Moving is Hard – Bursting the Bubble
“I just wanted you to know…I am in a much better place than when you were here. I feel really bad you had to go through all that because it was such a stressful time for me. I am settling in a lot better and really happy with this house.” – Me to my mom via text this morning
Moving is hard.
It’s really, really hard.
But getting there; being there. That can be hard, too. So.fucking.hard.
Our life was peaceful. Harmonious. Damn near perfect in San Diego. We were in a bubble. And I loved our bubble.
Then it burst.
I haven’t been on the blog much because I haven’t had the motivation. I’ve been struggling. A LOT. The first month and a half of living here chewed me up, spit me out, then put me back in to chew me up some more. My parents came to visit and I was a wreck. They were worried for me and they were worried for the hubs. I’m their daughter. They know I can be…not so open to compromise and change.
After moving, for awhile there, I felt like the best part about being here was getting away from here. When we went to Indianapolis it was like I could get away from the reality of “having” to live in Arkansas. Driving back in the car, I cried. That same week I went to Washington, D.C. and I was elated to be with my work family. The night before I came home I cried to the hubs on the phone. I miss my co-workers. I miss the office. I miss the camaraderie. And going back to Arkansas was going back to that elephant on my chest; the weight of responsibilities I didn’t quite grasp before we left. The not knowing anyone. The being in a community where the ideals are so far from my own. The step-parenting stuff. I wanted nothing to do with it. And I felt like the biggest asshole on the planet for feeling that way.
Flying back was my first time arriving into Arkansas coming off a business trip. When I raised my window shade, out of mere habit, I looked out to see the gorgeous topography of San Diego. Of course, San Diego wasn’t what I saw and it hit me. Like a ton of bricks, it hit me that I could allow this misery to pummel me or I could realize that I need to practice what I preach and honor this amazing life I’m living. I can’t even say I’ve been trying at it because, really, I’ve been sucking at the whole trying part.
After we got here I was in a horrible funk. I was sad. I cried a lot. I mean, I had a complete meltdown in Oklahoma the day before we even got to Arkansas. A couple weeks passed and I felt angry. Even though this was my choice to move, I resented it. Then a couple more weeks passed. I regretted opening my mouth and telling my husband we should move to Arkansas to be near his kids because I feel like we saw them more when we lived in San Diego than we do now that we’re just within minutes. With three teens who have busy lives (one in college, one figuring it out and one in high school who plays sports) AND a 9 year old who’s just gone back to school (don’t forget her softball practices, too), what I think both of us envisioned as far as spending time with the girls, didn’t come to fruition and we were let down; both of us. It’s just in different ways. It feels like this dance where you don’t want to step on toes, but you want to say, “Hey, remember us?! We left a great life and moved across the country for a reason. That reason is the kids. So where are they?” Learning not to take it personally that as they got older their excitement about it seems to have faded is kind of difficult. No, actually. Not kind of. It’s just difficult.
I thought we’d move here and it would be easier. I wasn’t anticipating these bumps in the road. It is accepted for biological parents to admit how hard it is. Heck, sometimes it seems if you’ve had a child you have free rein to bitch about all its challenges. But dare a stepparent share this sentiment and we’re villains. I’ve hesitated writing about it because my intent is not to criticize anyone at all; not the kids and not their moms. It is a learning process. I’m sure the kids sensed this adjustment period wasn’t easy on me and that wasn’t really fair to them. Privately, the hubs and I have never bickered in the way we did when we got here. The stress was eating me up. Then I woke up and couldn’t move my neck. Stress: 500 Heather: 0.
Instead of being honest and talking it out, I kept it inside and blamed everyone else for my unhappiness. And yeah, I’m human. But it wasn’t okay. It’s isn’t okay. I cannot pinpoint the day or time, but since I know the only person you can change is yourself, I changed my attitude. And while I can’t say that I am wild about everything here, I can tell you that I am in a much, much better place.
A colleague who went to college here told me, “Don’t compare it to San Diego or you will be miserable.” He was right. I should have listened to him a long time ago. I am realizing I get to have the best of so many worlds; San Diego because I still go there for work, Arkansas and Florida since my family is there.
Going down the drive today two deer waited to cross; they and their family often visit us. Hummingbirds dance around our top deck almost by the hour, bright red cardinals perch themselves and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers effortlessly climb our oak trees. The hooting of the owls in the early evening never ceases to amaze me and as the sky darkens the stars are so amazingly bright it’s like I’m discovering the night sky again. And while I was shocked by our recent electricity bill (even though I still don’t know where all the light switches are), having a large house does have its perks. We could not have made things happen like this in San Diego. I realize as we settle in more how much I am growing to love our small slice of Arkansas. The hubs, never one to be able to just relax, is thoroughly embracing the three-car garage as he tinkers around and works on projects. His business is growing and he’s happy as a kid in a candy store. It makes me smile to myself he finally has his “man space”. When I look out our beautiful, big windows into the back upon our land I am caught up in its beauty. I often pause to take it in. While my work-in-progress wine room is up there as a favorite part of the house and the media room is nice, best of all there is plenty of room for our visitors AND for us to get through our growing pains.