on fitting in


Eggnog Orange Cake – has nothing to do with this post

We live in a small town. An everyone-knows-everyone-and-their-brother sort of town. The kind with one red light and one postman and four elementary schools. Because hey, when harvest comes around where do you expect us to find our labor? The chickens don’t feed themselves.

I’m half kidding… promise.

We’ve lived in this small town for almost five years and I still feel like we don’t quite fit in. Mostly because Caleb works 20 miles away in one direction, and we go to church and do all our shopping in Georgia, the opposite direction. Pretty much the only thing we do in our town is The Walmart. And even that is an exercise in alienation. Especially after dark when everyone congregates in the pasta aisle for a family reunion in their pj pants and HELLO. Uncle Joe is finally here. Hugs all around and let’s get right to discussing Bubba Sam’s marriage to his cousin’s neighbor’s 2nd grade teacher. They’re distantly related, ya know.

It’s rough on someone who just wants to grab a box of linguini and get outta there. I come home and tell Caleb we’re not having alfredo tonight and he can blame the pajama clad traffic jam on aisle two.

And here’s where things get interesting, because as of August we don’t just do The Walmart anymore. We now also do The Elementary School. The East one. There are four, you recall. And this has made us suddenly more interested in fitting in around here. Because while I’m sitting in the parking lot of the East one waiting to pick up Jack, I observe the car in front of me roll down her window and fondly greet the descending window of the car next to hers. They laugh and share valuable tidbits of information and it occurs to me that my life might be easier were I in this circle.

For instance: Last week Jack came home from school needing a solid colored t-shirt by Friday. Him and every other elementary kid in town because by the time I got to The Walmart that afternoon there wasn’t a solid colored shirt to be found. The secret circle of carpool moms got the memo before I did. I ended up procrastinating for a few days and by Thursday night I’d waited until the absolute last minute. I dashed to the store, hoping they’d restocked some little boy t-shirts. In fact, I left the house without stopping to consider what I was wearing.

As I was pulling into The Walmart parking lot I called Caleb and was all “You aren’t going to believe this. Not only am I wearing pajama pants.. but also house slippers.”

There was a long pause and then “Haha! We’ve arrived!”