Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Behind the Scenes : How do I like Texas?

I get asked the above question a lot.  By almost every single person I tell that we just moved here from Florida.  I guess it's natural, but my answer is a lot more complicated than the casual aquantances I've met so far really want to hear.  Or at least I'm guessing so.

So, how do I like Texas?

Let's start with the obvious.  (Yes, random family pictures of mostly Kalia are going to pop up throughout this post that make absolutely no sense because it's a sin to have a post without pictures, and she is just too darn cute to not share!)

The weather.
recent trip out to San Fran.
It's wonky so far.  You have to understand that I was born and raised in Florida.  The coldest place I'd ever lived was Gainesville, FL.  I owned a pair of jeans and two sweat shirts when I went to college.  I'm used to warm, midly hot, hot, extremely hot, and there's a hurricane coming type of weather.

so proud of herself for emptying out the wipes container...oiy.
I was freezing when we came up here in April for our house hunting trip and only had jeans and a sweater, no jacket.  April ... cold?  What??

Kalia and I arrived at temporary living April 26th.  That gave us a good solid week of normal sometimes cool sometimes enjoyable weather.  Then the tornadoes came.  And we were in a rickety apartment.  The weather people told us to head to our storm shelter and put our cars in the garage.  Umm...what's a storm shelter?  I'm used to having hurricane parties because everything shuts down for DAYS before the storm arrives and DAYS after it leaves.  The whole "you've got 5 minutes, there's a crazy thing coming up, RUN!!!" with an almost 2 year old and an anxious yellow lab who hates any rain storms was kind of freaky.  And even though this is a mild summer, it is HOT HOT HOT here!

And I hated the apartment.  That didn't help, although that really has nothing to do with Texas.  The maintenance guys would just come in without giving you a call ahead to say they were coming.  Then they started showing up in multiples.  I'm pretty sure it doesn't take 3 grown men to fix a drainage issue in the bathtub.  I felt vulnerable and so so alone in that apartment.  When I went for jogs, I'd see weird people in the woods next to the jogging path, and that totally freaked me out too, so I stopped doing that as well.

So the first month I went to a bad place.  I knew nobody here, most stay at home Mom's aren't in apartments so I didn't meet anyone at the apartment complex, and Kodi and Kalia were pretty freaked out by the apartment, so I didn't really do as much exploring as I would've liked to with Kalia.  She is such a strict schedule kinda gal too, which makes just getting up and exploring rather hard.  Oh, and I didn't have a smart phone when I first got there, and my only computer was packed away in storage.  So I had no internet access until Chris came home from work to look up what to do either.

Should've probably stopped this prior to getting the pic - oh well!
And I went to a bad place.  Which means I shut down.  I tried to not shut down with Kalia, but she's a smart little girl and I know she picked up on a lot of it.  I tried to be fun and cheery and the best I could for her, but that was probably about 30% of the normal me, which wasn't fair to her.

Again, nothing to do with Texas.

Then we moved into our house.  My MIL came, I got to go on a date night with Chris for our anniversary, I got to get our home setup to be a home instead of just a place we lived, and I felt good.  I literally felt this huge weight just lifted.  I ventured all over the place to meet people.  Pools, parks, our neighborhood...anywhere someone returned a smile, I talked to them and told them we were new and knew no one and almost every time that someone got my number or email and got in touch with me inviting us out to go do this or go do that.

My funk lifted, Kalia's didn't.  That month that I closed up in the apartment and just talked to her, she closed up and just talked to Chris and I too.  And she's old enough to really really miss her old friends and neighbors and old activities we used to do, but not old enough to understand why we can't do them anymore or see those people every day or every week like we used to.  So she stopped talking to anyone other than people she knew, which after my MIL left, consisted of Chris and I.

She would cry when other kids would talk to her and cling to one of us like they were monsters.  If we pushed, she bawled crying.  It's pretty hard to make friends with people when you're child is crying because they look at her or heaven forbid talk to her.

And I felt terrible.  I felt like such a bad Mom...I felt like I failed in explaining things or preparing her for all of the change that was about to take place.  I felt selfish for closing up in that apartment.

Again, nothing to do with Texas.

Here's the problem.  I have an amazing group of friends.  I am so so blessed to have the quality and quantity of girl friends that I do.  All but two of them lived in the Tampa Bay area with me.  One of them even moved TO Tampa the month or so before I left.  My best friend since 4th grade lives there with her husband who I was good friends with in high school and college.  We played volleyball together, from junior high until I moved to Texas.  My old neighbors were some of the most amazing people.  They became my family.  One of them came WITH US to our volleyball games to watch Kalia for MONTHS until I felt comfortable leaving Kalia at home without us.  Who does that?  Who does that that isn't your Mom or sisters anyways??  And speaking of them, even though no one lived in our area, all of our family was a car ride away.  We could be there in a few hours (a little bit more than a few for Chris's family, but still easily driveable), and now we're pushing it to make it to see just Chris's folks and his brothers family by car.  My family is most definitely a plane ride.  And so are all of our friends.

And I didn't realize how hard it was to actually meet friends when you have a child.  I've made exactly one new friend since Kalia's birth.  She has become one of my very best friends, but just one.  Sure, I've made acquaintances, but not the same as the girls you call to vent and laugh and cry and go for coffee or a drink or have over when you're in your pj's and no makeup on.  I had an entire handful of those girls in Tampa, and most of them had kids around Kalia's age.  She had real friends that she has grown up with and that she really misses.

So I guess what I'm saying is that Texas people are some of the nicest people that I've ever met.  They're warm and caring and generous and welcoming.  And I miss my friends.  A lot.  And so does Kalia.

I love how outdoorsy Texas is, I love how everywhere I turn there is parks and playgrounds and community activities.  I love that all of my neighbors here brought us welcoming food and made it a point to introduce themselves.  I love that there are kids everywhere here.

I really miss my friends and my old neighborhood and the close proximity of our family though.

I knew well before I shared with anyone that we were leaving Florida.  The jobs just weren't there, and if I'm afforded the luxury of being able to do what I want and what makes me happy, and I can do that anywhere, my husband deserves to do what he loves and makes him happy as well.  I was so excited and optimistic about the move.  I looked at it as a gift.  Everywhere I've lived, I've made new friends, and everywhere I've gone, I've taken them with me.  Regardless of if they lived there or not.  So it's a gift that I get to make more friends and keep the ones I have.

It's hard too though.  Because you don't make those friends over night or over a few months.  Those types of friendships take awhile to develop.  I've never lived anywhere where I knew zero people outside of my immediate family.  I always had a base that I grew on.  Texas is starting from ground zero.

And I know they'll come.  I know those friendships will come, and I know Kalia will recover and grow and learn from this too.  I know that it'll unite us as a family closer because we only have each other to hold onto.  One of my friends told me the other day that I have to get out without Kalia.  That I need to take a Mommy break for myself, or to go hang out with one of my new friends I've made.  Another one told me that it's fine for me to be the only friend to a 2 year old, but it is not fine for my only friend to be a 2 year old.  I miss those friends.  They're here, they're just not here. 

I realize I sound whiney.  I promise not to be all the time on any future behind the scenes posts, but this is just real.  Just raw.  Just me.

I know, buck up Kara.

Kalia started talking to kids again on the 4th of July.  Slowly at first, just the boy across the street.  But she's gradually talked to a few more kids, and we've even had new friends over for a playdate and been to their house for a playdate.  She takes about an hour to warm up, but she's getting there.  Adults are no go's though.  Except for the Mom of the new friends and the little boy's parents across the street.  We talk about it a lot.  She tells me she's scared of people.  I tell her I'm always here and they're not scary and she can hold my hand extra tight, but that we need to start talking to people again.  She's making progress.  We're making friends.

So, I like Texas.  I just really miss my friends! I guess the moral of my story is: if my friends were crappier, my life would be easier right now!  :-)

I'll be back later this week to share kitchen pictures, so stay tuned for that!  Happy hump day guys!

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  1. Oh girl - hang in there! You have such a sweet, sweet girl. My Liza loves to do the exact same thing with her wipes. Why is that so entertaining?? And as a fellow vball'er - are there any leagues in the area? That could be a fun way to meet some people too. We moved back to my hometown 3 years ago and although we had my parents and their friends, it took us awhile to meet peeps our age, but I love the girls from my vball league!

    1. Thanks so much Erin!! I have no idea why the wipes is so entertaining, probably because it drives us nuts!! :-)
      I haven't found any leagues just yet, there's a lot of 'beach' things that happen at courts that aren't terribly far from here, but with no sitters, 105 is a little too hot for me to take Kalia out there! Kalia is finally back to letting Daddy put her down for the night (I think I was the steady constant, so maybe that's why she was boycotting it for a bit!), so I'm gonna have to find some night leagues around here! I'm making progress though! Thanks so much for the sweet comment!

  2. it's only going to go up from here! she's talking, you're meeting people, and you're in a settled place (which I can't wait to see more of!)

    1. Thank you, I know you're right!! And it's coming, promise! :-)

  3. It is a big adjustment you and your daughter have been going thru. Hang in there, you are already headed in the right direction. Texas (my home state)really is a great place with all kinds of sights, activities, cultures, and people. And your blog friends are always willing to "listen" to you!! Been awhile since I had read your blog & your baby girls is getting so big --love those dimples! :)

    1. Aww, thanks so much!! You're right, I'm heading there! It IS a great place and I know we are going to love it here, there's just always gotta be a few bumps in the road. But that builds character! Thanks for listening!! :-)

  4. new place, new life with your own family <3 i like this :)


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