Recently we went on our first family vacation--we trekked to Hasting where I sang with the Platte Valley Skunk Runners at the Flatwater Music Festival, made it to Parks for a few days to see my brother and sister in-law, enjoyed a few days hiking and bumming around Rocky Mountain National Park, and ended our travels by spending time with our dear friends in Ogallala. It's no secret that I miss living in western Nebraska. I often have these romantic recollections of our time there, and these (and the pleas from families, students, and friends) often fuel the desire to move back.
But when I'm honest with myself (which doesn't always happen because being honest with oneself is quite the ordeal), I'm not sure moving back to Ogallala would be the right thing to do. Nate and I have talked about it, and there'd be a lot of cards that would have to fall into place---A LOT. Then there's the fear that we'd always compare it to what it was when we lived there nearly three years ago...part of me doesn't want to spoil these memories. When I'm honest with myself, I think what I really want is not to move back to Ogallala--but to be in a place that has some of the same values and themes (so to speak) as Ogallala. I've never been one to set down roots what with my nomadic tendencies, but now that we have J, I find myself longing to set aside "the wandering blues" for roots---maybe not deep ones, but roots nonetheless :)
Omaha is a cool city. There's lots of cultural opportunities, and we're starting to build some good relationships. I'm just not sure it's where I want to set down roots. I thought it was before Jon. Now that we have a living, breathing child, I question everything I thought I ever wanted for him when he was just a hypothetical notion. What I want for him is to attend a small school where he knows all or most of his classmates. I want him to be involved with many activities if that's what he chooses (in big schools, it seems there's not a lot of crossover between athletics and fine arts). I want to know his friends' parents and maybe even their grandparents. I'd also like him have access to the outdoors--to play, to run, to climb, or just to sit and be amazed at God's creativity. I want him to be exposed to people who are different from him so he develops a cooperative spirit, a soul of tolerance and acceptance. I want him to have opportunities to create if that's what he chooses to do. I want him to feel safe. I want him to be in a school that engages him and sees even his challenges as opportunities.
I'm not sure I can have all of this in Omaha or Ogallala. Sure, we can meet all of these by living in one place and then traveling during the summer. And maybe that's what we'll do because I don't know where we can live to have all of these desires met in one location. Perhaps I'm being an idealistic parent...but I think it's important to be deliberate about the values we instill in our children. I think the next year or two or three will be a time of exploration for us. Before we decide to pick up and move and tear Jon away from the only city he's ever lived, I want to explore Omaha more. We need to be deliberate about breaking out of our "Burke bubble" venturing into other pockets of the city. After our trip to Colorado this summer, Nate and I began talking about the possibilities of living there, but this is quite the move. There's a lot of research to be done before we can even consider this as a possibility to avoid regrets.
While I want to set down roots, part of me wonders if I'll ever "quit my ramblin' ways..." Will my heart ever feel settled? That's the question of the day, folks. It must be exhausting to be married to me...Nate, thanks for being a patient dude. I'll leave you with a song by The Be Good Tanyas that pretty well sums up my gypsy soul (if you watch the video, you can go back to the trends of the 90s...spaghetti strapped midriffs, wide legged pants, and clogs....).