You know those intimate, candlelit restaurants that have a random guy in the corner playing an acoustic guitar? We went to one a few weeks ago for our anniversary dinner. It would have been perfect, but I burst into tears when the charming musician played “If I Only had a Brain” by the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz.
I understand that I may literally be the only one to react to that song in such a manner, but I was immediately transported back to my kitchen table in Beachwood, New Jersey. My youngest brother and I sat there together singing through laughter in attempts of preparing him for his very first audition. He got a part and hasn’t gotten off the stage since.
A year ago, the love of my life and I decided to move to Austin, Texas. Since being here, I’ve missed roles and auditions, big and small. I also feel like I’m slacking in my own roles as daughter, granddaughter, sister, and friend. I’d hang out with my family on purpose, and now we rely on group texts. I’m pretty sure it’s because it’s way easier to lie about how you’re doing that way. You can’t hear the shakiness in our voices. Not only do I miss my family and friends, I miss myself. I’ve unraveled a little bit, veered way off track, and have been closer to depression than I ever have been.
Back home, by lunchtime I had already talked to thousands of people–for real–and now I find myself in silence more than I’m comfortable with. In addition to changing careers, the social schedule I was accustomed to vanished. My man is the best, most hardworking, man in New Jersey and Austin combined, and having opposite schedules with him has put into perspective how easy it was to take our time together for granted before we moved. Now, we’re lucky if we cross paths in our own apartment.
Missing birthdays and big occasions has not been easy, but nothing could prepare me for what was coming. To share the news that you’re expecting through the phone and not be able to hug the most important people in your life is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. For the past year, I got through stuff like this with a good cry and some whiskey. Chocolate milk can only do so much.
Circling baby sections solo while sending text blasts of all the cutest items just isn’t the same as waddling around the store with your Mom and Grandmother. My friends and I used to talk about being pregnant together, and now we have to settle for #bumpies on Instagram. As my belly grows, we’re watching babies we love learn to walk on FaceTime. No, this isn’t how I thought it would be, but it is. I’m so fortunate to be in love, to have a healthy child on the way, a new city to continue to explore, and to have a family who’s willing to plan a baby shower from 1,500 miles away.
My little family of 3 is so lucky to be loved by so many, near and far. As I prepare for my biggest role ever–Mother–now is the time to step it up and be stronger than I ever have been. Texas gave us our baby, and a wonderful group of friends, but circling back to The Wizard of Oz, there’s really no place like home.