Disclaimer: This story has a very happy ending in which I fall madly in love with Arkansas. Unfortunately, this post does not contain that happy ending.
I’ll never forget the day: May 21, 2013. I was three weeks out of my third C-section, driving Sarah and Tate to school and daycare in our little Nashville suburb while lugging beautiful baby Sawyer in his carrier to get them there. My cell phone rang, and Jeff began the conversation with, “Are you sitting down?” This is not the way to begin any conversation if you ask me…requiring a sitting position means that something big is about to go down.
“Pull over,” Jeff demanded. What. The. What?!? Okay, I pulled over. What could be wrong? Are his parents sick? Did he get fired? What?!?!
“I’ve been offered a job within [my company] in Arkansas. It’s a promotion, a really good job…but it’s in Arkansas.”
Must remain calm. Must make him see the egregious error in logic. “We can’t move to Arkansas,” I state reasonably. “We have a new baby, the kids love their schools, and I have a job. A job that I love. And our family is only an hour away. And it’s…Arkansas. I’m sorry…we can’t go there.” Off the record, I may have a slight tendency to overreact. It isn’t often, but I have been known at times to yell, scream, cry, throw things…therefore, I realized the absolute importance of remaining calm and logical. But let’s also remember that I had given birth a mere three weeks before: the irrational pregnancy hormones had not yet worn off. Not even close.
“Why not?” In his attempt to be positive and act like this wouldn’t be the end of our current awesome life as we knew it, Jeff flippantly asked that question in a way in which I envisioned him shrugging on the other end…which really ticked me off. Enter (from stage right) “just gave birth/haven’t slept in three weeks Carrie.” Is he serious? Arkansawians, Arkansians…what do you even call people from Arkansas?
“Jeff, we have a life in Mt. Juliet. We have friends, a church, jobs…we have put down roots here. This is our home.”
“Carrie, our home is wherever we are together.”
Sage advice…wonder if he is consulting the “How to Spring Relocation on Your Wife” handbook. Does it have different options, like a “Choose Your Own Adventure”? “If your wife is a rational human being, go to script on page 3. If your wife is momentarily irrational, go to script on page 7. If your wife just went post-pregnancy-hormone ballistic on you, consult Appendix C or call attorney.”
Tears. Lots of them. It is then that I realize I have pulled over in the Mt. Juliet Police Department’s parking lot. I am sobbing in the front seat of my car, a newborn baby in the back, and yelling, “Why would you even want to do this?” into my cell phone. I’ve attracted attention.
The buzz-cut police officer literally tapped on my window. (I wish it had been with a flashlight or a gun…that would’ve made for a better story, right?) “Is everything alright, ma’am?”
“NOOOOO!!! It’s NOT alright!” I sob.
“Are you okay? Can I call someone for you? What’s the matter?” He’s thinking: this crazy girl has driven up in our parking lot and is in the middle of some domestic dispute. Except she’s on the phone. And there’s a baby in the back seat.
“ARKANSAS is the matter, officer!” sobbing into phone. Jeff trying to convince me that all is not lost.
“YES!!! My crazy husband wants to move there. Can you believe that?!?”
Jeff: “Is that a police officer? Where are you, Carrie? Did you get pulled over again?”
Me: “Arkansas!!!! I don’t want to move there! I don’t even want to drive through there!!”
Officer: “Arkansas? It’s not so bad, ma’am. I grew up in southern Arkansas. It’s a really beautiful state.”
Jeff: “Will you at least not say ‘no’ right away?”
So, two men had me cornered. One I love more than my own life, and one was wielding a billy club. (Okay, so flashlight, gun, AND billy club were all safely tucked away on his belt, but I wish he had felt the urge to wield them as it would’ve made for a better story.)
And so I said I’d think about it. Did I mean it? Nope.