We just returned from a whirlwind trip to Nova Scotia. Two busy weeks visiting DH's family in Pictou County and mine in the Annapolis Valley have left me feeling, once again, torn between two homes. Being back in Nova Scotia makes me feel alive in a way I always think I've outgrown -- I feel younger, easier, happier.
I love Ottawa, I really do. I think my neighbourhood is fabulous and love that I can walk to work, the library, the kids' school, the grocery store, and so much more. I love the parks and the festivals. I love the multicultural make-up of the particular part of the city in which I live. I hold an immense appreciation for this city.
But in a lot of ways Ottawa still doesn't feel like "home". "Home" to me will always have saltwater beaches, big open spaces, quiet nights, fresh fish, and family nearby.
Every time we leave, pointing our car Ottawa-bound, I feel sad inside. Every highway kilometer between us and our families intensifies this feeling, until we hit Quebec City and I start to look forward to being back in Ottawa again. Every time I arrive back here in the city, I begin obsessing over real estate listings to see what we could potentially buy with what our house should gain us. Every year that passes cements Ottawa a little more in our boys' hearts and I know that putting off a move more than 3 or 4 years from now would make things difficult for Boy#1 and Boy#2. They are 6 and 8 now. Boy#1 has had the same best friend for four years. Uprooting them from their "home" to return to ours would be hard and painful for them, even at the ages they are now.
Our families are getting older. DH's mom passed away last year, and various members of both our families are elderly and have health problems. It is frustrating to be so far away and unable to help out in the ways we would like. My brother, the bane of my existence in childhood, has grown up to be a neat guy with neat ideas and I'd like to see more of him. I'd like my boys to have the opportunity to enjoy and be enjoyed by their family more than once a year. I'd like to slow down my life -- something I find hard in the city where everything is noisenoisenoise and gogogo seven days a week.
This visit back home, timed as it is with DH's unemployment, has opened the floor for some interesting discussions -- a continuation in many ways of conversations started last Spring when DH's job fell victim to Nortel's bankruptcy. I don't know how they will end, but it has given us a good jumping-off point for reassessing our lives here.
Life is about balance, I'm told, and I'm finding it harder to balance the reality of my life in Ottawa with my desire for a life back in Nova Scotia. I'm older now than I was when we moved here -- I'm much more open to compromise at 34 than I was at 21. I'm no longer sure that the city has more to offer my family as a whole than a rural life closer to our families.