I am currently 30,000 feet in the air, heading home to my family after one long and luxurious week on the west coast.
My jaunt began in Northern California and ended in my old Los Angeles stomping ground where this blog was conceived, along with my children and all the turmoil a 30 something’s crisis can muster.
The trip was for work, although I hardly think singing musical theatre tunes in the middle of glorious wine country could be qualified as such. None the less, I do have my paycheck tucked in my purse, safely stowed in the overhead compartment above me because items do tend to shift during flight.
Santa Rosa, just outside of San Francisco, is breathtaking, along with most everywhere else in Northern California, and my time there was scrumptious. I got to meet naptimewriting and her spouse for the first time after a year of cyber-bonding through writing, and all of us chatted over cocktails and snacks in the hotel wine bar after the performance. We could have talked for hours, but some of us had to get home to put babies to bed. Some. Myself not included. That was strange and amazing, wrapped inside a tortilla of guilt.
I spent the next day meandering through wine country with another dear friend, wondering whose life I quantum leapt into. It was surreal and odd with a devilish splash of Sauvignon Blanc and a side of Brie. Ok. Enough with the food and beverage references. Clearly I’m hungry and they don’t serve food on flights anymore. (I was given a blanket which I haven’t seen in years and I wonder how many got laid off for that cuddly perk)
Once all of my friends had left, I had an evening alone in the hotel before heading off for the second leg of my trip. It’s ironic how much we ache for this alone time, compiling mental lists of all we could accomplish if we had it, but find ourselves rather lost when blessed with silence. Mommy brains must undergo some scientific process of evolution, rendering them useless outside the midst of madness, mess and chaos.
I got nothing completed that evening, other than ingesting entirely too much food off the hotel restaurant menu while emailing a friend about how much I missed my babies.
It occurred to me at that moment that a week is an extremely long block of time. Four days might be the max for mommy-child, bi-coastal distance…just from my experience. But Los Angeles awaited, and the children were in the amazing and quite capable hands of Mr. Mom.
I landed at LAX and immediately felt like I was home. My time there would be brief so I told very few that I was coming. There were girlfriends on my list that had priority. Three of them, all of whom helped me through the insanity of being a new Mom, witnessing first-hand what I now recognize as postpartum anxiety, became pregnant before our move back east and would deliver just after we left.
“Thanks for all the help in supporting me through these couple of years and loving me in spite of all my batshit crazy, guys! Good luck! Peace out!”
How kind of me.
But these cherubs were calling, and had to be met and held by yours truly, If even for a brief moment. I was amazed and a bit humbled by how easy these ladies made it look. One was kind enough to say she learned from me, but I am quite certain I never exhibited such grace and ease with motherhood during my time in LA. A tornado, frantically spinning through the town with no clear path or direction, wreaking havoc on all who meet it, is the only picture that comes to mind.
That said, the juxtaposition during this trip was surreal. I visited all of the special hideaways that brought me peace during emotional and confusing times. I made my way to what we have named “Kennedy’s beach” and had a brief moment with our first-born. But, oddly I didn’t feel any closer to her than I do on a daily basis. It became clear yesterday, that that place was for us, to give us something symbolic to think of and visit. But our actual physical presence there isn’t necessary for her closeness.
I hiked the hike that pulled me, on a daily basis through every step of healing from her loss, trying to conceive again, and finally to a place where hope throughout my pregnancy with Zachary was allowed. If I had left a grain of sand for every agonizing thought and emotion processed on Fryman Canyon, it would be veritable trail of quicksand.
These sacred places, along with every nook and cranny surrounding them, right down to our neighborhood grocery store, brought flashes of specific moments all having to do with these emotionally dense and soul-shaping years.
As I now have some sort of direction, with a new career that invigorates and gives me purpose (I know I haven’t yet told you anything about that. See blogger’s note at the bottom) I feel like I’m visiting these places with a new set of eyes. Everything seems slower. More deliberate.
A long exhale.
So, while a week is too long, and I miss my family like the dickens, this trip was priceless in every way.
California will always have a substantial slice of my heart, but now it’s time to go home. My babies are waiting at JFK.
I will share more about the job, but it didn’t fit in this post. However, I feel it’s annoying to be so cryptic. Especially if I am going to drop off the face of the blog world for months at a time. (Which it seems I may do)
The short version:
I have been offered a performing arts teaching position at a remarkable charter school in Newark. As the top charter school in the country, it is overhauling the face of urban education. Stay tuned for more details, but I am so honored to have been chosen to be a part of this school that is literally changing lives daily…for good.