Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Year Later

A year ago, I wasn't writing this blog. I wasn't writing this blog then because I hadn't started it yet. I had thought about starting a blog months before a year ago, but I was so overwhelmed in a new place that I couldn't quite move myself to press a few links on Blogspot and get going. I was overwhelmed with getting my kids situated in a new home and new school. I was overwhelmed by their neediness because they didn't easily get situated in a new home and a new school. I was overwhelmed with hanging with the one who had no school to go to. Mostly, though, I can now admit aloud that I was totally overwhelmed by my own neediness. I lacked community. I lacked friends. A year ago I lacked any context outside of 'mother of' and 'wife to' and I was struggling mightily with that.

When we moved, I had expected instant community. My husband was heading to graduate school and hey, wouldn't all those grad students just hang together? And let's just put it out there-- he was headed to grad school where people were in training to be community leaders (faith communities as he is in divinity school/seminary). Wouldn't the sort of people who went to that sort of grad school be open and welcoming and happy to see us and our three little fellas? But they didn't seem to be for the most part. They were busy. They put their heads down. They had so much reading to do. They hung with the people they already knew. They didn't have kids and only seemed to react positively to those cuddly teethless ones who didn't throw tantrums. And I was lonely and struggling. And I didn't really have anyone to talk to about that.

It's a year later. And I know it's a year later because today we attended a park event that we attended last year. Our experience at today's event made me think of how far we've come in a year. Every time we turned around, we ran into someone else we knew. There were kids S and C went to school with last year. There were kids the boys go to school with this year (F included!). There were families we met at soccer. There were even a couple families we met through P's grad school. We knew a lot of people there and there were greetings galore. And my guys climbed a tree with a neighborhood friend, and compared lollipop flavors with school friends, and took off their shoes and bounded into the bouncy house with kids they knew from other places. And I hugged a few moms and was hugged in return. And walking away from the park, I thought about what a difference a year makes. Instant community did not appear when we moved here. But community has happened-- quietly, slowly, without much fanfare. We know folks and are known by folks. And that feels good.

A year later, I find I haven't been writing this blog either (it's been nearly a month since my last posting). But I haven't been writing for such different reasons. Last year I felt empty. And this year I fill full--abundantly full, somewhat overwhelmingly full-- but full nonetheless. I am working a job where I am learning and am surrounded by interesting people. My kids are all in schools where play matters and their emotional well beings are being cared for. My husband is going to classes, studying, writing, and interning in a church. We are racing out in the morning to get all of us to our designated schools on time with clean clothes on and lunches prepared and packed. We are busy each weekend with visits and music and birthday parties and work. Yes, life is suddenly full and I am finding it hard to find time to write. And while I am feeling a bit crazed by the schedule, the truth is that I would rather feel full than empty.


Anonymous said...

Oh, girl, sometimes it amazes me we don't hang out in real life.

I know this trajectory: the excitement of moving, the loneliness of being without community, and then suddenly realizing you have built a life in the new place.

You wrote it just right.

Jennifer said...

I too thought, that when I went to graduate school, that I would have a whole new community and it would be great. And it was not. School was in an iffy nothing fun about it neighborhood, our department was on the edge of the campus, and everyone commuted from far away. I made friends along the way, but the first year was lonely, and I was glad that at least I had a set of friends already in town.

I'm glad that things have improved for you and that you are doing work that you like and that you are appreciated. And I hope that things continue to build for you.

Terra said...

You know it's funny, I think that we all really yearn for a "full" life. How we experience the fullness is what differs for each of us, and this can change over a lifetime for one person. I still like reading your posts - even if they are a month apart! :-)

Andrea said...

Yay! I guess community isn't something that's something you build and you guys have done it! (I hope this isn't a last blog post!)