Valley Voices

Garage envy: Is it time to move back to Fresno from LA-LA Land?

Jill Simonian and her husband, pediatric surgeon Dr. Andre Panossian and their children are thinking just thinking at this point about a move to Fresno from Los Angeles. Simonian grew up in Fresno, and her husband, well he has a big case of garage envy when he visits the in-laws here.
Jill Simonian and her husband, pediatric surgeon Dr. Andre Panossian and their children are thinking just thinking at this point about a move to Fresno from Los Angeles. Simonian grew up in Fresno, and her husband, well he has a big case of garage envy when he visits the in-laws here. Contributed by Jill Simonian

There’s nothing like a no-fuss trip to your hometown for the Fourth of July to get you thinking deep thoughts about what makes an ideal foundation for a happy family life.

“You know there’s a house right by us that’s up for sale, ” my sister and brother-in-law brought up between beers. I already knew about this house – my sister drove me by it when I was in town about a month ago.

From the outside, it’s nice – twice the size and 60 years newer than our current home in southern California and about half the price, too. Yeah, it caught my attention, but I quickly pushed the feeling down back then on that first drive-by.

Cut to this recent trip, with my husband looking up all the details about this hot new listing on his phone, right there on my sister’s couch, as our daughters played dolls and giggled with their cousins in the next room.

“Look at this!” my husband yelled right next to me, scrolling down and clicking on images. Is he smiling? Did his face light up? “There’s a huge garage! And all this land! And it’s half the cost of our house!” Deep breath.

For the next two days, I felt my stomach twist into knots with my husband seeming so suspiciously open to exploring the notion of moving to Fresno. I felt equally panicky about moving and not moving. I didn’t know what I thought or how I felt (still don’t).

How difficult would it be for my husband, a physician, to relocate his practice? Would my now-confident daughters be OK with the transition or would they suddenly turn unhappy and unsure of themselves at a new school with new kids who weren’t interested in making new friends wgi just moved from LA-LA-Land?

Would I be happy with the transition? What happens if you take an animal out of it’s original habitat, put it in a bigger place (with beaches, better restaurants and Disneyland) and then plop it back to its original home 20 years later? I’d never felt so fragile and on the verge of question-marked tears while watching fireworks.

Moving back to Fresno was never a choice to be considered – until suddenly, as it has major parts of me feeling warm and fuzzy about raising my daughters with my sister’s kids right down the street. (The 25-year-old me would slap me now.)

When I was younger and more ambitious, moving to a big city and tapping away at goals and dreams were the only things that mattered. These last few years have been especially rewarding – I got to national television, I got to write that book.

I still love living in L.A. and what I’m doing (my job at CBS Los Angles and ongoing projects), but now I sometimes feel myself getting annoyed with the chase, the traffic, the insanely-high cost of living and paying $19 to park just so I can return a pair of pants to Nordstrom and grab a bite to eat.

For over 20 years, I’ve been a Fresno girl living in Los Angeles, and now I’m an L.A. woman who’s scared as hell she’ll feel lost back in Fresno. But life’s not all about me anymore, is it? There is a husband; there are children; there is grounded stability, real family life and hometown comfort to consider.

And there are big, huge garages, too.

Jill Simonian was born and raised in Fresno. Jill is the Parenting Lifestyle Expert for CBS Los Angeles and creator of TheFabMom.com. Her book for first-time moms, 'The FAB Mom's Guide: How to Get Over the Bump & Bounce Back Fast After Baby' is available now. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter @jillsimonian.

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