From Small Town to City Life: Reimagining Our Dreams

My husband and I had always seen ourselves raising our family in a small western town. But after our daughter Annie was born and diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, we realized that we might have to let go of the rural life that we had imagined.

| 4 min read
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Morgan Rawson
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Ah spring! The season of awakening. The feeling of hope filling the air. After a long winter, it is so amazing to see everything coming alive. For me, spring is the perfect time for reflection. A perfect opportunity to reflect on where I have been and I where am going: a process that includes sifting through old dreams and coming to the realization that some of them have been replaced by new ones.  

As I open the windows to our home and start my spring cleaning, I start to smile thinking about where life has taken me and my family. It is hard to believe that it has been six months since we moved to the place we now call home. Six months since we let go of our dream of small town life and moved to a big city. Although the transition seems like it began only six short months ago, the truth is that it really began after our daughter Annie was born and diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.  

My husband and I had always seen ourselves raising our family in a small western town. We were both raised in the west and enjoyed everything it had to offer. We had lived briefly in one of America's largest cities before deciding to start our family, but after a vacation to Alaska we were reminded of our dream and decided we were done with city life for good. We jumped on the first opportunity to return to living in a small town. Our son was born shortly after we arrived. We like to say that he grew up “wild.” He was hiking and skiing by the age of two. Our family was immersed and thriving in outdoor culture when our daughter Annie arrived a few years later. We had started to dream about owning some land. Maybe we should embrace homesteading? A tiny house? Maybe at least grow a big garden and get some chickens? But as it turned out, life had other plans.  

After Annie's birth and diagnosis with cystic fibrosis, I also faced some health challenges. Whereas I had to spend a year traveling between three states for my care, we found incredible care for Annie within our state. But clinic visits were still several hours away. We started to worry about emergencies and not being able to get to treatment in time. Between the two of us something had to give, but how do you let go of the life that you had become so firmly grounded in? 

We took a look at our options and determined what our priorities were. At the top of our list were excellent medical care, job opportunities and somewhere relatively close to family. Unfortunately, the most promising solution was life in a big city. As we reluctantly accepted this, we reminded ourselves that we needed to have faith that this would be a better situation for our family. As it turns out, it has been. We do miss our small town, our friends and the experiences we had there, but we are enjoying our new experiences. Best of all, we have peace of mind knowing that both Annie and I will receive the care we need just a few minutes away.

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Although we have settled nicely into our city life, we still sneak in opportunities to get back out to nature and explore the outdoors as a family.

You've heard the saying “Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.” Well, I couldn't agree more! We have decided to embrace this new life and give ourselves the permission to let go of old dreams and open ourselves up to new possibilities. Living with cystic fibrosis is not easy but our family has decided to open ourselves up to all that living has to offer. Who knows, there might be another great adventure just up ahead.

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Morgan is the mother of Cade, 8, and Annie, 3, who has CF. Morgan graduated from Montana State University with a bachelor's degree in Health and Human Development. She spent many years working in the non-profit sector and is now enjoying her role as a full-time homemaker and homeschool teacher.  Morgan is a state advocate for the Foundation, a member of the parent advisory council with the cystic fibrosis team at Billings Clinic, and a top fundraiser for Great Strides Billings, MT. She lives in Bozeman, MT with her children, her husband, Colby, and their two faithful dogs, Jack and Sally.

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