I have struggled to write this piece for weeks. I’m afraid I’m going to come off as insincere. That’s what happens when I feel really strongly about something, I worry that I can’t communicate the feeling without it sounding like hyperbole.
In a few weeks, I will join with 40+ women, members of New Jersey Digital Moms and Social Media Moms, for a weekend on The Jersey Shore. Why, you might ask, am I going on a trip to the place I already live? The point is to let everyone else in the world know that The Jersey Shore is indeed back in business and there is plenty for them to do here. If I can do something to help my beloved Jersey Shore, I am going to do it.
One of the things we were asked to do is write about why we felt compelled to join this trip. This is where the struggle begins for me. I know how I feel about this place. I just can’t figure out how to put it in words. I’ve looked through my old posts, some of which explain it quite well. I write a lot about Jersey it seems-before and after the hurricane.
My relationship to my state is kind of like falling in love. You can’t really explain it, but you know it when it happens. Parts of my Jersey Story are very un-romantic. They involve financial troubles, marriage troubles, and struggles raising kids. And yet, my life over the last fours years, while full of trial, has never been more sweet.
From the minute we set foot in our first (of three!) houses in this town, I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. In this place that has such deep roots, it would make sense to feel like an outsider, but I never have. People in Jersey don’t care where you’re from, they only care that you’re here. Jersey pride is open to anyone who wants to claim it. We’re an underdog state, full of champion cheerleaders, and that suits me perfectly.
I love my train town, with its constant whistle and its slate sidewalks. Having a train nearby also means an incessant whistle and more than our share of trash, but four years later, I still don’t notice that stuff first. It seems my rose-colored, Jersey-shaped glasses are still very firmly in place. I got pulled over cop the other day for an inspection sticker issue (which has freakin’ plagued me for four years!) and rather than be totally annoyed at the situation (which would be easy to do) I was charmed by the fact that the Officer had grown up down the street from where I live and had nothing but great things to say about my block and how lucky I was to raise kids there. Even when you’re getting fined, people love you here.
My point is, there are a million inconveniences and annoyances in this Garden State. But what is good about Jersey, is so good, it’s easy to ignore the rest.
That’s why, six months later when recovery might not be quite as far along as we’d all hoped, we’re still counting down the days to the start of our favorite season. Because, for all that isn’t back to its perfect Shore self, there are ten more things that are just where we left them, or even better than before. We can’t wait to get to our beaches and our ice-cream stands and our boardwalks.
Because what is good about Jersey is oh so very good and that, right now, is what we see.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.