Except for a short period of time in high school when I thought I'd grow up, be all metropolitan, get a job at Metro Detroit's alternative newspaper, and live in some converted loft in downtown Detroit, I've wanted to live near Lake Michigan. For as far back as I can remember.
DaHubby and I joke that I only agreed to marry him after I saw he drove a great big, brand-new, beautiful, black Ford F150 4X4 and I learned he in lived in Southwest Michigan within walking distance of the lake.
And, after living here 10 years - the longest I've lived in any place but my childhood home - the lake still mesmerizes me. I still haven't gotten used to the way it affects the weather. Plus, the wind around these parts is like nothing I've ever seen living anywhere else in Michigan.
Besides my husband and little ones, it's become my heart, my anchor here. And, I am going to miss it so.
And, as if leaving my "second" heart wasn't enough, in a mere 8 months, we will no longer be Michiganders either. For the first time ever. This is a major deal for a dedicated Yooper and Metro Detroit native. Our babies will not be raised here and learn to love this state as much as we do. And, for some reason I've yet to identify, it's very upsetting to me that they may not remember living here and they'll consider themselves Illinois-ians.
But, in the meantime, I plan to enjoy every last minute of living in this precious place. I'm so thankful for the opportunity of living here.
The beach. The pier. The sound. The smell all the way up at the house. The weather. Seeing the freighters, sailors, fishermen, jet skiers, and kite boarders. Feeling safe seeing the Coast Guard boats and helicopters regularly.
Watching the fireworks over the water, watching from the bluff or the beach. Remember our sweet angel-dog chasing waves on the shore.
Having 4 or 5 beaches in the summer to choose from. Finding the one little beach-gem that the tourists don't know about. Music on the bluff. Music on the pier.
The frozen lighthouses. The huge Christmas tree on the bluff. The Christmas lights decorating the trees all above the lake.The stacks of ice on the shore. The holes in the ice - like blowholes on a whale - throwing frigid water into the sky as the water moves beneath.
I'll miss you, Lake Michigan. I'll be finding a new heartbeat in Northern Illinois but you'll always be the best place I've ever lived.