The most terrible decision I ever had to make was whether to come to New Brunswick. I knew that my mother would be distressed if I decided to come here, so far away from her. My husband left the decision up to me, but I knew he wanted to come here. The schools around my Massachusetts home that had offered him a job weren't really suitable for him, I knew, although he would have made the best of it, as he always does. There was something about NB that called to both of us.Finally, I said we'd come here, and to soften the blow for my mother, said that maybe it would be just for a year or two, for a lark, to see what living in a a foreign country was like. "Two roads diverged in a woods."
We had been through a difficult two years in North Carolina -- I've chronicled it earlier on the blog -- and coming here would seem like a new start. While Bill was being interviewed at UNB, I took the two kids for a walk down Queen Street. It was just before Christmas, cold and dark. A "little old lady" stopped me, looked in the stroller, and said, "That child isn't dressed warmly enough." When I was agonizing over the decision of where to go after graduate school, I kept coming back to that incident. I longed for this place where little old ladies would help bring up my children, would look out for them. I had been an over the top responsible child, and then adult, and that trait weighed heavily on me and continues to do so. On the surface it is of course a good trait, but there are downsides, I know, extreme meddling in other people's affairs being one of them. Not letting things take their course. Many others.
My instincts about NB were right. Not long ago I compiled a list of people who had helped bring up my three children, and it was a long one, including people who had helped them right into their twenties. The people of this neighborhood were prominent on the list.