Today marks one year since we officially arrived in Maryland. It’s been a year that went insanely fast, and yet it also feels like much, much more time has passed than 12 months. So much has happened, has changed, and here we sit, totally settled in our home, our jobs, our schools, whereas just one short year ago everything felt scary and uncertain. It seems appropriate to reflect on some things the last year has taught me.
1) Moving pretty much sucks
Even if you are moving back somewhere familiar, like we did, it’s such a huge undertaking and upheaval, especially with kids. You have no idea how much stuff you have until you have to pack it up and shove it in a truck. I consider myself an extremely organized person, and yet from the second we decided to make the move, until our house in Wyoming finally sold and closed in April, I was a complete wreck, a total bundle of nerves. There is so much to remember to do, to change, to fix, to bring, things you really don’t think about on a daily basis. I think even moving from one house to another in town is a challenge, but across the country? From one state to another? My advice to you if you’re about to undertake it is to just buckle down and realize that your life is going to be entirely stressful for a good long while. You just need to get through it as best you can and realize in a year or so you’ll feel normal again. That being said…
2.) Things are never really as bad as you think they are
Like I mentioned, I was a total mess for a good 9 months. Worrying about everything, the kids, my husband, most especially money, as it took longer than expected for our house to sell. In the midst of it, it felt like the most overwhelming, difficult time ever. Like it would never end, like we couldn’t possibly get through it in one piece. Today? I wonder what the heck I was freaking out about. Everything worked out fine. It was working out fine…maybe not perfectly but really, things were fine. It just felt like everything was out of control. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. There have been several times in my life I thought the world was ending and yet once I got through it I wondered why I’d been such a mess. You’d think maybe I’d learn from these times and not get so wound up in the midst of them but no, I continue to lose it. God has continually shown himself to be taking good care of us and yet I can’t see the forest for the trees. I’m happy to report though that I don’t seem to be alone in this mental defect.
3). Your kids are way more resilient than you are
One of the things I was most worried about was making the transition easier for my kids, who were all old enough to know something major was going on, who were all in school and had friends and routines established and would definitely notice the difference when we moved. Of course…part of the attraction of moving back to Maryland was being near Bill’s parents and lots of cousins and friends we already knew. But still, I was so worried about how everything would impact them, particularly my shy, oldest daughter, who had 2 best friends in Wyoming she had known since kindergarten. But you know what?? They were fine. They made friends right away and adapted to their new school WAY faster than I did. They found activities and fun things (and there are a lot more fun things options around here, which helps!) and it’s not like they forgot life in Wyoming–not at all–but they just totally rolled with it. Bill and I were the ones pulling our hair out over all the “grown up” worries like jobs and bills and money and insurance and houses selling. The very fact of being a kid and not having to worry about all those things made the transition that much easier for them. I had had to keep reminding myself that there were nice kids, nice teachers everywhere and that was totally true.
4.) If you want to maintain long distance relationships you actually have to TALK to people
My Wyoming friends and I had a rough year. We had a MAJOR disagreement a few months after we’d moved. We didn’t speak for a long time. We are thankfully talking again, but its clear that things will never be the same again, and not just because we moved across the country. It’s ouchy to think about. It feels ugly to remember that time. And I think it all is the result of not actually talking to people. We sent a lot of emails, texts, blog posts…lots of written words that are so easy to misconstrue, so easy to get hurt by and just let that hurt settle in and fester. It is SO much easier to be mad at someone when you’re not actually talking to them. I feel like if we’d just picked up the phone and SPOKE to one another we could’ve avoided a lot of months of hurt and bad feelings. Yes–it requires more effort to actually call someone, to actually pick up the phone when it rings and you see who it is. But if you don’t, things deteriorate. Fast. I wish I could do that part of the year over again entirely.
5.) Getting your wish doesn’t mean a walk in the park
Everyone who has spent the least bit of time with me over the past 8 years knows that I was itching, aching at some points, to move back east, to Maryland if possible. (Again…looking back I wish I could do that part over again, the “making my frustrations so freakin’ obvious” part and coped with things more gracefully.) So a year ago that magically happened, but I knew at the time, and I know of course now, that it didn’t mean that suddenly everything was going to be rosy and peachy. And it was hard for me to express that–I felt like I couldn’t talk to people about my struggles and the hard things, because I felt like they would say “Well, you got what you’d wanted for so long so shut the hell up with your complaining.” Because they’d listened to me gripe about Wyoming and wanting to move for so long, I didn’t feel like I had the “right” to be unhappy or struggling with my “wish coming true”, as it were. That was hard. I’m sure it was mostly self-imposed, but some days I felt the whole “Be careful what you wish for!” thing very keenly.
So those are a few things I learned. It has been a year and boy am I glad to have all that mess behind me. It has given me so much joy to see my kids getting to see Grammy and Pap several times a week. I know my in-laws love it. Last week Julia said “When are we going to see Grammy and Pap? It’s been forever!” It had been like 4 days. And now my sister-in-law is back in Baltimore too…she’s just come on over for dinner several times already and I love it. The weather is like a dream come true–I’m experiencing my first real fall in years and seeing all the red and gold and orange and being cool but not freezing is like a revelation to me. I’ve made some wonderful new friends and strengthened some old ones. I love when we can have the cousins over to spend the night. I have a pretty cool job that I like most days…and am looking forward to new things with grad school this spring, I feel like I have so many opportunities opened up for me. The kids are doing great in school this year and I am letting go of some of my prejudices towards “regular” public schools as they thrive and do well in a school that is not SRA. (Still not entirely over that one though!!) There are so many good things, so many opportunities we have here in this area, and we haven’t even begun to take advantage of all of them. Yes, I lost some things. Some things have changed- not for the better-and I do have some regrets. But I think that’s just part of life. And I’m glad to have come through this last year mostly in one piece, and hopefully for the better in at least a couple of ways.