When I moved to Tucson in September 2000, I had it in mind to return to Oklahoma as soon as possible. Immediately, I noticed how unfriendly and often inaccurate the fast food workers were. In fact, the entire town seemed to be lacking any need to appear, much less BE, polite. The most egregious breach of etiquette has to be door infractions. I offer you, by way of example, the story of a visibly pregnant mother, me, trying to take her toddler, the 9 YO boy, to see his dad, Handsome Hubster. I did have a stroller laden with a year’s supply of Cheerios, three types of sunscreen, woobies, and various sundries. In other words, anyone looking my way could tell I had my hands full. Reaching past my overly ripe belly, I opened the door to the Hubster’s building, braced it open with my foot, struggled to reorient the stroller toward the door, and then stood by waiting for my uterus to drop as three or four people entered by way of the door I had just opened. Don’t get me started on the Tucson Mommie Cliques. Yes, that’s a proper noun because I have aptly named them.
At first, my only friends were the cold and distant authors of parenting books and illegal cable. Over time I singled out a few friends. Like Robyn! She’s a great friend who I met here. Of course, she’s from Kansas by way of Oklahoma, so…. Okay, Robyn doesn’t count and she’s leaving me to follow her Ph.D. hubby anyway (YAY or BOO depending). I’ve also found some solid community resources. Like Allegro! Oops. The co-founder, as I think I’ve mentioned, is from Oklahoma, so…. At least Todd is always by our side and, yes, he’s from Oklahoma too.
Unapparently, I’m trying to make the point that I’m not ready to move and Oklahoma may not even be an option. The stick whipping my donkey ass whist I bite at the dangling carrot of fulfilling the Handsome Hubster’s graduation goal. I know it’s a sentence fragment. Pretend it goes with the previous sentence. Last year I was chastised for obsessing about the move by my favorite Cuban mother. See? Not all my friends are from Oklahoma, though she’s more Oklahoman by behavior than she is Tucsonan. I take her advice more to heart than I do most people. Except you, of course. She doesn’t even read my blog.
Once I quit dreaming about the move back to Oklahoma, I quit wanting to go there or anywhere else. Suddenly, great things about Tucson revealed themselves. For example, while their hearts are sometimes closed to pregnant mothers opening doors, their minds are open. You can move in any social circle regardless of your political party, religion, or background. It’s not perfect, but no place is.
Today I took the newly 7 YO girl to watch the Hannah Montana* movie at the cheap theater. Don’t judge me! I don’t know about the movie, story, or acting, but the scenery called to me. Large fields, large rooms, large people – OH! I don’t by any means mean fat. I mean people who treat you good. I mean big fat embraces with no pretense. There’s no need to network because everyone is already together.
Robyn told me that she thought I had grown since moving here. I hope so! My desires for my children to live with a robust family and community life have lit a fire under this otherwise stationary ass. It’s a different carrot and a different whip that forced me to try to be the idealized me. I’m not even close yet, but have a stronger identity as a parent than at any other station in my life.
On this I mulled as we watched the movie and when Hannah revealed her secret identity and the 7 YO girl reached over to hold my hand, I wanted to cry. I sure am proud when my kids have recitals, when they get good school reports, when they look cute in their church clothes, but when they show empathy revealing they aren’t automatons, well, then I’m a waste case.
She let go of my hand about the time the small hometown of Miley shoves her back into the closet with the refrain, “Put back on the wig!” I realized, I can’t live in a place where I have to wear a wig (getting to wear a wig is another story all together). Maybe that means I can never live in Oklahoma. I don’t need people to agree with, but I do need people to talk to. I need open minds and open hearts. Considering the lack of diversity in voting the past few years and the gun provision inserted by an Oklahoman into the credit card bill, I just don’t think the doors of acceptance will be open in the same ways for myself and my other non-wig wearing friends. Then again that all happened in a movie and not in Oklahoma (the put back on your wig stuff – obviously the rest is a matter of record).
Per popular vote (all Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs of you), where won’t I live? I turn to Analytics for help.
If I take a world view, I have to live in the USA. All my blog friends are here, however, Australia beckons too as does India and Canada. I’m working on the Hubster pursuing an international locale. It’s sorta like, “If I can’t live here, then I’m taking my marbles and leaving.” I would never advocate that with my kids though, so…. Okay, looking in this country. I have no peeps in the North, so forget you Fargo! Sadly, my brother in Louisiana isn’t reading nor the family in the Free State of Jones County Mississippi nor my great aunt in Alabama. I won’t be moving near ya’ll. At one point I thought Missouri or Arkansas might be good locales, but again, they aren’t clicking me and won’t be getting me. Yes, my adoring fans are all in Arizona followed by Oklahoma and then Connecticut. Hi, Max!
The stats aren’t fair though. When I changed my blog layout, I forgot to add back in the Analytics code so I wasn’t getting data for like a week (that “like” was dedicated to Peggy, Joe, and Ruth). OH! It was horrid to see days of zero hits. I thought I had offended and how would I win all eight of you back? But then I got my code and, ahhhhh. Much better. So, I took a year view of my stats and saw that I really can live anywhere within the USA – except Rhode Island. Hey, RI! YOU SUCK!
* Did I mention I am a sell-out, er, Amazon Associate?