I’ve had a lot running through my thoughts recently. I realized that I’ve lived here in Charleston for a full two months now.
two months without the norms of my existence. my family, my friends, my church. even in the midst of the craziness that is moving, I find myself thinking about Kansas City a lot. “what highways are under construction? what is going on downtown, at UMKC, at the Plaza, at the Kansas City Boiler Room? is it cool enough to head to the park? if it is, I’d love to go with M & N … oh, wait, I don’t live there anymore. dang it.” this is what I was the most sad about – the little things that make your knowledge of a person or a location – the small, everyday occurrences that you keep track of daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, that constitutes your understanding of where you are and the relationships you are in.
I see now why moving is on the top of the stress list. I see now that it, especially in our circumstances, it creates bone-tired parents who are trying to get a career up in the air and keeping the children alive. and the tiredness compounds on itself, especially without family members to jump in, create that much-needed break, and allow for some breathing room. I see that, also, my awesome family is incredible resilient. R has jumped head first into his work and social life. he has made some great friends through work, and is doing swimmingly there professionally. he loves the town, his office, the parks, the walking, the local coffeehouses. S is doing awesome [which you’ve already read on]. G, though I love him greatly, is still a baby. he has no clue as to what is going on. as long as he’s fed, allowed to get a couple decent naps a day, and snuggled with throughout, he’s fabulous.
I was in survival mode when I arrived. my wonderful mother was here, and helped set the apartment to rights. thanks to her, I have a functioning kitchen and children who were eagerly taken cared of. and then she left. and unfortunately, left in the worst of circumstances that culminated in my grandma Dee passing away. we were in town not quite two weeks before we packed up, and saw family in Kentucky. and while it was [and is] heartbreaking the reason why, I was delighted to see everyone again so soon. well, I was a mess of emotions, but one of those emotions was elation that I was seeing my family.
and then I had to drive home. in tears, I pulled out of Grandpa’s driveway and started the long drive south. I feel like that was the true, real beginning of our living here in town. R began work in earnest, S was excited about school, and we were all prepping for the beginning of work/school/fall, & all that wonderfully brings. I, in the name of staying sane, turned to my beloved iCal. if you know nothing about me, you’ll soon learn that I love lists, I love to-dos, and I love creating them and deleting them once they’re accomplished.
on a side note, R thinks I’m crazy. what, you don’t have 9 separate sub-calanders with multiple instructions for how to get through your day? how do you survive, sir? I say again, how, sir?
so, I turned to organization and systems and to-dos and feeling satisfaction with crossing off those items once completed. not, and please note this, continuing to foster old relationships and attempting to create new ones. I have avoided church – not because I can’t make the time or the service. there’s definitely a 9 and an 11. it’s 10 minutes away from my place. they even had children’s church at the local children’s museum. it’s killer, and S certainly did not want to leave once we finally made it there.
But, in the first 8 weeks we’d been here, we didn’t go once. the church that, seemingly in His fantastic way, the Father had provided for us, in introducing us to a Charleston resident the last week we went to Boiler Room. [nudging much, Father?] I hide behind excuses – R was out late, so he’s in no shape to go with me; oh, we’re running late now, so we won’t be on time – I don’t want to be late the first time I go; uhh, I don’t know where to park, so I’ll be late and bumble in, causing attention to be focused on me; um, we all have colds, so we don’t want to go and infect everyone; oh, G got me up again in the middle of the night, so I’m really tired.
but in the end, that’s all they are. excuses. there is absolutely NO reason for me to have not gone in the time that we’d been here. or, to many other things that we’ve/I’ve been invited to while in town. it all boils down to me and my fear of all things new. I am an intense creature of habit. I also hide behind the excuse of my children. ‘oh, R wants to go out more than I do, so I’ll stay home.’ ‘oh, I’m not ready to go out – we’ll just stay in, instead, and have a quiet night at home’
now, there are some legitimate excuses to not have gone out or go somewhere. we all WERE sick one weekend, with everyone but the baby curled up with kleenexes and DayQuil. and in terms of going out, things are a bit tight post-move, so cost is a consideration. the kids do have bedtimes, so staying out late requires a babysitter, which requires money.
so this is where I’m at – balancing and being fully honest with myself. am I staying in/not going somewhere because of my fear? because I think I’ll embarrass myself in some way? because I don’t think enough of myself to interact with these different individuals, some of whom I’m not meeting on my own terms?
of course, that opens up more questions, as these thoughts seem to do. why am I intimidated? why do I feel nervous to interact with these individuals? what about them do I think is so great, and about me, so little? it makes me question some of my life decisions, that have put me in the place I am now. I have two little kids, and daycare is abhorrently high. to have both of them in a center full-time would be more than what I could make anywhere, and that is not an exaggeration. but, at the same time, do I feel ashamed to say I’m a stay-at-home mom? I actually don’t think I am, inherently. I think I put upon myself what I perceive others to be thinking; I’m surrounded by women who 1.) have children AND Ph.Ds or 2.) have no children, work, and live footloose and fancy free. I don’t necessarily have someone that I can directly relate to, here in town anyway. but, I’m not giving others a chance to say one way or the other about what I do or how I live – I’ve already predetermined that they will think less of me for staying home. and that’s not fair, to me or to them.
in the end, this is what I have to remember:
1.) the Father clearly made a path for us in Charleston. this was R’s job offer, it’s an amazing city, and the perfect place for a family.
2.) I knew moving would be hard. difficult, even. I’m allowed a bit of time to adjust, as that’s my personality to process emotionally a little slower than I do on a logistic level. but, I cannot hide behind that forever. or, for even too much longer. we are made for relationships – not for eternally making to-do lists, or living in my private world of my li’l family [as adorable as they are].
3.) I have a choice. I have a choice to be depressed, sad, lonely. or, a choice to embrace my new life, make the absolute best of it. as difficult as that can be, I’m trying. because it’s worth remembering – this is not a temporary move. this is for a significant amount of time, I may never move back to the Midwest, and once I make that psychological shift, I’ll be fine. better than that, I’ll be thriving.