What difference can a year make? It is a funny thing, this thing we call time. We, as humans, are the only creatures who mark it out, count it, rely on it even, and worry so much about it running out. One of my favorite books is called The Timekeeper. Mitch Albom of course, is one of my absolute favorite authors of all time. In this book about the Timekeeper and time he explores it all in such a poignant way. It is really a good book so check it out if you haven't.
We have lived in our current location for almost a year and a half. I think about how different things are from when we first got here. It is amazing really how much smaller a place can get. Don't get me wrong, it is huge. Two to three lanes per side on any given road to get where you are going is not unusual here. A traffic jam here is not just a few cars behind a tractor and not once have I had to try and get around a combine that was moving between fields. It just isn't a thing here...at least not where we live. Perhaps the more appropriate word is familiar. Most places are now familiar and feel like home.
When first we arrived things were not familiar. Even our home wasn't familiar. People weren't familiar in almost every location we went and the locations weren't familiar either. I was afraid. I won't lie to you about that. Obviously I was afraid. I've always been afraid of one thing or another. Afraid to go down the big slide at the park, afraid of the dark, afraid to drive on the big roads, afraid to speak in front of people, even if I know them all, always so afraid. Mostly though I think my fear was bigger of what our lives would be if we didn't move. That fear was bigger. The fear of settling and always being afraid of everything because the comfort of the familiar was just so comfortable. The comfort even started to scare me because what if I never stopped being afraid and I stayed that way and eventually it became worse? What kind of life is that for my family? What does that show our children? Is that what I want for them? The answer was and is no.
We arrived as aliens in an unknown but beautiful place, knowing only four people in our location and three others that lived hours away. My husband and son were the lucky ones. They had work and school. That helped them to be submerged into the environment a bit quicker than it happened with the girls in the family. We mostly stayed home except for going to the grocery and church. But then something amazing happened, our pastor's wife started taking me out on excursions and showing me around. We quickly became friends and in no time (there's that word again) at all we were getting together most weeks even if it was just to go to the grocery together. Everyone knows going with a friend to the grocery makes that chore more tolerable.
In the year and a half since we've been here I have met some great people and made some friends. Our son has made friends at school and even ventured to a school dance (something he never ever did back at his old school). Our middle child started a job that was temporary and then started a different job and started college. She has made friends and started getting more grounded. Our oldest daughter has graduated from her college she was attending on line and is getting ready for her next chapter. My husband has turned his store around. It is no longer quite the trouble store it was upon arrival. It is still insanely busy and ridiculous at times but improvements have been made and small glimpses of light are being seen at the end of a very long tunnel.
I drive. I drive on three lane roads and cut in and out of traffic when people go too slow. I have driven to the beach. I have been forced to drive places that I wasn't familiar with to get my son places he needed to be for activities. It seems that if my child needs me to go somewhere, my fear gets put in the corner and I go. It is good for me. We take walks and it gets dark. It storms and I find I am not concerned. I have ridden rides (simulated rides but I think that still counts). It seems as though things have started picking up. Life has started and we are hitting our rhythm here.
But as per usual life always likes to hit you with a curve ball to make sure you are paying attention. Life is a Rocky Balboa quote. "You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward." My friend is leaving. Our time together is short now. Their family is moving and I'm so sad.
It is harder I think, as an adult, to find friends who get you. Someone you can laugh and be silly with that won't secretly judge you for being a nerd bomber.(Does that term date me? I feel like it dates me.) I'm a huge nerd. I like super heroes and Star Trek, and Star Wars and singing to the muzak in the mall and singing in the car and pretending I could rock at lip sync battle. I walk out of movies feeling like a ninja and like I could conquer the world. I have unrealistic expectations of things I think I should be able to do, that I cannot, and I speak in movie quotes and sarcasm. As you can see,it is hard to find someone who can not only deal with that kind of charm but embrace it and dive right into your life and be the kind of friend that seems as though you have always been friends and the time you didn't know each other seems of no relevance at all. I get I'm weird and my only fear now is that once my friend leaves I may not find that one friend here that can fill that void. The one I can call and say "Hey let's go to Target and look at clearance." or "Hey I need you to talk me down from the ledge cause I'm losing it." or "Hey, go to Aldi's with me because I don't want to go alone." I need that kind of friend in my life and while she reminds me that she isn't dying she is just moving, there is still a sense of loss.
I am blessed to have made such a good friend shortly after my arrival and we will always be friends. Just as it was when I moved from my home town to here, I didn't just stop being friends with the friends that I had there. I have several friends that I miss dearly from my home state. That said I don't so much miss my home town. I don't miss who I was when I was there. I kind of feel like in leaving I found a piece of myself that was missing. I gained a bit of independence that I may not have found otherwise. God sent me just the friend I needed here to help me adjust and learn to step a few toes outside of my comfort zone...to learn to fully live my life in this new environment instead of just moving to another house and nothing really changing.
I am no longer sitting on the sidelines. I am diving in, looking around and absorbing it all. I'm looking for my tribe and I'm not so concerned about the timing. Sooner rather than later would be nice as she's leaving next month but it's OK, she will still take my calls. I have a routine and I'm still figuring out who I am outside of the motherhood. I've always just been someone's mom and while I'm still the mom, they don't really need me or want me around so much. I'm not sure who I am outside of that. My cousin reminded me that I did once have interests and I was once human before I had the children. It's hard to remember but I think when the time is right God will reveal the plan. Until then I'll bide my time and wait for God to send me a friend that likes to sing along with Bohemian Rhapsody and go to the grocery with me and speaks fluent sarcasm. Ironically my friend is moving to my home state. I did warn her and I sure hope she likes corn.