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Geographical Reorientation

3 years ago

1279 words

Photo: This is the awesome view of the Charles River and the Boston skyline during playgroup every Monday. Not a lot of people get to see this view from this high up, but we were very lucky. Unfortunately, it looks like I won’t get to spend my Mondays staring out at this view anymore… 

 

I gave up my playgroup yesterday. I stepped down from leading it and I’m fairly sure that means it is going to die. I’m heart broken because I love what that group is and I don’t want to see it disappear. Then again, I’m feeling a little bit of relief because it gives me back my Mondays. 

Moving out here to MetroWest, it takes about 45 minutes with no traffic to get from my home to Cambridge (or Boston, which is just a hop across the river). I don’t view this as a crazy-huge deal, because I like driving and the way to get to Cambridge is mostly highway with no cops to slow me down. If I get the opportunity to drive without babies in the car, I have my music up a little too loud and my foot a little too heavy on the gas. It’s wondrous. 

But “no traffic” on the highway is a hard thing to pull off, especially during prime time, which is when playgroup is. Last semester, I threw my boys in the car at 7:20 to be at playgroup at 9:30 and we were always barely making it. That means getting them up at 6:30, rushing them through breakfast and getting dressed, and then throwing them in the car for two hours of crawling into the city. With construction on the road, we’d often spend another 90 minutes getting back. Hungry babies in need of a nap, wired mommy needs an advil… and the whole day would be a crap shoot from there. Not to mention that it was a crazy way to start the week and set the tone for just being tired for the rest of it. 

But I did it, because I love the moms and the kids… and because I loved having a leadership role in my community. And I loved watching my sons play with a diverse group of kids. It was a labor, but it was a labor that I thought was worth it. The truth is, I’ve been thinking about making this change for a while now. But I kept telling myself that I should at least finish out the school year, as that would be the right thing to do. I’d convinced myself that I could do this and that it was worth the time.

Until yesterday. When I spent three hours in the car trying to get The Husband to work after a morning of preschool with Ursa Major. It was a stupid amount of gas, a stupid amount of time and a stupid amount of traffic. The more I thought about it, as I was twirling my hair listening to NPR and trying to control my blood pressure, the more I realized that I just couldn’t make this commitment anymore. We’re too far away now. We’re not really physically part of this community any more. 

And you know what that makes me? A fully suburban mother. The geographical change is complete. I live here, I shop here, my boys learn here and now they fully play here. We’re suburbanites, true and true. 

Those of you who have watched me make this transition are probably rolling your eyes. “Kyra, you actively chose this. You went through a lot of trouble to get here. What the hell is your problem?” And you are right, dear reader. I know you are. And yet, I’m sitting here pensive. I feel disoriented and unbound. I kept a tether to a community that I loved and that loved me back, and now I’m putting all of my energy into finding a place in a community that I’m not so sure that I love and that I’m pretty certain won’t find the capacity to love me back for a long while. The smiles are there, yes, but the sincerity of warmth and welcome are still a long way away. I’m just not part of the fold yet. 

So now I’m sitting here thinking, “now what?” It really isn’t just a question of how I’m going to constructively use my Mondays, it’s about how I’m going to enrich the boys with another playgroup or other activity. There is also the (glaring) diversity problem. I feel like I’m shooting myself in the foot here. 

My husband thinks that a faith community is going to help in this regard. I hope that he’s right, though I’m not so sure. I’m wondering if that is going to feel like just another obligation and group of people to try to please and fit into, but not necessarily something that is going to be nourishing and supportive. Maybe that’s the introvert writing… Maybe this really is about me not putting my best foot forward. It’s easy to sit here and decide that I don’t belong and thus I won’t even try. This is where the bravery comes in, right? 

There is a little good news on this front, though. It received an email today from another mom at Ursa Major’s preschool who I met at that ridiculous potluck back in October. She works at a private school that is absolutely wonderful that I’d LOVE to work for some day, and we talked for a long time about it at the party but have not made contact since. Well, that school has an opening for next year, a class that is right up my alley, and she thought of me and sent me an e-mail about it. I’m thrilled that she remembered me and that I’d made a good enough impression on her for her to suggest that I apply. Unfortunately, because the boys are still so young and because of the location (and time commitment), I don’t think it would be best for us right now. But at least there might still be places out there who might take a bum like me. 🙂 

I haven’t been as productive this week as I would like to be. I’m going to try to spend some more time getting something done and working toward my goal. That editing thing was a big setback and now I’m feeling a little in the wind. Should I outline something new? Should I just start writing and find a story somewhere? Should I do some world building and put down a good foundation? Should I just write a bunch of crappy short stories and put together a crappy anthology? 

I clearly need to go to a pretty place and think for a while. 

Or sit my ass in this chair and actually do some writing. 

Yeah. That one. That’s what I need to do. 

I’m not the only bloggy mom thinking about raising boys into men. Meredith over at Perfection Pending wrote a great post on this that you should totally read. Her post raised more questions for me on my end that I am still contemplating and may write about on Friday. I also received a great link to a 2010 TED Talk on this that I want to consider as I’m writing.  There is some really interesting discussion going on out there and I’d like to continue to be a part of it. 

In the mean time, let’s get out there and be productive, hm? and maybe make a friend on the way? (Seriously. I failed at Sesame Street or something. Who doesn’t know how to make friends in adulthood??) 

 

5 Replies to “Geographical Reorientation”

  1. I don’t know how to make friends. Most of my good friends are from when I lived ‘back home’ in Belfast. I do have friends in this village, lovely people, but I have not made the connection with them that I did with my old friends of thirty years ago, now scattered around the world.

    I’m going to drop an opinion on you here, feel free to ignore. I was always on the look out for new groups, activities and experiences with which to enrich my kids’ lives. We lived ten years of madcap dashes from this place to that as each child attended and learnt music, sport, social and interest groups. Looking back I think I started them too young. I think they would have been as happy to just play at home and with me.

    We are all different and so are our kids. You do what is best for you and yours, but don’t put pressure on yourself. Those gorgeous boys of yours have the love of good parents and that is giving them the foundation that they need.

    Beautifully written post as ever. xx

    1. Thanks for this! I meant to reply a lot earlier… I am thinking a lot about what you said about groups and interests for kids. You are so right and yet I know that I am going to continue to drive myself crazy with this just because it is the “right” thing to do. The Husband and I talk constantly about Boy Scouts and music lessons and sports and junk for the boys…he is very convinced that these things help them become well rounded and more attractive to colleges some day. I did one activity in my youth, swimming, and it didn’t do much for helping me get into college. I guess we’re coming from different spaces… but I see that this is a competitive world and I guess that I’m always feeling that urgency, you know? It is raising my blood pressure unnecessarily. Thank you for your advice! You are always so supportive. And I love the pictures from your garden. I read your blog and I tell myself that I’m just going to move to the English countryside.

      There is still snow on my front yard. Lots of it. Can I send some to you?

  2. Making friends in adulthood is WAY harder if you ask me. Sorry you’re feeling a little out of place with the whole suburbia thing. But, it will all be OK. It may take some time, but it will be OK. 🙂 Thanks for the link back.

    1. Making friends AND keeping friends. You reach out then you pull away. It’s so terrible. Maybe I’m just over thinking things, which I’m quite guilty of doing. I do feel like I’m struggling a little bit here. I spent the weekend making kinklings and sharing those kinklings with other people. That seemed to go over well. So maybe the solution is that if I cook/bake, people will like me? Hmmmmm…. bribery could be a viable solution to all of my problems…

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