Chasing Contentment

Thursday, November 16

I am the heart of this little family. I always have been. It's my love and determination and whatnot that drive the beating of this family. Now, that's not to diminish Mike's input. It's just that he's clearly the brains (though not always the common sense) of the family. But in so many ways, it's the heart that is most necessary, that keeps the family moving forward, that keeps the lifeblood flowing.

As I think about our move and the adjustments each of us have made (or haven't), I come back to the heart of it all. A very wise woman told me before we moved that I would be the one who had the hardest time, if only because I'd be working so hard to make sure that everyone else was doing okay. That makes so much sense to me these days as I look at how well my family seems to be adjusting. And as I consider how poorly I feel like I'm adjusting.

I should have realized that the holiday season was going to be hard for me, that it was going to make me sad all over again. I knew that as Mandy drew closer to having Olivia that it would get harder for me to be away from them, but I hadn't anticipated that the timing would coincide with the holidays.

I'm a big fan of routine. I can remember Linda and I both having conversations with our families at one point and us reminding them, "I like things a certain way." As I told Mike tonight, nothing is the way I would like them. Nothing is as it was before.

Not only did we move away from almost everyone I know, but I also changed professional fields. Everything about my life now is different.

I used to know my kids' teachers well, and now the teachers all know Mike better because my job isn't flexible. We used to have a set morning routine, and now we have a M,W,F routine and a T/Th routine thanks to Mike's class schedule. The joke was always that nothing happened in our lives if it wasn't recorded in my planner. Now, I don't have a planner. I have a big monthly wall calendar hanging in my closet with nothing written on it.

In the years that Mike and I have been married, I can count the times he's paid the bills on one hand, and now he's completely in charge of our finances. I haven't looked at the bank account in months. I drive the truck to work, shifting all the while. I've been doing it so long now that I can talk on my cell phone while shifting gears.

Previously, I had this organized yet reasonably creative job. Now, I have a structured though not organized, not at all creative job. Nothing that I do in my job is even remotely similar to what I did before. And so, from the moment I wake up in this starkly painted house to the moment I get to work where I know the surnames of about three people to the moment I get back home, nothing is familiar.

And for a girl who thrives on structure, this is very disconcerting. And now, I need to go set playdates for both of my kids who have already made friends. I've been working really hard to make sure everyone's settling in reasonably well. As the heart, I am pleased with how well everyone else is doing.

And that's the mama's job, right?

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, November 16, 2006  ]


I know how this feels. I've moved 4 times in the 5 1/2 years we've been married (no, we're not in the military =). I grew up on the same 20 acres that my father grew up on, so this has been really hard on me. I love structure, and it's been very illusive in my life. I wish I could make this easier for you, but I've found, there is no way but through. Just keep trucking, and keep praying that the Lord will provide friends and a settled feeling for you eventually. Putting stuff on the walls and having my familiar things around have always done a lot to make me feel more comfortable, but that only goes so far. I will be praying for you.

By Blogger Ellen B., at 8:53 AM  

To answer your closing question, yes, it is a mama's job, and I think you're starting out well just by identifying it.

I'm sure you'll gravitate back to your natural sense of order eventually, so for now we'll all pray grace for your season of transition.

By Anonymous Amy Jane, at 1:32 PM  

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