I’ve been on a bit of a blog break lately as I get myself situated in a new job. I’ve gone from from toiling away in a downtown office to toiling away in an office located in my basement. I now have a two-minute commute: two and a half minutes if stop and pour myself a cup of coffee. The advantages to this move are myriad. My boys see me more frequently. They get to sleep later than they used to. After school activities are more easily managed. We’re saving money on child care. The plus column of my pro- and con- list is full.
On the con side is one enormous black smudge: as we had no need to bring them downtown with us each weekday (neither of us working in the downtown core anymore) we moved them from the school they’d both attended since kindergarten to the local school a short five minute walk away from our house. Don’t misinterpret me when I say that this move falls under the “minus” column: their new school is lovely. But oh my goodness, do they miss their old school and their old friends. There is a longing for the familiar there that I can feel emanating from them when I pick them up at the end of the day, and I can’t say I don’t understand. Truthfully, I miss their old friends too, as well as their parents and the communities of which I was part until only a few weeks ago.
Both boys have reacted differently to the move (as would be expected: they are different children, after all). The youngest railed unceasingly against the change for days after it was announced to him, but now appears to have settled in, buoyed by a new friendship with a boy who also lives on our street. The oldest approached his new surroundings with the expectation that the new school would be just like the old one, and the kids just like the kids at his old school, and is finding it a challenge to fit in.
Watching my oldest try to navigate his new school is breaking my heart. He’s not bullied, he’s not been made to feel unwelcome…he’s just, unknown. And he’s not used to that.
I said to my eldest the other night that I knew exactly how he felt. Now, I’m not about to turn ten, so I’ve lived a bit more than he, and I have no expectation that my work colleagues will become my bbf’s, no matter how lovely they may be. Still, from the moment I sign into my computer in the morning, to the moment I leave the school yard after picking them up in the afternoon, I am an unknown quantity. I have to prove myself. I have to find my niche.
Niche finding, whether you’re ten or forty, is an exhausting pastime.
I see that the boys are becoming new versions of themselves. In time, they will grow a whole new skin of experiences that will wrap around their old friendships and memories. Likewise, I’m testing out a new version of myself, and for now I feel as if the soft underbelly of all of our vulnerabilities are on display. In time, we’ll all feel comfortable with where we’ve landed. Until then, I’m going to do what I can to help us all find that new place that feels like home.