As news of our move began to spread through our circle of friends in Austin, I started to feel the heartache grow. Every person expressed happiness for us. They agreed that it was the right time. "It will be so great to be close to family again," they would say. "It's so much easier to move when your children are young." And to Mike "what an excellent opportunity for your career."
But there was always a "but." "Wow we're going to miss your family." "I feel like I was just getting to know you." And of course "you know it's cold up there, right?"
It started to feel like a break up conversation.
"It's not you, it's me," I wanted to say back. There was this underlying feeling that by leaving, we were telling Austin and it's people "sorry, it just didn't work out. You were great. Really. But we need to move on. You'll make someone else really happy."
There is a reason we struggled so much. You are only sad to say goodbye to that which you love. Our love for Austin is strong. It is an incredible town and we feel so fortunate to put it on the list of places that have stolen our hearts forever.
So as a tribute to this memorable chapter in our lives, here are a few of my favorite things that are forever etched in the Texas place of my heart.
The Swimming Holes. There is no better place to cool off than in a body of water under giant oak trees. One of my best memories of a Texas Summer.
The Austin Music Scene. It's what everyone knows Austin for and we did our best to get as much out of it as we could. Like the time we saw my cousin perform in an open stage. Or the times we woke the kids up at 6 AM for concerts that started at 7AM during SXSW. Or the time I experienced ACL for the first time 20 weeks pregnant and with a broken foot.
Bluebonnets in Spring Time. I was never a spring person. Until moving to Texas.
Cowboy Boots. The best purchase I ever made. These babies will be with me for life.
Town Lake. Some of our best date nights were spent on this lake right in the heart of the city.
Our Homes. Each one came with its own quirks, but these little homes were our sanctuary.
Our Pool. I never wanted to be a girl with a pool. I am so glad I changed my mind. This little place saved us just about every single day during the summers that never ended.
That Tiny but Charming Front Porch. Our last home may have been without a private yard, but this little front porch stole my heart. The roses that bloomed nearly all year long. The grassy space where my girl learned to ride a bike and where my boy took his first steps. When you only have a little you sure find a lot to love.
The Neighborhood Train. The single reason our little guy is so entranced with trains, specifically crossing signs. No walk or run through the neighborhood was complete without a wave to the train.
Dining and Playing Al Fresco. For one, dining outside in Austin is amazing and everywhere. Also, nearly every great place has a space for kids to roam. This is one of the most brilliant schemes Austin has to offer.
Food Trucks. Speaking of al fresco, the food truck scene became on of my very favorites. I know it's everywhere now, but I first fell in love with it here in Austin.
FOOD! And speaking of food trucks, can we just talk about the food scene for a second? I will forever be craving BBQ brisket, fresh made tortillas and queso. Accepting packages donations.
Running and Biking. Collectively we checked off some great milestones. Especially grateful for the last race when we got to run it together (minutes apart, but still crosses the same finish line!)
The March. This was a proud moment for me. Showing my daughter what a city can do when they stand up for kindness is the best kind of memory.
The Capital Building. Both kids would point it out whenever we were out and about it. I love this reminder of the great history we are a part of.
The Beach. I never knew I was a beach person either until I went with kids. There is no greater vacation for kids than time spent on an ocean beach. Already planning our visit to go back every March!
Our Texas Born. Elliott will always be the only one who can say he was brewed and born where everything is bigger.
Our Church. The church where we found a home, Triumphant Love Lutheran Church, was our first family. Our daughter learned what it was like to go to preschool. Our son was baptized. The congregation became our friends and subsequently our family. They took care of us, cheered with us, prayed with us, guided us. Austin was a special place because of this community.
And finally, the true reason to write this love letter...
Our Friends. Austin has incredible experiences to offer a visitor and a resident. It will always draw us back. But the friendships we made are what made us feel at home. They are what broke our hearts when we said goodbye. And they are the reason we will forever be grateful that we decided to take that adventure to the great state of Texas.
So, dear Austin, let me just say to you in this final farewell, your food is fantastic, your parties a blast, your scenes breath taking, but your people, oh your people, they are our true loves. Take care of them until we can make it back.
Bye, only for now, y'all!