making friends after a move

July 27, 2012 | 47 Comments

The Fishers doing duck faces

Making new friends is not unlike an audition or an interview. In these beginning stages, everything I say lingers. I fight the urge to add cliff notes to most of what comes out of my mouth. It’s not like I’m any less of an ass in BC, but at least my AB friends have a wide range of other, more flattering, endearing experiences to draw on when formulating a Shannon Average.

I attended Interesting Vancouver shortly after moving. One of the speakers, Chris Neary said something to the effect of “We experience growth and change in the presence of discomfort.” I reached over and patted my new friend, Marie, on the leg and squeal-whispered, “And that’s why I’m heeeere!” And it is. I wrote about it before we arrived. I HAVE PROOF. I knew all of this was going to be hugely uncomfortable. I knew I was going to be forced to switch off autopilot and manually blunder my way through all new relationships.

I’m exhilarated and exhausted by the experience of relocating. There have been no comfortable silences and no shared rhythms. I spend some days determined to make BC fall in love with me and others curled up in the dark parts of my brain, convinced I’ll never experience the salve of deep friendship again.

Sitting around feeling sorry for myself, for a billion baffling reasons, does not have the people lined up to meet and or love me. I KNOW, RIGHT.

Something I didn’t factor into the moving equation was the community we had built around Emma in Alberta. She had a sizeable fan-base. Steve and I weren’t tag-teaming with just each other when we found ourselves unable to answer one more fucking why-question. We had Team Fisher to call on. They were invested in her and loved her the way grandparents and aunts and uncles do. They were our friends made family. We could push Emma from our moving car in front of their homes, squeal away, and Team Fisher would gift us with afternoons out and nights off — GUILT/QUESTION-FREE — to drink regroup and return to Emma with fresh brain cells.

These breaks allowed us to engage and convince our child she is fascinating when saying things like, “Mom! Look!” As she runs to the coffee table, stopping herself by putting her hands out and locking her elbows. You know it’s time to call on Team Fisher when you respond with a blank stare and fantasize about saying, “Emma, what is interesting about that? Call me when you can fart the alphabet. If you find yourself able to fart the alphabet, I’d be interested.”

With breaks, I’m more apt to say, “Emma! That’s so fun! Did it hurt? Was it scary to hurl yourself at an inanimate object? Did you know you were going to throw your arms out and lock your elbows like that, or did you just come up with that on the fly? You’re a genius! HEY, have you ever heard of Newton’s Law of Motion? No? OMG you’re gonna LOVE this.”

Raising a kid can be all kinds of lonely. Even when you have the incrediblest parent for a partner. They didn’t lie when they said it takes a community to raise a child. They did, however, lie when they said “the joy of nursing will compensate for the dumpy breasts it leaves you with.”

While parenting breaks were amazing, they weren’t the best part of Team Fisher. Affection, attention, and even correction from Emma’s investors squished the worry that I’m in over my head. I mean, my god I am TOTALLY in over my head, but surely as a team we can figure this out. One or two of us don’t have to be responsible for this precious, deserving child’s future therapy bills. Let’s all chip in!

Team Fisher was strong and abundant in Alberta. I’m looking forward to building up the BC chapter. Not just for Emma, but for me, too. I need people. I am a fish and people are my water.

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