One of the most frequent questions we get from people who know and love our family is something along the lines of: “Ya, ya, we know you guys like Tennessee but what do the kids think?” Today, I’m going to share with you the good, the bad and the ugly…in the eyes of our kids: ages 6, 10, 12 and 14…

What do you miss the most about California?

Our 6 year old looked at me and immediately said, “Nothing.” Then he thought about it for a second and said, “Well, I missed trick or treating with my friends and my cousins.”

The 10 year old quickly responded, “Friends.”

Our more loquacious 12 yr old: “Close friends, our church, my school friends, and our family.”

My 14 year old added, “Friends, family, and the weather always staying the same.”

What do you love most about Tennessee?

Our 6 year old exclaimed “Snow!”

Our 10 year old said, “More horses and more places to run and it’s prettier. I like my new friends here and everyone has been kinder here. The kids at school are more polite.”

Our 12 year old: “More land and more opportunities.” “Opportunities for what?”, I asked with a degree of trepidation. “Like to play soccer and not have the ball go over the fence”, he quickly replied… (To see pics of the difference in our backyards check out this post:

Shockingly, our very independently minded 14 year old said, “There are less rules.”

What advice do you have for kids moving to a new state?

Unfortunately, our six year old doesn’t have any ideas for you, but my 10 year old recommends everyone fly. (You’ll understand why after reading about the tragic cat leash situation she experienced getting over here: If you’re driving, our 12 year old recommends you “bring lots and lots of things to do so you don’t get bored.” He also says, “You shouldn’t be scared to start a new school because people are very friendly here” (“and kind!” our 6 year old chimed in). The 14 year old knocked my socks off once again when he said, “It will be worth it because there are less rules.”

Guess what? There really are less rules here! Two examples just from last week: I returned 11 library books and started receiving notifications that two of the books were late. Having been raised in California libraries and being all too familiar with how fees can rack up, I called the library, worrying I was going to owe like $26 for a Dog Man book. (Truthfully, I had put off calling them over the holidays… Who wants to think about library fees at Christmas?!) When I told the woman on the other line we had returned them and asked how much we owed, she said, “Oh ma’am we don’t charge late fees. We only charge you if the book is damaged or missing.” I felt so LIBERATED! On that same day, when my husband headed to the Nashville airport for work, the bus driver spotted him fumbling around with his luggage at his car in the pouring rain. He stopped and said “I’m only supposed to wait at the bus stop, but I don’t follow rules in the rain.” Hooray for common sense and kindness!

In conclusion, we miss our people. You can’t replace memories, community, fellowship, and trust. All of those things take time to build and, while we are committed to the good work of building them here, California will always hold a very special place in our hearts because many special people who poured into us are still there.

But, we sure don’t miss extra rules. (Apparently, my oldest especially doesn’t miss them.) We don’t miss rudeness. We don’t miss masks at school. We don’t miss sporting events cancelled because of forest fire mismanagement and excessive regulations to protect the young and healthy from developing a natural immunity to Covid.

As for me, I miss my friends, my family and In N Out.

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