Written Friday, on the way home.

To be honest with you, even though the house is for sale, even though when the bungee cord is finally released, that’s where we’re landing, I have not spent a lot of time in the city of Nashville.

Don’t get me wrong; I have seen enough and learned enough to know that I love it, not in a nice-place-to-visit kind of way (ie, Hawaii. Or Phoenix. Or Vegas. Or Disney World. No wait… I would totally live there), but in a “Yes. I could see our family having a great life here” kind of way.

What I love about Nashville, really, is about who I love in Nashville. And again, as anything I write about moving is filled with asterisks and disclaimers so that my home base in the Chi-town ‘burbs know YOU ROCK MY WORLD AND ALWAYS WILL, i have to say that some of the most fascinating and beautiful-hearted people I’ve had the privilege to call Friend live in Nashville or the great towns that surround it.

What is funny about our Nashville family is that most of them did not know each other until we gathered them in the same place – either at the Branson GMR, on Twitter, or at this big old dinner at Maggiano’s back in February. Since then, professional connections and personal relationships have flourished amongst many of them, which is just, you know, all delightful and stuff.

The funny thing…and the thing I will make it my goal to fix, is that many of them don’t see each other unless we happen to be in town, even though we’ve been in town only…6?…times this year, and even though no one lives more than a 45ish minute drive from each other (though people in Nashville view this as a lot longer and more inconvenient of a drive than we see it in Chicago. That will take me some adjusting).

(Speaking of adjusting, when we do get there, I am really going to have to sloooow down. I was walking toward the door at Crackerbarrel today, just at my normal pace, and I scared a few people. I’m just a fast walker. No one in Tennessee is though, so when they see me coming, they think I’m trying to knock them down…I have the same problem when I’m in Branson. Anyway…)

I know part of the reason for this is that pretty much all of our Nashville friends travel extensively for a music-related job, which means when they are home, they want to be HOME. In their house. On their couch. Eating a home-cooked meal at their kitchen table or maybe just a lovely frozen pizza in front of their TV. I understand this, but…

If I’m going to live there, and since the “okay-ness” of me uprooting everything somewhat depends on the base of friends I’ve built there, the social gatherings are going to have to be more frequent. Thankfully –

Kelly…is not afraid to drive 45 minutes to have coffee for 90.

Kelly…will cook for the whole coxy (?) army on a Thursday night if it means we can watch Grey’s together.

Kelly…will plan a playdate that lasts four hours or until the children have melted into teary puddles if it means the children and I can connect with people who know us and like to swing/sing Disney songs/picnic/”be together” as much as we do.

Kelly…apologizes for referring to herself in the third person.

This week’s quickie trip to Music City was filled with friends. We didn’t see all of them, but we saw a great sampling. On Wednesday night we ate at The Best Italian Restaurant In America, Nana Rosa, with Jimmy & Liz and Jeff & Sue, none of whom knew about Nana Rosa until we told them about it. Tee-hee, and thank you Twitter, in particular Ban-Joey, for cluing us in. (Someday I will find words to write about the Mediterranean ravioli in garlic butter and parmesan. It’s in my top 5 meals EVER. EVER!)

Thursday continued our “meet-and-eat” with Matt and Christy in the morning (Mallard’s, a little diner where Johnny and June used to go, be still my heart) and Ann for lunch. We spent a few hours in the studio recording a very special song to us (thanks Jeff and Paul and Duncan and Joel and the rest of the geniuses). We had dinner “just the two of us” before visiting with our hosts Jeff and Sue a bit more.

They…have led and are leading a completely fascinating life. I will at some point write solely of them, their zany wit, their big hearts, and their humble-but-all-out coolness.

At the last moment, we got the opportunity to have a “quick breakfast” with Tori before we left town. She lives south of Nashville and we were staying north, and heading north to home, but we met in the middle and risked being a few hours late, because Tori…is Tori. Because we hadn’t seen her since May.

And because, well, she is one of my favorite people in the whole wide world.

How do I know this? Because we spent 3-and-a-half hours in Crackerbarrel, and I could have stayed longer –

Just talking. And laughing. And listening. And hugging. And being so fricken grateful that there is someone in the world who seems to get me… as a woman, a music wife, a writer, a mom, a Christian who is not completely conventional… all at the same time.

I love her. I have no idea if she knows what it’s like to hear thoughts coming out of her mouth that I though only existed in my head, but… I love her. That’s the best I can say.

I love my Nashville circle. I love my Branson circle, too, which we’ll see next week right now. I love my HOME circle, which truly connects all the scattered dots together.

I love my circles.

Seriously.

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