“Like a roving band of turtles… and with about the same amount of speed, we have made it to Oklahoma and have actually even settled in a little bit!
Our original plan to make it to Amarillo on Thursday didn’t work out so well – instead we made it to Albuquerque at about midnight. Friday we made it to Oklahoma City, but only after running into a wildly tattooed and pierced man at the Love’s gas station who asked the Subway workers if they had feta cheese or basil for his sandwich, then exited the building with a girl who got into the back seat of his Lexus with a dead deer or bighorn sheep (we couldn’t quite make out the details) and drove away. Stranger things have happened, but we were impressed with that one!
On into town, which, contrary to many weather reports, was not under water. There is hardly any standing water around, there are a few mosquitoes, but yes, it’s very humid! I’ve been staying indoors quite a bit getting unpacked, but to go outside is a little bit like being in a sauna.
Lexi loves it! She’s been asking us to put on her shoes and take her on walks about every 2.3 seconds. There’s a lake with a fountain visible from our apartment and every time she sees the lake she squats down and screams, “OH!!!!” It’s pretty cute.
The campus is really green and pretty and there aren’t that many students around for the summer. So, it’s been a quiet move-in. After the frantic energy leading up to the move I’ve been relishing the quiet. The most excitement in our apartment came one morning when I did the, nudge, nudge – “honey, I heard something moving!” – thing to Dane. Turns out we had a very small SHREW scurrying through our bedroom! It is no longer in this world.”
My first update email to friends and family back home centered on the trivia of our move. It did little to highlight the challenges of a 20-hour car ride with just Lexi for comfort.
It said nothing about the state trooper who pulled me over in New Mexico at midnight to ask if I had been drinking. After I looked pointedly at my pregnant belly – which was so large I had been forced to move the seat back from the steering wheel in order to navigate – I said that I had not been drinking. He told me that I had touched the outside line of the road and thus was under suspicion for driving under the influence.
He let me go with a verbal warning.
My update email did not mention the new housing, a first-story apartment in the men’s residence hall at the college. I did not spend time dwelling on the water-stained ceiling tiles, toilet that wobbled when you perched upon it, or fact that I literally froze the air conditioning unit in the apartment into a block of ice twice in the first week we lived there.
Instead I focused on the bizarre (the man with a dead animal in the back of his Lexus) and the cute (my daughter’s enchantment with the scenery).
I didn’t realize it then, but it was the first steps I took to actively prepare for life as a member of the Mommy Sorority. I began to ignore the distasteful aspects of the reality of my situation and instead cover them up with glowing reports of a cheerful nature. Not completely insincere, but certainly not completely authentic.
There were only a few weeks left before I delivered our second daughter. With the changes of a new baby, moving into a new home, and watching my husband adjust to a new job, I really lost sight of the need for self-examination.
When I called Tirzah I talked about how Lexi was learning new words, that I had discovered my new favorite grocery store, and asked her to catch me up on all the happenings in her life.
When I spoke with Lauren, I mentioned that my ambitions were being played out through Dane for the time being, that he was now employed in a college administration position that I knew intimately – it was the same position I had occupied for several years before we were married.
When I spoke to my husband, I told him how proud I was of him, offered subtle professional guidance, tried not to complain too much of my aches, bumps, and disappointment that my ankles had turned into a swollen mush worthy of the description, “Cankles.”
When I spoke to Lexi I tried my best to use patience, positive vocabulary, and an upbeat tone of voice.
And when I spoke to myself… when I did pause to speak to myself, I looked around in bewilderment, wondering how on Earth I had arrived as a nondescript, non-working, non-friendship holding woman I saw in the mirror. I did not recognize myself.