Sunday, 13 January 2013

There's no place like home

Like Dorothy and her glam ruby slippers, there are moments when I wish I could just click my heels and we would all be back home, back in our big, somewhat drafty but always homey home. There were idiosyncrasies, to be sure, like the fact that when the wind really howled outside we could actually feel the house move, swaying in the gales that blew in off the sea.

Even more disconcerting was the cold draft that blew up the toilet on really windy days. How could that even be?? I never did figure out the physics of that one, although my dad patiently tried to explain something about pee traps and the direction of the wind.
But ANYHOW. I digress.

I have moved more times than I can count, it is true, and somehow it seemed like a badge of honour to be always jaunting around the countryside, to and fro and hither and yon and to New Brunswick and everything. There is something quite thrilling about making a new place your own, so why does it now seem more daunting to be jaunting? (Sorry, I couldn't resist that rhyme.) In my efforts to send it all on a big positive spin (thank goodness for that really excellent Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course, without which I would have lost my grip long ago), I find myself wildly veering from Pollyanna Sunshine "isn't this a thrilling adventure?!" all the way to "what an opportunity for all of us!" but then way over to "What are we DOING??"

I had, in fact, forgotten how terribly difficult it is to meet people in a new place sometimes, and as for the stay-at-home parenting full-time all the time, well, I had forgotten about that, too. Meaningful and challenging part-time work has always given me the identity outside the house I thought I needed. It's also a wonderful way to meet people, much better than trying to make eye-contact with the least-tattooed mom at the pool or skulking around the kids' section at the library looking for parents who are helping their children pick out enriching, literary children's books that don't involve SpongeBob or Barbie. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But really, they're baaaaaaad.

So, here I am, outlining a plan to get out of the house, embrace our new town, and circumvent the inevitable slide into surefire depression and hermithood. And doing it in a public forum, so I will feel obliged to follow through. Things I must do:

Get out of the house, and not just to drive the children to and from school. Get sunshine, fresh air, vitamin D to fight the stupor that comes from sunrises at approximately 8:45 a.m.

Find a place to volunteer. I have always said I wanted to volunteer and never actually have. Hmmm.

Return to yoga. I first took yoga about 16 years ago because as a high-strung university graduate stuck in a crappy retail job I REALLLLLY needed to relax. It has worked ever since, but I fell out of the habit a few years ago. There are cheap classes offered by the city, and I can do it. I will do it.

Get a pack. You know, like wolves, but nicer. I miss my pack desperately from back east, those women who were with me through my first seven baffling years of parenthood. I need a pack, just a small one. More hanging out at the library is required, or else posting a personal ad, "Wanted: Book club. Books not always required. Wine, snacks and warm conversation with wildly different but wonderful people a must."

Continue to look for creative outlets. Take up pottery, take more photographs, write. Be more patient when teaching children to knit.

Live in this moment. It is hard to remember this one sometimes, but as my children grow and grow, I remind myself they will need me less and less. More than anything I want to embrace this time with them, time to play a bigger role in their everyday lives. I am not just putting them on the bus in the mornings and saying goodbye until late in the day. I cherish our little lunch parties, when they come flying out of the school, breathless and happy to see me. We drive home to eat together, spend a little time in the middle of the day just catching up. It is precious time I will never regret spending.

Accept that all the stress will pass, and we will feel at home again. And Home with a capital "H" will always be there, as we return to the Island to clear our little plot of cottage country woods.

Do you have ways to put yourself out there when you settle in a new place? I would love to hear a few new ideas.


  1. Another fabulous post Stephenie and one I can relate to all too well. I am hopeless as getting out and meeting people. I still don't really feel like I have a proper pack here, I have 2-3 close friends and lots of work friends but not a real pack.
    Good luck with your new adventure and I look forward to hearing how you get on with everything. I think moving to a new place and the change to being a SAHM again are both huge, let alone doing both at once.

  2. Thanks Alison! It is good to know I am not the only one...
    By the way, I signed up for a pilates/yoga blend class, starts tomorrow! Step 1 of "getting out" is going back now!