We are not moving, but plenty of families we know are. Connecticut is a hard place to raise a family, especially in Fairfield County. The cost of living is just so high. Land is ridiculously expensive, taxes force retirees south, home costs remain high due to the proximity to New York City, highways are frequently snarled with traffic, and the trains are breaking down more and more often. Connecticut ranks 4th in state population density with an average of 743 people per square mile. However Fairfield County has a population density of 1323 people per square mile, putting it just under Washington, DC. Living this close to people can get on your nerves. Our family is tied to Manhattan due to Greg’s career. He actually likes the company he works for and the benefits make the commute and the fact we live here bearable, but there are times when we dream of greener grass somewhere in Tennessee.
Some of our friends have made the choice to raise their families elsewhere. This spring we said goodbye to a Notebook Girlz member whose family bought a farm in New York. Another Notebook Girlz member and her sister (both very good friends of my girls) are moving to Florida this week because of the lower cost of living and ability to work outdoors year round. A member of LCC is moving to Southern California due to her Dad’s job. This is a significant percentage of our friends. My girls are feeling a bit lost. We have discussed returning to school. I would dread the negative aspects of school like testing, calendars, lockdowns (happen here frequently), homework and the negative social influences, but I realize that being around children all day, having classes together, after school activities, sports teams, band and orchestra, clubs, student council, newspaper, and school spirit are all positives of school are very very hard to duplicate here in CT where coops are small and the homeschooling community is very fractured.
We have had to venture out. Try new things. Step out of our comfort zone and seek out new connections. I was so blessed to find a tribe of women who embraced us when we began this journey into homeschooling. It is hard to believe that was almost 5 years ago and over the years these relationships have changed. We don’t have that little bubble of awesomeness anymore so we have to create our own awesome.
It can be found in the trees. Grace loved her day climbing and ziplining with other teens a few weeks ago. We hope to get back there soon, at night, when the woods are lit up with twinkling fairy lights. Last week we ventured to Capture the Flag, an activity that has been taking place for years, but we never joined in on. This week over 30 kids, mostly teens, all joined in an organized activity and played two games that took about two hours. Joining in on something where you know no one, have no idea about the rules of the game, and are unfamiliar with the location is hard. Thankfully they ran into (quite literally) one boy they are friends with and knew a few others from beach nights.
They had fun. They challenged themselves. They may not have found their next best friend but they opened up the possibility for that to happen. They did not love the game, but they liked it enough to go back and play again.