And what do I do to my kids?
Every time we've moved I've gone through the same process of excitement, anxiety, outright chaos, and finally panic. The panic is hits me, not when I realize the enormity of the move, but about six months later when I realize oh **** this is actually for real now.
The dust finally settles and the boxes are unpacked. Pictures are hanging on the wall and I realize that I'm going to have to make a life for myself and for my family in this new place.
That's the panic point.
What if the downstairs neighbors can't stand our normal noise and bang on the ceiling/floor with a broomstick to tell us to be quiet?
What if the landlords randomly decide they would just "rather not rent to you" any longer?
What if the next door neighbors don't like the dog and call the city to complain about our dog being off leash on our own property?
And it's not just neighbors that can give me fits.
It's absolutely anything and everything about settling into a new place. And we don't exactly pick easy places to settle down. In fact, we seem to have a thing for fairly closed-minded towns and in one case an entire close-minded state. In places that would rather not have outsiders, we might as well all be wearing signs that proclaim our alien status. You satanic being...you purchased lumber for your project at Menards instead of paying $8 dollars for a 2x4 and supporting the local business??? Gasp!!!!
The scary thing is, I'm not making this stuff up. Everyone one of these things has actually been said or done within the settling in phase after a move. Ok, well no one actually said we were satanic, but we have heard more than once how important it was that we spend every dime we have in town instead of out. Some people are appalled that I drive to buy my groceries.
In each of these moments of panic, however, I have always found something that tipped the scales: a new place to live that greatly improved on our impromptu housing arrangement, a perfect job for me (in our early moves), meeting someone new, or (in the case of UT) a new activity.
Which bring me full circle to this move.
Mostly settled in.
Six months have passed.
Trying to lean on grace, knowing something would come along.
Only instead of melting, outside the world was freezing over. Actually, anyone who lived in MN this past winter knows that there is some question if perhaps hell itself freezing over might have moved from figurative to literal. Leaving the house to push myself into new situations and participate in actually finding that *something* seemed more daunting than continuing to wallow in my own misery. It was cold and I was whiny.
When I realized some magic cure wasn't showing up on my doorstep, I decided I was eventually going to have to bundle up and force myself out. This is where giving up Facebook and eventually (very temporarily) *retiring* from blogging came in. I was sure these awful *weeds* must be part of the problem. I met several families who don't even have an internet connection at their homes. While they were perfectly friendly, they certainly didn't have a clue what it meant that I was a blogger or anything like that. I was having a hard time relating and I started to think maybe this was just a part of me that was going to have to die to self- so to speak- in order to fit in. You know, when in Rome...only it was when in Hick.
Actually our new town isn't quite that bad, but there is a strong sense of community and that this community is the only one that matters. Despite the large number of residents who commute to other areas to work, people do their living right here and if it isn't here then many, many people think they must just not need it.
Which is actually probably true.
Except I felt like I was cutting off my arm or something. Blogging and my *on-line* friends (many of whom I have had the chance to connect with in real life over the years) are a huge part of me. They are extended family!
In all the times we have moved, they have been like a little house plant I can pick up and take with me. I have to start over in my gardens, but I can move the house plants. They don't care if they are in Minnesota, Utah, or the moon as long as they have sunshine and fresh water (which would admittedly be a problem on the moon).
I have prayed for these friends, they have prayed for me. I pick their brains when things come up and I answer emails, phone calls, and sometimes even texts when they have questions that they somehow think I might be able to help them with. We have offered hospitality to travelers and been offered hospitality in turn.
All because of these things that I convinced myself were weeds in need of pulling. Quick and dirty. No excuses. No looking back. Toss 'em...preferably in the garbage instead of the compost pile so they don't come back.
But houseplants grow we you aren't looking. They need bigger pots and you can take cuttings to make more plants. They need to be placed on a bookshelf instead of a table or hung from the ceiling because their vines have grown so much. Even when I neglect them for a season, they can usually be nursed back to health.
Blogging and Facebook, and probably all things internet although those are the big two for me, are functional too. Like dandelions that maybe wouldn't look so pretty on a nice manicured golf course, but are terribly useful for other things. They have their proper place, to be sure, but there is nothing innately wrong with them.
Why is this always so hard for me to understand?
My blog has a huge purpose, not only for the people who may read it and find occasional ideas or encouragement, but for me. My *online* friends are my roots. They are what my mom didn't have when she lamented moving so much as a child and how hard it was and how she never wanted to move ever again.
Of course (to continue the gardening theme) I need to be blooming where I am planted, and that includes living in the community where we live and meeting new people, but I don't have to give up everything else to do that. I don't have to become someone I am not.
Because at the end of the day, I am a blogger. I don't even know why I'm a blogger sometimes, but I am. I absolutely love the connections and the experience. At the homeschool conference last weekend, I loved looking around and see rooms packed with people who are also Catholic homeschooling families- that share our values. They get it. Similarly, when I look around my little bloggy universe, I love hearing from other families that share our struggles and joys of home and family life.
I am inspired by their stories.
I laugh at their antics.
I cry at their sorrows.
I could never sit down and have coffee every day with my one hundred closest friends, but I can sit down and have a cup with my readers.
Except it's usually more like a night cap while someone-who-shall-remain-nameless
I do need to bloom where I am planted, and I continue to pray for guidance to make good decisions for our family's involvement and would ask you to do the same. On the other hand, I've realized pulling arbitrary weeds is most definitely not the answer. Putting in new gardens is hard work, yes, but work I have always undertaken willingly and this time should be no different.