Chipping away

The process of adjusting to our new home and different life is very much like playing my least-favorite board game, Candyland. Ten steps forward, two steps back. Sixteen steps forward and OH NO! Back to the beginning, sorry!

Seven steps forward, four steps back. Eight steps forward, back to the—screw this. This is the point in Candyland where either a child completely melts down and I have an excuse to pack the game up, or I “accidentally” bump the board. With my foot. Hard.

Unfortunately, it’s rather less practical to pack up the game when this pattern is playing out in real life.

This past week I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find a new therapist for Chickadee. Now, don’t misunderstand. I think that—given all of the recent changes ’round here—she’s doing really, really well. And I take full responsibility for not having taken care of this sooner. Maybe if I’d done this right away, we could’ve headed off some problems.

In my defense, I was taking care of the million OTHER things that needed doing, like irritating everyone associated with the school district until one of them said OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SOMEONE TRANSFER THOSE KIDS TO THE OTHER SCHOOL SO THAT THEIR MOTHER WILL STOP CALLING ME (hey, did I mention that the kids got transferred to the school we wanted?), straightening out my bank accounts so that I could deposit my paychecks and do frivolous things like pay bills, unpacking, trying to sell a couple of houses, telling the neighbor kids to please get out of the refrigerator, and complaining loudly about how annoying it is not to have my own car (don’t even get me started on that one).

Anyway, I had not yet found her a therapist, and she had been mildly bouncing between contentment and angst, and then this past week I started stepping up my efforts as she began ricocheting between happiness and COMPLETE AND TOTAL HATRED of me, Otto, Georgia, and life in general.

(It’s normal. It’s all normal. She’s fine. We’ll all look back and laugh, someday, assuming that I allow her to live until adulthood.)

So I set about finding an appropriate doctor. It went something like this:
1) When I took the kids to meet the new primary care doctor, we had a brief discussion about finding a psychologist and he misunderstood and gave me a recommendation for a psychiatrist.
2) I called the office to ask for a different, correct, recommendation. They promised to call me back.
3) I called the office again because no one called me back.
4) The woman on the phone tells me I am allowed to pick a therapist on my own. I tell her that I understand that, but we are new to town and would like a recommendation. She tells me the insurance company can recommend someone. I ask why THEY won’t recommend anyone. We go round and round and finally she admits that they don’t know who to recommend because the practice is relatively new. Ooookay.
5) I call the insurance company. They direct me to the website.
6) The website lists 4 pages of psychologists in my area. It doesn’t list specialties for any of them.
7) I call the insurance company again. After some discussion (mostly consisting of me begging the guy on the other end to just give me a name of SOMEONE who specializes in kids) he gives me a name and number of a local psychologist who he claims is a child psychologist.
8) I call the number given. I ask to make an appointment with the doctor whose name I was given. The lady on the phone takes all my information and then asks me why my daughter needs a therapist. I explain that there have been a lot of changes in her life and she has a history of depression. The woman on the phone tells me she needs to check on who would be the right doctor for us to see and she’ll call me back. I agree but am confused.
9) I Google the doctor I was just trying to reach. She specializes in… eating disorders. In fact, the practice I just called was an eating disorder clinic! I feel like a giant tool.
10) I call back and explain that obviously the insurance company has led me astray. Could they perhaps recommend someone else to me? They suggest a different practice, and a specific doctor.
11) I call the second practice, I explain the situation, I ask if we can see the recommended doctor. She doesn’t take our insurance. They offer to call me back.
12) A woman calls back to say they do have doctors who DO take our insurance, and someone will call me back to schedule.

That pretty much took the entire week. And we still don’t have a doctor! Yay!

But I did start the weekend at least feeling like maybe on Monday we’ll make some progress. That was a few little baby steps forward.

Then this morning at church I was unexpectedly hit with a crushing wave of homesickness, utterly unlike anything I’ve experienced in the month since I moved. It seemed like bursting into tears after the offertory would be a bit conspicuous, so I tried really hard to keep it together. I have no explanation for it, either, other than that I was somehow expecting the music that happens at my old church and instead it was the music that happens at this church and I was suddenly, inexplicably, furious that THEY PLAY THE WRONG MUSIC HERE as if the slight variation is something they do just to taunt me.

[To clarify: The new church is fine. The people are fine. The service is fine. Maybe someday it will feel more than fine, but right now it is only fine. And I don’t really believe they’re taunting me. I just miss my church that felt like home.]

Tomorrow I will take a deep breath and get the doctor thing figured out, and I’ll deal with the other things that need dealing with and either we’ll find a different church or we’ll stay at this one and eventually I won’t resent their music, but in the meantime I’ll keep pushing forward and trying not to get too pissed off I get sent back.


  1. Kris


    Pretty, pretty Mir. Hang in there sweetie. It gets better.

    And if not, there’s always vodka. And chocolate.

  2. Barb Cooper

    Nothing much to offer except just a long distance hug. Sometimes I feel like I get homesick for a place I’ve never lived–a place full of people, um, either JUST LIKE ME or who can UNDERSTAND people JUST LIKE me. (Insurance reps need not apply.)

    I don’t know why everything has to be such a battle. It just sucks. Hang in there.


  3. carson

    I sent you an email, cursing the fact that between my brother’s wedding and HP7, I’ve been on radio silence for a while. And the hotel where wedding guests stayed & I spent the better part of Thursday to today? Would be in Decatur. This is the sound of the least efficient stalker you know shaking her fist at the sky and wailing. Would love to help you out with the psychologist if I can.

    Breathe in and out. It will get better.

  4. Heather

    Ok, great news about the school! Email me about the car.

  5. amy

    I am sorry that things are hard right now, but considering that you have just had the top three most stressful things in life happen to you and your kids recently like getting married and moving, along with purchasing a house and not selling the other houses, I think it is extremely understandable. Still the only other bit of advice I would have is to check out the psychiatrist that they recommended because my brother-in-law is a psychiatrist, and they do not only do psychopharm stuff, they are also actually trained to do what psychologists do too…Also many of them know excellent psychologists because most of them work closely with psychologists because cross referrals are very common. Just a thought….

  6. Cele

    Oh bugger, I’m all for the vodka and chocolate.

  7. Heather

    Hang in there Mir! At least you got the name for someone for Chickadee – I’ll pray that it works out for you. *handshake*

  8. Lucinda

    It just takes time, but you know that. It will get better.(((HUGS))) When we moved a few years ago, even though it was a great move, it still took a few months before I didn’t feel like I was completely lost. But it sounds like you are handling the enormous amount of details as well as can be expected. I’m praying for you.

    And, yea!!! about the school. At least one big thing is going well.

  9. Leandra

    You may have already done this/thought of this, but have you thought about asking the school about a recommendation for a psychologist? I know someone in town who deals with children and who I sort of know, but I honestly don’t know if she’s a psychologist or a psychiatrist. She saw my friend’s children after he died. I’m sorry you’re feeling homesick. I find I’m always more vulnerable to those types of feelings in church, for some reason. I’m not really a hugger, but sometimes people just need one. (((HUG))).

  10. MomCat

    Aww, Mir….I’m so sorry. I hate those weeks when everything takes three times the effort, and I look back and say, “What did I accomplish?”

    Moving has always been a fresh start for me, so I haven’t experienced the homesickness. I hope it will pass soon, for both you and Chickadee.

    It’s great that the kids did get into the right school!

  11. Sara

    I agree with you. Candyland is the worst game in the history of kid-dom. It positively sucks. I would rather pluck my eyeballs out with an ice pick or shave my legs with a potato peeler than play. But when your life takes on aspects of Candyland? There is simply not enough alcohol, or barring that, frozen Snickers bars.

  12. Jenny

    Screw Candyland. I prescribe a large banana split and two fishbowl margaritas. That is my very professional opinion. (What? I have a J.D.!)

    Here’s to a progress-filled Monday…

  13. Terri

    I’m so sorry … while I’ve moved, I must admit that I’ve never made such a big leap with kids, new husband, houses to sell, etc, but you’ll all adjust and one of these days, this will truly BE home to all of you. I think finding a church home makes a big difference — both here and in our last place, our sense of being in limbo was lessened once we found the right church for us.

    And hopefully things will settle down a bit once school starts. In the meantime, at least you’ve got the Drawer of Chocolate to pillage. ;)

    Hugs to you all!

  14. carolyn

    Leandra has a good suggestion. The school systems generally have psychologists working for them, and while they might not see Chickadee as a patient, they would most likely be able to recommend someone. I know this will all work out and you will laugh about it later. Just hold on until later gets here.

  15. sharon

    It all gets better. It really does. I’ve been through it.

    Hang tough…

  16. Tina

    When we were getting ready to move I was told “It’ll take one year to mourn where you left and another year to get adjusted to the new place.” I didn’t want to hear that! Now, two years later and I’d have to agree. (Of course, spending a year at the “wrong” church did make a difference for us. NOW I feel our new church is our home church. But just yesterday they sang a song that “Pasty” always sang at our old church, and I was homesick again.) Crap, I didn’t say anything that encouraging, did I? I’m sorry. I can feel your pain. I hated it too. And I think finding a new church/missing the old one is the hardest part of moving. At least for me.

  17. tori

    Sounds like you need some baked goods! I am sorry things are sucky right now! Hopefully it will all work out very soon! I’ll be thinking of you! (do you think I could add any more exclamation points to any of this? sorry about that)

  18. Rachel May

    I’m sorry it’s been a rough week. Wish I had some practical assvice for you, but I think it’s all been said. Sending long-distance hugs to you and praying for you!

    P.S. YOU ARE AN AWESOME MOMMY (AND WIFE) and don’t let anything tell you otherwise!!!

  19. Crisanne

    I’m so glad to hear about the schools!! Focus on the positives and keep faith that the other things will fall into place.

  20. Blonde Chick

    New reader here… just wanted you to know I can sympathize with you on the moving thing. It’s a tough task, and even tougher with kids. (Mine struggled with it too…) We are now anxiously awaiting the start of a new school year, and hope to make a smooth entrance into a new school!

    Good Luck!

  21. Daisy

    Progress in baby steps is still progress. You’re making progress. Really. Mr. Plumpy will just have to stay out of your way.

  22. Stephanie Chance

    At least in Candyland you get to ride down a slide, which could actually be considered fun. This sounds like you’re just falling on your ass. It’ll get better. It’s got to. There’s only so far back you can go. And then the only way is forward!

  23. daysgoby

    They sing the Doxology differently here.

    Five years later, it still gets me in the craw.

  24. Woman with Kids

    I like the Candyland analogy. I kinda feel stuck on Monopoly. Land here, owe money I don’t have. Land here, get a fine, owe money I don’t have. …waiting patiently to land on Free Parking.

    Hope things get better!

  25. RuthWells

    I have a friend in Atlanta with kids who’ve needed various speciality care over the years — I’d be happy to see if he can recommend someone for Chickie.

    Meanwhile, keep breathing.

  26. Delton

    All the best to you. I’m sure sometimes it may not feel like it, but eventually things have to get better, right? Keep hanging in there and vent to us as much as you need to, to help you get through.

  27. Beth Reid

    It *is* possible to reverse-cheat in Candyland; it just requires magician-like skills of sleight-of-hand and misdirection. “What’s the dog doing?… oh, never mind. Look, honey, you got the snowflake!” Generally I disapprove of protecting children from failure, but playing Candyland is such a horrible experience anyway that I draw the line at *winning* at Candyland.

    Sorry about your ongoing doctor woes, but yay about the school district assignment!

  28. Jessica

    I’ve lived in the Bay Area for 6 years now and sometimes that crushing wave of homesickness still washes over me and I find myself wanting to sob hysterically in the most random situations. It always catches me completely off guard and it’s always something completely silly that sets me off.
    That said, it doesn’t mean that everything here is usually way more than just “fine”, it’s just oh so very different than where home used to be.
    Good luck finding a doctor!

  29. Karen

    Awwww, {{{{ HUGS }}}} to you, this all is such a pain. I can totally sympathize with you, I have been there done that, got the tshirt, felt the frustration.

    My favorite is when we had an emergency-like situation and they told us they would call us back on Monday (it was Friday) to figure out insurance, until I told them in very small and easy words why we needed someone now :p

    Hang in there, you are doing the best you can.


  30. Lisa

    Talk to the pastor at your church! If it is a church of any size at all, he should be able to help somehow, to find a Dr. for Chickadee, or find someone you can trust that can recommend someone! This is what church is for! And we would wonder about you if you didn’t have some homesickness. Its totally normal. Hang in there!

  31. Jan in Norman OK

    A small Candyland story: My boss’s grandaughter loved Candyland so much that she would play by herself if she couldn’t find someone to play with her. One day, when she was about 3, her mother observed her doing this. She had almost made it all the way to the end of the game when she drew the card that would send her back to the beginning. She looked at the card and said, “Oh, no. You need to go to time out.” And she stuck the offending card in her toy oven.

    I’m not sure what the moral of this story is — but I think she was on to something good.

  32. MaryP

    I don’t have time to read all the comments to see if someone’s already suggested this, but you might be able to get a suggestion from the Special Education teacher at the kids’ school, or a Guidance Counsellor at the local high school. Or perhaps one of the clergy at your church might know a name or two?

  33. Rache

    Can’t promise to give you a name, but I will try. I work with psychiatrists and psychologists so hopefully they can give recommendations (and hopefully they take your insurance). I don’t know exactly where you’re at in GA but if you want to email me I hope I can narrow your search down.

  34. ScottsdaleGirl

    You know something? I thought my weekend truly sucked. It didn’t. HUGS

  35. jenn

    I am so sorry. I know how those sudden waves can be. I actually started crying in the supermarket last week. FREAKED the checker out, I can tell you. You’re in my prayers.

  36. The Other Leanne

    Of course you’re homesick, because you’re not home. You are in a house, with Otto, with the kids, doing all the things that need to be done so you can get to a place and a routine that feels comfortable and home-like…BUT IT IS NOT HOME. Even when you’ve met every benchmark for home-ness, it will take a long time to re-build the routine and memories and intuitiveness and “patina” into a new place. Be patient with yourselves and with each other. One day you’ll come back from a vacation and say, “it feels so good to be home” and that’s when you’re really there.
    Criminy, you really need to get your own car!

  37. Dawn

    Oh, you are so me 26 years ago. Except for the kid part, I hadn’t had mine yet, but I moved to a different province and it may as well have been to the moon. It just seems so DIFFICULT to get settled in, doesn’t it? Everything is done just differently enough that you always feel off balance because you are never quite right anymore and as an adult, you’re used to feeling relatively competent in your day-to-day life. And the different music at church! Argh! How could they possibly use THAT offeratory hymn? And the Introit! THAT’S not the right one! It’s silly, but you just want your familiar music.

    And while I now consider this my home, even after two and a half decades, I still get moments of homesickness from time to time. Because while this is home, HOME will always be back there. But back there will always be there and I can visit, so it’s okay.

    You will be fine, though, as will Chickie. I promise.

  38. Kris

    I vote for the vodka and chocolate too! Moving is so stressful. We moved to our new house 2 1/2 years ago and I’m still finding boxes that I never got around to unpacking (and yes, I DID blame my husband for throwing the stuff away before discovering the boxes in the garage…sssssh, don’t tell him!).

    I hope the *dust* settles soon.

    Great Blog! I’ve been reading for hours!


  39. Jenifer


    Don’t even get me started on it becaise I am quite sure I won’t know when to stop.

    Anyways, goos luck and ***HUGS***. Hopefully your new home will feel more like “home” soon.

  40. jean

    I’m not sure what to say to you. Maybe nothing? Cause right now nothing seems to be the only thing left. But I can listen. I can be here and listen to you and hopefully just by saying things out loud you’ll feel a little bit better. So keep blogging, keep breathing and keep your head up.
    For someone who wasn’t sure what to say, I had a lot to say, didn’t I?

  41. LuAnn

    Where our children are concerned there is no such thing as being TOO much of a ‘biotch’ in advocating for them.

  42. julie

    Sweet Pretty Mir…
    I am SO NOT a cheater, with the exception of Candyland. Candyland forced me to learn to cheat. Or I would still be on the floor playing it with Lil Daughter to this day. (Reminder:she’s 20). You have to pick out a few choice cards when you shuffle. Secret them up your sleeve or under your leg, divert child’s attention at the appropriate time, slip necessary game-ending card on top of the deck just when you think you’re going to lose your mind, or at bedtime, whichever comes first. Game ends, child wins. And for future reference, try Hearthsong for children’s games. They end without cheating or hurt feelings;)

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