Today is a special day for me. It’s the anniversary of the start of Phase Two.
You can’t have a Phase Three without first having a Phase Two. My Phase Two began on this date, seven years ago. It was the day I packed up my mom’s CR-V and headed for the desert for a job.
I fell in love with Arizona instantly. You know how people remember what they were doing during major historical events? Well I remember the moment I drove over a hill and caught sight of hundreds of saguaros for the first time. (Maybe it’s not as significant as, say, Osama Bin Laden being killed, but it was a big deal to me.)
Several months in, I met Mike, who was from Pennsylvania. We knew pretty early on that it was the real deal. That someday we’d move back East, get married and have kids. In the meantime, we traveled around the state on weekends, soaking up the landscape. We traveled to California and Mexico frequently, figuring we might never live in this part of the country again.
We got engaged. And the first question, the one that is a no-brainer for most people, already had us stumped: Where would we get married?
I’d always pictured being married in Ohio. But we loved Arizona. And we didn’t intend to live here forever. We wanted it to always be special to us. So we decided on a desert wedding, so that our marriage certificate would always bear the seal of the state where we fell in love.
We revisited the discussion of moving often. We even looked for jobs in a few east coast states at one point. But our hearts weren’t in the search. We felt like we should move back East. We knew it was expected of us. We missed our families. I missed watching my nieces grow up. But by now, we had jobs we loved. Friends we loved. (Not to mention a neighborhood Mexican restaurant we really loved.) We felt settled. We felt like it was home.
So we put off the discussion again and again, saying when the right time came to move, we would know it. Each time it came back up, we shrugged and stared at each other, looking for the right answer in the other’s eyes. Inevitably, one of us would say, “I really love Arizona…” and the debate would stall again.
And now, we wanted to have a baby. And although we always thought we’d move back East before that point, now we knew that a baby meant the need for financial stability. For two secure jobs in a not-so-secure economy. It wasn’t the time to move 2,000 miles and try to find two new jobs. It was the time to hang on to the jobs we had.
But we didn’t want to wait for that baby.
So it was decided. We would add a third person to our family. And he would be an Arizona Native, a rare breed, as anyone in Arizona will tell you. And the fact that his birth certificate would bear the name of the state we loved… it was icing on an already pretty amazing cake; the perfect way to welcome Phase Three.
So here we are. Seven years later. No plans to leave. Just enjoying every day as it comes.