When we first arrived here in Kansas I felt so painfully uprooted. I knew I would need time to recover. I have always tried to bloom where I'm planted, but one has to recover from transplant shock before one can bloom.
I remember the first time we moved to Kansas, back in 2008. I really liked it here then. It reminded me so much of Minnesota, where I grew up, only not so cold in the winter (and that was a good thing!) At that time, I thought we would be here permanently and I dove into making it home. I did my best to bloom, I found lots of wonderful people and places and opportunities for my kids, and I was happy. After only being here 19 months, the Badger suddenly lost his job and we moved back to Utah. I was fine with that because Utah is where my family is.
When we came back out here a year and a half ago, it was hard to leave family. I wasn't unhappy about being in Kansas, but I wasn't thrilled either, after everything we had been through.
Last April, after living here for a year, we took a trip to Utah. I was so excited to be there and see my family and hike in the mountains and eat Cafe Rio and all that good Utah stuff. I wondered how I could bear to go back to Kansas at the end of our trip. But, back we went. When we arrived, I felt something unexpected: the sense of poignant relief and comfort you feel when you have come home. Somehow, despite all our floundering and despite the damage we are still healing from, Kansas has become home to me.
There is so much to love here, and I consciously choose to love it. I love the trees, especially the stately oaks. I love the farm fields. I love the sunsets and the moon rises. I love our ward and our neighborhood and the boys' school and the YMCA. I love the stores I shop at, and my proximity to the ones I love best. I love the neat grid of the roads and the slower tempo of traffic. It really is a great place to be, and I am very grateful to be here.
For the first few months we were here I could have easily packed up and left again, going back west. I ached still for our magical little mountain town we left behind, as well as our family in Utah. I still ache for those places somewhat, but choosing to love and enjoy Kansas means I have been driving roots deep into this prairie soil.
And oh, how those roots want to settle in permanently! To be able to say, "yes, we are from Kansas, we have lived there for years." To see all my children grow up and graduate from Plumfield. To have years and years worth of pictures of the kids at the same pumpkin patch, at the same Fourth of July parade. I really, really want to be done moving around. I want stability and tradition and a geographic anchor for the family and I am fine with that being right here.
Will we stay here? I don't know. But I can't worry about what tomorrow will bring. For now, Kansas is home and I am happy here.