Wednesday, February 20, 2013
I haven’t felt like myself in a year. In fact, it was about a year ago, on Feb. 16, when we announced we’d be moving from the frozen Midwest to the balmy Deep South. With two teens, three pets and deep roots, it was not an easy decision.
For me, the experience has been a bit like a line from James Taylor’s Carolina In My Mind, “With a holy host of others, standing around me. Still I’m on the dark side of the moon. And it seems like it goes on like this forever.”
But here I am on the other side. Here WE are, my family all together under one roof and back to a routine.
While the last seven months in particular have been tough, I am beginning to feel a sense of confidence and security in my new town. I feel like parts of my old self are coming back. I don’t know any other way to say this except: I’ve missed me.
And now that I feel like I am beginning to make a home in this new town, all the things that I miss about my old life are finally coming to surface. Each new thing prompts a reflection on something old. So, to help myself get through some of this, I have made a list of all the things I miss. In time, I know I will miss them less. The new memories created in our new home will only grow the list of things I love, not just the things I miss.
In the meantime…
1. I miss my friends. I didn’t have many but knowing they were just down the street, always ready for grocery shopping, coffee or a night out in the midst of the cold bleak winter or during the dog days of summer made it home to me.
2. I miss my kids’ old schools. I felt like I knew my way around and that the teachers and administrators were on my side. I was part of a great network of parents. There was always somebody to consult or commiserate with over kid activities and workload.
3. I miss my old house. I loved sitting in my family room. I loved cooking in my kitchen. I loved how my bedroom was tucked away on the second floor and how the basement was a magnet for kids. I loved the landing at the top of the stairs. I was usually the last one to bed, everybody tucked into their little corners.
4. I miss the little vegetarian place with the great coffee and funky people. My kids loved that place. In fact, it’s what prompted this blog entry. They posted a photo on Facebook that showed the view out their front window today. It’s a view I saw countless winter days.
5. I miss being able to cross-country ski in my yard or just down the road at a local state park. I miss the big sledding hill at the school. The kids loved it at every age. I even miss the tiny ice-skating rink that was a few miles away from us. It was brutally cold but they always had warm watered-down hot chocolate for sale.
6. I miss the excitement of the first big snow.
7. I miss the tiny drive-through coffee stand. I could get a cup or an entire carafe.
8. I miss “Walking Man.” He walked every day, twice a day, three miles each time. He walked in every weather – rain, heat, snow, brutal cold. He was quite an inspiration, always ready with a kind word.
9. I miss running on flat roads. I said hi to the cows year-round. I gave the “blue dog” a wide berth.
10. I miss biking on flat roads. The turkeys weren’t very smart and the roosters were loud.
11. I miss feeling secure while running and biking on roads. I never realized how much I appreciated road shoulders until I had none.
12. I miss the ease with which my kids interacted with their friends. I miss truly knowing their friends.
13. I miss living in a town where the people rally around the sports team, win or lose. There are no greater fans.
14. I miss the humble unassuming nature of the people of the Midwest. They might be hard to get to know but once you’re in, you’re in for life. I was raised in the south but the Midwest became my home.
15. I miss my inner compass, knowing where I am at all times.
16. I miss the two precious little kids who lived behind us. Always curious and ready to share their excitement.
17. I miss my little wrap-around porch. I could hide on the side for all my “deep thoughts” or sit in the front to watch the neighborhood comings and goings.
18. I miss the hammock in the trees.
19. I miss the school musicals and how they made my kids feel part of something greater than themselves. I’ve never seen them more confident or proud.
20. I miss the school music programs that made music cool. I complained about the concerts but my daughter loved her violin teacher and my son loved his chorus teacher. And both were excellent.
21. I miss the Mustang restoration shop my son worked in. When he was 12, he rode his bike there and asked the owner if he could sweep floors, anything, just to be around the cars. He found a mentor and friend.
22. I miss the little overpriced ice cream shop owned by our neighbors. Lots of ice cream was shared there after numerous school and summer events.
23. I miss the little bakery with fresh mozzarella. Free coffee. Free samples. Free newspaper every Sunday.
24. I miss walking into our bank and the people knowing who I am.
25. I miss the big yellow limo that picked up my kids every day. My kids did not have to risk their lives to ride it.
26. I miss the grocery store where one of the butchers was my next door neighbor. I always got a heads’ up on sales and the best cuts. He showed me how to trim a tenderloin.
27. I miss looking out the front window and always seeing someone walking, riding or playing. The weather did not matter.
28. I miss talking about running with neighbors and friends.
29. I miss occasionally hearing a ship’s fog horn.
30. I miss occasionally hearing the high school band practicing in the late summer into fall.
31. I miss occasionally hearing 100,000 fans cheering almost 10 miles away. When the wind was right, it was a certainty.
32. I miss seeing fighter jets fly over our home on game day. The first time scared the living daylights out of me.
33. I miss looking around my home and having many fond memories. Post-race with two very special friends. Pre-holiday with my parents. Vats of coffee and visits with friends. A third kid for one year. Lots and lots of laughter.
33. I miss the town that welcomed me with open arms and then turned me into an athlete. Maybe I can do you proud in my new town.