I'm leaving the home I've known for a decade, taking love.

On Leaving the Circle: Family and Moving

My brother and I are both leaving the circle of roads that connect our family, but I know our love will go with us.

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I grew up on a rural road, in a home flanked by farmland and cousins. There are two roads that connected with mine, both of the same pastoral inclination. When I was younger, I'd sit on my front porch, a large stretch of field in front of my eyes, the road far in the distance. I'd dream of being on the rooftop a big-city loft. Of course, I should say, this was during my fascination with and obsession over all things related to the television show "Friends." Monica and Rachel's apartment was my dream. I went to school in the largest city in our state, hoping to settle down in a high-rise after graduation.

Then, like it has a tendency to do, life happened. I fell in love with a boy I went to high school with, who also called our small town home. We both took jobs within a 10-mile radius of where we grew up. At first, we decided it would only be temporary. We'd find jobs in the big city one day, we promised.

Then, year after year, we became more deeply rooted. We started a family, advanced our careers and bought a house on the edge of town. It was a little cottage that we poured two years of time and all of our savings into fixing up. We added an upstairs, knocked down four walls and finished the basement. The result was the home of my dreams. It's happy, bright, cheery and I can see myself in every square inch of it.

Yet, we're selling it in a month to move into another outdated family property, where we'll start the whole renovation process over again. However, this post isn't about that. I've written extensively on my love of this house and how it will gut me to lock the door behind me for the very last time.

This post is about my brother, who lives just down the road. His road intersects with mine, which intersects with my parents'. Together, the three rural streets form a circle. You can walk the entire stretch in an hour. I know because every Sunday, my entire family does just that, in the freezing cold or blistering heat.

Our new home is also a walkable distance away, but in the other direction. It's off the circle, though not my much.

My brother, on the other hand? He's interviewing right this second for a job in Black Mountain, North Carolina, a two-hour drive away. He's getting married this fall and he and his fiance both want to relocate to the hills and valleys of our state, away from the flatness and futility of the Triad.

My parents ate breakfast with him before he took off for the interview and we're all anxiously awaiting the results. If it goes his way, he'll leave our little circle and take off toward the west in a few weeks. We'll cry as he goes, especially as he leaves the little cottage that he poured the past three years into. An old family homeplace, it's surrounded by pecan trees and fields, too, and he's made it into such a little haven. He upfitted it with a new HVAC system, replaced broken brick, planted a vegetable garden, and played folk music from his record player every single night. When he looks back, it will be the house that built him, much like this place is for me.

So, we're likely both taking a step away from the comfort and security of our hometown circle. When I think about it, I'm hit in the stomach with fear and uncertainty. I'm also incredibly nostalgic, so tears spring to my eyes. Yet, I know that deep down, the circle has never been about roads.

It's been about the people that live on these country streets. The homes that cradled us and the family that loved us. It's been about the laughs on those long walks, and the deep, hard conversations we've had as we traversed the wheat fields and stopped to chat with neighbors.

We may all move away, at some point. If that happens, our Sundays will look pretty different. However, I know that the bond we've forged along the circle will move with us wherever we go. It will climb up mountains and travel down hills. It will cross oceans and scale boulders. It's deep, transparent and flexible. I know it because I feel it deep in my bones. People, places and routines change. Love never does.

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How Happiness In A Relationship Is So Important

What is the happiness and love that we as individuals deserve when it comes to our relationship?

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It's different for each of us. Some prefer being showered in gifts, being showed off on social media, bragged about to family and friends. But, what is the one thing that all of those have in common?

That would be the unmistakable amount of love your significant other has for you, that they will do anything to show you that they love you unconditionally. We all show our love for one another in various ways. I for one love being shown the love someone else has for me in small things they do.

It could be a simple 'good morning love' text message or even just a hug out of the blue. Knowing that someone cares so deeply about you is one of life's greatest gifts. Knowing that another human being loves you and wants to be with you, it makes us drunk off of love and our heads float up to the stars.

However, when we don't feel that love, that connection, that reassurance from our significant other that they love and care for us back, it can be an extremely overwhelming and a lonely feeling.

We start looking for those feelings and connections elsewhere. In our friends for reassurance if we look good or blowing up their phones for attention.

We start caring about if other people find us attractive or not, we relish in compliments that other people give us. We start looking for that happiness elsewhere. It's not because you stop loving your significant other or stop caring about them, but we as humans need to feel important and like we are needed by another person.

When you stop letting your significant other know how much you care about them or showcasing your love for them, even if it's a simple gesture like holding their hand or holding the door open for them, they will begin to look elsewhere.

Now I am in no way saying that they will cheat on you, but your relationship and their attitude and feelings towards you will never be the same until you start showing them how much they mean to you just as much as they do for you. I don't condone cheaters or staying in a relationship that you are not happy in.

Yes, some relationships go through hard times like distance or a traumatic event. However, the way I see it is if you entered into the relationship, to begin with, you obviously cared about that person a lot and if they show you that they care and love you for the person you are and your past then they deserve the same in return from you.

Relationships are not always easy, they take time, determination, communication, compromise, and love to stay afloat. If one of you isn't willing to give your all and put forth the effort needed then it will never work. A relationship can't be successful if it is only one-sided.

Despite peoples life's being busy on a day to day basis, you need to always find time for your significant other. Because at the end of the day when things hit the fan, your significant other should be the one that will be there no matter what and always be by your side.

All in all, you need to treat each other the way in which you would want to be treated in a relationship and treat them the way they should be treated despite whatever chaos is going on in the world about you. Love is the conquer of all and should never be thrown around or not taken seriously.

Loving someone else is a gift we are given by God and never taken lightly.

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Different But The Same: Navigating My Life as One of Three Siblings

I couldn't be more different than my two siblings, but on some levels we're more alike than I thought.

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I am the oldest of three lively, loving and faithful siblings. My sister is seven years younger than me and my brother is nine. Two of us shared a room growing up, and the other lived just down the hall. In a lineup, we're unmistakably related. We share the same nose from our grandfather, the thin hair of our great-grandmother and the thick Italian eyebrows of our mother.

Deep down, we're all cut from the same cloth. Our moral compass, foundation and background are the same. We'd answer alike if you were to ask us our favorite childhood memory, how an elder should be treated, what to say and do at the dinner table and what is essentially right and wrong. All three of us are driven academically, hunger professionally and seek to mine the most good out of every day. Yet, on paper, we couldn't be more different.

Take my sister, for instance. She's the librarian at our local elementary school. We can't go to the local diner, the swimming pool or even walking down the road without scores of children recognizing her, running up to her and giving her a bear hug. There are entire circles of people who only know me for who I am in relation to her. I'll admit, when she first got that position, I went the entire summer long feeling as though I were walking in her shadow, though I eclipse her by half a decade of experience. There's a reason she's so well-known and loved, though. My sister is unfailingly kind, generous with her time and attention and genuinely invested in the young people she serves. She devours books, classic television shows and the family homeplace she shares with her high school sweetheart turned husband.

Then, there's my brother. He was in middle school when I got married, so our time together as adolescents was shorter, but we're more alike than it may seem. It's from him that I got my love of folk music, thrifting and antiques. He's an avid environmentalist and programs coordinator for our local arts council. In a world obsessed with smartphones and tiny screens, he takes walks with his fiance with a dictionary in hand, discovering new words and worlds as they travel. They hike every weekend, hole up and work on crosswords at their tiny cottage in the woods and spend all the time they can in their favorite mountains. In fact, they will likely relocate there or to the west coast when they tie the knot this September. He's outdoorsy, worldly and hyper-aware of how every decision he makes affects the world.

That bring us to me. Though I'm older than both of them in age, I feel as though I fall right in the middle of my brother and sister in terms of our interests and ideals. Like my brother, I love being outside and spend as much time in nature as possible. Yet, as the mother of two, I depend on disposable diapers and eat off paper plates to save time and money. Like my sister, I love nothing more than curling up with a great book, but as a technical writer and proposal manager, my life has me behind a screen more often than not. I read on my laptop into the wee hours of the morning, though like her, I spend many hours reading board books to children myself, though it's in the comfort of my home and not the local library.

At our core, we're wildly unique but I love the common thread woven between all of us. I love that our parents treated us all the same and made sure that what they did for one, they did for another. We all grew up feeling cherished, protected and loved beyond measure and for that, I'm eternally grateful. As we grow older together, we're learning from each other, exploring each other's interests and cultivating our own personalities in the process. It's a beautiful thing, doing life with these two. Thankfully, we all live within three miles of each other, so we get to unfold daily mysteries together on a regular basis. I couldn't imagine a better way or place to live.

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