It's been a big growing year. Our family is growing. The business is growing. And personally, I'm working on growing and creating some new friendships.
A lot happened in really quick succession this summer to make me realize I needed to do this.
I think it really started when I wrote this post and mentioned that our tribe is up in Northern California. And then shortly after realized that while, yes, there is a possibility we'll get back up to that area eventually, it won't be for at least seven years. Seven years. Ellerie will be almost ten. This baby I haven't even met will be starting first grade. That's a long time from now.
In early July, I met a new friend and her kiddos at the local library for storytime. We had a wonderful time but it threw off Ellerie's nap schedule and therefore it threw off my work schedule. In a moment of frustration, I said to my mom on the phone "I don't have time to have friends." And then for weeks, that phrase echoed in my head. It honestly brings tears to my eyes to type it out.
Right after that, I went to WDS. I flew up on a Friday afternoon and Paul was supposed to pick E up from daycare like he does every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon. The plane landed and I turned on my phone to a text from Paul that there had been some security issue on base and he wasn't sure he'd be able to get out on time to pick up E before daycare closed. I was sitting on a jetway in Portland and had never felt so helpless. I didn't have anyone to call (our beloved baby-sitter recently moved) because we have no roots in San Diego. I hadn't even tried to put down roots. It was crushing and sad to realize. Especially surrounded by a bunch of strangers. (Thankfully, the issue cleared and Paul made it to pick-up with time to spare.)
While up in Portland, I read the book Essentialism and I realized that I can clear out all the non-essentials I want. I can minimize down to nothing. I can be more efficient in my work and life. But then what? What do I want all that time for? How to I want to re-fill all those hours that I have now "cleared?"
This all happened in the span of about two weeks. So much of it sounds crazy when I type it out. Of course, I need local friends. Of course there is value in setting down roots. How did I wait so long to start doing that? And yet, it's a process. It can be hard, for both plants and people, to set down roots, especially if it's your nature to be pretty introverted. But I'm fighting the awkward and working on connecting with other moms at the park. I think I found an exercise group I can join on Saturday mornings. I have a blog friend that is turning into a real off-line friend and that's awesome.
A few Monday's ago, we went to an adult craft night at a local studio (brilliant idea!) and made sweet little cement planters (shown above!). They didn't dry in time to paint them or anything fancy, but it was fun to learn a new technique (I'm no longer intimated by cement!) and great to just sit and talk for 2 hours (usually our kiddos are present and it's a bit harder to have full discussions). I need to do more stuff like this. I need to branch out more often.
I realize that we might never have as extensive as a tribe here as we do in Northern California. But I know for sure it's impossible if I don't work on it. And so I'm making progress. And it's wonderful.
quick edit from Wednesday morning...reading your comments while drinking my coffee and just wanted to say thanks for your sweet words and for sharing your stories. lots of love to all of you.