Monday, June 22, 2015

The New Folks in Town

We have been here in this new town for almost four months now.

It is a very small town. I am torn between posting about it and keeping things move private now, because it is so small. If anyone in this little town begins to read my blog, I might feel like I cannot share things openly like I once did.

Small towns are different.

My husband and I met in a small town fifteen years ago. I am quickly being reminded of small town talk as we get settled in here. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone is connected in some way. In one meeting I had with Lilli's new teacher and several therapists, we were wrapping up the discussion and I said, "If you want more information about Lilli or you need anything, feel free to call me." And one of the therapists joked, "Oh, well, I know where you live." And another therapist said, "Yes, we all know where you live."

I smiled and laughed. We all laughed. It was funny, but inside I was really thinking, What?! How do they all know where I live?

It's been a few months since that meeting.

Now I know. Everyone here knows where everyone lives.

We are the new family in town. People know who we are. Our neighbors are connected to us through school or through my husband's practice. Strangers have come up to me and asked me if I am Jasen's wife. They recognized me from my picture at the office. Phone calls I have made for various reasons have surprised me with reactions of people already knowing of us. One call I made about enrolling Josh in preschool, when I told the person our last name: "Ohh! I know who you are!" I visited a church one Sunday (Jasen stayed home with Lilli as we have to take turns visiting new churches right now). I snuck in late and thought nobody saw me. I was wrong. After the service I was surrounded by six people who already knew who I was. "Excuse me, are you Dr. ________'s wife? I thought so!"

It's almost kind of intimidating, to know that people know who I am already, when I don't know anyone. This is because my husband came here long before I did, commuting for about eight months before we finally moved here. He has met a lot of people through his work. His practice is well known in town, and word travels fast.

It may prove to be a wonderful thing for my children, to grow up in such a small, close knit community. It also could make me paranoid about things, knowing that not too much is really private in this town. After living in a more densely populated area near a small city for the past five and a half years, I do have an appreciation for being somewhat anonymous in a community. Especially when shopping and running errands.

My husband hasn't helped this issue at all, as he decided to advertise his business on the shopping carts at the local grocery store here. This happened a month before we moved, when he had still been commuting. He thought it would be a good idea to advertise in a place where everyone goes, because we were going to be new in town. He took a picture of the two of us holding baby Nate and put that on the ad.

The first time I went to the grocery store after we moved here, I went to get a cart and I almost fell over. I gasped in shock, and then laughed at the rows and rows of carts lined up, all with my picture on every... single... cart.

Great. So much for anonymous grocery shopping.

I pushed my cart through the dairy section and an older man looked straight at me and smiled.

Well, this is something, I thought. He is either

1. Just a nice friendly, smiling man who is being nice to strangers
2. A creepy guy checking me out
3. He recognizes me  from my picture on every single cart in the store.

I'll never know for sure.

Oh my. Who the heck are those people? I'm covering that up with my purse.

Why is that woman taking a picture of her grocery cart? What a total weirdo.

You might know from reading about my shopping experiences with Lilli that I prefer to keep our shopping trips short and anti-social, because Lilli has a very hard time with going to stores. "Hard time" meaning: loud crying, shrieking, pushing, collapsing on the floor, running away. As if shopping is pure agony. (It is to many people, we just don't all act out our feelings.) We almost always draw a lot of attention to ourselves. I have not attempted to take her to this grocery store with me yet in our first four months of living here.

That day will come eventually. (Maybe.) But for now, I am happy about the fact that the grocery store is two minutes from our new house, and I can leave the kids with my husband and dart out by myself to pick up food.

The ads were only supposed to be on all the carts for one month, but a bunch of them are still hanging around. Maybe the ones that were in the far corners of the parking lot on the day they were supposed to be changed. Last week I had Josh, Chloe and Nate with me at the grocery store while Lilli was at summer tutoring for an hour. As I pulled out my wallet to pay, Chloe said loudly to Josh, "LOOK! Josh! That's mom and dad on the grocery cart!" She pointed to the cart at the end of the register next to us. "SEE? SEE? Look, it's Baby Nate!"

"Yes I SEE!" yelled Josh. Both of them looked at the cart and discussed it loudly for another moment.

I just kept on rummaging through my purse. Crazy kids. I don't know what they're talking about.

I have several posts that I've written since we moved here, that I will be putting up here soon. At first I held back from posting them, because I did not want to be a downer. Things started out pretty tough here for Lilli. I even wrote the gentler version with some of the crazier stuff edited out. I can't put it ALL out there, I never know who is reading this stuff. I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn't know that the beginning would be that challenging.

But as I had hoped and prayed, things did get better. And they are still getting better every week. Just so you know I am being genuine, life always has its ups and downs and when I say it is "better," I don't mean it's all rainbows and fluffy clouds and kittens all the time. It's better because we are through the tough transition period.

Well, sorta. Almost through.

So things are settling down a little. I wanted you to know about how things got better, instead of leaving you all hanging.

It is a new adventure. The story isn't over yet.