July 9th, 2008 was the last time I would ever be in that small town in Illinois – not because I had no desire to come back and see old friends but unlike the other places we have lived there was no easy way to get to there. I knew with four kids with busy schedules and a husband with a busy schedule there would be no feasible way (financial or time wise) we could hop on a plane for an hour and a half and then do a three hour car ride to get there. There was a little sadness on my part because this is where I gave birth to my fourth child and where my other three reached so many developmental milestones and I knew I would never be back. This was also the place where we lost our dog, Tisdale. She was twelve years old and died of congestive heart failure right in front of our eyes in the vet’s office. We took her to the vet because she was not doing well and the minute the vet lifted her up on the table she lost all control of her bodily functions and took her last breathe. It was one of the hardest things I had to go through in a long time. We brought Baskerville to the vet’s office so he could smell her and say his goodbyes. She was with us every day for twelve years since she was five weeks old. She was a part of our family and for days after her death I would still hear her dog tags jingling. Baskerville had lost his sister and best friend. They did everything together. We had her cremated and I kept the ashes because I didn’t want to scatter her somewhere I knew I would never visit after we left.
Lastly, this was the first move we made in which we stayed long enough and my children were old enough to develop friendships. Seeing my children hurting was what made me the most upset about moving. To see them cry when they had to say good bye to their friends made my heart ache. But, the worst part was that I knew this would probably not be the last time they would have to say good bye to their friends and what parent wants to knowingly cause their children pain. That is when I started to wonder if this coaching business was worth it.
We closed on the house in the morning, went to the neighbor’s house to pick up Baskerville and headed to Cincinnati to stay with my parents a few weeks while we found a house in Detroit. I remember watching the town get further and further away as I looked out of my rear view mirror as we headed out of town. I was ready for the next chapter. I wanted to close this chapter and see what lies ahead for us. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but you have to keep pressing forward. You can’t quit. Sometimes I think it would be easier to curl up in a ball and feel sorry for yourself but that never got anyone anywhere so you press on.
Once again my parents stepped up and opened their house to us while we figured out where we were going to live. I know my parents loved having their grandkids around and all that goes with it – whining, fighting, screaming. I think they gained a deeper appreciation of silence when we all left.
I left the kids with my parents and drove up to Detroit to meet my husband and look for a house. This was at the time the housing market collapsed and the automotive industry – Detroit’s Big Three (Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors) were on a downward spiral. The country was in a recession and Detroit was one of the hardest hit and for that reason my husband and I had decided to rent. It was actually a relief not to worry about a home inspection, financing, and mortgage payments. Although, I had always loved looking for houses and imagining my family living in a particular house it was nice not having to ask how old the roof is or if the basement had ever leaked. We ended up finding a nice home to rent in a Detroit suburb. My husband would have a 35 minute commute to the office. My kids did not go to school with gang bangers and there were no crack houses on the corner. Whenever I tell someone I live in Detroit most people scrunch up their face and say “ohhh . . . I’m sorry”. Detroit does get a bad rap but I found out it was just like any city – it had its good areas and bad areas. You just learned where the bad areas are and stayed away from them. Believe me, Detroit had way more to offer than the small town. They have museums, theaters, professional football, baseball, basketball, hockey, shopping, churches, synagogues, Broadway shows, and not to mention all the different activities and opportunities for children. After we secured our rental, I went back to Cincinnati to pick up the kids from my parents’ house. We were about to embark on a new adventure in Michigan. We moved into our house the first week of August and that would begin one of the hardest years of my married life.