Family Independence: Well Done, Prince Harry and Meghan!

I recently saw the news that Prince Harry and Meghan are in the process of leaving the royal family to venture off to become their own family. I admit, I’m not one to really follow the news or the royal family, other than really enjoying watching “The Crown,” but this “Megxit” news caught my attention.

I can imagine the decision Harry and Meghan have made is fraught with turmoil. But some of the best personal development decisions are.

Maybe it is my own value of independence showing, but I’m proud of those I see who are taking control over their life decisions and moving forward to pursue their best lives. It made me pause and reflect on our own family’s journey. 

Prince Harry and Meghan MarkleWe married and immediately had a baby. We lived in the same town my husband had grown up in; his entire extended family still lived in town, too. I had ideas of how this would be–my children growing up surrounded by family who loved and accepted them, who mentored them, who became lifelong friends. However, my husband and I ultimately decided our future wasn’t in this town. We needed a change.

So, we moved to Texas to live with my parents. We traded one family for the other. It was great. We actually lived in the same house, and my mom was home to provide child care so the two of us could just work to pay off debt and save.

However, again, we realized this wasn’t our dream life either.

We packed our car with everything we owned and moved to Nashville, TN. No, we are not aspiring singers. We had some connections within our church family and we had caught onto the mission of establishing and growing a faith community in downtown Nashville. We knew not a single person in the area, not even in the state. Neither of us had ever even visited Tennessee.

I cannot even begin to describe how incredibly difficult this move was. Our daughter was 15 months old. In order to make enough money to pay bills and buy groceries that first year, I worked seven days a week at three different jobs (teacher at mother’s day out program where my daughter could attend three days per week, Saturdays in the office at the apartment complex so we got a discount on our rent, and Sunday mornings in the nursery at the church that housed our mother’s day out program during the week,) and my husband worked second shift at a foundry. Did I mention we only had one car? The only time he and I saw one another was when we would trade the car and Sunday afternoons. It was a major adjustment!

While it was difficult, it was also an amazing experience.

We learned more about ourselves apart from all the other support networks we had always had in the past.

We were able to identify the bad habits we had developed and could work to correct them without the negative influence of the past. We had space to grow and learn and depend upon one another. We met and made some of our dearest friends during this time. Not friends that I’d had or he’d had before, but friends we both could enjoy spending time with, separately or together. We moved downtown and changed jobs so we had more time together.

We lived in Nashville for four years before we decided the Midwest was where our hearts longed to be, to raise our family, for me to go back and finish college, and to see what we could do with ourselves. Researching the area, we fell in love with our neighborhood in Coralville and have been here since 2007.

We saw our relatives about twice each year. And those visits were great. We had enough time to connect and not too much time for influence from the past creep in. We had changed from the people we were, and we liked who we were becoming.

While we love, love, love our families and are so grateful for their love and support, the best thing we ever did for the health and growth of our nuclear family was to move away and start our own journey.

As I imagine my own children growing up and continuing their life journeys, I hope they find the best path for themselves, whether that is nearby or far away.

“The best thing in life is having a large, loving family…somewhere else.” – Johnny Carson 

So congrats to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for making a difficult decision and prioritizing each other, their children, and their own health and well-being. Well done!

Also, the house next door to us is for sale. Want to be neighbors?

Dawn
Dawn lives life to play! Wife to Bryan and mother of four (ages 16, 13, 10, and 7,) she finds what she most enjoys and does it. Bryan tells people she hates a blank calendar; Dawn says she loves a colorful one. With a BA in Theatre and a certificate in Performing Arts Entrepreneurship from the University of Iowa, Dawn has successfully run two business and volunteered on numerous community theatre Boards of Directors. She currently colors in her calendar with BeneYOU confidence consultation appointments, Chamber Singers of Iowa City rehearsals, strength training and kickboxing at NLXF-NL, House Managing at Riverside Theatre, managing the office at BerganKDV, and setting as many dates with friends as she can. Dawn is passionate about respect and intentional choices. She loves coffee with cream, a good wheat beer, seeing someone discover something for the first time, and listening to audio books while driving.

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