It’s only a mailbox. Well, a super-duper mailbox. But it represents so much more. After building a house and several years of splitting time between the Twin Cities and Duluth, we have finally tipped the balance and are spending over 50% of our time in the Northland. And we anticipate that growing. So we decided it was time to make it official. Yesterday Rich filled out the forms to make this our formal residence and started mail service. Expecting government forms to fill out in triplicate for the mail, Rich was amused and gratified to find that all it took was writing the address on a post-it note. Done deal – that’s all our mailman needs. Today the mailbox went up. We are Duluthians once more. We both grew up here, and love being back by Lake Superior.
I have to admit that for me, there are still family members in the Twin Cities that tug on the heartstrings of this decision. We are fortunate to have two of our three children settle in good jobs back in the Cities after college. And one has produced two beautiful grandchildren for us. Proximity to them is priceless, which is why I know that we haven’t seen the end of Highway 35 yet. Not in a long shot.
On the flip side, the rest of our family loves Duluth and the North Shore. I guess we brought them up right. And we learned one unexpected lesson. Once we began celebrating holidays in our Duluth home, having our children and grandkids here for the holiday meant having them stay. If the little ones get cranky or need a nap, they don’t head home after the big meal. And we get them for several days, not just one. There is nothing like waking up in the morning and making fresh muffins for my grandson. Or snuggling with my granddaughter as she has her morning bottle. Or perhaps I can go for a run and out for coffee with one of my own kids. The time is precious, and there is nothing like sharing space with them in our home.
My daughter reminded me of the times she and her brothers stayed with my parents in Duluth while Rich and I took time to go up to the Boundary Waters or other adult pursuit. She remembered it fondly, calling it “Grandma and Grandpa Camp.” It’s a term I don’t remember myself, but I’m ready to recreate the experience.