In case you missed it, read Part 1 here.

Motherhood took Debbie by surprise; as the big sister of many young ones, she thought she pretty much had it down. Turns out, being a mom is quite different from being a sister. Lots of the physical skills of diaper changing, swaddling, and bathing an infant were easily transferable, but the actual emotional energy of being in charge of another human forever had not really been a part of being big sister/babysitter.

“And breastfeeding HURTS!” Debbie whined to her mom (again).

“It does,” her mom reassured her.

“Why does everyone LIE about that and spout that nonsense about the latch? K-ly’s latch is just fine! Every lactation consultant has inspected it!” Debbie had been down this road a few times in the first month.

Her mom played along, hoping if Debbie got it out to her, she would give it a rest to anyone else, “It’s a conspiracy, Debbie.”

They would have this same conversation a few times, and Debbie’s mom played along every time.

People were always asking if K-ly was a “good baby” and while she wasn’t as easy as Debbie really thought she ought to be, she could hardly sell her own daughter out and label her as “bad.” K-ly was at least an out-and-about kind of baby so Debbie was as on-the-go as much as she could on no money and precious few friends left in town. Her friends had largely graduated and those who had served missions were busy with classes. Debbie felt very removed from campus-life, although no one would have given it a second thought to have seen her spending time in the library or art museum there. The other girls in her ward were largely divided between students and moms busy with their own kids.

True to his word, Daniel was keeping busy with classes, work, and graduate school applications. He was headed to law school and the great debate for months has been whether to stay in Utah or to leave the state and venture elsewhere.

“Oh, Danny, let’s just wait and see where you get in before we plan things out, “ Debbie was tired tonight and would have rather talked about ANYTHING other than this over dinner.

“Come on, Deb. This is such a big decision for the family. Are we going to be Utah people or not?”

“Do I really get to make the decision?”

“Well, no, but what’s your preference?” Daniel seemed much more interested in this hypothetical future than in his real economics homework.

“My preference is to live in the vicinity of the law school that admitted you and you chose to attend. And the one that offers the best perks!” Debbie hoped to curtail the conversation for tonight, but knew it would come up again.

And it did. After the hubbub of Christmas holidays (where baby K-ly got to play baby Jesus in two family nativities and Daniel and Debbie got to explain and defend their chosen spelling of her name to roughly 17 relatives [Daniel had a thing for vowel-less words and Debbie had a beloved Grandpa K Gordon Chilton who she wanted to honor—good thing they found each other because who else would have gone for such a name?]) they had to get serious.

“What do you have on your pro Utah list?” Debbie was trying to sneak a peek, but couldn’t quite read his scrawl.

“We already know our way around.”

“That’s it?”

“Well, I really like knowing my way around.”

“We can learn a new place, Daniel!” She actually had more of a pro Utah list than she wanted to admit, but it was at least more reasonable. “I have that Utah is centrally located between our families and has a reasonable cost of living….”

“Good points!”

“…but it is NOT my preference!” Debbie added.

“So you want to go elsewhere,” Daniel said as if it was a revelation to him.

“Well, yes. But only if we have a good reason to.” Debbie wanted to balance her wanderlust with some practicality.

“Hmmmm…I’d love to feel what it’s like to live in the mission field….” Daniel tried to play along, although named streets really were hard to navigate. And how do you know your way around if you can’t see the mountains, anyway?

“Let’s start by not calling it “the mission field,” gramps!” Debbie chided. It always surprised her how little Daniels foreign (well, Mexican) mission had affected this Bountiful boy.

When it actually came down to it, they were choosing between law schools in Provo and Washington, D.C. Where should the Olsens go?