Saturday, January 11, 2014

And the World Keeps On Turning...

I once was foolish enough to believe that having kids would keep me young.

I can't even say that's worked in a physical sense. Carrying two children has widened my hips, added an inch or two to my waistline (not that the cookies and doughnuts I craved with A didn't help that some), and given me, what I would like to call, premature gray hair.

As much as it didn't work in the physical, it's had the opposite effect in the here and now.  I'm pretty sure time sped up X2 when B came on the scene.  In infant-hood the constant spitting and crying made days and nights turn into a mush of weeks and months, though feeling like an eternity at the time, passing still at the speed of light.  It brought a new meaning to the words 'don't blink'.  I seriously had a nightmare that I woke up, B had moved out, and my life had passed before my eyes.  Unfortunately, I think it's going to be prophetic.

Fast forward, and A is now the age B was when we made the big move.  It seems unreal.  She was 6 months old at the time, and to her, our 'here and now' is probably all she will ever know... unless God pulls the proverbial 'welcome mat' out from under our heels and moves us on at some point.  (No visions of that in our own personal futures.)

To know her, A that is, one would believe -- I mean, hook, line and sinker -- that she's a Texan by birth.  Now, to my Illinois friends I know they don't get it.  To be honest, I don't either, but there's something about being Texas, as in, not being illegitimate, born on the soil, that matters.  (Side story: People who have been born and raised in the state but have to move away for a time have family SEND SOIL to put under the hospital bed at the birth of their child so they can be born over Texas soil. True story.  Nuts.)

Anyway - A is this sweet little thing full of spunk and sass who can rock out her cowboy boots with a bright pink top and a string of {fake} pearls.  That's my girl.  If we could just figure out how to make big hair, that'd top it off.

And the thought of it has left me feeling, well, a bit unprepared.

There's some major differences between 'metro' Texas and rural SoIL.  Here's what I've come up with:

I grew up in a town where you could literally ride your bike around town all day and parents not worry.  Everyone new everyone.  Dad probably had updates by the minute over a land line phone as to which house my Schwinn was passing in real time.  Many of the kids starting school new each other when they started school.  Now, this wasn't so much the case for me, because I was an implant from a neighboring town, but I did know a neighbor.  For fun, well, you rode your bike, or made mud pies, or caught fireflies after dark.  I know more than once I had a bullfrog tossed at me.  Our parents hand built swing-sets in the backyard and sleepovers were at least a monthly thing.

As we got older, hometown football games were second to church (for some), 'backroadin' was still something all teenagers did (and didn't always mean you were making out with someone in the dark).  Wal-Mart parking lot was the place to hang out, and Lord forbid you want to find a job.  You had two grocery stores, two hardware stores, and a handfull of fast food restaurants to choose from.  Job hunting took just a short stint in the afternoon, and if you had to 'hunt' at all, as everyone 'knows' someone, they landing a job may be harder than you think.

Still - people still hunt for their food.  Not all of their food, by any means, nor the majority of it, but I don't think I've ever even heard people talk about eating quail, duck, or even deer here.  Not saying I love it, but it's a nice option if finances are ever tight.

Rather - here I worry about my own decent neighborhood for my kids to ride their bikes.  It's going into two years in the same house and I barely know my neighbors names, and one... only one... child that will be in my son's grade as he enters into Kindergarten next year.  For fun, we have a gajillion options: trampoline park, bounce houses, aquariums, museums, bike trails, shopping malls, Legoland, zoos, gardens, airports, art studios, kid gyms, rec centers, the possibility of your child playing any sport known to man... and the list goes on.  Swing sets are bought at Lowes or WalMart.

Football games are still prime for the pickin' here, but backroading, good luck finding some.  I'm honestly not sure where teenagers hang out here, but I'm guessing all of these homes with home theaters is the place to be.  I've never seen kids sitting in the back of pick-ups with the radio on.  (We really did grow up the epitome of most of the country songs out there...).  Jobs.  Geesh.  Where would you start?  More than once I've thought to myself, "Wow, if I would have lived in this town as a teenager, where would I have started???"  Name a fast food place, it exists.  All of those museums, gyms, art places have to have people working.  Name a major retailer... we have it.  Just tonight we ate at The Corner Bakery and there was a guy - Trevor - busing tables and I thought to myself, "He doesn't really look like he loves it here... I wonder why this is the restaurant he chose to apply at?"  Because seriously... choices.

Like I said, we may have a Cabelas and Basspro close, and people here are packing heat more than I care to think about, but I've never been offered venison in a meal.  In fact, I'd bet I know more vegetarians / vegans here than I knew non-hunters back in my old home town.  Never thought I'd say that.

I hadn't really felt culture shocked coming in, to be honest, but I still have many uncertainties in raising my kids.  I can no longer 'fall back' on parenting the way my parents did, even in a moment of uncertainty, because my playing field is so utterly different.  What would have been being majorly over-protective in my old hometown has to be common place here on some levels.

And still - the world keeps on turning.  Days pass, my babies grow, decisions are made, just in suburbia rather than rural America, and I keep praying that each one is right.

Until Next time -


  1. This was so good, and provoked SO many thoughts!...
    It sounds like you're perfectly describing my Mom's home-city and suburban community of San Antonio. I think about this, feeling like a big move for us is inevitable. What will I do when my parenting playing field changes? I think about my Mom a lot, then. She did the opposite of your move--she moved from TX to Du Quoin. It should have been just as much of a culture shock to leave Texas, including leaving her Baptist roots for my Dad's United Pentecostal ones (which they later abandoned). But she never seemed worried to me--she lived and parented in her new playing field with a sweet confidence in the Holy Spirit's leading. She grew to love So IL, and even ventured into ground breaking choices for her day...home churching, homeschooling, etc. Very humbling, when I think about it! Yikes.

  2. You are awesome, and so right! I had no idea your mom was from San Antonio! That was an incredibly huge move for her. Leaving Du Quoin to come here was one thing, but leaving here to go to - say - Du Quoin... I think it would be harder! I sure do miss you! You'll need to fill me in on this inevitable move... :)