Now that my husband has separated from the military, we’re finally settling down and rooting ourselves in one place. We recently moved to Virginia and bought a new home. When we started unpacking our belongings, I felt a sense of loss. I grieved for the idea of what my future looked like. I had always pictured this chapter of our lives unfolding in Ohio. I imagined us returning to my home state and being surrounded by my family. Ultimately, our lives didn’t fit that picture anymore. There were countless reasons to stay on the East Coast. There were even more reasons to settle down where we did.
I love our home. Our new house is beautiful and the acreage it sits on gives us a place to roam. We’re surrounded by my husband’s family and they’ve embraced us into their day-to-day lives. I love that we have such a huge support system. I can’t help but smile when my mother-in-law tosses my son into the air. I wave as my husband pulls out of the driveway to go fishing with his brother. I laugh when my husband’s sisters argue over who gets to watch Lincoln for our date night. I love that there are so many people close by that love us.
And I love our town. We live in a smaller town – the kind where everyone is connected in some way; where everyone knows one another. I enjoy driving down the curvy roads and watching the landscape change as the seasons come and go. I crave our local mom-and-pop ice cream shop that has a line around the block on opening day. In February by the way – who wants ice cream that badly in the dead of winter? Oh right, me.
But what I love most of all is the history that surrounds our town. Virginia and Washington D.C. are covered in national history and our town is no exception. With landmarks, monuments, battlefields, and more – you can barely take two steps without coming upon something of historical importance. It’s awe inspiring. As a member of the military, I take great pride in our nation’s history. While it isn’t all good, these reminders help us to learn from our mistakes and take steps towards a better future. Walking the battlefields and cemeteries reminds us of those we’ve lost and gives us a chance to properly thank them. It’s hard to walk around D.C. and the National Mall and not feel chills go up your arms. Staring up at those monuments, my heart swells with a sense of pride.
I love that my son gets to grow up surrounded by history. I love that when he learns about the American Revolution or the Civil War in school that he can actually see these sites in person, not just in textbooks. I love that we will spend our weekends in museums surrounded by knowledge and experiences. I love that he will get to learn every day.
Sometimes I miss my family. Sometimes I yearn to be surrounded by Ohio farms and country roads. And then I take a drive. I drive around this new place and it starts to feel like home. This is my town. And I’m happy to call it my own.