Reflecting on a Month in Madison
Apparently Jake and I thought we were moving to the South. All those things I said about Easterners being so cold compared to the mid-west? Sorry about that, I think it was untrue. Apparently Jake and I remembered the mid-west as being warm, welcoming, eager to make conversations. :)
But really, we are really really liking living here in Madison. We love that people bike everywhere. It’s a super healthy city and there are a TON of parks, activities, museums, educational things for families to participate in. We live near the University, so have found our part of town to be incredibly diverse. The school that the kids go to is nicknamed “The Little United Nations” because there is so much diversity. As an example, in Aly’s 4K class, I’m pretty sure that she may be one of two kids born in the U.S. (out of 15 students). Aly and Asante really love the school (despite the first 2 days that Asante did NOT like it). Aly has especially been great with it. I expected her to be nervous, etc. like she always is, but so far, we’ve had no problem with her going into her class. She looks forward to it everyday; this makes me feel really good about it. One thing they’ve been working on is how to play with other kids, how to invite others to play with you, and what to do in different situations where conflict comes up. I think this has been really helpful to Aly, as today at the library I observed Aly invite a little girl to play with her– something that I have never seen before! The kids’ school offers a ton of after-school programs that the kids are excited about.
On the friend front, it’s been a little tricky. My schedule has been very limited. Pretty much it goes like this:
6:30a wake up, get ready
8:30a Anaya goes down for Nap #1
10:15a Anaya wakes up from Nap #1
11:45 Leave to take Aly to 4K
12:30 Eat Lunch
1:00 Ada goes down for nap; Anaya goes down for nap #2
2:30 Anaya wakes up from nap #2. Eats.
2:55 Wake up Ada from nap if not already awake, leave to go pick up Aly and Asante from school.
3:30 get home from picking them up
5:00 make dinner (and from here we just move towards bedtime, which is 6:45/7:00).
When in the world would I even have time to hang out with someone? My “how to make friends” plan was:
a.) Library. Library storytimes would require Anaya to miss her nap (ugh, which would not make for a very pleasant storytime for anyone).
b.) Jake’s classmates. Well, they’re busy with work and school. I think a few with families want to be friends, so we’ll see. I think they are all significantly older than we are, but have kids who are the same age. I think this will be a common theme for us.
c.) A church. We did decide on a church body to become a part of, but it’s a little bit of a drive. They do have small group options in the evening, but unfortunately, our evenings are a bit full already (Monday- Jake has classes until late; Tuesdays- chess from 6p-7p; Wednesdays- Awana for kids). Plus, with kids going to bed at 7p, it’s HARD to do something in the evenings. I will be going to a mom’s group starting this Thursday, so we’ll see how that goes.
d.) Apts. We’ve made one friend who has two kids, one who is in Asante’s class at school, so that’s good. But other than that, our apt building is full of post-college youngin’s with a few couples who are just having babies. Makes sense.
And although we really want christian community, part of me feels like I just want to take this semester to transition to the total newness of family life that we’re experiencing. We do have a really full family life right now; we do feel busy with our schedules how it is. To add on one more thing? Eek. We’re already looking for ways to pare down so that we can create blocks of time where the whole family can actually be together and just play/relax/explore. Sundays are good for that, but we want more than one day a week!
Anyway, that’s where we are at right now. You would think by now we’d be an expert at this whole moving/finding our new rhythm/getting connected to a community thing. We really have found that is a unique experience each time. When we were trying to make these decision as to whether or not to move here, one of my mentors/colleagues from Eastern came to visit me one day. We were talking about it all, and something he said at the time struck me as important. He said something like, “Tiffany, remember this- God has provided you a community- friends, a church, housing, places to serve- every time you have made these big moves. He provided for you then, He will provide those for you again if you choose to move. I think it’s important to look back sometimes as you are looking for God to provide in the future.” He said it way more eloquently, and while at the time that was the least of my concerns, I now realize that that was gem that I was supposed to hold onto for such a time as this.
So, while things are good, we are trusting God to provide friends in due time, and praying for wisdom as we make decisions for what to be involved in (and what our kids are to be involved in). I’m resisting the temptation to try to “make a way for myself”, but am just trying to be patient. I remember back when we lived in Columbia, Jake and I were going through a time when we were fairly newly married and just wanted a couple to be friends with. Just one! Well, God gave us two (so soon after us praying together for that!), and it was such a sweet season for us! And if you know us well, you know that there are not too many couples whom Jake and I BOTH really like. In each place we’ve lived, there have been one or two. God desires us to have community, so we can trust Him for that in due time!