All the schools and offices in the area have called for a "snow day" today, so I'm giving my kids a break from homeschool, too. We're a week ahead anyway and snow sounds like a good excuse to take a day off! So, I have a little time and thought I'd take a second shot at writing this blog entry. I started a week ago, but just couldn't get my thoughts together in the right words. Not sure I can today either, but it's clearly something that is still weighing on my heart and on my mind.
As I've said before, I am nomadic by nature, so being a military wife has worked well for me. I like change and I have always enjoyed moving (not the packing part, just to be clear). It's a chance to start over; to reinvent or build on who we are. It's not that I pretend to be something I'm not in a new place. On the contrary- I am always true to and real about who I am. Settling in new towns has simply given me the opportunity to nurture certain parts of who I am (people are multi-faceted after all) and to have a clean break with the things I should or want to leave behind. I am a very social person and have been known to overly involve myself and my family in activities outside of our home. This is an easy pool for a stay-at-home mother to drown in, though I'm not sure I could explain that to you if you don't understand what I mean. It is, however, always a balancing act between my family's needs and my own, and it is one of those things I will always have to work at. In any case, moving every few years helps these seasons of life begin and end neatly and naturally.
When our new orders came this past summer to move just a few hours north, I decided it was time to slow down. I am the woman who was not just a parent of a child involved in certain activities; I was the mother leading and participating. A mere year ago, I was in charge of childcare for MOPS with plans to coordinate the group the following year, leading Julian's Cub Scout Tiger Den, an active Senior Consultant in Thirty One, and a helper with our church's childrens choir in addition to many other less regular activities. Many of our week nights and weekends were spent running to extra curricular interests, mostly in opposite directions, and our family was no longer benefiting from these activities, but rather drifting apart. I rarely felt like we spent any time together, even in places where we were all present. A relocation was the perfect opportunity to refocus. And so I made a promise to Carlos and the boys- I wouldn't jump into anything right away when we settled in Fredericksburg.
Needless to say and quite uncharacteristically of me, I have found it far too easy to keep this promise. I'm beginning to see maybe I've even taken it too far in the other direction. After six months of living here, we have joined only our homeschool group and the local y, and I have limited our involvement even in these organizations. My problem isn't in being involved in only a few things. No, the problem comes when I admit I haven't truly invested in the lives of the people we have met, nor have I allowed them close enough to invest in us. We are, of course, friendly at school and I chat with the other mothers as the boys work and play, but it is only small talk. Beyond the doors of the church we meet at and the y, we keep to ourselves where these families are concerned. You see, I have found the process of making new friends to be exhausting this time around. I don't like the isolation I have created. In fact, the urge to get out is just as nagging as ever, but I just don't have the energy or the attitude to actively pursue new relationships. I'm afraid the social butterfly in me has flown away. Believe me, I know how dumb this sounds.
Our only saving grace from my anti-social antics has been old friends that happen to live in Fredericksburg; a family that already knows us well. They are one of the many reasons we chose to live here instead of closer to my husband's job in DC, second only to the cost of living. When we need a little fun, we call on them. It is not healthy to not have a bigger local support system though, and it certainly isn't fair to these family friends for us to become their burden and responsibility. I know they don't feel this way, but I'm worried it won't be long before they do.
So, what do I do?
Well, I have no immediate desire to crawl out of this isolated cave I've stumbled into. I wish I could tell you why. I'm not really looking for advice, but owning up to my depression (let's be honest and call a spade a spade here) seems to be the best place to start. Sharing this is far harder than you will ever know. No one likes to admit their faults and imperfections, especially not on the world wide web, but I'm clearly getting desperate for motivation to move on. I want better for my children, for my family, and for myself. My only hope is found in the will I still possess to make it better. For now, taking one day at a time is all I can promise and I hope in my next post I can share a more inspirational and encouraging side of myself.
P.S. If you see me on the streets of Fredericksburg, don't let me get away with small talk.