And not by choice.
Sure, I’ve always had a dark sense of humor. But it wasn’t until my first child was born that I started taking a hard look at the world and wondering, what does the future look like? And the more I pay attention, the more nothing seems certain anymore.
In 2017, my family lost their home to wildfires in California. Out of nowhere, the skies turned orange, and “Smoke” became a season. I became determined to prepare my family for unexpected disasters.
Every website I went to in search of answers was more boring than the last. They were all super right-wing (not me!) or dense and complicated.
I just wanted to know — WTF is a disaster plan?
A few weeks ago, our stroller was stolen out of the front of our yard. It was our fault—we knew not to leave it out and we did anyway. We weren’t completely surprised and, while it was a bummer, we had a backup stroller to use.
I had just gotten fed up with the backup stroller and was looking on Craigslist for strollers to buy. Did you know that some people spend $1,500 on strollers? I guess it’s a status symbol. All of our strollers have always been secondhand, either as gifts from families who had outgrown theirs or used ones we got off Craiglist.
ANYWAY, over the weekend I asked Will and Quinn to go bike around and see if they could find a bookcase for Quinn’s room from the furniture that people had put out on the street. They did not find a bookcase, but instead acquired a used BOB stroller in pretty excellent condition that the fanciest house in the neighborhood had put out for free. It is by far the nicest stroller we’ve ever had. It has cup holders! (The only issue is that the BOB is a jogging stroller, and, um, I don’t jog.)
We have never once managed to get out a family holiday card, so why would I think we could do a full-on four panel roll brochure newsletter??
Well, I’m nuts. But When our daughter was born at the end of 2021, I felt a satisfying sense of completion family-wise, and I really wanted to start a tradition of sending an annual update to friends and family.
And because I’m me, a simple holiday greeting from one of those awesome websites like minted wasn’t going to cut it.
My good friend and fellow designer Molly McCoy sends an amazing holiday card every year that plays with unexpected cuts to create surprising shapes. She introduced me to the Fold factory’s fold of the week and watching their weekly videos highlighting creative print design is one of my joys.
When my first child was a baby, I didn’t treasure each moment. It was hard, I was tired, and I knew I was going to (Goddess-willing) do it again.
I remember gazing at him breastfeeding when he must have been seven- or eight-months old and thinking, “I can’t wait to stop breastfeeding you. I’ll treasure it next time.”
(Is that a weird thought? Maybe, but it was a real moment. Breast-feeding was hard with him and I was over it.)
Having been blessed with a second child and going through milestones now — like outgrowing the giraffe pajama for the second time — my brain is oscillating between feeling a sad sort of nostalgia that this period is over and actively trying to convince myself to have another child.
I don’t want another child. I don’t like being pregnant. I am not a huge fan of birth. And babies (and kids) are a lot of work. I always told myself that I would have three children (just in case one’s a dud, you know), but we. don’t. want. one.
End of story.
Except my brain does.
We made a silly announcement to celebrate the birth of our second child (!!).
Do you want one? Send me your address and I’ll send you one!
Or as we like to call it in my house, 34 base 12.
As I embark on my fifth decade on this planet, I truly feel like the luckiest person in the world. My life is wonderful. I have ease and joy and love on a daily basis. I have a four-and-a-half-year-old to keep every moment interesting and a baby gestating inside to ensure the next years are even more full. I have a loving family, supportive friends, a wonderful home, a garden that never fails to deliver a dose of wonder and magic just when I need it. I have a business that gives me creative satisfaction and material comforts. I eat amazing food and enjoy modern comforts like running water each and every day.
I’m wise enough to know that appreciating these things is what will give me daily happiness. I’m practiced in the art of noticing and naming my blessings.
Yes, my life is full of the earthly delights. At the same time, what I want for the world feels impossible. I want to wave a magic wand and exhaust the Dixie fire, saving my in-laws’ house and so many others. I want to live in a society that values science and our responsibility to the planet, that somehow finds an immediate and effective solution to this climate crisis. I want ample reparations for affected communities to atone for America’s racist and genocidal history. I want to feel confident that today’s children and their children will have a chance for a livable and happy existence.
It’s 2020 and the world has gone to shit. I’m focusing on the positives and I feel like I have to come clean:
I want to have sex with my dishwasher.
In any other year, this would not be good news. I’m happily married. I’ve never had any sort of sexual feelings about appliances despite my collection of increasingly provocative vibrators. But, in 2020, the desire to have an extramarital relationship with an appliance somehow lands in the Good News column.
I’ve spent my adult life doing my dishes by hand. I even convinced myself that I liked it. “I get ideas while washing dishes,” I told my friend Madeleine years ago when she introduced me to her portable dishwasher.
I had a miscarriage ten days ago and it sucks.
My year was laid out before me. Six months of killing it at work and then a little baby as a reward. I had this plan to hire a project manager and potentially have a little maternity leave this time. I had a plan for world domination. I felt like I was on fire with my goals and plans and good energy.
I was 11 weeks pregnant; one week away from telling the world. We were calling it “Circe” and I was in an internal battle with myself over whether we should find out the sex. The baby was the size of a strawberry. I wanted it to be a girl so badly.
One tends to refer to a miscarriage as one would an on/off switch: one is pregnant, then one isn’t.
It’s not like that. My body spent seven weeks devoting all its resources to building a womb, that strawberry-sized baby, and the placenta to support it.
It’s closer to a birth than an on/off switch. Everything my body created had to come out. The uterus has to return to its normal state. Hormones have to stabilize.
Like birth, miscarriage has been so much harder than I ever would have thought. Continue Reading
I have been really struggling to find the willingness to engage in my annual ritual of listing my successes.
I’ve had some challenges this year that have been overshadowing my successes. The Lee Hazlewood lyric, “I’ve been down so far, it looks like up to me,” was pretty much my refrain for the past two months.
The nature of this challenge was intense to the point where I didn’t want to get out of bed. I was surprised by how often the word “depressed” came to mind and how all my usual self-care habits flew out the window. I didn’t want to eat healthy meals; it was all I could do to eat anything. I didn’t want to talk; I didn’t want to call friends. I just wanted to hide.
I was lucky — it was only a matter of weeks before I pulled through. It’s a blessing — and a curse — to run a business and have clients and contractors and employees relying on you. I can’t remember the last full-on sick day I took (the curse). But the world kept turning and we had work to do; I could not indulge my desire to hide; I had to keep moving (the blessing). Continue Reading