Leaving Minnesota this year was HARD. And I don't just mean because I had to drive solo with the kids. (And in order to see Joe on his day off this week we had to do the trip in only 2 days). Sure that was hard. Physically exhausting. Sometimes emotionally exhausting as well. It felt never ending. Like the time when I got on a tollway in Oklahoma and Charlotte immediately begged me to stop to use the bathroom but the next exit was 22 miles down the road! I stopped when I got to that exit (after listening to her cry/whine for all 22 miles) only to discover there was nothing at this exit. So I pulled out the potty chair and Charlotte took care of her business on the side of the country road while a donkey looked on and brayed at us! (I'm not even kidding.) Oh and all of that whining was for a tablespoon of urine! And if that wasn't bad enough I accidentally got back on the tollway going NORTH. It was an excruciating 22 miles before I could turn around - pay the toll two more times - and head south once again! Yep I lost it in that moment. I yelled and pounded my fist on my dashboard and threw one big fit. So yes the drive was hard. But that wasn't the worst part.
The worst part was leaving all of my friends and family. Leaving "home". The place where I feel loved and known and supported the most. Sure I did the same thing a year ago when we first moved to Texas but at that point it was one big adventure. Everything was new and exciting. This year I knew exactly what I was driving back to. And don't get me wrong I love my husband. And I missed him terribly. And there are parts of our life in Texas that I love. But....after being away from it I realized I don't love it. So driving back to it was hard. It felt like I was driving away from a better/happier version of myself and back to a lonelier more burdened version of myself.
Would things really be better if we lived in the Midwest? Would I be happier? I don't know. Texas definitely has an unfair disadvantage: residency. Maybe it's just residency I don't like. Maybe Texas really isn't so bad. But it's impossible for me to separate the two at this point. I do know that I had too much time on my hands to ponder all of this because my poor unsuspecting husband got an ear-full at one point when he called to check on us. (Oops.)
The kids and I were welcomed back to reality with temperatures in the mid 90s, a broken a/c unit (main floor of our house) and a week long stretch of 12 hour shifts for Joe. Yay Texas! ;-)