A few weeks ago, Jeff and I were on a date & got stuck behind a slow-moving Uhaul. It was already dark, & it became clear that the female driver was helplessly lost. As Jeff switched lanes to pass the truck, I wanted to wave her down, get out of the car, and give her a big hug. I wanted to offer her a tissue and cry with her, because 7 months ago I lived through the grand adventure of a move to another state, and had an idea of what she was about to experience.
I wanted to tell her that I knew how much she will miss her old friends and neighborhood, and especially any family she may have left behind. Her children will come home from school in tears, insisting that they move back to their old home – today. She’ll get in the car to go to a library or post office & realize she has no idea where one is. She’ll open her Halloween decorations bin and start to cry as she unpacks the decorations her favorite neighbor had given her last year. After carefully mapping out directions to a doctor’s or dentist’s office, she’ll become helplessly lost & come back home in tears. She will feel lonely and isolated in her new neighborhood; although some new neighbors will be friendly, new relationships and friendships don’t grow overnight. It will take time to adjust to the idiosyncracies of her new house, yard, and weather conditions.
She will second guess their family’s carefully-thought-out-and-prayed-over-decision to move at least a thousand times. She will feel lost in so many ways.
And then one day she might wake up in anticipation of a lunch date with a new friend, a decorating project to fill that blank space on her wall, or even of getting out in the yard and raking the leaves. She’ll get a call from a new neighbor out of the blue and realize that she isn’t completely invisible. Her kids will come home from school excited to share stories, homework, and the name of a new friend they made that day. Her husband will take her on a surprise date, remind her of how fabulous he thinks she is, and thank her for all the sacrifices she has made for him and their children.
I wanted to tell her all of those things as we passed her truck. Instead, I tried unsuccesfully to catch her eye, and Jeff & I continued on our date.
That night as I went to bed, I thought once more about the Uhaul driver, and realized that I had made it through the hardest part. I silently thanked her for being lost, but hoped it wouldn’t take too long for her to find her new home, and to find her place there.