Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dear Sprout, Happy Valentine's Day

Dear Avalon,

Today is Valentine's Day. We are sick. You have far more energy than I do. I'm thinking of a quote from one of my favorite authors, Catherine Newman, that goes "The trick isn't to love your life when it's perfect. The trick is to cherish the messy beauty." 

Messy beauties lately include falling down dirt paths, swallowing salty sand, wiping yellow boogers, eating raw pasta out of your sensory table, feeding yourself yogurt and having new teeth pop up like spring tulips in a mouth trying to make words. 

For me there have been a lot of food aversions and nap-times spent adding items to virtual shopping carts I will never check-out of. 

I love you bug. Dada loves you too. He doesn't even usually get his shoes off until you're in bed because he comes home in such a hurry to be with you. 

We're so glad you're here, that's all. 


Friday, February 3, 2017

Dear Sprout,

Dear Avalon,

Today we went to a puppet show at the library. You mostly wanted to jump on all the mats that the librarians set up as seating. I talked you into sitting in my lap and sucking on your finger skateboard instead. Towards the middle of the performance, you scooted over and sat on your own, offering your slobbery toy skateboard to a little girl holding two princess figurines. You tried earnestly, but she was not interested.  When the wicked witch puppet made her entrance, you laughed. You are our brave girl. 


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Seeing Things

I was laying on my couch the other day, in a daze, thinking about how much I love our house, but also how weird it is; how when an appraiser came he said he thought it was odd, but I couldn't see it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that stuff, I suppose, or love is blind

Then I was thinking about how we are fractured souls and how someday, when we die and our souls go off to heaven (or whatever's next), they will mend and all the fuzz and cobwebs we let cloud our vision will slip away and what's left of us will laugh at all the small things we let get in the way of a beautiful day. 

Maybe this is too deep and random for a Wednesday afternoon. I've been wanting to bring out the more humorous, less serious side of myself in my writing this year. I don't know if it's working. 

Today a mom from Mommy-and-Me Swim started talking to me in the lobby after class. "Does she fall asleep in the car afterwards?" she mused. I looked over my shoulder not once, but twice. I assumed she was talking to anyone else there but me. Before this question floated in the chlorine laced air for several silent seconds, I had decided that she didn't like me. It was because Avalon had pushed her daughter on the floaty mat once or because I carried a "trying too hard" vibe, I was convinced. She seemed to avoid eye contact at the very least. 

"Oh! Are you talking to me?" I said, like I would have in high school when I didn't have friends. She nodded and I answered that Avalon used to sleep in the car on the way home, but that she doesn't usually now. We talked about the swim class and how there was another gymnastics class down the street. She told me to "Take care" and that she'd "See me next week!". Of course there's that quote about assuming and making an ass out of yourself which usually applies to me, but this moment actually made me think about a quote my mom texted the family on Monday:

"We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are." Anais Nin

We are silly souls sometimes, aren't we? So concerned with the end result of being free or being happy or being skinny or being better at... cooking. I really need to clear some of these cobwebs off my soul now so I don't miss knowing other souls. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Shredding Before the Wedding

I didn't think of the title, Scott's Uncle Dave did. This is a video from the past weekend spent at Mammoth Mountain celebrating Scott's sister Kristen before she gets married in a month or so.

This is all I can say about it now, but there is more. I don't mean to be a tease or anything, I just mean that writing is always a process and part of that process sometimes involves trying to understand where you are after big life events take place. Anyways, to be continued. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Everything Ordinary

Do you ever feel like your life is exactly what you always wanted, but you're just too busy being a stupid human to revel in it? That's me this week. I am so in love with Avalon. She is my most favorite person that I've ever needed consistent breaks from. I'm so in love and yet, I want a new couch. I want a new table, I want to sleep in, I want to skateboard forever. I don't want to be away from her this weekend for a bachelorette party, or ever.

I interviewed a babysitter the other week though. I'm starting to think dragging Avalon to various appointments is more like having a tiny ferret to contain and occupy than an adorably dressed sidekick who is equally invested in knowing the latest information about my neck mole, while also winning over the grouchy receptionist. I'm sure it's not her idea of fun either.

I told the potential sitter that Avalon was 'really funny' when describing her and then, there we all were at the park awkwardly trying to decide if we wanted to keep knowing each other and she stared at Avalon (who was towing a maple leaves behind her thick as hides) and said "So, she's funny?" I could not describe why. "Well, um, she says please: ''Bees' and...she loves the washer and dryer and reading to her 'bebe' and climbing through the bottom of her training potty and...have I totally lost touch with what is actually funny?"

But you know what? I don't care. All those things I worried about happening to me as a mom when I thought I was young and cool enough, like driving a mini van or having worse hair, really don't concern me like I thought they should.

I never want to forget her this way. How her pupils are like moon-saucers that take up almost all of her eyes. How she knows the difference between a silly smile and a curious one. How she says "No!" like she is the head of the family and will make all our decisions going forth. How she dances to traditionally serious songs and lullabies like they're the Macarena, galloping in a circle and bouncing her fists in the air. How she lays her head on me so forcefully and so sweetly when I sing her bedtime song. How she says "WOW!" when she sees an iHop commercial or a really big dog walking down the street. How she calls dogs "Golly Golls", for some reason, and also thinks that is the noise they make ("woof, ruf, gollygoll!"). How she thinks it's funny to throw her baby doll and say "Uh oh!" like it was a complete accident. How she says "Burr" when she goes outside in the cold.

Yes, I suppose none of this is actually that funny, but it is a reminder that, even now as a self-obsessed, aging, loving, idiotic human, I am so thankful for ordinary days.

+Wishing you all a weekend full of them ♥.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Look Back at 2016

was wandering the streets of my neighborhood with Avalon in some transportation device, as I usually do at dusk, thinking about how I had maybe missed my period when a song came on my phone singing "Life will never get easy, but baby it's gonna get good." And that was all I needed to quiet my mind so that I could notice the dogs twinkle by with their humans toting small, crinkly bags as the sun turned the sky from grey to magenta and then back to blue.

I read something the other day on my friend's instagram that said New Year's Eve is like the buttcrack of the holidays. I didn't appreciate the visual, but I couldn't help feeling like my feelings about Christmas and a whole year of hard work, struggles and accomplishments coming to an end were validated.

This year Avalon's hair turned from brown to blonde. There was an election. There was chemotherapy and a party for Maddie when it was successful and over. There was fading barbecue smoke. There were brightening lights, numbing waters, sinking boats, broken trees, drifting kelp beds, visitors, lost GoPro Cameras, speeding tickets, new friends, new boards, bruised egos, changed minds, pictures of most of it, more sleep, more messes, and 365 sunsets. Of course, that isn't all.

January. I took my first trip without the baby to San Francisco for Basia's birthday wearing a troll mask. While the El Nino weather mostly hit northern California, we did see some signs of it here. One particular storm that caused our canary palm tree to fall on the neighbor's car, sunk our family boat the same day. 
February. After taking the trip up north without Avalon, I felt brave enough to try skateboarding again. I haven't stopped since. With Maddie in the middle of her chemo treatment and chaos erupting around us, I started feeling like I needed a sign that it wasn't all downhill from here. That my childhood dread that adulthood was going to suck way more wasn't true. I felt like I was beginning to question and lose sight of everything I knew until a quiet morning when the baby slept and the drapes danced.

March. Even with the dancing drapes and the warming weather and the crawling, laughing baby, my mind always felt like it was with Maddie. She began sharing some of her stories here so others could understand her experience. Scott and Avalon and I took a trip to the desert with friends. My dreams let me escape from some the the continued chaos around my family. And this quote... "Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have loved to swim." by Tyler Knott Gregson gave me perspective. 
May. I wrote a letter to Avalon and a poem about the wilderness that we named her after.
June. We saw Iron and Wine in concert. They only played their new album, a cardinal sin if there ever was one. Maybe I packed up my frustration about that and brought with me to Texas where I threw an ice cube at a DJ. Back on the home front I found the tool I needed so Basia and I could bead necklaces and we had a party to celebrate Maddie's last chemo treatment. 
August. We drove up north to Eureka to hide in the mountain hills from internet service and the government with Aunt Liz, Uncle Thomas, Basia and Phil. I talked story about surfing (what's new?) and wrote about critics and artists.
October. Halloween, another letter to a very present baby, another water story. Maddie shared the third and fourth chapters to her cancer story.
November. I noticed that after all the difficulties and newness this year had brought,  I was actually excited that my life had changed. Then we went to Santa Cruz.
And now it's December and it's cold and bright. 

I have two conflicting feelings. One is that there is never enough time for everything and the other is that there is just enough. I am so glad and grateful, I am. But there have been times this year where I heard songs playing and I felt like I could only hear the sad instruments, the low keys on the piano predicting the worst. But not now. Not this month that resoundingly punctuates a year where one of the very smallest and best of us beat the odds; stood right in the face of death and darkness and cried and wept and then kept going.

There are some days, many that I had within the bookends of this year, where we feel like we are held together by string and other people and some days we know that if none of that was there we could still find something to laugh about.

When we were walking into the hospital to visit Maddie after she got hot-tub folliculitis we had a cooler full of beer and wine to watch The Bachelorette and the whole thing tipped, ice and Pacificos clambering on the Purell soaked floors, right in front of the security guard and we all just started laughing hysterically.

So here we are, on the eve of a year with a lucky seven, with so many feelings and hopes and plans and spill-able drinks. When I was out surfing I thought about how life kind of ends up seasoning us like a wok or a cast-iron skillet.

And then I think: life will always be exactly as good as it is now, only more so.