Well. Ok. Maybe that's an overstatement. Just a little.
But it wasn't a good day. It's was a day where, by five o-clock, I decided to just give up and go ahead and have a good cry. Which, at seven months pregnant and moving into a strange town, I feel I deserve now and again.
First: We lost Judah. Only for about fifteen minutes, but those were a veeery loooong fifteen minutes, let me tell you. He rode his scooter to the end of the sidewalk outside our back door and then couldn't remember how to get back to the house from there (it's only about fifteen feet, but he's new here). So he turned left and kept on going. And kept turning left or right when he got to the end of the sidewalk until he was completely outside the little enclave of enclosed courtyards that we depend on to keep the kids "safe". This neighborhood is very "woodsy", with lots of trees and shrubs, which is great-- beautiful!-- but meant that within five minutes (the time it took Sofi, who was out playing with him, to come in and put on her bathing suit, and us to realize she was in here and he was not) he was completely out of sight and hearing.
My easy-going, laid-back, calm husband gets very... intense... in moments like these. In my small-town naivete, I didn't fully grasp the gravity of the situation until he came back in and said, Get dressed, I can't see him anywhere, and then threw on his sneakers and ran back out.
We walked/ran up and down the maze of sidewalks, calling for him in carefully non-panicking voices and then, there he was. Still on the tricycle. Totally safe, although a little nervous. He'd been calling for Daddy, once he realized that he couldn't find our house-- which looks exactly identical to all the other hundreds of houses here.
Second; I took on the daunting task of grocery shopping in a New City. I am a creature of habit in grocery shopping. If you look at the roadways of the 'Burg, you may actually see a rut from my car wheels traveling the exact same path from store to store every week. The same items-- each from the store I know always carries them at the best price. Nine years of shopping at the same stores every week.
So today, newspaper circulars in hand, I sat down to make a list of prices and locations and map out my new route with the GPS. Only problem is, the GPS doesn't take into account what sort of neighborhoods it takes you through.
Twenty minutes after I left my house, I found myself walled in by concrete traffic barriers and cones. Looming over them were more concrete walls, covered in graffiti and filth. Trash everywhere and a general air of decay and want.
And then the car reminded me that we're not entirely sure that it's fixed yet. And I was afraid to even check my cell phone battery. Not that it would do any good, since the truck's in the shop and J's at home with both kids and no way to get to me before the muggers do.... *PREGNANT WOMAN PANIC*
I made it to the grocery store, which was also a little shady-looking, and then home (by a different route-- thanks to Google) and then burst into tears in the driveway.
All the way home I kept thinking, I have no idea how to do this. I've never lived in a city even remotely close to this size. When I moved to the 'Burg as a new bride, it seemed like a huge city to me. Our town had about 400 residents. How can I possibly learn to live in Orlando? With three kids? What if I do something stupid, like forget to check on them every two-and-a-half minutes? What if I forget to lock our car door? (We never locked our doors back home) What if I let them get too far away from me in the grocery store? What if I try to get someplace in town with the GPS and then run out of gas in a place like I saw today? What if....???
I just have no instincts about these things. All my life I've lived in small-town places where people were generally trustworthy and honest. Our kids have played out on the sidewalk with minimal supervision their whole lives-- trusting to their adherence to a set of boundaries, which they almost never crossed. I send Sofi two or three aisles away in the store to grab me something in another category. I let her take Judah to the back of Big Lots to ogle the toys while I shop. I sometimes leave them in the car while I run into the Post Office.
This place scares me. In the back of my mind are murmurings of the promises of the Lord, but right now the fears are muchmuch louder.