The last couple of years have been incredibly difficult for Jennifer Hudson since her mother, brother, and nephew were brutally murdered in 2008.
But there have also been a lot of amazing changes in her life too -- namely her fiance, David Otunga, and 1-year-old son, David Daniel Otunga Jr.
All of it has made family more important than ever to Hudson, who recently announced she is leaving sunny Florida to move back to the windy shores of Chicago.
"With the baby growing up, we want him to be around our family. We feel so secluded. Both David and I are the babies of the family, and we want to be home with our families as well."
I wonder if I could do the same.
I was in such a hurry to leave home growing up in the Midwest; I even ran away when I was 16. I couldn't wait to get to college and out of my hometown, then eventually out of the state altogether as I sought out excitement in bigger cities.
Since then I've lived on both coasts, and criss-crossed the United States following education and jobs. While I always loved to visit my family and my Midwestern roots, it's a life to which I always adamantly swore I'd never return.
Until I had children.
Now, after all these years, I could see it. It would be hard, very hard, because it's not a life I ever dreamed I wanted or could have imagined passing up a career trajectory to embrace.
But I also never dreamed how important my family would become when I became a mother.
We do a good job at staying in touch -- lots of pictures, videos, phone calls, and visits -- but there's nothing like being near one another day in and day out, not just as visitors having to catch a plane in a few days.
There's nothing like Sunday dinners and built-in babysitters and being able to help a family member in need. There's nothing like sharing your children with those who love them unlike anyone else can.
I've had many friends uproot their lives after having children to return to their roots, who say it was the best move they ever made. They've given up jobs, houses, and communities they love to be with the people they love.
I envy and applaud them, as I do Hudson for making the choice to put family first, above everything.
Maybe someday, I will too.
Have you moved to be near family since having children?
Image via JenniferHudson.com