. He was so happy to be home.

With my father’s words in my head, I did the best I could. I looked where he pointed. I “oohed” and “ahhed”. I asked meaningful follow up questions. I was as impressed as a girl could be. The only problem was, I couldn’t see a stinking thing. It was nine o’clock, on a November night, in northern Washington. It was as black as pitch.

The next day, and in the day light hours of the weeks, months, and years that followed, I really was impressed with his home. It is beautiful. Green. Quiet. Quaint. With noise and activity not too far away, lest you feel too isolated. A good Bible teaching church right on the river. Good book stores, good markets, good coffee. A tea house. Many times since, I have taken that same drive with him, and each time I feel same way I did the first time (I could see anything).

I feel like I belong there.

Hubband is getting laid off at the end of June. We are moving back. We had planned on moving back soon anyway, but we had wanted to do it on our own terms, not un-employed and living in his parent’s attic. It’s like a dream come true but not the way we dreamt it. We are overwhelmed and in a place of just processing all that is happening and all that must happen.

It is sweet and bitter.


  1. Tracey...It sounds and looks like a beautiful place. I understand your bittersweet feelings. But try to enjoy the time there with people who love you. I believe things happen when and how they should, and it is hard for us to see sometimes. I will keep you all in my thoughts and wish the best for your family

  2. I'm sure it must be hard to have such a major move be spurred by a layoff, but you are going to a place that you both love (and sounds positively dreamy!). I hope you are able to embrace it as a wonderful opportunity that will lead you in a direction that is good for all of you. Best wishes!

  3. I understand. I know. I really do.

    You will make it. You will be grateful for looking for the silver lining.

  4. So you are going 'home'. I admit to a tear when reading this post (right after I laughed out loud at the bit about Metallica - one of my sons is a big fan, and I am not), and I know how it feels to have this kind of rug, no matter how welcome in the big picture, pulled out from under you. All will be well, I am positive, and if you have to move, moving when the children are small is best. I'm not saying it will be without challenges, but I know you are perfectly aware of that. So now I am wondering how close to the BC border is this place...

  5. I'm not sure if I should commiserate or congratulate, so I'm giving you a bit of both.

    Did you drive from UCal Santa Barbara to Northern Washington. If so, both of you had pretty much decided, many many many things. I'm of the school of thought that the most any one should be in a lecture/class is 50min, after that you begin to fall asleep from your rump up. And any road-trip with two people is a recipe for a pair of fractious brats of any age to start WWIII. It is the only time when three or four isn't a crowd.

  6. That's a beautiful shot of the barn and windmill. Welcome to the West Coast!

  7. Hope you find wonderful new beginnings in the place where you first began.

  8. I was caught off guard when at the end you told of your husband's layoff and the relocation. I tried to imagine what that feels like, and honestly, I would be horrified at the thought of having to move one more time!
    But, I'm me and you are you, and YOU will handle it well.
    God bless you and your family.