"I don't know if I should move to Seattle, Ruth. I don't have a job there, and rent is expensive," my younger sister Elena worried over the phone. "It's gonna be hard to move all my stuff and find a place to live while looking for work. What do you think I should do?" She was 28 years old and had been working at the same job for seven years. She wanted to make a change.
"Starting over in a new place is hard work, especially on your own," I replied, thinking about how many times I'd done the same over the past two decades. "But if you need to make a change, you should."
When Elena, the eldest of my three younger sisters, decided to move to Seattle, I couldn't help but worry. I had started over more than a few times in my own life and I knew how difficult it could be. I thought about the moments when Elena would feel lonely, off on her own and apart from me and her two younger sisters. We had always drawn our strength by being together. But I also knew it was time for Elena to find that same strength inside herself.
Discussing and planning Elena's move with her reminded me of the first time I had reinvented myself. It had been the riskiest and most frightening choice of my life. When I was 15 years old, my sisters and I left Colonia LeBaron, the polygamist community in Mexico, where we had been raised. My sisters were so young, they still don't remember the night we escaped: Holly was just eight months old, dozing in my lap, while four-year-old Elena and two-year-old Leah...