The morning after we returned from Hawaii, Mirabella started preschool (which is another story, coming soon). So we now have a place to be twice per day, twice per week, which is new. The unfortunately-named MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) starts this week, twice per month. I am told that, as a stay-at-home mother to preschool children living in a new place, this will be my sanity. So this week we have school Tuesday and Thursday and MOPS Wednesday, and somehow this seems to me to be a "busy week." Keep in mind that not so long ago I worked 4-5 days per week and raised my kids and managed my house. But we are disoriented.
I have been doing a bit better at settling into this new role, this new stage of my life. Initially, it was so intoxicating not to set an alarm for 5:25 each morning that I let my kids wake me up. There is a serious flaw in this plan: My children love waking up. I do not. So they would burst into my room, all fuzzy and warm and excited and I would be upset with them, simply because they were awake. Friends, this is not the best I can do.
So I have been setting my alarm, working out, showering and starting my first cup of coffee before the children wake up. I will not tell you I have been enjoying it, but I am certainly kinder when they wake up, which is a start. The other stuff-- the endlessness of the home management tasks, the incredible shift of responsibility now that it's actually my job-- still overwhelms me. I do not often sit still. But I recently devoured Jen Hatmaker's book Out of the Spin Cycle, which is really helping me to rethink and reframe (and in some cases, release) some of the baggage I've brought to my latest assignment. Until Friday when I might have melted down a little in front of my startled husband because I just had to go somewhere-- anywhere-- where people other than the ones I keep alive were. Even if I didn't talk to them. Just to get out of my neighborhood. It wasn't pretty. And so, I'm a work in progress.
I remember telling a friend in Maryland right before our move that we really wouldn't "settle in" until September, since we had so much summer travel and company planned. I said it casually, as if I had any idea what I was talking about. I was actually right, but I'm still a little itchy that this (whatever this is) is taking so long.
I am anxious to nail things down that don't work that way. Babysitters. A church. Friends. Old haunts. Familiarity. Things that just take time. Previously, I thought I'd have "arrived" when I could get through a day without GPS. Since our GPS came with our (2005) vehicle, and our neighborhood is newer than that, I had to ditch the GPS sooner than I'd planned. It can get me most places, but it can never get me home. So it turns out, I think, that the real sign I have acclimated will be when I can get through a day with fewer than 75 Google inquiries about things around here. Google, at the moment, is my best friend.
The travel and busyness of this last season made it easy to be preoccupied-- easy to blame our lack of connections or roots on the circumstances. But even I'm surprised when I say we've lived here two months. It sure doesn't feel like it. It doesn't feel like we have much to show for it.
And so, it's time to begin.
It's time to take the girls outside to play when the neighborhood kids are out there. It's time to stand awkwardly with my neighbors until maybe it's not so awkward anymore. It's time to look up from my children-- at preschool, at events-- and try to talk to the people around me. I'm not sure how this happened, but I tend to hide behind my kids because it's easier than talking to so many strangers. Which is why Wednesday's MOPS will be good for me (though please note I didn't say "lots of fun," at least not at first). It's time to return to the (massive) list of churches-- weekly if we have to-- until we find The One. We've been to three so far. We have been trying to adjust our attitudes, to be open instead of judgmental. To try to learn from the people at each place. Each of the three have been good, but we are looking for home-- so far away from ours. It feels strangely like dating, the hope and the disappointment we've felt. And, of course, the Google searches.
It's time to find all the things I took for granted in Maryland-- the listservs, the farms, the stores, the doctors, the cheap places to eat and play. It's Time.