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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Sleep Is
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Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

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« Yesterday--when all my troubles seemed right in my lap. | Main | My sweaty, stealthy napper. »
Tuesday
Jun062006

Today.

I’m so, so sad, and all I do is cry. I miss Brooklyn. I miss everything about it. I want my friends here. I miss my mom being able to come over for the afternoon and drive me nuts. I miss the noise. I miss sitting outside on my stoop with Henry when there was nothing to do and Henry calling out “Good evening, madam” at everyone who walked by. I miss walking across the street to buy my groceries and the store manager shouting “My friend!” when Henry came into his sight. I miss walking down the street for an iced coffee. I miss not feeling lonely and pathetic; I miss my life. I want this to get better, but I don’t know how. I don’t know how to make it any better. I just want to feel better.

Reader Comments (130)

The phone is a lifeline! Kids don't always love it but I find a long chat with a pal really helps. Take the dude into the yard and turn him loose in the sandbox, pool, swing, whatnot and plop down in a lawn chair and gab.

Are you filling your new suburban kitchen with creature comforts with the change left over from mortgage payments? You can master making your own iced coffee!

Over 8 years ago we left our city.I still miss it and we hope to get back (with 3 kids, I have no idea how!)but the more you make your home your castle, the less you need the support of the neighborhood. If there is no where to walk and everyone's at work, the comforts within can help ease the pain.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLB
Well I have nothing to say that will make you feel better. What I will say is that we as parents, good parents only, make sacrifices to ensure our children have good, safe lives of a certain quality standard. You have moved, and this will foster Henry's development as a little person, it will grant him exposure to a more peaceful idyllic world. When he is eight you will let him ride his bike to his best friend's house three blocks away. You will not have to follow him, like you did the last 18 times, because you are confident that he is safe. You will be on the phone with the best friend's mom the whole time, as she will you when her son rides to your house.You will go to PTA meetings, and be heavily involved in your school board. The marching band will have a great big field to practice in because the property at Henry's high school will be at least 8 acres. If Henry so chooses to be in the band, you will spend your Friday nights in a big stadium full of other parents and students who didn't have to take a subway to get there, and didn't have to get in a knife fight on the way to the consession stand to get a hot dog, because they accidentally saw some kid pass a small plastic baggie to another kid.

You made a sacrifice, and by definition, that's not easy. It's not supposed to be. What it is supposed to be is you and your hubby doing the right thing.

And you did.



June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStefanie
I'm so sorry that things aren't improving. Every day I think "I need to email Alice and see how she is doing," and then I get sidetracked and never do it. Why don't you guys plan on coming to my house for dinner? I know I'm not "down the street" but I can promise some good food (let me know what Henry does/does not want to eat), good conversation and a pleasant evening out...

Drop me an email!!
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJaynee
The suburbs *are* hard to get used to. It's even worse when everyone around you has kids and you don't.

It does take a while, but you will get used to it, and build a new life and new favorite spots where they know, when you walk in, what you want to order.

Once I had my kids, I joined a few MOMs clubs, more to meet people than for the playgroups. There are definitely times when I feel terrified at what my life is, now. But I have made friends that I truly enjoy, and even some whose husbands get along with my husband.

I have to agree, the library storytimes are a big help. Some Borders and Barnes & Nobles have storytimes, too. And classes for Henry, lots and lots of classes for Henry. If you can find one, Abrakadoodle is good if he likes to draw (pictures of Boba Fett). Google all the towns and/or counties near you and bookmark their community activities pages. Call them all and get on their mailing lists, because some towns have better and more consistent offerings than others.

You're still Alice, Alice. Don't let the 'burbs convince you otherwise.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterWendy
Don't know if you've seen this listserv:

FROM BROOKLYN TO NJ .(group of former Brooklynites who have recently moved to various parts of New Jersey)frombrooklyntonj-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRachel
Pretend you are away for the summer. When the weather improves, head to the town pool -- which I guarantee you is a big improvement over the pool in Red Hook. It will help.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterElena
I'm sorry you're so sad, but grateful that you posted this. I'm saving all this advice for next year when we move to Vancouver. We sorely want to go, and even so I'm sure I'll be a miserable mess for at least a few months after we get there, for all the reasons people mentioned above.
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterelswhere
I'm so sorry! Hang in there. It takes time to adjust after a move and to build a new network of friends. It's going to be okay. :)
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStar Shine
get outta the house n' out there doing something new!
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnnejelynn
I'm sorry, Alice! I remember feeling the same way when I moved to a new city after college. The only advice I can offer is to try to find one positive thing (no matter how small) about your new neighborhood every day and then build on that.

I hope you feel better soon!
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnn
I'll second Elena's suggestion above about the community pool. We have a great one near our house which is the center of our social life during the summer.

We're going to be moving from super-liberal Marin County, CA to Schwarzenegger country next month. Even though it will be from one suburb to another, I'm anticipating culture shock, homesickness, and needing at least a few months to acclimate. But at least we'll be able to walk to the strip mall!
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersteph
Oh no. I can't imagine that there's anything I can say that will make it better, but I'm with you, girl. I hope it does get better, and soon. There have to be some good, funny, snarky women in the neighborhood to make friends with...?
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke
oh lord, that's sad. When we moved to this *ahem* quaint provincial town 4 and a bit years ago, I cried and cried. And then miscarried. It was definitely the shittiest time of my life. Thankfully, I found that taking my then 20 month old daughter (she turns 6 tomorrow!) to Playcentre - a co-operative early childhood education centre - and hanging out with some like-minded people in a non-threatening environment was the very best thing I could have done. Many many hours of volunteer work later, I'm now the President at that Playcentre, my next beautiful daughter (nearly 3.5) and I spend 4 mornings a week there. Honestly, that - more than any other thing - has prevented me from going mad these past few years.

I also recommend the library and finding a really good cafe, too :-)
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam
As so many have already said, it takes at least a year to feel settled, Alice. You've only been there a few weeks and of course you're feeling sad and unsettled. That's so normal. Experts put moving up there as one of the worst strssors there are, and you're right in the middle of it. With summer coming on, it's going to feel even more weird, because so many east coasters go here and there all summer long, leaving their neighborhoods quiet and empty.

You're had some great suggestions on how to meet compatriots. I like the idea of that Brooklyn to NJ listserv, so you can at least commiserate with others in the same boat. The town pond or pool is always a great way to meet people. If there is a JCC nearby, they typically have a lot of Mom programming and no, you don't have to be Jewish to join. The library usually has storytime in the summer if Henry will tolerate it. There is a group in NJ that I can help you find for parents of gifted kids (you may as well start admitting it) that have social programming for kids and adults.

Finding a cafe is good, but usually moms go together and that's a hard place to break in. Parks are easier, but really, the best way for the terminally shy like me is to join organized groups and to find people on the 'net. I know it's hard. I know it's stressful. I know it's depressing. But you can cry and vent. That's normal and perfectly OK. Give yourself time to mourn for the Brooklyn you left. There's just something about Brooklyn that gets into your bones. My mother left at 18 and is in her 80's and still mourns the loss. And she's from CROWN HEIGHTS! Go figure!
June 7, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermargalit
Oh honey, I'm sorry. Snif.

I have nothing wonderful to say, it's been over a year and a half and I'm still homesick. Maybe Jersey is easier to get adjust to than Idaho, though. I'm betting it would be. No wandering cattle to get used to. And now! A joke:

You know you're an Idahoan when you can appreciate the four seasons: Almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction. See? This is why I am on a blog break. L A M E

xo anyway

June 7, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterVery Mom
Let me tell you a (now) funy story. When I moved a few years ago to a new town, I was 13 months pregnant, or so it seemed. I had a 22 month old a a 9 year old. One day. shortly after my third was born, my two year old broke a lamp. I was still in my bathrobe, holdidng a new born, covered with spit up and breast milk was leaking all over. I yelled, LOUDLY, once I discovered that the demon child was not bleeding or dead. As I stood there sobbing, my front door OPENED! Standing there was one of my brand new neighbors, a husband! He said"Is everything ok?" I lied and said "yes". He slowly closed the door and I got on the phone to my husband and told him we had to move. It took me weeks to leave the house after that. Anyway, became good friends with the neighbors AND after driving to the local toddler play group several times and NOT going in, then crying about what an ass I was, I went in. I made many good friends. It takes a while especially if you are not a "joiner". Be good to yourself!
June 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdenise
Brooklyn misses you too, because it's that kind of place.

When I first moved to New York from Chicago, my heart ached so badly, I wrote a 2 minute play about missing the compost bucket on my old back porch, among other things. I shaved my legs (for the first time in a decade at the first performance, in the fervent hope that everything would grow back ... and it did, stronger than ever...but these things take time. Life's bittersweet nature is easier to live with when the sweet's outweighing the bitter.

May the force be with you!
June 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAyun
oh my god, ayun halliday!

see alice, all the cool kids love you!
June 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersweetney
Hang in there - I was a military brat and moving was horrible, EVERY SINGLE TIME. Mostly because, after a decent period of time had passed and I had stopped writing weekly (even daily) letters to all my old friends, I started to explore the new place and to make new friends.

I am now settled in my university town, where hubby has his dream job, and I still have days where I'm shocked (and a little disappointed) that I will be here FOREVER and never experience that "being new" feeling again.

It will get better. In the meantime, there's a town full of people out there who need to have you in their lives, your future best New jersy friend is amoung them - go find her!
June 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne
I lived in Boston for five years and I spent the entire time saying "This isn't New York".I ruined my time in a great city, and I regret it.It takes time to develop routines and make new friends.Give it time.
June 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTorrie
How about this: decide you want to impress your Brooklyn friends with your fabulous idea to move. Compose lots of emails telling them how terrific the quiet is and the sound of birds and the smell of freshly cut grass. Tell them your neighbor down the street is kind of interesting and you think maybe you're going to be best friends as soon as July gets here. Tell them you found the best Organic supermarket and can actually unload your groceries straight into your big pantry. Tell them that as soon as you make a few friends you're going to have wine-tastings on your deck. Because you know what? Over time you will begin to look for the good things to brag about - and over more time you may actually get happy about your change. And if you don't - I'm a firm believer in CUTTING YOUR LOSSES - move back! It's not the end of the world.
June 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBOSSY
we're in nj... email maybe we're not so far for playdates at the park!
June 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJill
Sorry the transition is so rough on you. The give it time suggestions are good ones; I hope that it's not long before you forge new happiness.
June 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterVaguely Urban
Funny thing is I was feeling the same way--but about moving to brookly not away. (I missed my rural southern town--quiet and lots of space etc and now here I am across from Long Island Hospital... BTW There is no need for an ambulance to use a siren at 3 AM--there's NO TRAFFIC to get out of the way!)

But things will settle. You'll get used to it. You'll find, months from now, that you love things about your new digs that you never thought you'd love.

Hang in there....
June 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMinerva Jane
Hey Alice (this is Betsy, Sarah’s aunt). When we moved down to NJ from Massachusetts I thought I’d never adjust. And it was exceedingly lonely for a while. In truth what finally happened was that my oldest (at 5) entered public school. At that moment everything shifted: I met a crowd of women/children I couldn’t have had access to otherwise (apparently) and I got folded into the town in a way I couldn’t have imagined. I know Henry is a year or two away from this, but maybe whatever school you’ll have him in this fall will be a help. And go back to Brooklyn. Make big day trips out of it. It could be that when you get back to that sun-filled house of yours you’ll feel relief. Just maybe.
June 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterlosingtrue

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