No I don’t. and YES, I do.
We moved to the suburbs of Philadelphia 2.5 months ago. We are still settling into our home, working on furnishing it properly. We are still learning about the animals and sounds that are native to the space, some we love and some we don’t. And of course we are adjusting to taking care of a big home. It is a huge change to go from cleaning and maintaining a city townhome with an HOA to moving to a large, standalone home that needs not only regular maintenance but lots of updates.
Until today I have said that I don’t miss the city at all, not even one bit. But then I drove into the city and felt that old adrenaline rush. My heart was racing and my eyes welled up as I realized that living in the city again is decades away.
I LOVE the suburbs. I love our new friends, our home, and most importantly the way our core family has adjusted. Raffi is sleeping better and has grown several inches since we moved, a phenomenon I don’t believe is just a coincidence. Alessandra learned to swim the full length of our new swimming pool. Valentina has enough space to run around inside and out without my fear of her running into a street or getting unsafely far away from me. This is the right place for our family and the best place for us to raise them.
I feel like a different person too. I no longer dread errands, and I’ve gone on regular runs several times a week since moving here. The air feels cleaner, whether it actually is or not. I feel less stressed and far happier, but I can’t exactly pinpoint why.
As the mom to young children in the city, I loved the walking access to kid-friendly restaurants, the ease of visiting such special places as The Franklin Institute and the art museum. I loved that I would run into friends weekly and even daily and always had another mom friend to walk with on the way home from preschool. Oh how I loved the kids’ preschool! I loved that my husband could be home in ten minutes and that we’d all be so cozy together in our family room at night.
But I’m loving the suburbs even more.
I love that I myself can finally learn firsthand about so many animals, from the dreaded cicadas to the beautiful deer to the annoying but harmless chipmunks. I love that one child can sit at the table coloring while another can play with Legos in his room and I can be cooking dinner and everyone is safe and happy. My husband takes 40 minutes to get home now, but by the time he arrives he’s decompressed already and is happier than I’ve ever seen him. I love that we have good options for public school and that our neighbors have all been so friendly and welcoming.
I do miss the city, but I love the suburbs more.
When I met my husband and saw Philadelphia for the first time through his eyes, I fell in love with him and I fell in love with Philadelphia. I call it “the city” even though it’s not The City, and I have loved being in walkable distance to so much culture, good food, and fun activities for the whole family.
We’ve now lived in our home for over four years, a blink to some but a lifetime to us. Raffi came here as a baby, and our other two little ones have never known another home. At the end of the summer we will be moving to the suburbs, a path I laughed at before and swore I would never take. But here we are.
We are so excited for so many reasons. A yard! A pool! No rules but our own! A home to truly decorate! No stairs when bringing groceries home! Bedrooms for each child! Being close to family! Having room for guests and parties! It’s so, so bittersweet too though. Our home in Philadelphia is the first place either of us have put true roots down since we were children. It will be hard to leave, but we are looking forward to making memories for the rest of our lives in our new suburban home.
I’m someone who lives in the moment but also looks ahead. We had been looking for a home in a specific area for months but hadn’t intended to leave Philly for another year, in time for Raffi to start kindergarten in the suburbs. But our dream house came on the market and we couldn’t let it go. Trig and I walked in, looked at one another with goofy grins and immediately knew that home had to be ours. So now we are packing and planning and organizing our lives so that we’re ready for this next step, which is coming in just days instead of weeks, or months.
We’re moving, but this isn’t the end of Philly for us. I said Rhode Island would always have my heart, but now Philly does too. And it always will.