before i get back into my crazy rants, just an update to let you know that the obsessive crotch checking since saturday hasn’t found any more leaks. yay!
after going into all that detail about my struggles with depression, i’m sure it will come as no surprise when i say the move to new jersey sucked, hard core. we moved here just a few weeks after graduate school when R got a pretty awesome job offer. the plan at the time was to come south where we could both get good jobs that paid much better than anything we would find in upstate new york (i’m a teacher, and my original certificates are from new york and transfer pretty easily with some paperwork and tests). we would come here for a few years, save up a ton of money, and then move back closer to family once R had enough experience that he could apply for something other than entry level positions.
that summer, my little brother’s brain tumor was diagnosed, and we spent a great deal of our free time travelling to be with my family. i don’t think that i would change those choices that we made, but to be perfectly honest (and to sound kind of selfish), not being here didn’t make it any easier to make friends. although trips north were cut back that fall, we were still making the 12 hour round trip at least once a month.
we found an apartment complex that wasn’t terribly expensive and was somewhat close to R’s job. and i started looking for jobs. i lucked out and found a position in a district the friday before school started (i actually wasn’t officially hired by the board of education until about two weeks into the school year). there weren’t too many young teachers at my school, especially ones without kids, and i found it hard to make plans with people outside of the work day. R, who has always been much more introverted that i am, didn’t seem to mind that he was the kid in his office too, although some other younger guys were hired after not too long. but we kept telling ourselves that it wasn’t a big deal if we weren’t making friends, because we were only here for the short term and would head back north as soon as R found a good job up there.
i was feeling horribly guilty that i couldn’t be with my family when they needed me, and more and more depressed that we just weren’t connecting with our lives in jersey. i was also very homesick: we had only had visitors from new york a couple of times, and when we went north, we were with my family all the time. i definitely felt myself falling into my old unhealthy habits: hibernating, procrastinating, and making myself feel even more like shit. and then, my second year, i got myself fired. i didn’t do anything horrible, but i was a nontenured teacher and was easy to get rid of. my principal had stopped checking my lesson plans, so i had stopped writing them consistently, instead spending hours catching up/faking them when i had an observation scheduled. but then the new superintendent began doing unannounced observations (and i was the lucky first one) and i was busted. so, because of my depression, i got myself fired. and getting myself fired just made my depression worse.
looking back now, getting fired was the best thing that could have happened to me, but it sure didn’t feel like it at the time. that spring, we moved to a rental house, and i found a new job at my current district. i still am not sure why they hired me. there wasn’t really anymore young people at my new school, but i had actually connected with a teacher from my previous district, S, between the “you’re fired” news and the end of the school year. she and i started going out for dinner once a month, and i can honestly say that she was my first, and for a long while, only friend in new jersey. she was also a transplant, and we connected quite a bit over the culture shock and difficulties of moving so far away from our families. although i wasn’t making friends at my new job, work was a million times better than it had been. i worked with extremely wonderful people (even if most of them were old enough to be my parents), and simple things that i never realized bothered by at the last school were fixed here. i still struggled with depression, but i had started back in therapy after i was fired. but it was still just treading water – i wasn’t really happy, having a hard time making connections, and homesick.
and then at some point, R and i both admitted to ourselves that we weren’t ever going to be able to have the life we wanted in upstate new york. and new jersey wasn’t really all that bad. and it was like someone flipped a switch. we started looking for houses. R got a new job, that made him much happier professionally, even if he’s still just the quiet kid in the office (and honestly, i think he is much more ok with his lack of friends than i am with his lack of friends here). i spent the summer in a program with other new teachers and met some cool people that we still get together with when we can. and after quite a few retirements, there are finally people at work that weren’t old enough to be my mommy or daddy. my brother was doing much better, and we started spending time here rather than driving north every chance we had.
i was finally starting to be happy here (although, this was when we started TTC, which didn’t help with my depression, but i’m going to talk about that next time i think). and now, i have friends here, a support system. i still have monthly-ish dinners with S. i have people i can go out with for drinks on the spur of the moment. people to help us out when we need something, or to just come hang out and talk. people who were there when we were struggling with infertility, and who are almost as happy as we are to meet this kid.
it really hit me this weekend. we had rushed out of the house to go to the hospital, and Agatha was so excited about the change in routine (R is sometimes up at 5:30, but I never am), that we couldn’t get her to go out. as we’re waiting at the hospital, not knowing how long this would take, i started to worry about her being home alone all day, and at that point, i was still too scared to let R leave. and then i realized, we had a handful of people that we could call. after five years of feeling isolated and alone here, i was able to call a friend who dropped everything to come let her out, no questions asked. i texted her when we got home, thanking her again, saying how much it meant to have someone we could call when we were so far from family. her response: “anytime you need someone feel free, i will come whenever. you aren’t alone by any means.”
and i can easily blame it on the pregnancy hormones, or the stress of the day, but i was so happy to think that she’s right, we aren’t alone any more, that i bawled like a little baby.