Before I moved to Massachusetts I had a list of the three things I would miss the most: 1. Friends and Family. 2. Heather at Dream State Salon. 3. Publix.
I would miss friends and family because I would have neither in my new town. But, I had hopes of making new friends and spending more time with family that lives in New England.
I would miss Heather because she is hands down the best hair stylist I have ever had. I adore that woman and replacing her would be tough.
I would miss Publix because really, who wouldn’t? But surely I would find a great new grocery store, right?
Reconnecting with family was awesome. I had a great time visiting sisters, cousins, in-laws, aunts and uncles.
And that is where awesome stopped. Everything else was an uphill battle.
Friends were hard to make. I realized at one point that I had thought things would be okay in Massachusetts because I had lived from birth to age 11 in Vermont, visited at least once a year after we moved, and lived there as an adult after graduate school. And I loved it – there is no place like the Green Mountain State.
At the playground one morning, another mom asked me what I thought of the schools in town so far. I was honest. Too many worksheets, not enough hands-on activities. No art to speak of. It seemed like the teachers were not strongly encouraged to be creative.
The response I received was a lecture on the evils of too much emphasis on academics and not enough time on social development, which she believed is what the school was focused on. They gave the kids “simple worksheets” so that more time could be spent on learning how to get along with one another.
When she informed me she was an expert because she has a degree in Child Development I offered a silent prayer that Jude was with me to keep me from saying anything crude. Her self-righteousness was a loud “eff you.” (Eff you because mommy’s aren’t supposed to swear on the playground. This mommy has to think in clean words too or the swear words just pop out).
I decided right then and there that I preferred the southern finesse of a “Bless your heart.”
I also realized that Vermont and Massachusetts were far different than I had previously thought. People in and from Vermont are hardy. People in Massachusetts are just hard. (I realize I’m generalizing – goodness knows it’s not fact. My beloved sister lives in MA and lots of awesome peeps – I just had a hard time finding them in my town.)
I did eventually make two friends. Or at least, women who I believed I could have been friends with. I am thankful for meeting the two of them.
But overall the friend thing was hard.
The number two reason I was sad to leave was Heather.
A lot of you know me. I am not a make-up, dressy, princess-y type of girl.
But I damn sure love my short hair and I love even more spending time at the salon to get it done. And Heather is my steadfast hair artist at Dream State Salon in midtown Tallahassee. I adore this woman.
Not long after moving I found an Aveda salon (two towns away) and called to find out if they had a stylist who was comfortable with short hair. I booked an appointment and excitedly went to meet my new hair lady.
That evening was the first time in a long time, maybe ever, that I’ve felt like a pig in a pen. It felt like slops flying through the air as she literally slapped my hair color on me.
The creamy mixture quickly speckled the front of my salon cape, left dark streaks all over my hairline, and at one point, a blob landed on my face, which promptly left a dark brown spot that looked like a beauty mark that I do not have.
The hair thing was officially going to be hard too.
As for Publix…let’s just say that Market Basket looks like Winn Dixie’s sister and the last time I bought food at Winn Dixie was during my Dark Days in Dothan. As a personal choice, I don’t shop at Winn Dixie.
The move was just hard. Like walking through wet cement.
The preschool wasn’t working out. Ayla was bored to tears in her first grade class. People at the grocery store didn’t respond when the kids said “hi” and pushed to get in front of you at the register. I don’t think anyone held a door for me the entire time I was there.
I can’t tell you how many times I had this talk with myself: “get over it, Sara, these are first world problems. Suck it up and get used to it.” Or that everyday I would force myself to remember that the women I had talked with that moved to this town from somewhere else said it took them about three years to feel at home.
Three years felt like a really long time. And I wasn’t so sure I wanted to start over. But, I put my best foot forward and tried.
And if it had been just me struggling, we might still be there. It wasn’t though. The kids were unhappy too. We started talking about coming home and often these talks were instigated by the children.
Before we knew it our dreaming had turned into easy steps to come back to Tallahassee. I take this as proof that when four people set their minds to a common goal, the way is clear. Doors opened and before we knew it, we were back.
Back at our old schools, back to regular playdates with friends and family. Back to Publix and happy Sara gets to be back in Heather’s chair. No flying specks of hair dye. Instead, a pleasant citrus smelling oil to remove any stray color in my hairline, a hand massage while waiting for shampoo time, one fantastic haircut, and loads of lessons to write about in my journal.
Coming home feels good.
So good that I’m grateful to the preachy mom on the playground, the hair stylist who slapped the color, and Publix only being found in the southeast part of the country. Each of these elements has a special place in my journal, and therefore my heart.
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Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, and mom who helps busy women use journaling to create more space in their life for being productive without feeling overwhelmed. To learn more about Sara and her work in the world, please visit saramarchessault.com.