I need to apologize to you. I feel like, maybe, last week's post felt a little complain-y.
That was not my goal. And if that's how it sounded, I'm sorry.
My intention was to communicate to you authentically, raw-ly, while I was in the midst of some very serious and very real emotional waves that I hadn't felt in quite some time. And I while I will apologize for appearing whiny, I won't apologize for being transparent and honest. You can always count on me for that. For good and bad. Promise. ;)
But I'm here to say to you now: What a difference a week makes.
All the things I mentioned I was doing to minimize loneliness and maximize connected-ness have paid off, and I thought that this week I'd give you a little update on the progress I've made. I figure I can't be the only one who is or who has or who will experience some feelings of sadness and isolation, so if this helps just one of you (maybe it's YOU), I'm grateful.
Last Friday morning (the day last week's post went live), I met a mom of two young kids at a park and we spent about an hour chatting. I set up that play-date through a Santa Barbara Moms group on Facebook, and all it took was a simple search for the group then a post to see if anyone wanted to meet up. That mom and I didn't totally click, but it was nice to be out of the house and chatting with another grown-up human for 90 minutes or so.
Friday night, we met up with one of my college roommates and some other local friends at the Mission lawn for family picnicking. It was pretty incredible. The mission behind us, the mountains around us, the sea in front of us. It was so nice to spend some time talking to my dear friend Laura, someone who knows me so well and who has known me for so long. She and I had previously tried to connect since our family's move here, but for one reason or another we hadn't made it work. So thankful we did. And who knew that a little time on a grassy knoll could really help my aching heart? It did. So much.
And, thankfully, the rest of the weekend was great--Saturday afternoon we went on a 20-mile bike ride with a brewery stop at our turnaround point. There, another family showed up and the kids started playing together. One thing led to another and we all started talking, we learned they are teachers in town, and we ended up exchanging numbers. Good times.
Monday, I met another mom at the Santa Barbara City College track and worked out with her for a bit. She and I definitely hit it off, and I look forward to more Mondays with her, chatting and sweating.
Wednesday afternoon I took the girls to a park we had yet to visit, and there I started talking to a mom of a two-year-old girl. We, too, exchanged phone numbers, and I invited her to workout with me Thursday at the track.
Thursday morning came, and no one else showed up at the track. But I did! If it hadn't been for the other moms holding me accountable (even though they didn't make it that day) , I wouldn't have had the awesome workout that I did. So, I'm grateful for that, and I hope one or both of them show up Monday...but, regardless, I'm really proud of myself for being there and still pushing myself in a great workout.
Friday was my first day of MOPS, and I was a little nervous. I didn't know what to wear--Should I be totally Paige (bright colors, big earrings)? Understated Paige (more muted colors, smaller earrings)? Will they totally judge me if I'm wearing makeup and earrings and real pants? Seriously. I decided to go for slightly-toned-down-Paige, only to change my clothes last minute and go full-on Paige. That Paige is always the best and most authentic and I like being her the most.
I dropped off Farrah and then Demi--for the first time ever!--at their respective childcare rooms. I was definitely nervous about the baby, having never been away from me with a non-family member that long before. Plus, her sleep has been erratic, plus runny nose, plus teething (honestly I could come up with a million reasons not to leave her), and full on mom-guilt was settling in. But, the care providers assured me they would come get me if she were unhappy for more than five minutes, and that gave me enough confidence to walk out of the room and go grab a cup of hot coffee and trust my children were in good care.
And MOPS was exactly what I needed. In two hours I think I teared up four times. Guys, it was so good. It was so good to be with women in the same stage of life who weren't distracted by kids and to look them in the eyes and to say, "I see you, Mama. Thank you for being here."
And not only was the morning so sweet, but I also got a little reassurance from God that I was supposed to be there that particular Friday morning.
You see, I found out about this MOPS group through eavesdropping on another mom's conversation during preschool drop-off. I inquired, she took my number, and she sent me the waiting list. She was pretty sure they wouldn't have room, but I should try anyway. So I did. And I got in. I kept seeing that same mom (Beth) during drop-offs--which isn't normal, because we all go at different times--and we bumped into her at church last weekend (which also isn't normal, because it's a pretty big church). All that to say, it was God telling me: "See, I got you. I'm reminding you that you can get connected here. You're supposed to be here."
So here's the kicker: Beth is on the leadership team at MOPS, which I didn't know. Each leader (I think there were 12 of them), brought a "my favorite thing" item and pulled a name from the hat to give that item to one of the MOPS mamas. There were about 70 moms at this event. Probably more. And Beth went to the microphone, and pulled my name! Like WHAT???!!! So funny. So cool. So God.
God gave me a little pat on the back, and Beth gave me a new lavender essential oil roller. Double score.
As you can imagine, the time and space without my children could not have been better, and I'm so looking forward to our next meeting. Our table leader organized a group text, and in that text group I already set up a zoo play-date and I invited the other women to come join me at the track. Oh, and Demi even took a nap (a nap!) for 40 minutes while she was rocked to sleep. So, no, no one came to get me and my kids were perfectly fine and happy. Praise Jesus.
All I'm saying is, what a difference a week makes.
So while I know this blog post reads a bit as a narrative of my life, I felt pulled to share it with you because whether or not you are currently in a season of loneliness, I want to encourage you to know that you are not alone. There is always someone out there who is waiting for you to say hello, waiting for you to take the first step, waiting for you to reach out and exchange numbers and set up a play-date (or whatever event makes sense in your life).
If you are feeling that feeling, chances are, someone else is, too. And maybe it's you who needs to take the first step. Admitting whatever you are feeling is for sure that hardest part. I encourage you to do that first, and then do something about it. I sure as hell did. And I am so much better because of it.
A FEW THINGS HELPING ME GET THROUGH THIS WEEK
Ok, so maybe the Major League reference doesn't really work here, but it came to my mind and I'm going with it. By now you know my obsession with sun protection, and I as a self-proclaimed huge-headed person, those cute hats that everyone on IG wears never look good on me. Plus short hair. (I know, the struggle is real with my first world problems.) Regardless, being outside so much calls for a cute hat. And I gave this one a shot. And I'm in love. I especially love that the darker color straw will transition beautifully to fall. (Just FYI, I ordered a medium and it fits perfectly.)
This is the handiest tool I have ever owned. It's simple and it's genius. Everybody needs one of these to give more life to your clothes. Basically, it defuzzes any pilling on any item. I use it on my workout clothes, my sweaters, dresses, you name it. I've even heard that people use it on their pillows and couches. Just saying. If you don't have one, you need one. Thank me later.
I've pretty much tried them all, and this is the holy grail. I know it's an investment, but your skin is so worth it. A little goes a long way, and one container lasts me about six months. Try it and tell me you don't notice an immediate difference.