Saturday, August 10, 2019

Word (ward) party

The average American will move 11 times throughout their life (Canadians are not far behind). I hit that number before I even got married, so I'm well above average now. That number was actually surprisingly...high...I thought. I would have expected it to be lower.

When we lived in Spanish Fork I would giggle to myself when people described their difficult moves. This one time a girl got up to bear her testimony about how years ago (like a decade or more) when they'd moved into the ward/neighbourhood, her family had been distraught to be leaving their family and everything they knew to go so far away. She went on and on about how difficult it was to be so far away from her grandparents and her cousins and how isolated they had felt, but went on to reveal that her family had moved from...Provo.

PROVO?! I screamed at her in my head. PROVO!!!? Moving from Provo was difficult for you?!

Provo and Spanish Fork are about 10 miles apart. No joke. Like, seriously, if you miss your family... go visit them (they are right there).

I'm sure it was a difficult transition all the same, but it makes me question the whole "average of 11 moves" thing. I don't know many people who have moved 11 times.

I also would have expected this move to be easier for me. But it hasn't been. It's been difficult.

I've simultaneously felt like I am not (or cannot) accomplish anything and therefore am contributing/doing nothing and like I'm left to do everything because everyone else is doing nothing. Swinging between feeling useless and exploited has not been very fair to my poor family (probably especially Andrew). I've spent a ridiculous amount of time moping and/or crying, so I think it's fair to say that I've done more exploiting than I've been exploited.

Andrew finally convinced me to try to find a therapist, so I tried. But I couldn't handle the ones with nosy receptionists because I couldn't ever quite get through the reason I might want to see a therapist without crying. So I contacted one with an online form to fill out—perfect! because no voice quavering—but she apparently has a long wait list. So...meh...

I took a mental health day and I didn't try to force anything to come to fruition. I didn't call any service people, I didn't call any doctors or dentists, I didn't talk to anyone at the school and I didn't unpack a thing (except for my ukulele). I played and sang some happy ukulele tunes and then turned on music in the kitchen and sang and danced with my kids while we baked cookies with white chocolate chips and butterscotch chips and coconut (because there are no rules about these things). I made cheesy rice for dinner and after we put the kids to bed we ignored all of our projects and sat down to watch a show.

And I feel a lot better about life.

There's still a lot to do (and I probably was only able to take a mental health day like this because I made everyone help me get the little kids' rooms organized on Wednesday evening while Rachel (and thus Andrew, her ride) was at mutual) but I think I've figured out that I don't have to wait around feeling overwhelmed by everything because everything's always just sitting there waiting for me to pick it up again.

Like, literally, those boxes aren't sad they haven't been unpacked yet and while it's (unfortunately) true that they aren't going to unpack themselves, they're just as content to sit there and wait for me.

Next up on my mental health journey: socialization.

I have felt incredibly isolated here. We're back to being a bit of a circus (for example, I called around to find a dentist who would allow me to schedule more than two family members at a time and finally found one that would let me take all the kids in at once (hallelujah!) but the receptionist was like, "Sure! We can take your family at the same time. No problem. How many members are in your family? I'm sorry did you say...SEVEN? But...only...five children. I see. Ummm...let me just check with something really quick. No, yeah. We can do that. You just would have to give us at least 48 hours' notice if you have to cancel because...that's a lot of appointments...") and I haven't found many other stay-at-home circuses to meet up with. All the moms in my neighbourhood seem to work, so the kids are gone from sun up to sun down. And we're

We've been to church a handful of times, and to a few ward socials, but nothing had really clicked for us. This evening, though, we had our "farewell" party (since our ward was split/merged differently) and it was so great.

In fact, I had my first "old mom" experience of wishing my (pre-)teenage daughter would just come home already so I could go to bed already (yet here I sit writing). Rachel went to a friend's house with another friend for a post-ward-party party. The other two girls, unfortunately, won't be in our new ward. But I'm sure there will be other wonderful girls who will be (and these girls have plans to hang out next weekend again, anyway).

Miriam discovered that the girl she was hanging out with at the party will be staying in our ward (they've been in the same primary class but have been worried they'd be split up). This little girl's family loves board games (and host a game night regularly, which also happened to be tonight at the church) and also have ukuleles. They have a little boy who just turned 6 and a little boy who just turned 8—perfect little bookends for Benjamin. And they have a three-year-old girl (who seems a little young for Zoë right now, but who probably won't seem too young for her in not too long).

They're all going to come over on Thursday after school (to enjoy our very messy house).

And I got to talk a lot with a woman named Becca, who noticed me walking out of the gym rather early in the evening and asked me if I was leaving already (because she hadn't gotten to talk to me yet).

"Oh, I'm not leaving for good," I said. "I just don't know where any of my kids are."

"There are games set up in the primary room!" she offered helpfully. "Or they could just be running laps..."

And that was exactly what a few of my children were doing (I'm sure you can guess at least one of them correctly; you have five guesses). I get the feeling that not everyone is pleased with the way the children were running around the hallways playing wild games, but the general consensus seemed to be that that was a perfectly natural thing for children to be doing during a ward party. And I'm so glad. Because sometimes places can be grumpy about children running through the hallways (which I get on a Sunday but, like, on a Friday evening? ...relax).

One more side note: this morning I told Zoë that we'd be going to a ward party and she got super excited. She didn't understand why we had to wait—and did not want to wait—for the kids to get home from school.

"Why can't we just go now?" she wanted to know.

"Because we're going to go with everybody," I told her. "Nobody's even home yet!"

"But the kids don't even like ward party," she said.

I noticed her awkward phrasing, but instead of correcting her I answered her modeling correct phrasing.

"Everyone will enjoy the ward party."

"But only I like ward party," Zoë said. "And Alex a little bit."

"The ward party is for everyone," I told her.

"That's weird," she said. "Because I'm the only one who likes it."

When the kids got home from school she kept talking to them about "ward party" and how we were going "to ward party" and how exciting this was and it took Benjamin to realize that Zoë was not on the same page as everyone else.

There's a show she likes to watch called Word Party.

She had spent the whole day thinking we were going to the made-up world of Word Party. 

"Oh, no, sweetie. Not Word Party, ward party. A party with our ward."

I've never had to say "word party" and "ward party" so many times and I felt like I'd been practicing a tongue twister by the time I had her convinced we were going to church and not to meet a bunch of baby cartoon animals!


  1. Poor Zoë! She must have been so disappointed!

    (I was just listening to a podcast where the interviewee, living in Springville, said she rarely saw her cousins growing up because they lived in SALT LAKE CITY.)

  2. I'm sorry your move has been difficult so far. I'm glad Rachel and Miriam have found some friends. I hope you can find a therapist who will be helpful. As for the receptionists asking why you'd need a therapist, why does anyone?? I didn't realize they'd want an explanation from potential customers. I hope Zoë enjoyed the ward party.