Bringing the Small Town to the City

At the risk of sounding like a John Mellencamp song, I was born in a small town. My husband was too. We’re small town kids living in the big city as adults and raising big city kids.

That was never more apparent to me than a few weeks ago when we were visiting my parents, who live out in the country. My son was out looking for deer tracks with his granddaddy and started talking about the “forest.” My dad was like, “Boy, those are the woods!”

As much as we love our life here, my husband and I talk all the time about how much simpler life seemed to be growing up in a small town. There was no Museum School or Zoo Preschool to choose from, or ten million story times around town from this book store or that Chick-Fil-A. No Little Gym, no Pump it Up, no Gymboree. Just occasionally the Shriner’s circus and every Wednesday at 10:00 AM there was one story time at the public library. And bike riding and playing in the front yard with my neighborhood friends. And as for my mom–there were no umpteen million restaurants for us to grab takeout from.  OK, so that is a huge bonus of a big city.) It was mostly her cooking and us eating, together, at the kitchen table.

And here’s a really big one. We miss having one football team to root for. Every fall Friday night we lament this. We feel adrift and without team pride on Fridays. Right now we’re rooting for Aledo because we know kids that go there. But that’s not in even in Fort Worth!

I felt like I couldn’t go anywhere in my town without someone knowing me and potentially reporting my activity back to my parents. Talk about keeping me on the straight and narrow! I think about the anonymity a child can have in a city like Fort Worth. I don’t like that so much.

Thankfully, much of that small community feel for us has been replicated through our church. We know that God led us to exactly the place where He wanted us for this time in our lives. They support us as a family, help us teach the beliefs, instill the values, and impart the wisdom our kids will need to make excellent choices among all their different options in the big city! It will impact their activities, their relationships, and ultimately their futures. Our church is our family away from our families, feeding us physically and spiritually, and loving us on this journey of life in Cowtown. We are so thankful for them!

Where do you find your community in the big city?

Emily G
Emily is married to Brad and mother of the handsome Jack and precious Annabelle. After more than a decade as a software engineer (two of those as a working mother), she cleaned out her cubicle and can be found most days at one of the beautiful parks Cowtown has to offer, without a WiFi hotspot in range. These days, Emily spends her time exploring our fair city with her babes in tow, volunteering at her church, cheering on the Fightin' Texas Aggies, and shopping her way through DFW at large. You'll find her journaling her daily life at Being Mrs. Gentry.


  1. Interesting post. When I was 16, I found myself in the opposite boat as you. I grew up in Memphis (almost 1 million when I was a kid) and then moved here as well. When we moved to a small town, I struggled big time to make friends and fit in…mostly because everyone had grown up together. I found the same to be true moving from here to Little Rock 5 years ago, which is a much smaller city that FW. I found my niche in Stroller Strides in Little Rock and also here. Also my moms group at church in both towns. I look at my parent’s small town (the one I went to high school) and I wonder how people make friends in such a small place. Aren’t different perspectives interesting? I will say this… I miss small town sports. I don’t even like sports that much, but Friday night football is the best thing ever in a small town. Also, I worry it’s harder to teach work ethic to kids in a big city (a ridiculous fear as work ethic can be taught anywhere), but there’s just something different about farm kids.


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