My daughter and I recently read the story of the city and country mouse for a school assignment. Afterward, I started to think about my past, present, and future homes. Being raised in the country, I always longed for so much more.
The Country Mouse and City Mouse
I grew up in the country in the heart of Texas. It was the middle of nowhere, at best. Today, my childhood home is an endless sea of cookie-cutter houses, truck stops, fast food establishments, and elementary schools. It is a stark contrast from the land I once knew, filled with wide-open spaces.
As a child, I was a country girl who envied those who lived in town and vowed to become a city girl one day. To a wide-eyed child, the city had so much more to offer. Shops, restaurants, entertainment, people, and activities were all within reach, right outside the front door. In the country, we had to drive what seemed like forever to get anywhere or find anything. We always want what we don’t have and often believe the grass is greener on the other side.
When I left home to attend university, I was in awe of having a store, any store, on a nearby corner, not to mention a mall right down the street. It was eye-opening not to have to drive to get things. I met people from all walks of life. Many were from Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio – the three largest cities in the state. I became convinced the city life was for me. After graduation, I packed up and moved to Dallas.
A City Mouse Digs Up Her Roots
Since that time, I have moved from sea to shining sea as a military spouse. Hawaii, Florida, Washington, D.C., Jamaica, Alaska, and The Bahamas have all been home since 2005. Except for a small, remote island in Alaska, I continue to be a city mouse.
However, on a recent trip to Texas, I had a chance to reconnect with my roots and share them with my daughter. While in The Lone Star State, she had the opportunity to ride horses regularly and feed animals daily. She developed a fondness for classic country music icons like Willie Nelson. We attended a rodeo, a first for my daughter. It made my heart smile to see her, along with others, stand for the national anthem with their hands over their hearts. You must understand, she has spent all but 20 months of her almost seven years outside of the United States. Indeed, my island girl suddenly took a liking to the country life.
Glitter Is Not Always Gold
My husband and I both grew up in small towns. Yet, each of us spread our wings and flew away a long time ago. Today, in a world fraught with doom and gloom, the small-town life suddenly has so much more appeal.
In the country, we can spread out and run wild and free. We can breathe deeper and let out a sigh of relief not found in the city. Not only is there more physical space, but everything moves at a slower pace. It is just a simpler life in which it is easier to think, relax, and find peace. There is no rat race to win for the country mouse.
Those raised in the country know exactly where they come from and typically know where they are going. It is far away for some, and the final destination is to remain in place for others. You realize in the country not to be blinded by all that glitters, for it isn’t always gold.
As someone who grew up wanting to leave the small-town country life behind, I now see the benefit of returning home to exactly that place and lifestyle. While the world around us has changed, the values, morals, and beliefs that come with the country life have not wavered. As our military life slows down, I feel the need for simplicity and stability so much more than in the past. The question remains, where shall we plant roots for our family?
I suppose, in the end, I have realized perhaps I am a country mouse. As the children’s story taught us an important lesson long ago, the world filled with political turmoil, economic upheaval, and healthcare crises can still teach us the same morals today. A quiet, peaceful life with fewer luxuries, but full of stability, can prove to be so much more rewarding than a life of many pleasures with danger and instability lurking around every corner.