Thursday, September 21, 2006

The joys and trials of small town life

I love my little, rural town. I really do. And sometimes I just want to go somewhere big, traffic and all, and be anonymous again.

I love that I can let my older kids walk a few blocks and go to the library by themselves. I can send them to the store for milk, or bread or whatever, and know that they'll be back inside of seven minutes.

On the up-side, other moms know my kids. I feel like my kids are watched over and cared for when I'm not being the over-proctective hawk that big town living has bred into me.

On the down-side, other moms know my kids. We are new here. We don't always 'get' the strange ways of this town. We buck the system a little bit, and ruffle feathers. Not that we didn't do that before, it's just that here, we are noticed.

We run into people we know everywhere. It's a good thing. I love seeing a friend at the grocery store and having a chat. If you want someone to hang out with, you just show up on a door step. Or someone shows up at yours. It's nice.

Of course, there are the times when you see someone you sort of recognize, can't quite place, and realize it's the doctor who just did your pelvic exam. I miss the days when I didn't run into the person who sees my inner most parts on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. Yes, I know. Doctors are people, too.

Same goes for teachers. I love seeing my little girls' teachers out and about. However, when you see the teacher you've had a problem with, the one you had to have a 'discussion' with, all over town and can see on teachers face that they think you are a terrible parent and should have never questioned their judgment... well, I could go on and on. I don't like it.

I don't like that I can smell cows. I REALLY don't like when the wind changes and I smell hogs instead. Gag.

I can run all my errands in under a half an hour, leaving me time to see a matinee if our little theater would realize that moms like movies too and start having a 1:00 show. Is that too much to ask??

I was wrong in thinking that we could talk to a parent about how their son was treating ours. I regret that day, as we made our son's life much, much harder.

I cannot tell you how much I adore our community swimming pool and all the friends we have made there.

I love my church and my pastor who knows us and seems to like us. He is accessible and because we see him all over the place, we know that he is who he is. He is the same guy at the pulpit that we see at the football games. My kids love him.

Quality of life here is high. You don't have to fight 30 minutes of traffic to get anywhere. Although I do have to drive 45 minutes to the nearest Target. A crime! There are parks, outdoor walking trails, indoor rec centers, festivals, music in the park, organized sports, unorganized sports, white Christmases, neighbors who bake for one another, and lots more.

I guess I am still getting used to a more transparent life. People see me, know me, put up with me and accept me. I used to get to choose who got to do that, but here, we are all piled up within a two mile radius and the lack of elbow space creates more 'cozy' living. Whether we want it or not.

There are still those smile and nod, everything-is-fine type of people. But now I have people who call me out, ask me why I say I'm fine when my eyes are saying something else. It's messy and not always comfortable, but very, very good.

It's not always the smooth, idealic, sailing that I once thought it would be, but it is definitely less trials, more joy.


shanna said...

Amy, you must be living in the northern version of the town I just left. Yes, there's so much to be gained in a smaller town. But ooh, sometimes the hurt, the hurt is so bad--and so unavoidable. You see it everytime you step into Walmart. My big city ways rubbed everybody wrong at least three times a year. And then we all had to live with it.

Living in a small town is like living in a big family: it requires a LOT of grace and more than a little respect for boundaries.

Love this piece.

Anonymous said...

oh you put my thoughts into words!

great post amy!

(bobbie from emergingsideways)