Saturday, November 24, 2012

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye...

When Mark and I moved our family to Belleville on a bitterly cold January day in 2009, we had no clue what was coming. We'd sold our house in Newcastle on the heels of a vicious recession and were just trying to keep ourselves - and our family - together in the aftermath of job loss and a frustrating, province-wide search for employment.

There were days, moored here in a strange city in the middle of winter with two boys - one just 3, the other a busy 16 months -when I questioned my own sanity at making such a move. Almost exactly a month later, my brother passed away and in the days between his death and his funeral, I wandered the unfamiliar rooms of our rented house in a fog. Cast adrift. Lost.

By Spring, I'd moved from now-familiar rooms to unfamiliar streets, just beginning to blossom with the promise of new beginnings. I made some incredible friends, fell in love with this city's parks, its people, my neighbourhood and the fresh breath of hope that blew into our faltering marriage.

In 2010, exactly one year after our move to the Friendly City, we spent another frigid January day hauling our possessions and hopes into another house on the same street. Only this one was ours and we were staying for keeps.

Or so we thought.

In July of this year, Mark received a job offer from a company based in our hometown. With equal amounts trepidation and delight, he accepted the job and began in September, a day after the Reds and I entered SK, Grade 2 and Final Year, respectively.

As of this writing, he has almost passed his probationary period and has given me permission to "officially" announce that - at some point, possibly this summer - we will be moving home.

To Bowmanville.

It feels odd to write that, now. Bowmanville is our shared hometown and many of our memories of childhood are also shared as Mark and I grew up mere blocks from each other. 

But as adults, our best memories - for me at least - have been made here, in Belleville. This is where our family has truly grown, even though the Reds were born elsewhere. THIS is the place whose streets I know well - at least, the ones in my end of the city - whose parks have beckoned and shaded and pleased me and my sons for almost five years. It's where many of my dearest friends live, my sons began school and I began to dream of something bigger for myself.

And yet...

Bowmanville is filled with old, true friends and amazing opportunities for all of us. Its streets are unfamiliar to me now, as they've multiplied a thousand-fold it seems, in the years since we've been gone. But I've been visiting. Since early summer, I've been quietly researching schools, house prices and the professional possibilities for me, once I've graduated in the Spring. I've looked into sports teams and Scout troops, pored over home builders' plans, old photographs and sweet memories.

I've narrowed down the school search to two which are well-run and have great reputations. We know people whose children attend one or the other and are thriving and happy. Our "wish list" for a new house in our old stomping grounds includes being able to walk the kids to school and easy access to parks and other  green space.

Alas. The public school, which is presently being built to accommodate the population of an old one, won't have a playground. Budget cuts have made one impossible and so my hometown friends have rallied to "win" one.

The Aviva Community Fund is a relatively unique concept: communities submit their ideas and plans to competition. The concept/idea/plan/dream that garners the most votes - from anywhere in the world - can receive up to $100,000 towards its goal. In this instance, voting for the playground builds a place to be a kid for deserving students, but it also helps to build a brand-new community at the same time.

I mention it here, dear readers, because an old, dear hometown friend asked me to. I ask you  to vote please, dear reader, so that the children of my childhood friends will have a place to begin building lifelong friendships like the ones their parents enjoy.

So that my sons might begin building them, too.

With tears in my eyes for all that we will be leaving behind and with enormous hope for what we might find, I'm ignoring my own "never plug stuff" rule to ask for your vote.

To vote, please click this link:

I will accept your vote with gratitude and love and consider it a farewell gift....or one that says, "Welcome home!"


If you vote, would you let me know in the comments? Thank you. For all of it.


  1. Wow! Congrats. There is nothing like moving home, something I did (Thailand>Calgary) in 2005.

    I voted. Kind of sad that's what it comes down to. I'm not sure about the ethics, but corporate sponsorship might be an avenue.

    1. Thanks, Leanne. My heart, though aching, knows that this is what is best for our family, so I am mostly at peace with the decision.

      Thanks for voting, too. I hate that it comes down to votes, too, but....I want a playground for the kids, so....

      The things we do for love, eh?

  2. Oh Liz, I'm happy for you and sad for me, as we have just recently become friends. I will miss you terribly, but will be excited for you and your family. Do not forget us here. And visit when you can. You will always be welcome.

  3. Sweet friend, we are not gone yet. We'll be here at LEAST until late summer, possibly one more year. Belleville is my home now and will always be, in my heart. I won't ever stay away for long. You can't get rid of me that easily! :)


    1. Good :) And I'll be sure to always have Baileys in my cupboard, just for you :)

  4. Liz, I would like to be the first to say that Bowmanville would be lucky to have you back and I know a certain someone who would be absolutely thrilled to have you closer, calling you neighbor once again.

    1. Thanks, Keefer. Heh. Keefer. I like it. I think I'll call you that from now on. Ok, Neighbour?


  5. I am so happy for you to have this opportunity to return home, Liz!
    You are truly one of a kind.
    May the road rise up to meet you...

  6. Thanks, Sarah. But you know, we're not going just yet. Maybe this summer...maybe next. I mean, we're going, we're just not sure when. So you're still stuck with us here in the Friendly City...


  7. Voted.

    And what a wonderful thing for both of you! Hubby and I moved back to his home city, a place I'd always loved and it has been wonderful.

    So does Bowmanville bring you closer to me or farther away? :)

    1. Thanks, Renee.

      To be honest, we're both in two minds about this, because Belleville has become our home and we're leaving behind some incredible people and great memories. But so many things are guiding this decision, we can't ignore them any longer.

      Today is sad, for both of us. Until I posted this piece, we hadn't truly made a FINAL, final decision, because neither of us wanted to. We still don't want to, but have to trust that it's still a good one, for our family, extended and all. sends me further from you, but only just. When you coming to visit?

  8. I voted, because a school without a playground is wrong...I hope you win! ♥ All the best to you and your family: A new adventure awaits you!

    1. Thank you so much, Janette! I hope we win, too! And you're right - it's a new adventure and one which will, we hope, bring us as much happiness as we've known here in the Friendly City.

  9. Vote number 2425, baby. ;) Cha-ching! Hope you all win that playground. Kids NEED that.

    Best wishes on all the new and exciting adventures before you!

  10. Cha-ching is right! Thanks, Annie! Kids do need to play - hope we win!