Pictured above is my parent's backyard. Well, part of it. My parents and 5 of my siblings moved to Idaho 7+ years ago. Despite the fact that I was out of the house and married for several years at that point, I felt a little orphaned. In my mind, children move away, not parents. I make up rules sometimes.
I had no children yet, so I knew I would have my children without them there and that was sad to me. I know it's so common. Most of the parents I know aren't from where I live. They came to the Bay Area and got their families started without mommy and daddy. I get it. I'm a baby. Someone stop the whining.
And they broke another rule I didn't know I had; they moved to Idaho.
Idaho. Yeah, you heard me. I realized that I was prejudice against Idaho at that point. Well, actually I didn't realize it at that point only in retrospect. I'm just going to go ahead and admit that up front.
Then they broke another rule, my rebellious parents. They moved to a small town. Emmett, Idaho has a whopping 6,700 people. 1.6 million in the entire state. (There are about 77,000 in my city and growing quickly. 7+ million in my area. 40 million in the state. So you see the contrast.) Apparently, I had thoughts on that as well.
Since Idaho is where so many of my people are, I've been compelled visit a couple times nearly every year.
When Zachary was born I was assigned a random pediatrician at the hospital for his first check-up. It somehow came out that he is from the same area in Idaho my family now lives and had every intention of getting back to. Now by the time Z was born, my feelings on the subject had been somewhat adjusted. Our conversation on Idaho was longer and more detailed than the one on Z.
He looked at me intently and implored me not to tell the secret. He was very serious. He told me of a recurring dream he had, nightmare really. He went on his favorite hike only to reach the ridge and find it over looked a parking lot where once a pristine valley spread beneath him. Sorry, Doc.
Later, a friend would visit Idaho and knowing my connection ask me why no one knows about this place. She called it a hidden gem which is funny because my family lives in Gem County of the Treasure Valley. Is it really a secret if it's in the name?
I'm not trying to paint a rosy picture of perfection in Idaho. There are problems here that might even be unique to here, just as my problems are unique to me. In a personal conversation, I might discuss those concerns but I'd never detail them here. I really don't believe in exposing problems that I'm doing nothing to contribute solutions to. That's a family value we have. We don't complain, we contribute. At least, that's what we try to do, albeit imperfectly. My step-mom reminded me of that recently when I was discussing some of the concerns I have about Idaho with her. She is so right.
Ryan and I are invested right where we live so this isn't my swan song to California. It's just to say that I understand the treasure that's here, aside from my family. I treasure this beautiful place now too.
I've also found that Ryan and I are small town people. We live a small town life even though we live in a decidedly and comparatively large town.
Ryan is the principal of our neighborhood school just down the block from our home and where we send our kids, on purpose. We pay attention to the happenings of our community. We play at the same parks, shop at the same grocery store. We are connected. We see problems and as we are able, try to be contributors to the solutions rather than complainers. We also know the treasure we have in our own hometown and celebrate it, enjoy it. Our own treasure valley.
My parents immediately began investing in their community and caring about the people and happenings here when they moved. I'm proud of them and their example to me. Also, I'm glad to learn the new and many treasures of this land of hidden gems. I ❤️ Idaho.
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