Last year (2018) was a crazy year to say the least. While I was dealing with my final days of graduate school and preparing to leave a stable job and my hometown for a place full of unknowns, my mother was dealing with moving from a house she’s called home for over 20 years.
While I was ready and excited (I’m always eager to move and experience something new), my mom was dreading it a bit. I couldn’t understand not wanting to leave and try something new. I am okay with change, taking risks and doing things that may scare me. I tried my hardest to push my confidence off on my mom. That did not work at all.
Now that my mom has made the move from California to Georgia I wanted to talk to her again about the move. I talked to her prior to moving and she seemed indifferent; some days she wanted to move and was excited and other days she was really down about it. Here are her feelings about moving from a place she’s called home for 22 years.
I asked my mom if she held any fears in regards to moving. Before the move I did not feel she was truthfully answering when I’d asked that question. This time she said that she did have fears. She did not want to tell us (my sister and I) because she did not want us to worry.
“Yes, I had a fear of leaving, because it’s a new chapter. I didn’t know what it would hold. You always have a fear of the unknown, but you have to have faith. I’d never know what’s out there waiting for me.”
Did you want to move states?
“I wanted to move down South. I wanted to live out my old age in the south. I wanted to make sure wherever I lived I can afford it.” I understand where she is coming from with this one, however, she has been talking about moving back down south since I was in my pre-teens. Back then it was always, “I’m going to move back to Mississippi after y’all graduate college and I know you both are okay.” When I was in high school and my sister was graduating from college it was “One down, one to go! I may move out here (Louisiana). I love the southern hospitality and fresh air!” Once I graduated from college (the first time) and my sister and I asked when was she moving South her answer was “when she (me) gets back and settled (from Florida).” So, you get it, excuses were rolling in.
Feelings of leaving
As the days grew closer to leaving I started to notice she was still hanging on. In short, she seemed to not want to go. A part of me understood, I mean Los Angeles is pretty dope; beaches, weather and more. I noticed her face while helping her pack up the rest of the house, getting the U-Haul truck and clearing the house out. “I was sad, because I was leaving something so familiar and something I was so used to.” This house was cozy. She’d raised her children here. She’s helped raised other peoples’ children and grandchildren here. She’d sheltered strangers turned family and more and as many times as I’ve moved, traveled and what not, the address and phone number for her has always been the same. Friends and family members said the same thing, “I don’t know the address, but I always know how to drive straight here, off of Jefferson, the green house.” This was home to everyone. Everyone literally have memories here.
There are precisely 2,205 miles from our old home in Los Angeles to our new home here in Georgia. A total of 33 hours of driving. I personally have now made that trip 3 times (I do not want to do it again, smh). It can be a lot whether done solo or with someone else. I know older and younger folks may not be able to sit that long and I worried about her during this drive. We’d encounter whether changed and have to eat junk until we reached out destination. I wanted it to be fun for her. I wanted to take her mind off of what she was leaving and show her the new places memories could be made. “I had mixed emotions on the drive here. I was excited, a little sad… because of what I was leaving behind.” That was a lot of time to think about getting further away from comfort and closer to the unknown.
Feelings once here in GA?
“Once we got here I was excited, anxious and eager.” I noticed her mood had changed when we saw more and more signs for Georgia. I totally understood, I was ready to get out of the truck too! “I was just ready to see and explore a new environment. I was excited to make new memories.”
“I was happy to see my daughter and granddaughter. I was proud to see the accomplishments my child made. I was excited to be closer to them, not hundreds of miles away. It was like “I’m here, I’ve arrived!” The reunion was beautiful. The smiles and hugs between mother and daughter and grandmother and granddaughter were priceless. After a week or two it seemed like she was down again. That worried me.
What have you learned?
She’s been doing way better. I think I’ve heard her say she’s ready to go home or wants to go back to Cali less. “I’ve learned that there are actual seasons here!” LOL I get it. In typical Angeleno fashion, when it gets “cold,” I’m not here for it either. But while there are no beaches 10 minutes away or near perfect weather year round “the people here are more laid back, really quiet so far.” That’s really nice and peaceful compared to the loud hustle and bustle of L.A. If we weren’t being woken up by the “Tamale Lady” (which was welcomed) it was police sirens or the neighbor’s loud motorcycle.
As an avid church goer she quickly noticed that there is “more of a sense of religion here than in California. In Cali I heard more people talking about partying and getting “lit.” People here discuss what churches they attend and what not. And the price of gas here is a WHOLE LOT cheaper!” Nearly $2 to be exact… I was excited about this as well.
“I’ve learned to fully rely on myself, sufficient independence. At home I always had someone to turn to. Here I have my children, but they push me to be independent. If I asked someone back home for something it gets done or is given. If I ask my children they push me to do it myself.” My mom raised us to do things for ourselves. She taught us that it is okay to ask for help, but do so only if needed, not out of laziness. As my mother grows wiser in life ( ; ] ) she’s reverting back (to a child) in some ways. As previously mentioned she’s cared for and raised so many children, that no matter what she wants (whether it’s a need or not), all she has to do is call someone and they will drop everything and deliver to her. While that is awesome to have people love you that much, we (her children) do not want her to slow down on being active or independent. We want her up and moving, healthy for as long as we can possibly have her.
As someone who has recently taken the move, I know some days are just downers. I wanted to check in with her and see where I can maybe assist her or simply give her a pick-me-up. “I haven’t been able to find employment as quickly as I thought I would, but I know it takes time. I’ve only been here one month.” I get it. It’s tough, especially being used to another city and how quick you can land a job.
“Being closer to my children, feeling needed, feeling like I have a purpose.” Which is something I obviously know nothing about…
Being over 50 and caring for children and working your entire life then just stopping and moving cross country can be a lot. It is far different than being a childless 20-something and doing it.