I grew up in a small town. The kind of town where people are born and die in the same hospital bed. Midwest dreams of nothing more than marriage and babies and your own plot of land to park your trailer…
I chose to head West. To follow love and adventure and something else, something I still can’t quite put my finger on. I found those things in my husband and in the life that we have led since then. I chased the sunset looking for a place to stick my toes in the sand and smell the salt water air. Those places seemed golden to me at 18 and live somewhere between my memories and fantasies now that I have experienced them.
In the last six years I have learned to let go, to forgive, to love unconditionally, and to trust in the process. I had a baby, lost a baby, and am growing new life again. It all comes down to family, first seeking my own and now trying to fit it all back together.
So away we go. Tonight we pack up the car, say goodbye to the California home I never thought I’d own and head back towards the sunrise, to start anew in an old place. So many changes to come and I have never been so ready.
My baby turns 2 in a few weeks. T-W-O. Sometimes it seems that time has passed so quickly this must be a dream. I remember her tiny baby finger nails, how LOUD her cries could be, the vernix lingering in the creases of her skin. That was just last week, I swear. How is she pushing her balance bike down the sidewalk, yelling “See you later!” and blowing me kisses like she’s a big girl? When did all of those moments turn into years?
Last year I drove myself crazy throwing her a fancy, themed birthday party. It was stressful and I was a ball of anxiety. I was STILL rushing around setting things up as guests arrived, I even had a panic attack about making cupcakes then felt guilty for buying them from the store. I was trying to live up to the ideal of the perfect mom I have in my head. I wanted to prove that I had everything together. That I could do it. I barely held it together, but damnit I was going to make it work even if it killed me.
Yet, even after all of that, I started planning her second birthday party months ago. The theme was adorable, the food and games tied in perfectly. It was going to be perfect. I started planning months in advance, I made my lists and budgets and even designed the invitiations. As I filled them in I felt that anxiety creeping back in. I didn’t want to do this again. So I wont.
I called it all off and the Hub and I planned a family vacation instead. We’re going to get away, let someone else make the beds and clean the toilets. All of the events we have planned are centered around my fierce little one’s mental and physical abilities. I’ve deliberately decided to forgo the typical vacation activities, jamming our days full and overstimulating all of us in favor of quieter, more intimate experience. We’re going to play in the water at a splash park, visit a small aquarium, and spend her birthday romping through one of the largest, most beautiful parks on the West coast. We’re going to center as a family and enjoy each other without the normal interruptions of every day life. I can’t wait.
After all we’ve been through in the last month this is exactly what we need. Let the salty air refresh our souls and take the time to refocus on our family as it is, not as it could have been.