When I was pregnant with Fox I couldn’t imagine what life would look like after he was here. I have a fairly powerful imagination but when I tried to daydream about life with a baby in it all I could see was … darkness.
It turns out, life with a new baby was in fact dark. It was literally dark because I awake far too many nights in a row. Have you ever been really sick – the kind of sick where you’re up all night just waiting for morning to come? That’s what my nights started to feel like and with every sunset I felt a little more desperate a little less prepared for the sleepless battle ahead.
Baby breath and bargaining. Salty tears and soft cheeks. Pleads and prayers.
The mornings would bring the sun and the sun sure does know how to make an entrance. Some mornings the clouds would feel like blankets of cotton candy being set on fire. Other mornings brought yellow clouds against a crisp blue sky. I couldn’t help but feel these spectacular skies were just for me – the way the sun, and the clouds, and the molecules in the atmosphere made beautiful art together somehow gave me faith that I could trust my life.
Fox and I would end our days cuddled skin-to-skin and the sun would quietly slip away without even saying goodbye. I was hanging on by a very beautiful and resilient thread.
Today we’re out of the dark. And most days, the sun not only says goodnight but celebrates the day behind us by making a grand exit.
Guilt does more harm than sitting your child in front of a screen for a couple hours while you get shit done.
Guilt does more harm than giving in to a candy tantrum.
Guilt does more harm than getting legit pissed off that changing your baby’s diaper is not a lot unlike wrestling an alligator.
Guilt does more harm than giving your kid a bowl of Cheerios and french fries for dinner.
Guilt does more harm than going on a week long vacation without your family.
Guilt does harm.
I hereby sentence myself not guilty.
I’m not sure why I feel so shy about being here right now. I mean… I made this big declaration that I’m back (both as a way to prove it to myself – and get some sort of accountability in this space) and now I’m all “Well, shit. I guess I need to say something.”
It’s kind of like when you’re married for a while and you go a couple weeks without having sex and then you’re all shy (as if this person hasn’t seen you practically turn your body inside out while giving birth to the baby you made together) and then you consider that maybe you forgot how to do it altogether (but of course you didn’t)… Or maybe it’s like when you break up with someone and decide to get back together after a few months apart, and you try to establish self-respecting boundaries by going on a real date but it’s just super awkward until you bang it out and eat some cereal afterwards.
I’m going to cut it with the bad sex metaphors (who knew that the process of writing and sex were so similar?) and maybe begin by just telling you where I’m at.
Right now, literally, I’m at a table in my breakfast nook (which doubles as my home office even though I have an entire other room dedicated to being an office) in my split-level mid-century modern house in the tightest neighborhood I’ve ever lived in. I’ll have to tell you all about my neighbors one day because they’ve become my favorite people. I’m eating a bowl of oatmeal for lunch. I had oatmeal for breakfast too. I really love oatmeal. It’s sunny but cool and windy outside – the leaves on the tree that is in my direct view out of the kitchen window are red and ox blood on one side and chartreuse and green on the other. A new life goal of mine, that I just made as I’m typing this, is to be able to identify what this tree I’m looking at is. When I’m old it is important to me that I’m able to talk about how the sun shifts in the sky depending on the season of the year and be able to name off plants and trees like it’s no big deal.
My first two knuckles on my right hand are bruised and swollen from all the boxing I’ve been doing. I suck at it but still hit the boxing gym pretty much every day – there’s something liberating in not being very good at something but showing up anyway.
If you’re wondering where Fox is, you’re not alone. A lot of people ask me this and it makes me wonder how often my husband gets asked where our baby is. He’s at daycare. Right at this moment he’s probably taking a nap on his cot and I hope he is dreaming about the UPS truck which might be his favorite thing in the whole world. When I think about Fox, which I confess, I don’t really don’t do that often during the work day, I can explicitly imagine what his breath smells like, what his hair feels like, and the squeal he makes when he throws his little arms around my neck. When I think about him he might as well be right here with me. I love being his mom – and while what I just typed there typically feels cliche it’s a huge victory for me, which I may or may not talk about one day.
Before I go (because there is work to be done) I want to tell you all just a little bit about what I’m into lately:
• Makeup: I’ve been having a lot of fun trying new looks, which was sparked by cutting all my hair off. But the funny thing is – the more makeup I wear the more confident I feel on the days when I go with a completely naked face. My newest guilty pleasure is watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. This guy is maybe my favorite.
• The Leftovers: I’m only on season 1 but this show has me hooked. You should watch it.
• I’m reading all sorts of books on spirituality. From Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber to Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham.
• Being Boss: This is my podcast that I co-host with Emily Thompson. It started as a passion project and has turned into almost a full-time job. We recently interviewed Brené Brown and David Heinemeier Hansson – if you’ve ever heard me make a book recommendation it’s probably been Daring Greatly and ReWork which are written by … Brené Brown and David Heinemeier Hansson. I’m still pinching myself that this has become my job.
• Tiny Tattoos: I don’t know. I just like them.
• Fall: This is my favorite time of year. I just want to cozy down with my feet under Jeremy’s butt – with a bar of dark chocolate and a glass of wine in the other.
• The journey: I’m rolling my eyes at myself telling you this but my biggest goal right now is to take my eye off the prize and just enjoy the game of life. So I suppose that’s what I’m really going to use this space for for a while. Before it was all about “I want this. Let’s see how I can make that happen.” and now it’s probably going to be more like “This is what I’m up to. Let’s see what happens next.”
The last couple of years have kicked my ass. I’ve found myself face down in the dirt more than once. And instead of pushing against the edges of the perimeters of sharing what is vulnerable I decided to play it safe. My boundaries have shifted but I still have a story to tell. A story about busted lips and stepping in shit. A story about yellow leaves and pink sunsets. A story about making magic, bending time, and practicing patience. A story about what it means to be human. I’m still not sure where my boundaries lay and I most certainly don’t have a clear strategy or editorial calendar for this space … but here’s what I know for sure: I find meaning in sharing who I am, and writing about my life helps me shape who I want to become. So here I am. I still have a story to tell.