I know people that have never lived anywhere other than the town they grew up in. I am not sure whether that is boring, the safe route or just really settled with the environment that feels familiar. I think I have become such a social butterfly out of necessity to constant change and being forced to learn a new community and possibly make new friends for the millionth time. I have collected friends all over the country and of all the states I have lived in, I was the most isolated in Pennsylvania. We moved so frequently that I didn’t have time to meet friends with the exception of exactly two people.
So here we are in Easton, PA. My son was 3 years old and our daughter was a year old. We found a nice town home to rent which felt like a palace after we left our tiny apartment in Lindenhurst. We even had a basement that worked great as an indoor playground for the kids. The neighborhood seemed nice enough and it was about a two hour drive to get back to Long Island via the Verrazano bridge so for me that meant I had an easy escape route back to the beach. The cost of living was vastly different and more affordable and we finally felt like we could breathe a little easier. The only thing that didn’t change were the hours he had to work. I was immersed in being a mom so I really didn’t care about meeting anyone to socialize with. If I wanted that, I just put the kids in the car and went to Long Island for a few days of friends and the beach. That was my world. I explored everything I could in Easton and that took about a week. I had officially arrived to that point in my life where I started marking time.
It’s not a new concept that some stay at home mom’s lose their identity and I was part of that group. I really started feeling alone and even though this move should have been great for us, I honestly believe that it was the little piece of thread on the sweater that had just been pulled and it was starting to unravel. I did a lot of things alone with the kids. On a few rare occasions, we tried using a baby sitter that was our next door neighbors daughter and I quickly learned that she would invite her boyfriend over and she went through my clothes in my closet. That was the end of that. We spent all our time with our kids and that was okay with us. We didn’t need alone time, right? We didn’t take vacations because honestly we couldn’t afford it. So we did the next best thing. We got a dog. He was a sweet cocker spaniel and we named him Barkley. It made our family feel complete and the kids loved him. During this short run at this location we managed to find some excitement. Winter had arrived. It was December and a horrible snow storm hit us. I was not feeling well one day and I asked my husband to try to get home early so I could go to bed. I cooked dinner and fed the kids and by the time he got home I felt like a truck had hit me. I went to bed but woke up at almost midnight in so much pain that I wanted to throw up. I knew I needed medical attention because this wasn’t the flu. We had no one to watch the kids so he handed me the cell phone (an ancient version) and I drove myself to the hospital in the storm. It turns out I had kidney stones. Have you had kidney stones? It is worse than childbirth. I eventually passed my stone and we named it Rocky. That was exciting. We got so much snow that winter that our road looked like a ski slope. I was back home from the hospital and feeling better so my husband went back to the grind. I was feeling stir crazy one day and I decided that I needed to go skiing…..down my street. This is all part of that “part of life we gave up after children.” I used to ski. I had my own boots, bindings and poles and I still had them. I bought them in Los Angeles and they had moved with me. I coveted those skis. K2 185 Slaloms. I know nothing about skiing anymore but I just like saying what they were. It makes me feel relevant. LOL. On one particular afternoon I decided the conditions were perfect to ski. I put my 1 year old down for a nap then I grabbed my gear and dressed my son in snow pants. I put him on the front porch and I said to him “Mommy is going to ski down the street. Your job is to yell if you see a car. Do you understand?” I want you to take a moment and think about what I was asking a 3 year old to do for his mom. I look back now and realize this was one of those bad mom decisions but I needed to do this. So I put my ski boots on, threw my skis over my shoulder and walked through the tunnel of snow to the top of the street. I yelled to my son to see if he saw any cars driving up the street. He didn’t really say yes or no so I stepped into my skis and shooshed down Fox Run Street in Easton, PA. It was liberating! I had a few minutes of “Me” time. It was also that moment when you realize that paradise ain’t no fun alone.
We made it through winter and then one day the landlord called. We were about 8 months into our lease and he decided he wanted to sell the town home. So guess what? We had to move again. We weren’t event there for a year before that happened. Next stop…. Allentown.
I can understand military families always moving but I did not sign up for this unsettled feeling. The upside was that we were moving closer to his branch so that would mean more time with him. Right? Wrong.
That piece of thread is starting to get longer…..