Love (Austin) Thursday

This post has a soundtrack. I don't know that I've ever written a blog post before with a song going around and around in my head so I guess this is a first for me. And of course, I can't find it on YouTube--how weird is that? But the song is "This Old Porch" by Lyle Lovett. Y'all can listen to it here for free.


I'm homesick for Austin.

There. I said it.

I've been trying not to give voice to missing Austin because I am all about blooming where I'm planted. Or transplanted in this case. I mean, it doesn't do any good to think about the people and things I miss about Austin because, um, well, I don't live there anymore. That chapter in the book of my life is closed. (Or will be as soon as our freaking house sells. Are you people eating enough spaghetti? Because I got nothing. Nothin', I tell you.)

Earlier this week, I got an e-mail from a reader who just totally read between the lines (because I'm so subtle that way. It must have been my bursting into tears over a traffic thing. Or maybe it was the DMV snafu... you can't BUY that kind of subtlety, people.) and sent me the nicest, most tactful and lovely note about big moves having stages, much like grief, and how after the initial "oh, we're on an adventure! See how much fun we can have with all this newness!" phase, it's pretty common to sink into the "Everything sucks here! Nothing sucked back HOME. Every bad thing that's ever happened to me can be traced to moving across country!"

Okay, so she didn't say it like that and of COURSE, it's not true. Lots of things sucked back in Austin. But back in Austin? I knew what to do when things sucked. Here I'm still foundering about, using my GPS and asking Lin about everything. When Lin moves, I will have lost my liaison to this new world. She's so good about not laughing, see.

But I haven't even told her how much I miss Austin.

You know what I miss? I miss those tiny, hyperactive geckos that used to get into the house and that we'd have to rescue. I miss having neighbors to either side who I KNEW would watch my kids, reflexively. Just because they were outside. I miss having neighbors on the street whom my kids considered second families--Jane used to run to their house and half the time she'd come home having eaten dinner and had a bath there. I miss the safety of knowing that our street was, like, some sort of bubble, you know? Like, we didn't lock our door for, oh, eight years. My new neighbors were telling me why we needed an alarm system here and you know, of course I KNEW that. I just didn't WANT to know that.

I miss Central Market and I miss Barton Springs pool. I miss Barton Springs Nursery and by GOD, I miss the Town Lake Trail. I miss walking my kids to school and knowing who to talk to when there was a problem. I miss my mechanic and my dentist and our pediatrician. I miss my gynecologist (words I bet you don't hear that often) and I miss Austinites. As a species.

I miss our community library, which was outstanding, and its dirt cheap continuous book sale. I miss the parties we used to throw and the music that was just down the street from us (and all over the city.) I miss the fact that my kids were in the same school and on the same schedule. I miss our pool and my screened-in porch and the way I did the most meaningful jobs of my life in Austin--even including giving birth and toilet training my children. Yesterday I actually let slip that I was a grant writer in my Life Before Kids. I mean, I told someone that on purpose, with hopes that maybe I can start getting involved and helping a bit. (I usually don't tell people because writing grants takes an enormous amount of energy and research and time and that would cut into my blogging. I have my priorities.)

And oh, I miss my old rambling house with its quirks and all the ridiculous colors I painted the walls and its loving craftsmanship that doesn't remotely resemble this slapdash new construction.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not taking anything away from Long Island and the good things here. (Put the flame thrower down and step away, friend.) I like it here and I think I will find a good groove once I find some friends and figure out where to shop for what and what camps to sign the kids up for and how to negotiate the traffic and the higher decibel level. It's GOOD here. I just miss my old life --which took me many years to dial in, right? I can't expect to have dialed in this new one in the two and a half months we've been here. I haven't even finished unpacking yet! It's not like I felt immediately at home the LAST time we moved.

I just can't help it. I miss my old root system. This growing new roots thing? It's sort of painful.


Memarie Lane said…
I know what you mean. I moved from my hometown in California of 26 years to Oregon for a year, and then Florida for three years, and my one year anniversary in NM just passed. I haven't made any friends here yet and still don't really know my way around. There are a lot of great things about ABQ that make it easier not to wallow though. But while all my friends and family in CA have long since moved away from there, I really miss all the great friends I made in FL. It was really a great place to live.
Miri said…
It really sucks to leave behind people and a whole life that you loved. I do hope you find things to make you feel rooted in your new home.
Anonymous said…
{{{{hugs}}}} Thanks for sharing with us, Barb. It's good to get this sort of stuff off your chest in a healthy way.

Austin misses you, too! (I can TOO tell. Stop looking at me like that.) But at the same time, Austin wishes you well and knows that you WILL bloom where you're planted.
Gosh - now you've got me missing Austin, too. And I've never even been there.

I love our neighborhood because the little kids can run out and play and ride bikes and scooters on the sidewalks. When we went away for the year to Rhode Island, we lived in a single family house on a semi-busy road, and there were no sidewalks for them to play on, just a stupid long driveway and who wants to pedal up and down a stupid driveway? I used to sit there and sob because I missed seeing my 3-year-old's fat little legs going up and down on the pedals of his tricycle.

And my neigborhood at home had neighbors, much as you describe in Austin. But in Rhode Island (a beautiful place, by the way)? We had one stinkin' neighbor, who was about 80,000 years old and reminded me of an old witch. I can't tell you how many times a day I walked out of my house (out of habit) to go talk to someone and then realized that there was nobody for me to talk to. I was very depressed - and, imagine, I didn't even have blogging!

Moving from a place you love just sucks.
Candy said…
I know exactly what you are going through. I had a rough time when we moved from Charleston to Honolulu in '93, but not too bad. However, when we move here to Austin from Honolulu in '98, I was a wreck. Honolulu was the first place I ever felt at home and I hated this place. Now? In some ways, I think I still consider Honolulu a "home", but after being here for 10 years and getting friends, and finally being able to figure out that weird 183/Mopac/360 area, I feel a little more at home. It just takes time. Be sad, get angry, it's all part of it. My only regret is that we didn't see each other more than a few times while you were here :)
deb said…
Instead of it being a painful experience think of Austin as wonderful memories. Keep your chin up, girl, you'll get through this! deb
Anonymous said…
You know what? I miss YOU - IN Austin. Does that make any sense? I seriously can't get my head around the fact that you're just....over there. Now, not that you've given me any dates for our "get together" - ahem - and not that I'm not thrilled that you are so SO much closer now but I really think that you are so brave (all of you are) for making this move. I can't even imagine doing what the Coopers have done. I know that you'll fit in - you always fit it - wherever you are.

I will say though, what you had in Austin was especially...special (in my opinion anyways). I think you were very lucky to live where you lived and finding exactly that, could prove to be difficult. We've lived here for over 10 years and although we only lock our door at night (and sometimes we forget to do that too) - I would never let Jessie play in the yard (front or back) without being there.

Enough blabbing from me. Give it some time sweetie. I think you'll find that this time next year, you and Scout will be able to weat matching "I Love NY" t-shirts.

Anonymous said…
sorry for all the typos. Sigh
Ei said…
Hugs. There are so many things I'd like to tell you about how this post moved me, or how hard it was when I moved from Colorado to here (and that I STILL miss KBCO in the morning...I'm convinced I'd be on time if only I had Brett Saunders waking me up), and some stuff about blooming where you are planted. But...I think I'll need to blog it myself.
Ei said…
And ps..Barb? I'll bet Lin will still let you call her and ask questions, it might actually help her a little with feeling so transplanted herself.
TheOneTrueSue said…
I'm crying with you. You said it so perfectly (except in my case, I'd throw in a nice strong dash of hatred for Las Vegas that I am trying to choke back down).

I wish we'd both moved to the same place.

I can't even comment intelligently about this because I have SO. MANY. FEELINGS. :<
Mrs.Q said…
Amen. Having just come back to The Big City after a good long visit with my small-town roots...I know eezackly how you feel. Also, it has been surprising to notice just how many roots I've put down here after 4 years, and what a good move it's been. It has taken some time and distance for me to see that, though - and a little more of each to appreciate it.

And I still go Home every chance I get.

Hang in there!
Unknown said…
i get you totally. I have been married 10 years and we have moved 4 times in that time. I still miss Ottawa where I moved from to get married, and just when i would start to settle in a new place we would move again. When we got here to Anchorage and I liked it and started making friends I put my foot down and said Here I stay. Because I am tired of missing home
Annabanana said…
me, too...about all of that. And I felt forced out of Austin, in a way. It's been 5 years and I'm starting to find my tribe, but the big guy is still lost. He has no friends and he had so many back there. (sigh)....

There must be an ex-Austinite drinking club where some great little band plays and the margaritas and chips and salsa keep coming - maybe we can make a virtual one!

At least you have THE BEACH right there, that water will cure a lot of aches. Love you and hugs to you!
DK said…
It's sort of painful. All growth is.

You need to mourn what you've lost. That's, um, normal. Missing the good stuff? Seems normal to me. Enojying security and familiarity? Hmm....I'm sensing a theme....

I still can't find anything but the hospitals and my house without the GPS. And I've been here almost a year.
KnitFloozy said…
My Dear Barb,

I too have recently moved to a new town. When I admitted to myself that I missed the old town - I finally realized that there are new things here in this town that I can learn to love as I did the old one. Even though nothing will be the same - you still have your family there loving you and learning with you every step of the way.....and your comment about DMV reminds me that I need to pay my registration LOL at the DMV in my new town...
Tenna Draper said…
don't cry barb.

There's lots of people in the very same shoes you're in--not counting the ones who finally buy YOUR OLD HOUSE...and then you'll go visit and pass by the house, and it won't even look like your old house anymore...and that'll be a shocker.

But roots take time to put down, and you won't feel 100% "at home" until everything is in it's place, so why not take a hiatus from all the writing you do, and finish unpacking--because it will help tremendously!
Oh crap, I left Texas 30 years ago and between your words and 'This Old Porch' I am crying like a baby. Hang in there, heartfelt pain subsides leaving only soft memories.