I seem to be nothing but reflective here, and I think I will have to find other purposes for writing that provide an easier path toward posting an entry, but for now here I go again . . ..
Last week I was lucky enough to have an unexpected visit from an old friend. He and I became close when we were about 13 years old, and, while we go a long while between the times that we see one another, the length of our friendship means that we are never really “catching up” as much as “continuing on.” The last few times we’ve met have been mostly weddings or brief encounters during the holidays or stop-bys so he could meet my girls when they were newborn. With the exception of a long weekend almost two years ago, they didn’t really provide for much in the way of quality time. This time was different. It was only a day, but it was a full day (plus the night before) and we were able to slow down and actually hang out and talk.
I realized that I have a hard time slowing down. I feel a constant pressure to “do things” and “get things done” that often gets in the way of the moment. I know that, as a mom, there are smaller windows in a child’s schedule than there are in an adult’s, but I know I need to get better at stepping back and determining whether the rush undermines the purpose of the activity altogether. That said, I also think that being a stay at home mom means living a life of a particular sort of “busy” that is impossible to understand until you live it. The success or failure of minutia can drive you out of your mind quite quickly.
We talked about our relationships, our families, our purposes, and it was really wonderful to step back a bit and consider it all. Before I left for the east coast in June, I was not in a good place at all. My anxiety was out of control and I couldn’t get a handle on things. In many ways, I wasn’t being the person that I wanted to be. It felt like she was just out of reach, but the harder I tried to get to her, the further away she moved. I feel like I’ve managed to get past that hump since I’ve been back, though. I’m not sure what did it, but somehow the break in routine or perhaps just the bit of sunshine back home allowed me to find a new rhythm. I am still working on things, of course, but it’s nice to feel like I am on the right path.
I haven’t posted in a month and I feel terrible about it. The truth is that I am not doing very well. Ever since we moved into our new home a month ago, I have been completely overwhelmed. I’m trying to do too many things and I end up feeling like a failure all the time. I am constantly trying to catch up on everything, hoping that I will get on top of things enough to relax, and never managing to get even close. As a result, I am tense all the time. I feel like I have had so little time for myself that writing in this blog, which is one of the ways that I take care of myself, has completely fallen to the wayside.
Despite all this, I have to say that I love our new home. The picture of Avery above has her standing outside on the front porch. We have a little bit of outdoor space now – no yard or anything, but space in back for a small table and chairs and a rather large grill. Plus we’ve planted some things and can look for snails on the front walk when it rains. The house itself isn’t huge, but it’s more than double what we used to have in NYC and it’s smartly designed, with tons of storage space. I am incredibly happy that we are able to host guests now and there is lots of space for the girls to play. And our neighborhood is adorable, with a playground across the street, a tasty coffee and cupcake shop next to there (danger alert!), and a few charming shops and family friendly restaurants just within the closest few blocks.
It’s still lonely for me, though. I simply don’t have the support system that I used to have, which I particularly miss when I’m feeling like I can’t get anything done. I have bit off more than I can chew, and that is part of it, but I am not sure if it’s all there is. Emotionally I feel myself slowly slipping into bad habits – not having anything very happy to say, so withdrawing more, then feeling lonelier as a result. It’s a spiral and it’s not good at all. There has been a strange streak of violence in our area recently, too, which has left many in our neighborhood feeling a bit out of sorts. And as much as I am looking forward to my trip back home in a few weeks, I also feel like it is going to be a lot of emotional upheaval.
In the end, I know that I will figure out what it is that I need to do to take care of myself. I have people who love me and support me, and I have some very important people who rely upon me. I just need to figure out some of those things that will help and get on them soon. As part of that process, I hope that I will be writing here more often.
Paul and Avery are at Avery’s first swim class. Alexa and I are just hanging out at home. I have to say that I could absolutely get used to this a couple times a week.
Back when I was single and living in New York, I used to read the “Missed Connections” section of Craigslist from time to time. Someone will write to, say, the blonde in the green coat who was riding the C train on Friday morning. They exchanged words, perhaps, but the writer didn’t work up the guts to ask for her number. Now the opportunity is gone and he regrets it. It is a terribly romantic idea that gets me every time.
Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about missed connections of friendship. In the last couple weeks, I’ve heard from a few women whom I am sure should be good friends of mine. Somehow, though, the circumstances haven’t been quite right yet – we have been in different places, whether physically or in our place in life – so that we haven’t been able to get to know one another as well as I wish we might.
Thinking about this has both given me hope and made me feel a bit overwhelmed at the task of making friends here. Hope, because it helps to know that there are great friends out there to be had, that I haven’t already had my share (or more than my share, if you know how awesome my friends are). But overwhelmed, because I know just how much goes into making a true friendship, the amount of time, effort, energy and shared experience it requires. It doesn’t happen overnight. Things won’t be much different for me here in Seattle in that regard for a long while.
That’s ok, though. I do have friends here, even if only a few, and I know very well that real friendships – once they are established – transcend space and time and distance.