We went to a Rangers game and surprise surprise, the sun was hot. I had to do something to block the damaging rays from my already aging face.
“Do you think they sell Cowboys hats here?” I asked my husband. I’m totally a Bears fan but after that draft pick, I don’t even feel guilty lending some support to America’s Team.
“Probably not, it’s a Rangers game. What does it matter?”
What matters is that we are Cubs fans and finally, after 108 years, we have a reason to be proud. It felt like a sin to go spend money on a white Rangers visor and be a total poser. It kind of made me sick, sitting in the stands with everyone that’s dressed just like me yet know I’m not part of it. (Just for the record, I inserted Cubs into any cheer I could.) Just another reminder that we are not from here.
I never know when it’s going to hit me. It comes in tidal wave form. Speaking of which, remember those Tidal Wave Gum commercials? A door would open and it would be a total flood of water to signify the RUSH of flavor. That’s how it overtakes me.
Typically, I’m bumping along through my day just fine. I’m in my routine, doing all the necessary functions for my family and not really thinking about the “Big Picture.” My house is filled with furniture and belongings that we’ve acquired throughout the years. The walls may be different, but the essence of it is our home. My favorite 3 boys and loyal dog are here to provide plenty of companionship, which makes me forget that this is all new. Really new and fresh.
It’s been less than a year since we moved to Texas, and we spent around 2 years in Pennsylvania just before that. Making 2 major moves in that timespan blends it all together. Surprisingly, PA quickly felt like home, even though I knew it was only a temporary landing spot. You find LOVE when you’re not looking and unavailable. It’s a weird feeling to be homesick, yet not know which home I’m missing.
The thing about moving with kids in middle school and high school is that you have no choice but to jump in with both feet and load up the schedule. We really had to just pick up where they left off and even add some. Swim meets, water polo tournaments, homework, and 2 different school schedules keep my calendar full and my gas tank low.
So when all that is going on, it’s easy to forget that we really just got here. My schedule is tight, but quite misleading. Barely having a free night gives the illusion of a busy social life. We’re chasing around, but it’s more like business than pleasure (at least for my husband and me.)
Here I am going through the motions when BAM- it hits me. It’s really not “home” yet.
I might be walking into one of the several grocery stores we have here and think I’m walking into Wegman’s. I see a girl in workout clothes with a sweaty ponytail and my mind starts slipping, thinking it’s one of my PA besties. I start to smile, but it fades as she turns her head and I quickly go numb. It’s not one of my girlfriends and my chest gets heavy as I remember that the odds of me running into anyone familiar (let alone someone I heart) at the grocery store are quite slim.
I started substitute teaching, and as I enter a classroom at my son’s school, I expect to see familiar faces. No, not one face is recognizable. No one played Little League with my boys. There isn’t a neighbor the kids grew up with. Not one kid runs up to me and proudly professes to be friends with my son. It sinks in again that this is still all very new and my kids are fumbling through the day with a bunch of strangers.
A Friday night after swim practice used to be an easy pizza night with friends. I catch myself as I get out of the shower on a Friday, thinking about what I’m going to wear that day. It used to be that a Friday was at least one step up from the other days. Maybe I won’t wear leggings and I might pay attention to drying my hair. A Friday night here is going to be just us, so I might as well just skip to the comfy pants. Hair dryer not required.
Last Fall, I walked into my son’s high school swim meet. Since I was signed up to volunteer, I had to check in. I found the table and gave my name. The lady looks down at the list and asks what school I’m volunteering for.
Deer in headlights. Names of past schools and teams start bumping around my head.
Camp Hill, wait no, that team actually swam with the Catholic high school Trinity. No that’s not right. Alligators. EPAC. Prospect. Why am I even thinking Prospect, my kids never even started there. Lincoln? Wait no that was a middle school. Hmmm..She’s still staring at me waiting for answer. Oh my GOD I look so stupid.
Finally, “Flower Mound” comes to my jumbled brain and I spit it out at her. Needless to say that woman was unimpressed and probably made a mental note to keep her kids away from mine.
And then there’s the constant reminders of the family rituals that no longer exist.
Like a Sunday, when all I want to do is head over to my parents’ house. Even the dog would come with, as “Grandma’s house” is part of his vocabulary. It was so easy to walk in, pour a
gallon glass of wine, and eat a dinner that my dad spent the day working on. But now, Sunday is s a weak attempt on my part to create a big meal to be eaten by just the 4 of us, which really ends up being like every other night of the week.
Or maybe the parties we don’t need to be invited to because we have a 0.01% chance of attending. Missing a big happening in a niece’s or nephew’s life flashes images of previous parties through my mind. Good times and stories that go on forever. The parties still happen with 99.99% of their glory, but we’re just not there.
But the small moments-
No lunch dates with my mom.
Running with just my music to keep me company.
Always following navigation because I have NO idea where I’m going.
Tacos everywhere… wait that’s a GOOD thing.
I can let it overwhelm me, but most often I just pull up my big girl pants and suck it up. There’s plenty of good to outweigh the bad.
I do have good friends that live 30 minutes away. It’s not always easy to get together, but for big things, like Christmas, we were welcomed into their home and they made us feel like family.
My kids are in a fantastic school district.
The high school swim team offers exactly what we wanted in a team.
My son’s USA Swimming team has brought him to new heights with great opportunities.
We have a pool in our backyard. Never ever would have that in Chicago.
And oh my GOD I almost ended this without mentioning sub-zero temps. Don’t miss that.
I’ve realized that while there is plenty I miss, what’s inside this house is more important than anything else.