Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Long Way from Home

What a whirlwind these few months have been, filled with lots of unpacking and challenging weather. As well as the fun of exploring beautiful and historic scenery. The people of Annapolis have been kind and encouraging. Autumn has launched a huge campaign to win my favor, and I can't say it isn't working. And yet my heart is still in California. I am desperately missing my family and friends and the familiarity of "home." It feels as though I am grieving, and I guess that I am. There is an emptiness that won't go away.

I can barely hold it together for phone calls home. I feel like a child at my first sleep away camp, trying to be brave and not beg them to come and get me. My grandma is moving into the home, and I'd love to be there to help her (and my mom) through this transition. A Santa Barbara friend starts chemo next week, and I'm not around to bring meals or help with the carpool. Friends are posting pictures at the pumpkin patch, a place with 12 years of traditions and precious memories for me, and the squeezing in my chest travels farther north with each pic, sometimes erupting into tears. FaceTime is the worst kind of torture, offering glimpses of living rooms whose smells and cupboards are more familiar than my own displaced ones.

This comes as a surprise to me. I pictured myself bringing a little bit of West Beach to the East Coast. I'd wear Uggs, write witty freelance articles from home while tutoring my children to academic success, and have intimate friendships across the nation. Boy, was I wrong, so far!  Life on the opposite coast with three lonely and active children, no network, and not so much as a neighbor to list on school emergency contact forms, seems a bit more chaotic.

The good friends we left behind are still an important part of our lives and special events. The five of us are learning to rely a bit more on one another, and the kids have a greater awareness of a mom and dad who don't leave or change - even when everything else does. My husband has a job that he loves, and sacrificially commutes so that our children can attend the best schools and I can be near the water. I am beyond grateful for the friends my kids are making here, and I’m really looking forward to meeting some new families. But you can bet that I'm counting down the days until the next California visitor.