‘You’re leaving the area?’

In the last couple of columns, I hinted that something big was coming. Last month I talked about how my youngest child is leaving the nest, becoming an adult and becoming her own person.

With an empty nest in every corner of my world where three little girls giggled, played, fought, and even swore a little; is now gone and it’s time for the nest to move away. I had fantasies of Florida or Hawaii, (that volcanic eruption killed that one forever), but as a Michigan boy at heart we’ve decided to stay in Michigan but just a little bit down the road.

In June a moving truck with all our belongings will be headed a south to Petoskey, Michigan.

Yep we’re becoming trolls.

At our moving sale people asked, “where are you moving to?” with I felt, the expectation of the answer being to Houghton, Hubbell, Bootjack, or some other spot in Houghton County. When I would answer, “Petoskey,” the response was almost always the same, “you’re leaving the area?”

The “why” in why we’re moving is in a few parts. The first is that the nest will be empty, and those that know me know me best know that I’m a softy and tearing up every time I pass an empty room, just isn’t going to cut it for me. My best friends are upset that we’re moving but understand that for me being a dad was what I was, a writer sometimes, a teacher, husband, and friend; but a dad always.

The second reason we’re leaving is about two winters ago, (I think that’s officially how we tell the passing of time in the U.P. is with winter snow totals), I hurt myself shoveling snow. For the past two winters I’ve watched my wife scoop most of the snow as I struggled to assist and became dependent and extremely grateful that my father-in-law has a plow truck. Did I mention Petoskey averages 110 inches of snow a year; you know, a total in the U.P. we like to call December?

Year One will be in an apartment but even once we get a house I think I can manage 110 inches a year.

The third reason, truly is a selfish one, I want new experiences, new festivals, new fishing holes, new stores and restaurants to shop in but not a new newspaper column; not yet anyway.

Family Matters will continue because as I mentioned before I was greatly mistaken when I thought that only 18 years of good parenting was needed, it turns out I’ll still need to be a good parent for the rest of my life and I’m confident there will be more stories to tell.

I guess my only acts of rebellion will be my Star Wars tattoos but if there are any others you’ll all get to read all about them. In upcoming months I’ll talk about the transition from Yooper to Troll, (I’ve thought that if a new column does materialize in Petoskey it could be called A Yooper Up North, because those trolls think the top of the L.P. is Northern Michigan). The scary part will be living in an apartment. Three years ago, we lived in 16,000 square feet of “cool” space being St. Cecelia School, to 1400 square feet to now an apartment that’s under a 1000 square feet; did I mention we sold nearly everything we owed at that moving sale?

Lastly, we’ll be trying out a new lifestyle beyond the stores and restaurants and that’s one of minimalism. The girls will still need things whether it be money or time spent going to concerts at EMU, or coming home to help Bethany at MTU, or to celebrate Hannah’s graduation next spring from SNHU; dad and stepmom will be there.

Our nest of laughter, tears, experiences is all firmly stored in our heads and the time has come to build a new nest for when grandchildren come, (still no hurry there), and a time to reflect, write, live, and love. Here’s to another 12 years of Family Matters or more.

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