Starting a family in any city is challenging, but when you are living in the landscape of a city that has gotten global recognition for multiple years for its beauty, tradition, history and culture and is in the midst of a population renaissance, the challenges can even be greater. We had an opportunity to speak to Adrienne and John who are expecting a baby boy in early 2014. As they prepare for parenthood, we discussed the excitement and risk around starting a family in Charleston.
This is truly a wonderful interview with two individual that have not only found love, but are filled with unconditional love and excitement for the impending birth of their son. Enjoy this heartfelt exchange of questions and answers from Adrienne and John.
With the great recognition Charleston has been getting, it will result in a advanced population growth. One of the potential concerns is over-crowded schools. Is that a concern as you bring a new child into the world?
Adrienne: Charleston is a great city. Its culture and environment are unlike many others and that’s one reason why we love living in Charleston so much. That being said, so does everyone else, people are reading about Charleston in travel magazines and seeing beautiful pictures online everywhere and they want to move here. It’s crazy how much this city has grown in the last 5-10 years. I’m a product of Charleston County Public Schools and I’ve seen almost all of the public elementary schools on James Island go under construction to make room for students. Boeing has also already brought so many families to the Low Country that school districts are being forced to build new schools in Dorchester and Berkeley Counties. There is no doubt that having a spot for our child in a good school district is a very top priority; so much so, that I would consider moving in order to get our child into a good school. I also work at a local private preschool and know first-hand how early you have to start planning for childcare & education here. There are people with babies and kids on waiting lists for some schools and they just found out they are pregnant. We are already on a waiting list. It’s never too early to start thinking about this future population boom that is inevitable!
John: YES! I have to drive to different areas of Charleston daily for work and often do work in many schools located throughout the area. All I see are trailers everywhere. Schools are already overflowing. There are some schools that have more students out in trailers than inside the actual building. It’s a major concern and one that we have already started discussing. Hopefully, Charleston’s school districts are also thinking ahead and will be able to accommodate everyone as this city continues to expand.
What makes the two of you so passionate about living in Charleston? What makes this area special to you?
Adrienne: How can you not be passionate about living in Charleston? If you can handle the weather and like living by the water it’s a perfect place to live. Charleston will always be special to me since it’s my hometown. I love everything about Charleston. I’m southern to the bone and can’t imagine not having Charleston culture and scenery being a major part of my family’s life. The sounds and smell of the ocean warm my soul. There is nothing sweeter than sitting on the beach, toes in the warm sand and watching the sunrise or set. It’s my “happy place”. I always run to it when I’m feeling sad or need some “me” time. I also love the food, the history, the shopping, and the various festivals that flow through here. I look forward to things like Spoleto, The Charleston Farmer’s Market, Piccolo Fringe, local comedy festivals at Theatre 99, RiverDogs games, Stingrays games, The Cajun Festival, The Greek Festival and many, many others every year. You can almost always count on me to try and gather a group of friends together to attend many of these events. Charleston is very special to me, because it’s home.
John: I originally moved down to Charleston with a close group of friends and family to start a new chapter in my life, and although we have all gone our separate ways now, I decided to stay in Charleston because of my job and I met the love of my life. I’m in a good place in my life right now meeting Adrienne and being able to start a family down here is what makes Charleston special to me.
What are some of your fears and challenges about becoming a mother?
Adrienne: There’s no greater challenge or blessing than becoming a mother. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can ever be given (I’m crying just thinking about it). I face many challenges ahead, but many rewards as well. I pray that I will be a loving, flexible, exciting, adventurous, physically active, & capable mommy. I want my son to know that I will always do any and everything I can to make him happy. I want to stay physically fit so that I can also play sports with him, go on camping & hiking trips, and play a very active role in his life. One concern I have is being able to let the little things go more, relax and go with the flow. I’m a natural born planner, and sometimes that dictates my life. I know as soon as you have a child all planning goes out the door. I guess you could say I’m working on that. I have a lot of fears and concerns about motherhood, but I am more excited than scared. I know I’m not perfect and that’s ok because I don’t need to be. I just need to be “his mommy” and that I know I can do that because my heart is already overflowing with more love than I’ve ever felt before. I’m already changing who I am to become a better mother, and look forward to all the other changes that lie ahead!
What major changes in your life do you both expect when your new addition comes?
Adrienne: I expect a lot of changes when this little boy arrives. I assume I have a lot of the same expectations most first time parents do: less free time do to…well anything (take a shower, go to the gym, cook a healthy meal, hang out with friends, watch movies etc.), all extra finances going to this baby (no more shopping sprees for me!), less sleep, and of course I’ll have way more to pack for the beach next summer! Our lives are about to completely change, but I think we are ready for it, as ready as you can be.
John: I’m expecting everything to change, a lot that Adrienne has mentioned…less sleep, not having as much free time to hang out with friends, and I expect to be working a lot more. But hey, what’s life without a little change?
Are there things that your parents did to raise you that you would do different and things you want to do the same?
Adrienne: My parents divorced when I was 2yrs. old and mainly my mother raised me. She was and still is a very strong willed and independent woman who can accomplish anything she puts her mind too. I was raised with the same mentality…that I don’t need anyone to do anything for me, because I can do it! I want my son and other future children to have a similar sense of security with themselves. I want them to feel secure enough to try things on their own, and if they fail it’s ok to brush yourself off and to try again; however at the same time I want them to feel it is ok to fail, that I won’t be upset or disappointed and if they need help I am right there to support them. My mom was also great about putting me into extracurricular activities like cheerleading, gymnastics, and letting me try anything I wanted to. I’d like to do the same thing for my son, because I think it’s important for kids to participate in-group activities outside of school. I take pride in knowing I’m a fully independent, responsible, and capable woman and I definitely hope to pass those characteristics onto my children.
John: My parents are amazing; they’ve been married for over 30 years and had twins at 21 years old. There is not much I would change when looking at my parents now. They started young and worked very hard (still do) to give my brother and I everything we ever needed and wanted. They stood by us when we gave them trouble in high school and when we wanted to start our first band. They were always supportive with our love for music and came to every single show we put on at first. I hope I can show my son that same level of support and love every single day of his life.
If a family were looking to move to Charleston and raise a family, what would you say to them?
Adrienne: Do your research! Make sure you can afford to live in Charleston with the rising cost of homes and schools. It isn’t cheap to live here and with the growing popularity prices continue to soar. Also make sure you already have a school district in mind and there’s room for your child there before you relocate. If you can handle the heat, humidity, and love the beach Charleston is a great place to settle down. There is always something to do and plenty of mom groups to join. It’s just a beautiful place; inside and out.
John: I agree with Adrienne about doing your research. There are already a lot of people living in Charleston, and depending where you are moving from you may or may not be able to deal with the traffic and crowded downtown areas. It is a really nice place to live, but don’t forget your sunscreen!
Sometimes in life, the right moment comes along and you meet your true love. Together, life takes on a whole new meaning and direction. For Adrienne and John, their love has led them down the road of a new and exciting journey. From the time spent with them, it seems clear, they are ready to take on this new stage in life together full of compassion and hope.
Adrienne and John were so wonderful to open up to us and share their story. We hope their insights of love, parenthood and life in Charleston drew some pure emotion and provided some wonderful advice for new families starting out in this city.