Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cheese and Whine

Don't think I didn't whine BEFORE I had a special needs kids.

Much of the time, I wallowed in good things, turning my intensity toward the positive end of the continuum, embracing all things mushy in my relationship with my husband, diving headfirst into my career in education, immersing myself in creative outlets like writing groups. But I also spent a chunk of my first ten or 15 years in LA whining about feeling homesick. Not homesick for any actual home, but maybe for the East, or the South, or the smallness and community I found in the Southeast. My refrain: One more year, and I'm out of here. My real issue: I'm too small a fish in too big a pond, i.e. I don't feel the love here.

Now, I came straight to LA from idyllic college life at a smallish (and beautiful) school with a tight knit department in my major, and I wept so hard at my college graduation I am surprised they didn't videotape it and use it as fundraising fodder. I knew I was leaving the land of constant community and endless bonding opportunities for the cold hard reality of the real world. Having previously been all too aquainted with said real world, I had zero desire to return. Give me dorms, clubs, and advisors, give me friendship, challenges, and rewards, give me intellectual debate and stimulating discussions, but don't, whatever you do, drop me in the land of commuting, competition, traffic, isolationa, and urban sprawl.

I recognize the irony that I hate how much lonelier I can feel in LA than anywhere else I've lived when in fact I live in LA because the man I love is anchored here.

But let me stop there with the LA bashing, as the purpose of this blog is not to continue the whining (I've actually grown quite fond of Los Angeles in many, many ways, and will definitely blog sometime about its wonderful qualities), but to reflect on how and why my perspective has changed since my kids came along.

Even though I wouldn't mind moving back to my roots (girlfriends back East, I miss you at least as much as ever!), I don't feel as lonely here as I used to.

First of all, I find it impossible to have children and feel lonely. This began with conception. I could sit alone for impressive lengths of time while pregnant and talk to my belly and not once would it occur to me to feel bored or lonely. I can't say I have even had the time or energy to be bored one single time since giving birth to my oldest. Even when the rooster and Peaches are terrible company, they are still good company, too.

For another thing, when you have kids, you have community. Oh, sure, schools and playgroups are built in community, but what about just the fact that you can exchange meaningful smiles with another family as you walk down the street pushing your separate strollers or through the aisles of the grocery store? Before kids, let me tell you, I never once got the warm fuzzies in a Los Angeles supermarket.

And, of course, you knew this came next: the blogosphere was born after my arrival in SoCal.

It's not that I never feel homesick. I regularly fantasize about living across the street from my East Coast buddies, buying a reasonably priced and sized house with a yard big enough for my kids to go exploring, in a town small enough for my kids to go exploring. But I'm not whining about it anymore. I've got bigger things to whine about, and, finally, some community (both locally and virtually) that cares enough to tolerate and support me through it.

1 comment:

pixiemama said...

I think we're all there. Our families and friends are great, but the blogosphere has provided us with this incredible community of other families who have been there... who are there... & who will be there. I'm not afraid to steal from Mastercard and say it: