When I was a kid, I wanted to live in Maine. In a log cabin with two golden retrievers. I wanted to write books--ideally, they would be as super awesome as "The Babysitter's Club".
When I was a teenager, I wanted to live in a hut on the beaches of Hawaii, California, or anywhere with some big water. I wanted to "live off the land"-- or sponge off other people and surround myself with weirdos who were "cool". I wanted to "express myself" (insert eye-roll here).
When I was in college, I wanted to live in Chicago. In a brownstone by myself that had an eclectic collection of "vintage" and "shabby" decor-- straight out of the Anthropolie catalog.
When I moved to Grundy Center, I wanted to live in Cedar Falls. or Des Moines. In a house or apartment that had a Target and Hy-Vee within 5 minutes.
Now, I don't know what I want. I love/hate Grundy Center. But I'm afraid that I'm loving it more than hating it these days. (shhhhh!) Here's why:
Example #1: Grocery Store
The other day I was buying groceries in P'burg. The kid packing up my bags asked me which car was mine. I told him and he carried the bags out to my vehicle, set them inside, and helped the next person in line. Now, this tiny act implies several things:
1. The cars in the parking lot are unlocked (and possibly running if it's cold outside)
2. This is his job and no tip/ gratuity is expected or accepted
3. The only thing he will do when putting the groceries in the vehicle is put the groceries in the vehicle. Even if (hypothetically speaking) the driver has left her laptop, Kindle, ipod, checkbook, and cell phone on the passenger seat--not to mention probably $50 worth of kid toys in the backseat.
Example #2: Library
Over break, C and I had a little lunch date at Pizza Hut and then went to the public library for a few minutes. While he happily played in the little wooden fire truck in the kid section, I scanned the adult fiction and movie shelves. I kept an eye in his general direction but he was kind of on his own as I did my thing. And I never worried about his safety. (Although I did worry about the future of the toy fire helmets that he finds so fascinating)
Example #3. Purple Park (well, you can tell the picture is of "Yellow Park" but just picture the same thing in purple)
A couple days ago it was just gorgeous here. I think the temperature was almost 50 degrees outside so C & I spent 90 minutes outside. We headed to the Purple Park-- where there were 4 kids playing with their grandfather. Usually the parks are empty-- and having to share the equipment with 4 other kids seemed so BUSY! As we played, Maddy happily ran throughout the park. I never worried about cars or her running into people, as we were basically the only ones there. I love having parks to myself!
Now that being said, there are things that drive me bonkers about living in a small town. Mostly they revolve around running errands (most people can "run to Target after work" or "exchange that on my way home" but because everything is a 30 minute drive just to get to the town, errand running becomes a HUGE task). But lately I'm feeling like I can deal with those things. It's kind of worth it to me that our pace is slower and more laid back than the rest of the world. I can get my old-lady fix of small town life and thanks to the internet still be a hip, in-the-know mother (ha!) who would secretly someday love to own a pair of Louboutins.