Friday, April 22, 2016

Where the heart is.

When I graduated high school a whole 10 (okay, 15) years ago, I wanted to leave. I wanted to get away from the tiny little town I grew up in. So the summer I graduated, I left. I moved to the Minneapolis area. I didn't know anyone. I had never driven in traffic like that (and never care to again.) It was scary, exhilarating, and lonely at times. But I made friends soon enough. I learned how to drive in the traffic. I can't say I fit in. I was lovingly referred to as the Amish girl. Everyone cracked jokes about my up-bringing and asked if I churned my own butter. For the record, no.

After school we moved back to our hometown area briefly, so Craig could finish college. And then we made the move to Omaha. Back to the city life I had missed. Being five minutes to the nearest Target. The hustle and bustle. Actual real-life strangers, seems odd when you grow up in a small town to think that you would go to the grocery store or mall and not see a single person that you know. I hated that when I was younger. Everyone always knew everyone else's business.

And now, here we are. Recently moved to a small town. Not as small as where I grew up, but the kids' school is pretty comparable. Craig says we live in the country. I tell him unless you have to take a dirt road and your nearest neighbor is a mile away, it's not really the country.

I was nervous, going back to the small town setting, about making friends. About being back in the everyone knows everyone. But I am happy to say, I've met an amazing group of friends here. And I actually love seeing people I know every time I go to the store. It may be the only adult contact I've had in hours!!!

There's a comfort here that I can't explain. Maybe it's the familiarity of the lifestyle. Where the kids go to school, the town reminds me so much of where I grew up. I was taken a little by surprise by how fast we all adjusted. Like we have always been here. I actually was teary-eyed the first week here, not because of the changes, but because when we drove by anyone, they waved. People I have never met. It was a simple gesture. But it had been SO long since that happened. Since everyone waved. Callie thought I was bonkers. But the tears rolled down my cheeks. I didn't even know I missed it.

So now that I'm older, now that I'm a mother, I am actually learning I prefer knowing everyone. I love that my kids can now go outside with no fences, and just get lost in play. They already have a trail worn to their friends' house, and a secret hideaway spot where their imagination can run wild. I feel safe because everyone knows everyone. Everyone looks out for each other's kids. I don't feel scared to let them go and explore. (Not true. Weston is not allowed out of my sight. If you've met him, you know why.) Now I see the value in the semi-country life. I am okay with a 30 minute drive to Target, because the trade off benefits my children.

To the younger me, I'm glad you went off and moved so far away, to a big city. It was an experience that will never be forgotten. But, I'm glad to feel home again.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Walk of Shame

For a mom like me, who is happily married, the walk of shame means something entirely different than where your dirty mind is right now. You should be ashamed of yourself.

To me, the walk of shame is pretty much every day I take the kids to school. For several reasons.

One, because I'm likely (likely, haha) still in my pajamas. You know, last night's clothes. My hair looks like I just stuck a fork in an outlet, or maybe just took a few lightening bolts to the head. Sometimes, if  I'm feeling really ambitious, you'll see me with a sparkly headband. My plan is for the sparkles to keep your attention so you don't see the horrifying image that is naturally  curly hair on day two after a rough night of sleep. I'm probably wearing some type of yoga pants or capris that I can assure  you have never been to yoga. (They do go to the gym, but definitely not to yoga.) They don't make sunglasses big enough to cover my whole face, which is kind of disappointing. Even my Laguna Beach sunglasses aren't big enough. I probably have flip flops on, maybe they match, maybe they don't, you'll never know. I won't get out of the van. For any purpose. Unless maybe if it's on fire.

Two, let's go back to that van that I wouldn't get out of. Yes, the van. The VAN. Sounds worse every time I say it. Part of me loves my mini-van. And I will tell you a million times how much those little buttons mean to me. How I love when my hands are full, I can open every door with a push of my thumb. The kids can get in and out without me worrying they are door dinging every single car we park next to (have you met Callie??). And I love that we can ride comfortably, have room for extra stuff and extra kids or friends if need be. But part of me hates it. The part that thinks I still had an ounce of cool left. Had. Don't have anymore. Part of your soul dies when you buy a mini-van (if you were like me and SWORE you would NEVER drive one.) If you love your grocery getter, I am happy for you. I want you to be happy. I'm not judging you. I am judging me. There's a cooler in my mini-van. It's kind of neat. I kept chicken cold the other day while I picked the kids up from school. I've kept my breastmilk cold. (Probably not what the Honda makers were thinking would be in there when they added a cooler, but thanks anyway, Honda makers. It is too small to hold a bottle of wine though. Take note, Honda makers.) But part of me can't help thinking, as I'm driving down the road, passing all of the cool moms in their SUV's, that when I push that button to let the kids out, my soul is jumping out of the door with them. It has everything to do with the van. Nothing to do with the fact that I might be listening to Hanson or Ace of Base.

Three, there's a really good chance I haven't brushed my teeth yet. Walk of shame worthy. Enough said.

So if you see me in my van in the morning, I will wave and smile at you. You can wave and smile but don't make eye contact please. Just look at the sparkles. Keep your eyes on the sparkles.