I remember the summer of 2005 like it was yesterday. I was 18 years old, and moving 335 miles from everything I ever knew. We packed up my dad’s Tahoe and headed east to St. Louis. I, like most college-bound freshmen, told myself I was never coming back. I had no idea how life can completely change what’s important.
I had big dreams.
Dreams of living in a big city with a corporate job. Dreams of walking to the grocery store with a baby strapped to my chest, and a toddler in a stroller. Dreams of returning home, but only on holidays and special occasions. Dreams of something bigger than my small-town upbringing which I was certain it would not appeal to me in this lifetime.
Fast-forward to 2014. I was living in Dallas with my husband (who worked 60+ hours a week) and expecting our first baby. My BIG dreams became a reality. A reality that caused me tears every day, partly because I was hormonal, but largely because I missed my family and friends. I found myself longing for old friends, familiarity and a slower pace. I dreamed of Saturdays at the farmers market, coffee dates with my mom and running into old classmates. I desperately wanted to move home (the one place I swore I would never return).
At 36 weeks pregnant, we packed up our rental home, moved to Bentonville and put down roots. Having lived in two big cities over the course of nine years, Northwest Arkansas felt like home in some ways, but immensely different in others.
It was no longer the place I moved to in 1993, nor the place I left in 2005. It was vastly different–in a good, healthy, exciting and BIG way.
We had local restaurants, urban coffee shops, designer boutiques, bike paths, and a state-of-the-art museum. I had childhood friends within two miles, and my parents within seven. I had girlfriends with kids, a neighborhood playgroup, a part-time job, hobbies, and yet, part of me still ached for more.
I needed my tribe: A group of women bound by the common thread of motherhood; willing to celebrate, support, and encourage one another.
Heaven knows I wasn’t going to find it sitting around wishing someone else would find it for me, and I knew I wasn’t alone in my longing. I knew there were other moms (like me) feeling lost in a once intimate, small town. Moms who never left Northwest Arkansas. Moms who left, and returned to find that their small-town was changing and booming. Moms who no longer knew where they fit in, who they could turn to for answers, or who the best pediatricians were in town.
I knew I wanted to build a community of moms to address these needs, and I took a leap of faith, and did just that.
In a few short months, I have made 17 new friends who I may not have met otherwise. They are courageous, funny, kind and honest, and they all share a passion for our community and the moms in it.
That big dream? THIS is my BIG dream. And guess what?
YOU are welcome here. YOU fit in here. YOU are supported here. YOU are heard here. YOU are encouraged here. YOU are celebrated here.
YOU are part of our tribe.
I have found my home (again) and I hope you have found yours here–with us.