Hi! My name is Leah, which means "weary" in Hebrew. While I'm not of Jewish descent or religion, I feel this name describes me to perfection. I'm approaching 50, and it seems I'm forever tired. Maybe it's because I have three daughters—Alana (15), Lucie (12) and Jaime (8)—as well as a husband (Bill) and a dog (Cockapoo Sunny), who keep me running. Or maybe it's because I haven't quite gotten settled after a major move to Elmhurst from St. Louis three years ago.
It could just be all the moving around I've done. My father was a civilian engineer with the U.S. Air Force, which means I moved around a lot as a child. I was born in Mobile, AL, but spent most of my school years in Grandview, MO. I moved the summer before my senior year to Belleville, IL, where my dad finally retired after 47 years' service. The nice thing about moving around is that I have six siblings who live in different parts of the country, the result of parents who started having kids at the ripe old age of 18 and finished at 45. Maybe weariness runs in the family?
I moved away to attend college at the University of Missouri-Columbia. I graduated in 1983 with a degree in journalism and met my future beloved. He, too, was on the move and headed to the Carolinas for graduate school. While he studied, I traveled as communications staff first for Pi Kappa Phi National Fraternity, then for the National Association of Hosiery Manufacturers. We got married in 1985 in Charlotte, NC. The beauty of the Carolinas is absolutely stunning, and I could have remained there forever. But it wasn't meant to be.
I was sure the cross-country move back to his hometown of St. Louis (and home to our favorite baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals) would be our last. It was home for 20 years, where we enjoyed family and friends, built our first home, renovated our second home, and had three children. I had built a career in corporate and marketing communications at General American Life Insurance Company, and Bill was earning credentials to better his chances in finance. Then the almost unimaginable happened. Our 5-year-old daughter was diagnosed with liver cancer. Within a surreal eight weeks over the summer of 2003, she battled infection and chemotherapy, finally receiving a life-saving liver transplant from an anonymous donor. Thank God we had moved to St. Louis, where the wonderful people at St. Louis Children's Hospital gave us back the gift of life! She's all better, growing and thriving, and you couldn't pick her out of the crowd of middle schoolers today. However, we don't take it for granted that life is precious.
While we loved St. Louis (and will always be St. Louisans at heart), it was time to move on. Bill took a job in Chicago for Bank of America (after all, it helped pay for the transplant). We live in Elmhurst, a sweet little town so close to the vibrant big city I had only visited as a tourist. We love it here, despite the chilly summers and bitter winters; it kind of grows on you. The girls are healthy and happy, attending public school and participating in lots of activities like swimming and lacrosse.
I guess I could be weary of trying to discover what it is I want to do now that the girls are all in school full-time. Writing for Elmhurst Patch certainly keeps me on the move in Elmhurst, so maybe I'll stay put for a while.