I love Maine.
I love the ocean, the coastline, Maine politics, fried clams, pine trees, L.L. Bean, Moose, red hot dogs, Reny’s, Marden’s, late night trips to Dysarts, Moody’s, Lobster, Pat’s Pizza, Acadia National Park, Kettle Cove, UMaine hockey, potato fields, Lamoine Beach, going to the shooting range with my father, Jordan’s Snack Bar, Big G’s. Dairy Queen Blizzards in the middle of winter, summer nights in Bar Harbor, the Sea Dog, clam chowder, reading angry letters to the editor in the Ellsworth American, Amato’s, Bob the black bear that lives in the woods behind my parents house, The Mex (even if Bryon threatened to break up with me if I made him eat there again), Coffee Express, seeing Stephen King in public even if he is rude if approached, Schoodic Point, Ben and Bills peanut butter cup ice cream, flannel shirts never going out of style, lighthouses, the fact that everyone roots for the Red Sox and Patriots, Raye’s Mustard, bean and casserole suppers, China Hill, Shipyard beer, and probably a whole bunch of other things I will think of after I hit “publish”.
I even don’t mind the never ending winter, frost heaves, mud and black fly season. The only thing I don’t like about Maine is Moxie because it is disgusting. I also think Whoopie Pies are a bit overrated.
I left Maine in 2009 for a guy. The gamble paid off because I married that guy three years later. He never had any interest in moving to Maine and while I missed Maine, I never really looked back. I never entertained the thought of returning until he was dying. The thought of raising my daughter by myself was scary and in Maine she would have two grandparents who love her.
As Bryon was actively dying I started to panic. I was thinking that I could not do this by myself. I was going to need help raising my daughter and I started to think that the only logical solution was to move back to Maine as my parents are there. I convinced myself that this was what I was going to do on the car ride back to Albany.
So…why am I still in New York? Why haven’t I moved back to Maine?
Once I got back to Albany, I began to realize that I was not ready to leave the life Bryon and I had built.
Bryon and I had bought our house two and a half years before he died and we already had so many memories. I wasn’t ready to leave this house. This was the house where we welcomed our daughter into our family. We celebrated two Thanksgivings, two Christmases and two Easters in this house. We hosted two derby parties in our house. We spent many spring and summer afternoons sitting on our front deck. This house was going to be our starter house and we weren’t planning on staying in this house for more than 5-7 years. We even made comments about how small the house felt and how much smaller it was going to feel when we had another baby. While we weren’t going to live our dreams together after all, I wasn’t ready to leave the ghosts of those dreams.
Home is more than a house. Home also includes those you love. I depended on so many of our friends during the course of Bryon’s sickness. Not just for physical help but I depended on them emotionally. I can’t leave them. They were with me through the hardest months of my life. I wouldn’t have gotten through this crisis if it wasn’t for them. Our bonds have only gotten stronger. My friends here have become my family and my daughter has so many aunts and uncles here who love her and look out for her.
The last and most important reason I am still in New York is my daughter. She was 18 months when Bryon went into the hospital for the last time and she was 23 months old when he passed away. She won’t have any first hand memories of him. She will only know him through the stories she will hear as she is growing up. She needs to grow up in the place where her father had lived. She needs to go to the Saratoga Racetrack and Siena basketball games and Albany Law rugby tournaments. She needs to be around the people who loved Bryon and that were important in his life. To move her to Maine would remove her from all of this and I can’t do that to her.
Until my daughter goes to college, we will stay in New York. Then I might return to Maine in 2032 and buy an old farmhouse in a coastal town. Ocean view would be a bonus. Or I might decide that I have had enough of winter and move to the US Virgin Islands or something. I’ll figure it out sometime in the next 15 years.