I'm one of those introverted loner types who'd rather sit home and read a book than hang out at a party. My social skills leave something to be desired. Especially my conversational skills. So it's not hard for me to move as often as we do, uprooting ourselves and settling in an area where we don't know anyone. That isn't to say it's easy for me, but I know my experience is significantly less difficult than most people's. I'm even rather prideful of my ability to get around without a strong social circle - it's like my defense mechanism's defense mechanism. I'd rather keep people out so I don't get hurt - see my wall? Hey look, I built a wall - I must be super strong! Brilliant, I know.
So when we moved back to Michigan at the beginning of this month, I walked around with my chest puffed up: I don't need to be back near family. I can handle it.
But damn, is it nice.
1. Gobs of free babysitting. Almost all of his and my immediate family are within 35 minutes of our apartment, plus a few close friends with whom I'd totally trust Abigail.
2. Communities share things. The other day my sister-in-law asked if I needed any clothes for Abigail. I do. She has three totes worth in Abigail's size. We're getting free-range, organic chicken and duck eggs from my other sister-in-law for the same price as standard grocery store eggs. My mom is letting me use her canner so I can go in with someone for a bushel of peaches from an orchard. (We're talking $.50-.70/pound for locally grown peaches). I'm even looking into going dutch for a booth at a crafting fair so I can hawk my wares.
3. Advice from people I trust. Everything from town festivities that are worth their entrance fee to good ice cream parlors to tent camping with a two-year-old to potty training. (Maybe. Someday. I hope.)
4. And the best, most cheesiest one for last: Feeling loved. I'm scoring invites to bridal and baby showers. My nieces are fighting over who gets to sit next to me at the table. The priest who married us still recognizes me. People want us to go with them to zoos and bunny auctions. It feels satisfying leaving a get together after you've had a serious heart-to-heart with someone over something difficult in your life. Or after you've excitedly whisper-chatted over how cute so-and-so's new boyfriend is.
These aren't city vs. country things, they aren't Michigan vs. Chicago vs. Florida things. They're home vs. out-of-state things. And even though I thought I was a total bad ass for never needing anyone, I realized that it's pretty heart-over-filling when you love someone and they love you back. Maybe more fulfilling than knowing I have the strength to do without.
Okay, now that that's out of my system, look! A mid-western tree:
Date night consisting of kayaking + dinner + movie + coffee. Cause my parents don't mind babysitting Abigail late into the night.
We're gonna do it. We really are. For first time since...that time.
Howell Nature Center, if you live nearby. I totally recommend it.
She walks. All the time now. In fact, she rarely ever scoots. Except when we're outside. 'Cause nothing says Let's drag our knees across the ground! like concrete.