Before Jeff and I had children, we had talks about how we would raise them. Birthdays would be a big deal, we’d spoil them at Christmas but not too much, and we’d raise them in the country. We would give them a childhood much more like Jeff’s than mine.
Jeff and his sisters and cousins rode four-wheelers all over the place long before they could drive. They could ride their bikes down to the old country fill station without ever encountering a car. Hours spent outdoors far outnumbered hours spent in. I, on the other hand, lived in a condo in Decatur, Georgia. There was no yard, just a public grassy area that several condos surrounded. There were shootings down the road and only one neighbor we were friendly with and me being outside unsupervised just was not going to happen.
We could have chosen a happy medium and settled our family down into suburbia, where we lived before we moved up to the mountains, but staying a weekend up here and then going back down there . . . things quickly became clear for us. We couldn’t stand wasting our time in traffic, or paying too much money for a house that only looked out onto other houses. Driving through the towns meant seeing strip mall after strip mall, interspersed with chain grocery stores and industrial parks and buildings. When we first moved up here I constantly was amazed by the views that followed me everywhere I went, on daily errands, or gazing out of the kitchen window. Every night we are treated to sunsets that never cease to move me with their beauty, things I never seemed to see and appreciate before.
I’ve never once regretted giving up things and places to get those things in order to live out here in the mountains. We once said we’d much rather have a small house and acres of land rather than a huge house on a tiny lot. Now, we have a perfect sized home and we still get to experience North Georgia at its finest. Being a part of these tiny towns, with produce stands populating the sides of windy mountain roads, historic homes and buildings still being used for their original purpose, fields of farms housing old and aging red barns, it always feels like a blessing.
Just to be here.