On September 11, 2017, I posted this on Andrea’s Facebook page.
In May of this year, while Andrea was in Virginia for work, she called and said, “K. asked me if I would consider relocating to Virginia.” Like a supportive wife, I scoffed and replied, “Not Lynchburg.” Andrea indicated that her initial reaction had been the same and that was precisely where she was being asked to consider relocating to. “We’re not moving, ripping up our lives for a lateral move.” I snorted dismissively, “Especially there.”
We put this scenario out of our minds for the time being, only to have it resurface later when Andrea’s boss brought the idea up once again, assuring Andrea that a move “would be worth her while.” “Andrea - I have to see this place. I have to experience it. Do they burn gay couples at the stake there?!” I asked - half kidding about the last part. Off we went. Our 4th of July weekend adventure. I peered out the airplane window as the airplane descended, “It’s so green.” I said. I’m not sure what I expected. We spent the days exploring Richmond, Jefferson’s Monticello, Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Forest. Rolling along on the highways with ease - they were busy but not choked with traffic like we’re accustomed to in Massachusetts. Mountains framed the landscape. “It is pretty.” I admitted. Andrea and I really like our home. It’s cozy and it truly reflects who we are as people - a bit eclectic, simplistic, welcoming. Could we have a home like that in Virginia? We went to open houses to find out and had a realtor show us other homes. We started to believe we could have that - and for a lot less. I spotted an older white man wearing a red hat and froze - worried that perhaps he and many others wanted to “Make America Great Again” - for older white men. Not families that looked like Andrea’s and mine. I realized the hat had more words on it & squinted to decipher the message. “His hat says, ‘RESIGN MOTHERFUCKER’.” I breathed. He caught me staring and I offered, “I like your hat.” as an explanation to my gawking. “Thanks. I wish he would.” The man, who resembled Billy Bob Thornton in looks and with his accent replied. We returned home and resumed our lives and talked to one another. A lot. What could life look like for us in Virginia? At the end of August, we drove to western MA to pick up Bogey and bring him home. This gave us a solid 3-hours in the car together, a vessel for many good conversations throughout my life. “I feel there are two types of spouses,” Andrea announced, “Those who say ‘hell no’ to relocating and those who are open to it.” It seemed like a bad time to mention that “hell no” was my initial response. Later that week, Andrea returned to Virginia to formally interview for the position. Her company moves slowly, methodically. “I should hear something mid-to-late September.” Andrea said. “Just in time for my visit to my mom’s.” I chuckled. I flew into Illinois on a Wednesday evening. I awoke shortly after 8 on Thursday, September 19th & saw I missed a call and a text from Andrea that read: OFFER! Call me! I dialed and listened to Andrea’s news. True to her word, Andrea’s boss had presented her with an offer that was worthwhile. One to be taken seriously. One to be accepted. I walked into the living room of my mom’s and my mom looked at me expectantly. “Andrea had news.” My mom declared. “Yes.” I replied and poured myself a pint glass of seltzer. I explain Andrea’s promotion and my mom beams - excited for Andrea and proud of her. “Annnnd...” “There’s an and...” my mom says. “Don’t be nervous.” I say, reaching for my pint glass and I send it sailing. “Oh God. I’ll clean that up. Don’t worry.” I say - to my mom, myself. And I tell her and watch her face process this news. At 77, my mom isn’t a stranger to news from me... “I’m enlisting in the Army.” Age 17. “I’m getting married.” Age 19 “We’re moving to Massachusetts.” Age 22 “I’m getting divorced.” Age 33
“I love this woman….” Age 33
“We’re moving to Virginia!” Age 44
Some of you know this news and to others, it’s a surprise. Left field. And in the 17 days since we received this news, we’ve fielded a few questions that we will include here:
What about your house?! You did so much work! Will you keep it?
We believe that this work will pay off and help us sell this bad boy for a tidy profit. Yes – we love our home but know we can create a sanctuary anywhere we’re together. I am glad that earlier this year, the universe compelled me to toss a whole lotta shit that did not spark joy. We have zero interest in being landlords from Virginia.
When is this happening?!
Sometime in the first quarter of 2020.
What about Maggie’s job?
I’m hoping that my company and I can work something out that works for them, my team members, and, of course, my company. We have time and I am choosing to believe that the universe will have my back. I am staying positive because I know the universe is always listening (see first picture above) and everything is figureoutable.
What about me?!?!? – Anne Miller
We will miss Anne Miller TERRIBLY. As well as the rest of the amazing tribe we’ve assembled throughout our time in Massachusetts. This morning, I was thinking about the many people we know and how we met them: work (past and present); the Susan G. Komen walks – members of the Pink Angels team; community theatre; bootcamp. We are so blessed. You aren’t getting rid of us… we’ll just be a little further away.
How am I going to watch the Patriots?! – Andrea Smith
This was almost a deal breaker. Andrea panicked. She’s still panicked about this. But everything is figureoutable.
Isn’t Virginia ultra-conservative? Will you be burned at the stake?
I think given the right (or wrong) set of circumstances, you can be persecuted for who you are.
We are happy to report that Lynchburg had it’s first pride celebration, Hill City Pride, this summer!
Sure – Virginia is not as liberal as Massachusetts but few states are. They do have a Democratic governor as well as two
Why are you telling us this now? That’s so next year…
Word is spilling out and this is a way to share news fast. Also – we are going to have many parties between now and our departure. The one thing that the relocation company will not move is booze. So come over thirsty! And? It’s our life, our journey and this is big news to us!
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.
- Mary Oliver