On being lonely, a year and half after a move.

There’s this crane that always sits on the edge of our dock. Every day I see her multiple times a day by herself just looking out on the water. I finally had to do a little research on cranes because I was so curious if it was normal to have a crane be alone for so long. It’s not, as it turns out, and yet there she sits-by herself for the last year and half.

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For anyone who has moved somewhat recently you know when I say I’m lonely that it doesn’t mean that every hour that passes I lament moving here. Most of the time I am caught up in our day-to-day life, one that wouldn’t look a whole lot different if I were still in Iowa actually. Wake up, meditate, hustle kids to school, teach a few classes, grocery shop, dog snuggle, Snapchat lunch and dog snuggles, homework, post-school activities, husband snuggles and bed. All the same no matter the state.

Anytime I cried myself to sleep thought about how badly I’d miss my sisters and friends before we moved to Michigan, I would tell myself that in this stage of life we really didn’t see each other much anyway. It’s the ebb and flow of life, right? I think perhaps nowhere besides motherhood do you feel that so succinctly. When my kids were little I needed my girlfriends in a desperate sort of way, in a bring-me-coffee-and-come-over-quickly-so-our-kids can-play-together-and-we-can-speak-about-anything-but-kids kind of way. It’s no coincidence it was during that flow of life that the idea for the first Wine to Water event was borne.

But this ebb? Even in Iowa a good portion of my friendships were handled via long text conversations while seated at a baseball game. Some of my best friends live on the west coast and I only see them once a year yet we make up for lost time as soon as we are together again. That was all the proof I needed to believe I would be ok not living close to friends and family.

What I failed to realize, though, was that I was able to enjoy my long distance friendships because I also had no distance friendships. I couldn’t possibly have foreseen that when the vast majority of my friendships were on the long distance side, it would tip the scales and send me reeling-even 1.5 years later after the move.

I couldn’t possibly have known that investing all of my time into creating friendships that were deep, powerful and so very life affirming would make it so much harder to see women in my new state and have to talk about stuff like the weather or our kids (we are so much more than mothers, no?). Though I haven’t dated since I was 19 (!) I imagine dating feels remarkably like trying to make new friends without the additional perks of make out sessions and free dinner-and really, who wants to be dating without those?

I went to an acupuncturist a few months ago. When she was doing her typical assessment she hovered her hands over my heart and said simply, “You have deep sadness.” Even after I tried assuring her that I felt pretty great she interrupted me with, “You have deep sadness, it is not my business whether or not you choose to acknowledge it but it’s there and it’s undeniable.”

I’ve always been one of those “make the best out of any situation” kind of people. I recognize that it can often be annoying but it’s kind of my set thermostat. Only recently have I realized there are some cases where that might be a crutch with which I lean when I’m too scared to admit that I’m a little sad, maybe a little lonely. That even though life is terrifyingly good in so many ways, I just miss the hell out of my support system. Perhaps that’s why when the acupuncturist told me I had deep sadness the first face I saw in my head was that of my sister’s and then in quick succession my best friend and other sisters.

I’ve been lucky though, to have made a few friends here who are my kind of people. I was at lunch with a few of them the other day when I turned to one and said, “I’ve always been teased about how quickly I eat but the first time we had lunch together we finished at the same time and I knew we were going to be friends.” And it was true. Though I buffered the sentiment in a joke, what I was really saying was, “You have no idea how good it feels to have so much in common with someone geographically close to me again.”

But I’m realizing that being happy and hopeful about certain aspects of life in MI doesn’t negate the fact that I cry every time I leave Iowa to head back home. Spending time with those I miss the most almost makes it harder, which honestly surprised me to learn.

Zach will sometimes make comments about the time I spend on my phone texting/checking in with social media. I admit it’s gone up over the last year, though I’m currently doing better about putting it away thankyouverymuch. I have no problems admitting I maybe overuse it as a way of staying grounded to a life now gone, that checking in with the people I miss on social media gives me a false sense of being there being in their lives in a more tangible way than I currently am. It’s a long cry from sitting next to them sharing a plate of chips and guacamole and a bottle of wine but for now I’m giving myself time to ease the transition.

I know if my life were a romance movie I would be looking deeply into Zach’s eyes telling him that wherever he is-is home for me, and it’s partially true but it’s missing the big picture. Because most women know in any happy family photo if you zoom out you’ll see the best friend who just helped with hair and make up, the sister who just dropped off the one kid with the suspicious looking chocolate mustache and the various other women who all played a part in making the woman in the center of the picture smile broadly with her chest proud. If you look closely enough you’ll see the tension between the woman and one of her little children and then, upon even closer examination, you’ll see one of the friends quietly lifting mom’s arm to put around the shoulder of that child. Bridging the gap of humanity and brokenness one encouraging word at a time.

The longer I live the more I’m convinced we were never made to live in isolation. If the last year and half has proven anything it’s that naiveté really does favor the young. So even though I’m sure it will get better, today I’m just admitting that it’s hard. And maybe I’m just a little too old for this shit. 😉

This morning after my meditation I was slower to open my eyes than usual. I could hear the kids starting to wake up and I just wasn’t ready to enter into the madness quite yet so I sat there and just breathed in the silence. After a few minutes I heard a weird bird call that wasn’t familiar so I opened my eyes to place the visual with the auditory and there she was-the crane on the edge of the dock.

Though this time there was another one with her.

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I hate goodbyes

I mean hate hate them. I know no one loves them, at least I assume no one loves them, but I don’t know anyone else who is as awkward with goodbyes as I am. If you’ve ever talked to me on the phone you know what I’m talking about. I typically end my phone calls with something like, “Mmhhmmokbye*awkward laugh* yeahokayloveyou *awakward laugh*” click.

It’s even worse in person. I’m a hugger but if I don’t know whether or not the other person likes hugs I always go into one of those half handshake/half hugs which tends to force my outstretched hand towards the other person’s penis or vagina. Those good byes always include an awkward laugh as well, for obvious reasons.

That said, I’m about to have to say some really hard good byes and I know I’m simply ill equipped for the task.

Zach has been getting phone calls from various camps for the last few years. Apparently that’s what happens when you do really, really well at something. Zach and I both agreed we would be picky with any offers. It had to be a really good job for him, one that would be challenging but also something he is passionate about. It would have to be within driving distance of our families. It would have to be a place we would actually enjoy living.

It looks like we found it. Starting end of April the Klipsch clan will be moving to Michigan. Zach will be the new VP of Programs for the Michiana Y and will get to oversee operations of Camp Eberhart. As for the kiddos and me, we will live on site at camp. My new kitchen overlooks a lake, so I suppose there are worse places to move. 😉 It’s just 4 hours from the QC and 6 from Des Moines. All still doable for a weekend!

As always, it’s a bittersweet good bye. I love this community I’ve called home for 10 years. I’ve made friends who are more like sisters and I have actual sisters who live here! I have a job I love and coffee shop I love (oh Redband you can do no wrong!). My parents, brother and sister-in-law live just 2 hours from here-a doable drive in one day. My in-laws take us to week at least once/week. It’s really a pretty sweet gig.

But because Zach and I got pregnant and married at 20 we’ve never really struck out on our own. It’s equal parts exciting and terrifying to think we will just have our crew for the first time in our lives if things go wrong (at least until we build up a community there).

So there it is. Big news. I’m terrible at the in between. I feel like I’m neither here nor there, which leaves me restless. And when I get restless, shit gets done. Which is why I have one room in the house packed and wouldn’t be at all surprised to find the rest of the house done in the next few weeks (would be days but we’re heading to Mexico-more on that later!).

If I’ve learned anything in my 12 years of marriage, though, it’s that home for me will always be wherever Zach and I can snuggle on the couch together drinking cheap wine and watching our kiddos wrestle each other. I guess that kind of makes me the luckiest lady in the world doesn’t it?

That said, pray for us will you? That Zach loves his new job as much as he’s loved his job at Camp Abe Lincoln. That the kids meet new friends at their new school and make the transition as easily as possible (they are actually really excited!) and for me. I rely so heavily on this group of friends and family I know there will be a lot of dark days ahead. 🙂

Michigan or Bust!