I've wanted to leave Lethbridge for years; ask any one of my close friends. When I first moved here, I hated it. I hated the people, the culture, the mindset, the terrible transit. I was completely miserable. As the years have passed, I have grown fond of Lethbridge.. We seem to have this mutual understanding that I'll never fully love this city as though it's my home, but holy hell, do we have history.
Lethbridge has seen me through two marriages, one of which imploded on itself. It's seen me through a less than graceful escape from an abusive ex-husband, and helped me regain confidence in myself as I built my own home in the downtown part of the city. This is the city where I officially decided to leave Mormonism, and it's the same place where I have struggled to re-program myself from the impact that a life in a religion as such, has on you. This is where I met The Hubby, and fell in love with him, on the gravel beach of Park Lake. I had both my kids here, in the hospital, taught them to ride their bikes, walked to the local parks, and helped them grow into the little humans they are right now.
Lethbridge has shown me the beauty of community. When we had another miscarriage, a group of women rallied around us, bringing us meals, and comfort. I was empowered by some of these women to aim for a natural hospital birth, something that I achieved. When we've struggled as a couple, with the kids, or individually, we've always been able to reach out into the community here, and find some sort of resource or helping hand. It's always been comforting knowing that there is an invisible support system, eager to steady us when we need it.
I have learned in the time I have been here, that the definition of friendship is not as clear cut as we once thought. I've learned that you can wind up being friends with the most surprising people. I've been burned by those closest to me, and I've been surprised at the generosity of the strangers I line up with to get my morning coffee.
I'm going to miss driving down Whoop Up Drive, on a clear winter morning, the snow covering the coulees, making them look like clouds. I'm going to miss Potato's excitement when he sees a train on the famous train bridge. I'm going to miss the ease of texting my friends and winding up at one of our favorite restaurants- the ones where the servers know us, and sit at our table to chat with us while we finish our drinks.
Oh, I'm going to miss The Owl's fried pickles. They changed my life, a religious experience almost.
I'm going to miss my best friends. The ones that I text all day. The ones who love my kids like their own. The ones who helped pick me up when I was below rock bottom. The ones who love me, who love who I am, and who put up with my awkward jokes. The ones who love when I drink wine and lose my filter (or not).The ones who have become my actual family, proving that sometimes you are lucky to choose your family. I'm going to miss them a lot. A lot.
I'm going to miss looking out the car window on our drive to Nobleford and seeing the mountains across the canola fields on a clear day. Of course, we'll miss The Hubby's family so much. The kids, oh boy, will they miss them most of all. We'll miss the constant, familiar support and love they have given us, which will still be there, but in a different way. The reprieve they provide when they take the kids for the weekend. The way every Sunday dinner feels like coming home, and reconnecting. I'm going to miss watching the kids run around in their backyard every weekend, and demand that each one of them play with them.
The chinooks were the first thing that made me feel some fondness for Lethbridge. I'm certainly going to fantasize about a heavenly gust of wind making it's way through Edmonton and melting the snow. I know how cold it gets there-my lashes just froze thinking about it. I will most certainly miss the mild, spring like winters that we have been spoiled with.
It's weird to feel this attached to a city that feels as though it's chewed us up and spit us out more times than I can count. Being here for nine and a half years will do that, I guess. When we load up the boxes and all of our things, heading out toward Calgary, and then onto Edmonton, there will be tears. Not because I wish we were staying; I don't. The kind of tears that mark an occasion when you close a chapter and move on to the next.
It's been good decade, Lethbridge.