This morning I stumbled upon a few of my older, saved but never shared, blog posts. Some of them featured ideas that just didn’t quite come to fruition, others were full of emotions I was not yet ready to share. I decided to finish up this entry, a combination of past and present feelings and perspectives, on the loneliness that festers from a long distance move. The end of July will mark the two-year anniversary of our family uprooting from West Virgina to Pennsylvania. We are aware of the saying, time heals all wounds, and are hopeful it holds true.
It has been months since I posted regularly. I would love to say that was intentional. In all honesty is it the calculated result of poor planning, lack of discipline and the constant restructuring of reality. It is also loneliness.
Ironic how I am never alone yet often I am lonely. Overcome by the feeling that the ties I once held so close to my heart are suddenly fraying strings, the tail of a kite torn from a child’s hand by the wind. You can see the bright colors, you run toward them, even jump, arms outstretched, for awhile hoping to grab it again, but eventually it is out of reach, then out of sight. And after a little while, out of mind.
If anyone understands busy, I do. I get the mom-brain and the rushing. To top it off, I now understand the working mama life and pay homage to all the ladies getting up, leaving the house all day and then still managing to somehow find time to run errands, make meals and have actual clean, folded laundry. I joined that crowd in August as an attempt to fight off the loneliness with a routine, with new people, with a reason for staying out of bed and putting on actual clothes. It was a last-ditch effort to self-medicate depression. It kind of worked, but this new working life coupled with living in the midst of the taxi van, pick up, drop off, eat my dinner in the car sitting outside of the dance studio was numbing. Although I may have succeeded in keeping the loneliness at bay, it was hard to tell if that were true or if I just wasn’t feeling anything anymore. Other mom’s are in that zone too. Empathy, understanding, air high-fives from across state lines, I got nothing but love for you Mama’s, my friends. But it’s a little different when you are the Mom who moved away.
You know they are doing these things, and hoping that’s the reason you haven’t heard from them. Life goes on and they are swamped. You are trying to fit in a new place and it’s not necessarily the busyness that keeps you from reaching out. It’s the paralyzing sadness. It is no longer having a yoga date, it’s the lack of adult conversation and instead talking to your dog because you don’t know anyone except your kids in this new place.
Meeting new mom friends is no easy feat. You see, these other mom’s, these gym moms, dance moms, theatre moms, t-ball moms, they have friends. They aren’t new here, they are from here, their tribe is here. It’s a lot like window shopping. You check things out from a distance and are mostly content. There are days you become hopeful as if the mannequin is going to suddenly tap on the window with their plastic finger and invite you in. Even when you see something you think is your size, a piece you are sure will complement your wardrobe, often the door is locked. The store is closed. It’s not the right time to shop.
This is not to say that I haven’t met some amazing people since moving, I have. I am grateful for the experience and I am confident in knowing there is a purpose and a plan for my life. This is simply a way to share the truth and heartache that we are often encouraged to hide. Put on a happy face, pull up your boot straps, move on, get over it, all these things are said with a hope of encouragement but the pressure behind them to “be okay” is stifling.
We moved away from the comfort and familiarity of our lives, from the tribe we had built, the security and satisfaction in knowing we were never alone. We moved from our home, both literally and figuratively. The place our children learned to walk and talk, drew on the walls and mashed play-doh into the carpet with their chubby feet. We made the decision to leave the family we created to be closer to our family by blood. The family who also already had lives and friends despite us being states away for a decade. At times it feels as if we are still many hours apart with the amount of time that passes in between our interactions. The space creating a void full of unsettling questions and fears of regret.
Even after almost two years the changes are still trying. They affect each family member differently and the emotional waterfalls can sometimes catch you off guard. It is a challenging and delicate dance with the goal of managing emotions and expectations. A trial and a testament to love, forgiveness and the gentle acceptance that comes in time.
So, to the Mom who moved away, I get you. I embrace your adventurous spirit and toast your quest for new relationships and lasting memories. I salute your bravery as you present yourself to the world, fabulous and flaw-filled. I marvel at your diligence, showing up for yourself and your people, everyday in all the ways you know how. It is draining and often unfulfilling but, you are doing it with grace
You got this.
Love and Light,