Calling all moms --
As I open the front door, the seventy-five degree January day stops me in my tracks. It always has, ever since moving from snow to sunshine a decade ago. A warm breeze ruffles the palm tree in our neighbor’s yard and sends a little ripple of sound through our otherwise quiet neighborhood. I take a deep breath in and smell the jasmine from our other neighbor’s bush. I exhale gratitude. I’ve always been a bit of a brown thumb myself.
5 attempts and 10 Google Doc pages later... this is how many times it’s taken me to write something that even feels close to capturing how Parker’s birth impacted us that night, and forever.
An essay inspired by an unlikely alleyway conversation:
We'd seen him so many times before. He was a tall man, always in sunglasses and a beanie with a little swoop of white hair peeking out from underneath — like a man who never wanted to grow up. He drove a black van with the word "SUPER" written on the side. For years, he would show up at neighborhood parties, yet I never knew his name. To me, he was just an old guy who never wanted to grow up. I did wonder from time to time who he was, and what his life was like. What did he do for a living? Why did his van say "SUPER" on the side? But we never did get around to figuring that out.
The "Van Life" has always been a dream of my husband's. Being equal parts homebodies and travel junkies has always been our style... but when the disaster that is 2020 hit and we became homebound, more or less, for the foreseeable future... we decided no better time than the present to jump on board the van life bandwagon.
Funny how sometimes life has to smack you in the face before you "get it". One day, I was operating reasonably fine and the next, I was in the midst of a tearful breakdown over having to restart my computer and lose my bookmarks for some unforeseen reason. It was as if I was running on fumes; adrenaline—whatever you want to call it. The "straw that broke the camel's back"—or whatever proverb you'd like to use. I was pushed over the edge and there was no clear path for bringing me back. Even after my husband came to my rescue and found my long-lost bookmarks in an annoyingly little amount of time, I still couldn't seem to pull myself together. Yes, this was much deeper than a computer mishap. It was as if the flood of built-up anger, helplessness and resentment of the last four months came rushing out all at once. Cathartic, really. And looking back on this, it was long overdue.
Um, yes I do realize how ridiculous this sounds. But to anyone who has had to say goodbye to a car that's been with you for 10+ years, it can be kind of emotional! I cannot begin to quantify the number of hours I spent in there.
As part of the #morewordschallenge with Exhale Creativity, one of our prompts was to:
"Write a thank you note to your neighborhood, city, or a specific place, like a restaurant, coffee shop, park or any meaningful location."
It was early on a Monday morning. Our bedroom was dark, with just a pinch of moonlight showing through our open window. I could see the outline of my husband turned towards the nightstand. The sounds of the fan and the noisemaker from our registry were permeating the cool air. A soft breeze was blowing through the room. Yet despite all of this, I could still hear my husband and my dog snoring.
I know I commiserate with most of you by saying that it's so hard to get things done these days. So many pieces of our normal have been broken, and we've all been left trying to build new, beautiful things out of what is left. At any given moment, I could be tackling several separate things—whether it be cooking dinner, answering a Slack, picking up toys, writing an email, wiping the counters, or tending to whatever need my toddler currently has. This has lead me to miss many small moments my son has simply because I'm not looking, or I'm not present. And I'm realistic enough to know that in the current headspace I'm in, I cannot make the shift to be present 100% of the time—but I will try to make small improvements where and when I can.
Here we are, 67 days in. The shock has worn off, and we've assimilated somewhat nicely to our new routine. We know where we will be going this weekend—nowhere. We know who we will be seeing this weekend—no one. Yet somehow, as the global pandemic dust settles all around us, we are finding ourselves connecting with far-away family now more than ever before.
Hi! I'm Laura, a 30-something mama raising her 2 little dudes in southern California. It's been quite a journey and this is my way to try to make sense of it all. This is a safe space for all moms to get some laughs, recommendations and feel like they are not alone.