I can't wait for Jared to get home tomorrow. When all we have is each other, it gets really lonely to be apart. So far, that's the biggest problem with our house. We're here all by ourselves. This might as well be our own private island. It's a graveyard here. The cold and the dark has locked everybody inside and I don't know where to go to find other people who might be lonely like me. The park is deserted. The library is empty. Where does everybody go?
I thought that signing up for a toddler class with Oliver would help me meet people, but my class was canceled when no one else signed up. We don't go to church, so we can't meet others there. I thought about volunteering, but right now my volunteer skills are limited to sitting on my butt, talking, and typing. Even worse, I probably won't have much time for volunteering once the baby is born next month. I don't want to start something I can't finish.
When we lived in the city, it felt different. There were always people around us. There was always noise. There were always lights. And even though we still didn't know that many people, it felt like we at least had that option. I felt like we could meet somebody standing in the parking lot, unpacking groceries. At the very least, the friends that we did have were close by.
Here, I feel like a pioneer. I feel like I'm pushing the boundaries of the city outwards by breaking in this wild, barren territory. I'm Laura Ingalls Wilder racing to beat out the winter before I starve to death mentally. When the furnace clicks off and the TV screen is blank, there is nothing. Complete stifling silence. No traffic. No kids shouting. Just silence followed by silence followed by silence. I'm not comfortable with that silence yet. I still need the radio, the ceiling fans, the news in the background. I miss the neighbors who held acoustic guitar jam sessions on Saturday morning. I miss the cranky old man who slept with his TV on max volume. I'm still adjusting to these changes.
Last night I realized that in all of our time living here, I've never even seen the neighbors on one side of us. I know they're there. Their driveway is the first to be plowed. I sometimes see lights on in their house. But there is never a car coming or going. There is never anybody to wave to while he takes the dog for a walk. They might be vampires, for all I know.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not giving up. I'm excited for spring and for my mobility to come back so I can go out exploring. We have a house we can be proud of. Our family is likeable enough. The neighborhood is safe and nice. We're close to grocery stores, a couple restaurants, and good schools. We just have to find where we might fit in and insert ourselves there. Sometimes, these things take time, and I'm remembering that now. Patience isn't one of the virtues, but I'm practicing it anyway.
In time, my mom will come back from snowbirding and I can drop by her house when I'm lonely. She always welcomes me. In a few weeks, the snow will melt and the dog and the kids and I will scout around for other families like us. We'll show our faces at the block party and ask the whole neighborhood association, "Will you be our friend? Check one: yes or no." It will be grade school all over again. We'll be the new kids on the playground. It will be embarrassing and awkward because I am embarrassing and awkward, but I can't think of any other way.
At the very latest, we'll enroll Oliver in preschool next fall and I can meet other parents there.
Until then, I'll keep tapping on the glass and waving frantically at everyone I see until I find somebody who can help me break through this bell jar set atop our lives.