Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Life imitating art

Last week we met with a bunch of L's little friends.  I searched through my history - apparently I didn't write about this, but when we moved here, we wanted to make her 4th birthday special. We had always had family birthday parties - our friends & family would join together and celebrate our little girl. Here, in the STL - we didn't have many friends (2 1/2, generously) and no family - so we wanted to throw her a special party and invite all of her new friends, in class. We rented out a space and hosted a wonderful craft party. She chose "Under the Sea" theme and they made mermaids out of clothes pins, scratch art fish, and a bunch of other crap art. They all loved it. And in a weird twist, we (the new kids) introduced these kids (and their parents) to this little shop, the Craft Caboose.

Fast forward, every few months over the course of the last year, a few moms would get together. We would bring the kids to a craft class and for an hour we would have coffee & chat.  L loved this special time. For our bucket list of STL - one of the first things she wanted to do was go to the Caboose. I emailed the moms and we got the kids together. While, I didn't start with "this is our finale tour you will never see us again" in the back and forth I mentioned we were moving. 

While we were leaving the 'Boose, one of her buddies came up to her to say goodbye & this happened.

"L. I think I won't see you again, because you are moving. I'm really going to miss you. I'm really sad."

And then something about being a really good friend, the details are blurry because I melted into mush. Instantly. And then they hugged. (Side note: seriously, is it just me or can you see L holding on for dear life?)

We got in the car, and it started.

"I don't want to move."
"I love it here."
"I love my friends."
"I'm gonna miss St. Louis."
"I'm going to miss my friends."

I told her, I know. And I love it here, too. I'll miss her friends - our friends - our house - I understand. But we'll have a good time - it will be exciting! A new adventure!!! Remember what it was like last time? We felt the same feelings, and look at how much we love St. Louis and our new friends? It will all work out.

Her response?

"I know, Mommy - but I can miss my friends, too."


We had movie night. When it's move time, we eat pasta as much as possible and watch movies during the week. Basically, it's my survival. We watched Monsters, Inc. If you don't know the movie - it's hard to explain without really losing you on reality. Essentially monsters, in Monster World, need to gather screams from children to have power (get it? monster in the closet). It turns out, while they scare kids to gain power (electricity - not world domination) - they are really terrified of children. It's the strongest of the strong who lead the monster world. The main character, Sully (big blue guy), is the lead scarer and one day he comes upon a little girl (she slips through her closet door - the gateway to our world). Sully names her "Boo." Hilarious adventures ensue - fast forward, bad guy, good prevails and the energy crises is saved by finding out that laughter actually produces more energy than screams. After the victory Boo's closet door has to be destroyed, as she's "seen too much." This means Sully (Boo calls him, Kitty) can never see his little girl, ever again. It's sad.

In the end, Sully's buddy (Mike) puts together Boo's closet door so he can visit Boo again. And this happens.

Disclaimer: the only stupid clip I can find is one where some guy is crying in the background. But basically this is the scene where Sully's best friend, Mike (green guy) makes sure Sully can see Boo again. If nothing else, you need to see the end of the scene. Where Sully smiles.

As the credits roll, L immediately looks up at me and asks, "Why is he smiling like that?"

I explain, Sully is happy to see Boo - he missed her very much.

Almost immediately, she breaks open. Tears, sobbing, broken heart spilling all over our couch.

I ask her, "What are you feeling? What's going on, kid?"

She responds, "I don't know. He's just. Just, so cute."

But she doesn't need to explain. Her heart hurts, and there are no God damn closet doors she can walk through to see her friends - ever again. She will miss them, hard. And eventually it will fade and they will barely know the other existed - but right now? Right now, it's all she knows.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A "Who am I?" Moment

L was on the diving board line with a bunch of dirt bags (not really. young boys - maybe 8th grade?). They were horsing around (God. I'm old.) And that was fine. They were making lude gestures. Whatever, fine. But THEN they started spitting on each other. SO that's when mama got her sneakers on.

Me, "HEY. HEY! EXCUSE ME. If you are going to (long pause so I could talk myself out of using an F bomb) spit near my daughter, you (pause so I could talk myself out of using an F bomb) better have good aim! Cut it out!"

L, "Oh my god, this is happening. This can't be happening." - Not really, it's just what I think she was saying in her head.

Me, (to the lifeguard) "Are you going to DO anything about this?"

I then I explain that these punks are  horsing around (good lord, could I be older?), spitting on each other, and this isn't the place... and that's when I experienced an out of body experience.

Later that night, when replaying the event for a friend, L tells the story.

"These boys were spitting. One almost got me. Then Mommy was like, 'HEY EXCUSE ME DON'T YOU SPIT ON ME DAUGHTER!' Then she called the life guard over and said, 'These boys are spitting! These boys are spitting!!! These boys are spitting!"

There it is.  I yelled at someone else's kid. And alerted the lifeguard. My adolescent self had no idea.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A different generation, indeed.

The kid had a birthday this past weekend. It was pirate theme, and me matey came home all kinds of prepared for the rough seas. Hat, eye patch, telescope (for her good eye), pouch full of gold, a treasure chest, a map, and a compass.

It went a little like this, before I realized, what a different world she is growing up in.

She asked what the compass is. I answer, not thinking, "Compass." She asks, "What's that?" I say, "It tells you what direction to go in."

She starts talking in a GPS voice. "Turn left at Delmar."

She spent the afternoon playing pirate. Using her compass to read the map... in a GPS voice, just as all
buccaneers might do.... if they were driving around our neighborhood. Note to self, the kid knows how to get home, without the GPS and I don't. That's awesome. Argggh. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

To be filed under: No. That's not weird, at all.

The Friday we found out we were moving, we told family, a few friends, and emailed our landlords. 


One of my biggest worries was we wouldn't be able to find someone to pick up the balance of our lease agreement. Maybe I haven't mentioned, we didn't expect to move this soon. In our heart, and in our contracts. Even though it's only been a year and change, I forgot. It's freaking hard to find a place to live around here.

Long story short: I posted on Craigslist - and the phone lines started to blow up.  I only made two appointments, and it was painful. Sure, I got to practice the skills that I have honed in on based on years of overdoing HGTV - but it was heartbreaking. I may or may not have stated, "There are beautiful built ins, a working fireplace, and the light fixtures stay." File that under, duh. But they are lovely and I wanted to confirm.

The body wasn't even cold yet, and we were passing her (the house) off to the first to respond. It was heart wrenching, and as excited I was to meet possible young families who might be residing in our (current) abode - I kept comparing us to them. Would the neighbors like them more? Probably. Would they appreciate the porch the way we do? Probably, not. Would they love the arches in each room? Who knows. Would they hang ceramic animal heads in the dining room? No. They will not, and they will certainly regret that.

Then I realized something, very important: it's not important. Also? Some of the people are weird, even if the neighbors like them better, they don't appreciate the house the way we do, or have the same decorating (superior) style. This interaction happened, and has (slightly) made me feel better about the whole thing. 

In the midst of my poor man's interpretation of House Hunters was introducing the kids and the au pair.

"Does she come with the house, too?"

I laughed.

Then I quickly realized? He wasn't kidding.

You know what. As jealous as I am, and as protective as I seem to be over this house? These people be cray. Their weirdness? Makes me (somewhat) less jealous. But let's be real: it just makes it easier to judge - because I'm petty and lashing out.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Too soon.

We are always moving. We've always been moving. It feels like we'll always keep moving.  This move is harder than any other move. 


When we moved in with each other, we lived in a lovely little place in Charlestown, MA. It was perfection, if you didn't pay attention to the slanting floors or the 300 square feet.*  It was a "cozy" one bedroom, exposed brick, in an awesome area of the 'Town, cobble stone streets, views of the city and bridge, cheap, close to it all. We loved it. 

When we moved around in Boston, it was out of pregnancy panic necessity.  When I found out we were knocked up, I couldn't get out the once loved 1 bedroom fast enough. We needed space. There would be a baby. The baby would have stuff. The baby would need a room (though I did consider blocking off an area with a curtain in the living room/kitchen/bar stool area). We would get an au pair for childcare because I work for the company, believe in the program, and the wait for daycare in or around Boston is approximately 24 years*. We had to move. Fast.

And move we did; to a lovely (over priced) duplex in the South End of Boston. On the corner of bougie & hit the deck, it's a drive by! Oh but how it was (mostly glorious). The location was divine (to one side), exposed brick (I'm a sucker), TONS of space (to clean), small outdoor space (despite looking over a Dunkin Donut's parking lot, gorgeous kitchen, our first apartment with laundry IN the unit, and always lots of fun

We left because of how much the ball&chain was traveling (now laughable), and needing to be more central to where he was going. It was sad to leave Boston, but an important step for our family. It was exciting. It was sad to leave, but not so much - sad - NOOO I'm not ready, more so... Awe. This stinks. Not even, sucks. Actually, that's not true. If I'm being totally honest? We were ready.

We moved to Connecticut, hated our apartment but we made it our own.  It was great to be close (enough) to family & friends, exploring a town I once knew as a college student (spoiler alert: totally not the same). We got to spend time with good friends and I tried to connect with new ones. I was getting there.* We got our first taste of suburban main street, and fell in love with the (possibility) of community.

BOOM. We find out we're moving. Destination: St. Louis, Missouri

I can't say I was a fan of the idea, but I can't tell if it was the whole "pick up and move half way across the country thing" or the fact that it was the "7+ months pregnant, moving half way across the country thing." It's hard to say. I guess the reasons aren't important. The bottom line: I wasn't happy. We were up for the adventure, we knew we had to do it, it was good for the ball&chain's career. We said we'd move for as long as L wasn't in middle school.  We sucked it up and powered through. We figured, we'll be in & out in two years and just get 'er done. But God damn it, you crazy ass hoosier, I love you. I fucking love you (yes, F bomb warranted).

It's the little things, like family friendly activities that aren't cheesy, are mostly free, and almost always serve beer. It's the deliciously fresh food, reasonable prices (of most anything), and mostly nice people. The arches in the doorways and cross that hangs in our entry way because our landlords left it in a pocket of the wall - stuck on with old gum or tack - and even after re-painting the place we thought it belonged. The farmer's market that has the best breakfast burrito that has ever been burritoed (and live music, a play ground and kick ass produce). The central standard time zone; best time zone, ever. You aren't so far off either coast to feel disconnected, TV shows are on earlier, you can wake up later, it's really the best time zone there is. Truth. The walk we do, behind our neighborhood, into Washington University. All kinds of secret little passages, in between buildings that look like castles. Bike rides around the neighborhood, the sidewalks, even the god damn grass that I keep killing and the endless plants in the countless gardens that the owners had set up. I love those stupid plants.

I won't miss the heat. That shit is bananas (110 degrees at 8 pm is not right. It's been 90 or higher since February, and our electric bill this month was disgusting). Which reminds me, I'm gonna miss our central air. Cost, be damned.

It's the big things. It's our neighbors, who admire our children. Our neighborhood, who embodies what you see in good ol' family friendly Disney movies (before Lindsay Lohan broke in). It's where we brought our (newest) baby home. And as far as we are from family, and as much as it's hard a lot of the time, it's where we get to really be our own family.  We are able to spend time together in ways that when we are closer, we can't. We have birthdays, dinners, communions, baptisms, showers - the endless obligations that you want to be there for - you just don't get the time we get here.

What are we doing this weekend? Nothing. Hanging out with each other, and we love it.

St. Louis, is where we got all that time together. All that exploring. All that ... I don't know? Family.

The kid has made friends here, she has play dates, she takes dance class, and attends creative camps during the summer. The counselors know her. I want them to see how much she'll grow from this year to next year - like they did this past year. I want to have Halloween here, again. God damn it, I want to march in the July 4th parade again. Oh my god, I just realized. We're going to miss apple festivals, St. Patrick's Day parades, and a hot air balloon race that kicked ass. I'm also realizing all the pictures and posts I forgot to write or publish. I can't link you there, but trust me: good times.  As soon as we figured out all that we loved, and all that we are looking forward to for "next time," it's gone. 

I know, maybe we won't find all of that where we are going - but some portion of this ramble list will be in Cleveland. They have sidewalks there and maybe even plants to kill. It's not the same. It won't be the same {insert toddler strength tantrum here}.

I'm heart broken about the move.*

There are some exciting aspects.  It's a great opportunity for the ball&chain, MUCH less travel during the week, new places to explore.  I do love to set up shop and make a house our home. I've become quite good at it, if I do say so myself. We still get quality time and continue our adventure.

It doesn't change the loss I feel. I didn't cry when we moved from Connecticut to Missouri. I cried when we said goodbye to people. It made me sad to think of L (and our baby to be) not being able to see their family & friends as much as she did. It wrecks me to know that our family relays on pictures, youtube videos and skype to see our babies when they do, and it's not often. That hurts. But moving? Eh. It was a pain in the ass, and I wasn't happy about it - but I bucked up and we moved.

I've already cried a few times, just thinking of moving from here. My heart is heavy and I'm truly sad. Like NOOO I'm not ready, sad. Thinking of someone else in this house, hurts my heart. It sounds so dramatic. I assure you, it doesn't make it any less true. I love this house. I love this neighborhood. I love this god damn city.

I'm not ready.

*An estimate, but probably close.
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