Moving to Virginia has been quite a transition. Life is just different here. It moves fast. People don't have time to stop and chat, so making friends has been a very slow, painful process. On Friday night we finally had dinner with a family we met at the pool soon after we moved here. They are also somewhat new to the area, and have noticed the same thing about Northern Virginia. It seems impersonal. I am just glad I am not the only one who feels this way! I was starting to think I looked strange or something.
For the last month, I've gotten back to exercising on a regular basis and starting to train for the Maine Marathon relay on October 2nd. I am working hard at feeling as amazing as I did last year at this time, and losing the weight I've gained from Callum.
Today, I set out to run six miles. I've run six miles one other time in my life, and that was well over a year ago. The weather has been much cooler here in Virginia. I put on pandora and set up my running app on my iPhone and set off for 6 miles. My route had me going through all sorts of neighborhoods and areas, and was looking forward to exploring new areas of our town that I had yet to run through yet.
After I ran about 2 miles, I noticed one thing. No body was outside on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, though cars were in the driveways. From that point on, I made an effort to to pay attention to who was doing what on this beautiful Sunday. After a while, not only did I not see adults outside, but I didn't see any children either. Big, Beautiful homes, with beautiful yards and ginormous swing sets, but no one playing on them. No children riding bikes or playing hoops. Where was everyone? After 6 miles ran, I did not see one.single.child. Not one. It makes me sad because I rarely see children in our neighborhood playing on a daily basis. Our girls ask "where are the kids, mamma?"
We knew when we moved here that our backyard would be significantly smaller than it was in Maine. A lot smaller. When we lived in Maine, our kids were outside all day, everyday. I couldn't keep them inside. They would play on their swingset, bounce in their bounce house, ride bikes, play with toys, you name it, they enjoyed it. Here in Virginia, it has been completely different. Our girls don't beg to go outside. They beg to come inside. I find myself throwing the kids outside to play, harping them to get out of the house. Our backyard here is fenced in, and it's nice to know they can't escape, but on the other hand, I hate that they are unable to drive their escalade around the backyard because it is too small. There is barely enough room for running and exploring. Mairead says "it's boring" or "it's too small". The kids prefer to play in the driveway, riding their bikes, but you see, our driveway is a small hill, and our street is on a hill, so I have to be outside at all times watching them, making sure no one is going out into the street, or getting hurt.
We aren't the only ones with a small yard in Virginia, and we actually have a "bigger" backyard than most here. But where are the kids? Where are the people? Are they inside? Their cars are there, but no one is around. Six miles and not one child playing. It makes me sad. I am an outside person. I loved the fact that in Maine our children craved the outdoors. But not here. I hope it changes.