Real Talk: The Guilt
This is a rough post to write, but gosh darn it, it is part of the journey and maybe it’ll help someone else out in a similar situation. I apologize ahead of time for any less than appropriate language, this blog is 99% clean.
The guilt. Oh the guilt guilt guilt guilt. Most of the time we are pretty good about keeping busy so we don’t have to feed into that nagging bitch who is forever named ‘Guilt’. She taps on our shoulder and we look the other way. She jumps in front of us and waves her hands, and we quickly turn around and run as fast as we can in the opposite direction. Once in a while we will entertain her and acknowledge she is there but that never seems to end well. You give her an inch and she’ll drag you a whole damn two miles. Up hill. On a gravel road.
There’s many things that this ever-so-present Guilt trips us into. We feel guilty about ripping the boys from the only thing they’ve ever known. Ripping them from literally every single family member we have. I can say not a day goes by that i don’t get hit by a rogue wave crashing into me slapping me because of the pain and holes we’ve left behind at ‘home’. Luckily we have some of the most incredible and understanding family members around. They smile and say how happy they are for us, and they mean it. You can’t ask for much more than that.
We choose this life as a more simple life. Hoping to engrave in our children that we exist within nature. We gave up expectations about what ‘life should hand us’ or what we felt like we deserved. We want to instill appreciation into our kids, not expectations. With each and every care package or card we receive in the mail from someone sending us a little ‘love’ is received with great excitement and appreciation. But also stamped with guilt.Litterally stamped because we now have forced everyone to have to pay postage and handling along with whatever the contents of the package is. Yet again our family smiles and says “small price to pay”. You can’t ask for much more than that.
We will most likely always be living in some area that people want to visit. We will always welcome guests to stay as long as they like and we will feed, show them the local hotspots, give tours and have a strict ‘what’s ours…is yours’ policy for their entire visit. Dream come true! Free housing in a stellar vacation spot! What more could you want? Try plane tickets to fly here, gas money to drive here and every other high price expense that goes along with taking a vacation. Guilt Guilt and more Guilt. And once again our family pulls through by scheduling visits all throughout our first summer. You can’t ask for much more than that.
I often find myself scouring craigslist, or the local websites hoping to find some playgroup or activity to take the boys to so they can have ‘friends’ for a day. Yet I see them growing more confident and friendly. They no longer hide behind my leg when being introduced to a stranger. They are smiles and hello’ing almost everyone we pass. No doubt craving for a social connection beyond mommy and daddy. They ask if they can go to their ‘friends’ campsite, because the two minutes they played on the playground with them sealed the Best Friend Forever title. They ask if they can go play with ‘the friends’ they met 2 weeks ago again because they have something they forgot to tell them. Each time i have to look into their hopeful dark eyes and explain that we can’t just go into people’s campsites and that their ‘friends’ will be gone in the morning and that we will probably never see the people we meet again. You can’t ask for much more than that. Right, tell that to the two teenage boys who resent their parents for never allowing them to have ‘real friends’. Or the grade school boy in tears because he has to switch schools and leave all his new friends once again. That’s the kind of guilt you can’t just ignore.
So maybe this is slightly dramatic. With any luck our boys are anything like their father they will grow up to be just fine. They won’t hold grudges, they won’t dispise us, and they will be well equipped with more knowledge and experiences then the majority of young men out there today. But in this parenthood game we all play you never really know how bad you are messing up or how well you’re actually doing until miles down the road.
I’m not going to end this over dramatic post on a sour note. Because each day we are learning. We are learning to let go of what we’ve had in the past and look for what is new. We are learning new ways to avoid and ignore her highness: Guilt. But we are also learning how to actually deal with the guilt and move past it. Or at least around it. The boys are actually probably doing better than we think they are. They get to play in nature all day every day. We have a wonderful neighbor/co-worker/fellow Ranger & his wife who have made us feel so at home.The boys are becoming better friends with each other. They are becoming more outgoing. No, they don’t have consistent friends. We have ‘day friends’. We meet people, enjoy their company for a day and then send them on their way. Hopefully in time we may meet a few locals to befriend but the uncertainty of where we will be in the next season or two lingers right above our head.
One thing that helps is that we Skype with our family. The boys know they can push a button and have just about any family member on video chat. This is a great link to bridge the distance. This is probably one of the best, if not thee best way to keep the boys ‘current’ in people’s lives.
Social media is also a great way to stay connected. We get to see what our friends and family are doing back home, or where ever they may live. We post what we are doing on Facebook and Twitter, we post additional pictures on Instagram and we are doing our best to keep up on this blog.
It’s a way for people to still feel like they know what we are doing and are a part of our lives without having to call each day. And we love to keep people involved in our life, especially if it helps fill all the little holes we left behind.
So if you’ve recently moved away from your friends and family know this…you’re not alone even if it feels incredibly lonely at times. You will lose friends back ‘home’, you can’t keep up with everyone and eventually people will fade out of your life. I see people slipping out of our lives daily, all we can do is look back and be incredibly thankful that they were in our lives for those brief moments.
Social media has its perks. It keeps people up to date with what’s happening in your life, it keeps you involved in others lives, and it’s a great way to meet new people in your current area. Be sure to set up some type of video chat and make it a priority to spend time each week with someone on there, even if it means scheduling it. BE FLEXIBLE! Ride the waves out. If Guilt sneaks up on you, it’s normal. Just know she too is only a visitor and will eventually get bored and leave. Hopefully. She still seems wildly entertained in our neck of the woods.
And most importantly…Don’t lose your focus. You had a vision when you choose to pack your bags, you had a dream to chase. Changes to make. A different lifestyle to live. We have never felt more like we belong then we do right now on this path we are on. So keep focused on the positive and know you’re doing okay. Kids are resilient. They adapt. And if they don’t then just pray one day they will look back and appreciate what you were trying to do for them.
And above all Thank your family and friends, the ones by your side. The ones supporting you even though it’s not easy for them, or you. In the end everything turns out just fine…and if it doesn’t…well then, it’s not the end quite yet.