It’s a weird feeling living back in your hometown, a place you haven’t lived since you were 18. Everything is the same, and yet everything is different. Shortcuts and backroads come back to you instantly. But new stores and businesses have popped up everywhere. You recognize all of your parents’ friends, whom you’ve seen off and on over the years, but life has changed so much from high school and most everyone you knew before has gone their own way, much like you did after graduation. There is so much familiarity at the church you grew up in, and yet you are now an outsider trying to make your way back in–trying to reconnect, trying to find playmates for your kids, trying to find mom friends.
Honestly, it’s weird trying to find new friends as a mom in a small town. Moms don’t frequent the parks as much as they did where we used to live. There aren’t local hiking groups who welcome kids on all adventures. And we’re no longer in a neighborhood jammed packed with young kids and amenities that make meeting other moms easy.
No, I’m starting from scratch in one of the most familiar places I know, my hometown. I had held off connecting too much when we moved here in the spring. Afterall, I thought we’d be on the road in our RV by now–and goodbyes are hard for everyone. But here we are, six months later and not much has changed. Sure, we take short RV trips once or twice a month, but we have plenty of time to connect with others. I joined a Women’s Bible study and we are looking into joining a Small Group at church. We’ve been members of a local lifting gym since April, but seem to be the only people with kids. I’ve tried to meet up with a local Moms group several times, but someone always ends up sick when least expected. At any rate, it’s a start.
Part of me feels like it’d be easier to start fresh in a totally new area, where the effort is on me to reach out and connect, where everyone I meet and every place I visit is new. But there is a certain calmness and ease associated with familiarity. It can leave you languid and complacent, or it can spur you to use that safety net to do more. I’m trying to shift my way of thinking and use that familiarity for good, to put myself out there more, to appreciate the time we have with family nearby. In essence, to be intentional with my time and my resources.
When I have time to sit down and reflect on it, being a mom can be lonely. Of course, life is so busy that I rarely have time to do that, which is exactly why six months have passed and I’m just now realizing the value of connection. I feel connected to other moms through social media and blogging, but it isn’t the same as face-to-face relationships. Sure, online relationships are easier and more convenient, but they simply aren’t enough, I’m realizing. Women need women–to vent about child rearing and embarrassing moments and personal growth and their dear husbands. They need the sage opinion of someone who thinks the way they do but can see things differently.
So local moms, please don’t run if you see me walking your way toting my three crazy kids. They don’t bite (only each other). I just want to say hi and maybe strike up a face-to-face, kid-interrupted conversation.