Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Look Back at 2014

I was already thinking early in November how I'd only be writing '2014' a handful of other times. I've never wanted time to speed up before, and thoughts like that would usually make me feel a sense of longing for moments like watching my friends eat hotdogs on the 4th of July at ten at night in San Francisco and celebrating one of the last birthdays of my twenties with my mom and dad in the rain at the outlet mall, but once we found out about our baby I was ok with those things being in the past. They were never going to be anywhere else anyways, so I may as well let them live there in peace. This year, for the first time ever, I wanted time to carry on so I could be six weeks pregnant and then eight and now almost fifteen. It seemed safer for this new little being we're falling in love with if time passed. I'm sure next year I'll be back to longing for things to seem as still and slow as they are capable of being. 

The eve of the New Year is often a time when we try to think about what we've done, what else we'd like to do, how else we'd like to be, maybe where else we'd like to be. All I can think about right now is how disastrously messy our garage is and how someway we'll need to convert part of it into a safe dwelling for a baby who we don't even know what we'll call yet. I'm also wondering if having a sip of champagne tonight will put me in just the right state of mind for the ball drop, or send me into an anxiety attack because last week my baby app said something about intestines developing and how delicate and transparent they are. Even when life is about big, amazing things there are still so many little details our minds draw focus to. 

With these yearly recaps, and blogging in general, I guess my goal is to try to pay attention to both. Here are some highlights from this year.

January. We went to Alaska and the sun was only up for four hours a day. Actually, it was never really up, just sort of hanging out in the middle and then hiding behind glaciers and ghost trees and prairies all the rest of the time. Danielle broke her arm snowboarding and we all tried snowshoeing and 'flightseeing' for the first time. When we got home, I addressed some questions I got about whether or not you can teach yourself to surf

February. I had no idea I'd be pregnant by the end of the year, but I was already freaking out about it. I had a girl at the blow-dry bar tell me that maybe my endeavors in skateboarding were some kind of pre-baby life crisis. Scott agreed. I also took some pictures on my train commute where my mind almost always seems to be at ease. Some of you were wondering how to become a sponsored surfer, so I tried to answer that as best I could. 

March. The sun doesn't stick around for long during the winter, so I think it tries to show off while it's here because winter sunsets are the best ones of the year. I wrote something about being afraid of babies and writing books and made a little surf movie showcasing some of the abnormally warm weather we had for this time of year.

April. ate dinner with a psychic who told me I would write a book someday. We celebrated Scott's birthday in Mexico with Basia and Phil and filmed for a surf movie Phil's putting together now. We drank tequila and made guacamole and I even got Basia to try kale! When we got home, I wrote down some thoughts about my birthday

May. Parts of San Diego were on fire due to a non-existent rainy season. We went on a road trip with Kristen to Carmel for a wedding and took advantage of the hot weather by going to Catalina with my sisters' new boyfriends. I wrote a little Catalina guide and shared it here in case you were looking to visit too. I also made a video addressing some questions about surf equipment

June. After 23 years of school, Scott had his last day. He gave a speech to a hundred 5th graders while his mom and I cried all over our programs. Looking back, it might seem planned that Scott quit his job right before we started a family, but that would all just be how it seemed. In reality, he was ready to move on from teaching P.E., and even though I was panicking on-the-daily about the big life changes a baby would bring, I was starting to be ready too. I tried to let the words "How wild it was just to let it be" from the book Wild stay in my head every day.

July. Scott and I drove to Oregon and back. We bought parcheesi for $1 at a thrift shop outside of Seaside and played every night while I drank sweet Moscato wine and tried not to pout about losing. We put together a little list of things we liked in Portland, then had the opportunity to share more about the trip for Travel Oregon and Surfgirl. If you'd like to share some of your writing and experiences, my advice is just to ask and be persistent. I've had a bunch of my emails ignored, but sometimes you get through.

August. I had the opportunity to interview my long-time surf friend Crystal about what it's like to be a hearing-impaired surfer. I also felt like my ego was getting out of control and wrote more about being afraid of babies, but this time I came to a more resolved conclusion. 

September. We visited downtown San Diego with Scott's mom and dad and had a visit from his sister, too. I found out some sad news about the health of some of our family and friends. I try not to think of life as fair or not, but just as 'it is what it is' and we aren't supposed to have answers to all of our hows and whys yet; but even then, I still took long walks at night to sort through some of the anger, fear and vulnerability I felt. 

October. More thoughts on writing and the death of two loved ones came just as we found out we were going to be parents. I started a new series called Foreign Food Friday, right before morning sickness set in and I only ate yogurt. 

November. I drew some sketches to try to illustrate how to duck-dive and we went camping with old friends in Santa Cruz just before Thanksgiving

December. Sprout came on board, I wrote some letters to him or her and now here I am, doing this recap. 

Sometimes, when I look back on it all, my mind goes straight to all the things I'd like to do differently next year.

I guess at the end of it all, it's just like I said in the beginning: Life is good because of big, amazing things like sleeping outside in the forest in Oregon, starting new careers, saying goodbye to loved ones, raising babies, and also because of ridiculous little things like trying to learn how the heck to cut a bagel evenly down the middle. I think life is good because you want more. Happy New Year! 

"For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."
-T.S. Eliot

Monday, December 22, 2014

Dear Sprout, First Appointments

November 7th, 2014

Dear Sprout,

Approximately four cases of Ebola have been reported in the US, but when you type "how" into the search box of Google the first thing it suggests is " ebola spread". Every time we go to an appointment they ask me if I've been to West Africa or been around anyone who has lately. My answer is always "No", but the funny thing is that every time they mention West Africa I start day dreaming about what it would be like to go there. 

Our first appointment was scary for us. Daddy and I were holding hands, but for a minute they couldn't find you since you were so small and we were at our first appointment a week early, according to the midwife. Then we heard a heartbeat, and I asked quickly if it was yours or mine and the midwife said it could be mine, so we sat there holding our hands and breath and wondering if you were ok.

Once she was done checking on you she said, actually I've never heard a woman's heartbeat in her uterus before, so that must have been the baby's. Then she took my pulse and declared that, of course, it had been your heartbeat since my heart rate was 80 and yours had been 120. I asked her if we could do the ultrasound again, since everything had been so confusing the first time, but she said no, shook her head to make sure I knew she meant it, and then scooted the machine out into the hall, calling on a lady named Glenda to come and get it. I kind of wanted to kick her since she also thought you were smaller and younger than I thought you were and majorly freaked me out. We loved you either way, but I was definitely a little concerned over the weekend. Thankfully Daddy, Basia and Nicole were there to distract me while we were camping.

I have kicked a lady once before, and I really shouldn't tell you this, but since I am, you should know that she deserved it. She shoved her way in front of my dad at a concert and pushed me when I told her politely that this was one of my dad's favorite bands and that we had been standing here all night waiting to hear them. When she yelled mean words in my face, I kicked her right in the shin. When she tried to retaliate the rest of the crowd absorbed her, like waves do a kelp bulb, before the wind from her swing could even flutter my hair back.

Anyways, our next appointments were much better. We got a nice doctor and midwife we hope to keep until you're here. 

I wonder if you know me. I wonder if you hear me. I don't wonder if you are like me, because I know you are. Hopefully you don't inherit my bad temper or my bad spelling. When I saw you moving around on the doctor's little TV called a sonogram, I felt I knew you exactly. As though I've known you forever and have always loved you. 

me--your mom

p.s. Santa Cruz Camping part II 

it was so crowded at Pleasure Point, Sprout, you and I stayed on the cliff and watched daddy try to dodge clueless beginners

p.p.s. wishing you all the merriest Christmas and happy holidays!