Last week our family traveled even further north to visit a school that would hopefully hire my husband. I have been asking him for the last several months to find a school near a big town for me and Alex. My wish list includes a mall, a Target, and a Starbucks, and finally, the new town MUST have a CVS. At the same time, I have been asking God for a safe place to raise our son and for the courage to go where He sends us.
The nearest town to this new school is Biggsville, which I thought was a good sign. The high school also has about 350 kids, which is about three times bigger than the town we left before our one-year working vacation in the sun. I thought for sure the town would have around 3,000 people and a small grocery store, maybe even a gas station with a Subway. When we drove into Biggsville, we were greeted by the sign: Biggsville - Population 350. I truly started to panic. If this is Biggsville, how big are the other towns? I didn't see any sidewalks when we drove by. Where do the people walk? More importantly, how do they entertain preschoolers?
Alex and I had some time to explore the potential new town, but I could tell that would only take two minutes as we drove back through with nowhere to go. I tried to call my mom to ask for advice, but I couldn't reach her. Alex decided to fall asleep, so I was left alone in my panic. I began to beg God to reopen doors that had closed, and then I started praying again for courage to do what he asked of me. I also started to pray for great success in my husband's next interview as it was my new first choice.
Later that night, three men from the school took us out for dinner, so we could discuss the job more. "How cold does it get in the winter?", I asked. They paused suspiciously, "Well, December isn't too bad. We usually only have about six weeks of really cold weather starting in January, but it's not as cold as Chicago."
In the next few days, I began to warm up to the idea of a cold winter. We picked up a brochure from the next biggest town (in Iowa!), and it looks really nice. It has a Target with a Starbucks, a Kohls, and a library with a coffee shop.
Somehow, I had forgotten that I grew up in Cooks Mills - Population 150. We didn't have sidewalks or even a school. I rode the bus to our school in another small town. Our entertainment included riding bikes, swinging, jumping rope and going down to the river. We had the run of the town, and we were safe. Some of my best memories came from hanging out by the flag pole in front of our fire station or inside Lola's General Store/Post Office/Coffee Shop (black coffee only - this was before mocha's and lattes). I don't know how I forgot that I am a country girl at heart. I also remembered that my husband grew up in a small town. It worked for us and John Mellencamp. Maybe small town life is what will keep my Alex safe growing up, and that is the top item on my wish list.