Living Luxuriously in the Creases

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Parenting, Reflections on Life

“I had plenty of time

when my daughter was a baby,”

my friend tells me.

“It was just lost in the transitions.”

 

She means the transitions

between eating and sleeping

between dishes and laundry

between what was and what is.

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Motherhood means dwelling within these transitions.

Residing in the space between one necessity and the next

nodding to the time that slips away

and surrendering all expectation.

 

Inefficiency is the name of the game

a game that moves at its own speed, just as

yellow leaves fall slowly, inexorably into the creek

and the creek flows slowly, inexorably into the sea.

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I wallow in the throes of inefficient adoration

the crinkle of a brow

the grasp of a hand

the gurgle in a breath.

 

I used to minimize the transitions

to live more fully in the spaces before and after.

Now I linger luxuriously in the creases and joints that

link what I used to call ‘real life.’

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The time that is lost while I linger in the transitions

is simply an exhale of breath

an internal rotation toward accepting

the beauty of the present moment.

photo (4)

 

Talon in his carseat

Will our baby have the travel bug?

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Parenting, Traveling

bri and talon in black and white smilingAwww, so cute!” an acquaintance remarked, stroking Talon’s fuzzy head while we waited in line at a local coffee shop. “Aren’t you glad you got traveling out of your system before the baby was born?

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that question lately, I’d have been able to buy my cappuccino. I know my friend meant well. But anyone who’s set off to explore the nooks and crannies of the world knows that you never “get it out of your system.” Travel is a virus that stays in your blood – kind of like hepatitis or certain strains of malaria. It lurks at the edge of your daily routine, waiting for just the right moment to surge forth and overwhelm you with the urge to pack up and go.

I bit my tongue and smiled pleasantly as I paid for my coffee. Then I took my baby to a corner table, where I vowed to him that my travel bug is dormant but not dead. Talon gazed solemnly at me with his wide eyes as I promised him future trips to new horizons.

That afternoon, I walked with my friend, Amy, through the yellowing cottonwoods in Greenough Park. She’s taken her two children to live abroad several times, to Spain, Brazil, Mozambique. We talked about the transitions to and from these adventures, and how to manage the virus that flares and recedes in our blood. Amy told me that her personal travel bug follows a recognizable pattern: it takes a full year to settle back in after returning from abroad. And a full year after that before she starts yearning again for distant shores.rob and talon in baby tiger costume

My friend, Ali, is leaving tomorrow on a nine-month international adventure, her route as open as her heart. I went over a few nights ago to cull through her already small pile of potential packables, helping prioritize what she’ll need for a trip that includes farming in Italy, trekking in Nepal, touring through South Africa and lounging in Bali. We both cheered when the pile finally fit in her small backpack. I lifted it appraisingly, and felt the travel bug nip at my heels.

It was a gentle nip, considering that Rob and I just recently unpacked our own international backpacks. But it was sharp enough to keep me awake after Talon’s 3 am feeding, my mind spinning through potential (and affordable) travel options with an infant. Could we make it through the long flight across the Pacific to visit our friends in Tonga? Maybe we could camp for a month in Baja. Where might I find a friend with a sailboat that needs looking after in February?

Then I pushed pause on the travel scenarios scrolling through my sleep-deprived new-momma mind. I made a resolution that had to be enough for that night: we will take our child abroad some day, somehow. We will take him on buses and boats and bikes. We will give him the gift of new cultures and new vistas. And – in time – we will see if he inherited the yen for exploration that courses through the veins of both his parents.  

rob roberts  and talon in black and white smiling

Rebirth

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Mamalode, Parenting, Pregnancy

All good stories start with water. With a flow, a rush, a release. So did you.  You were made on the sea, in nights full of stars and gently rocking boats. You were made when laughter was simple, and music echoed through it all. 

Here is what I want you to know:

There will be laughter and music and light and love. And there will be storms and pests and trials and droughts. Nothing is perfect. Plans change. Life happens when you’re not looking. Read the rest here.

This story appears in Mamalode, where I earn a few nickels for every view.  Thanks for supporting my writing. talon in blue on the blackfoot shorebri and talon on blackfoot river in montana

Meet Talon Randall Roberts

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in Parenting, Pregnancy, Reflections on Life

Talon Randall Roberts reached into the world with a hand wide open, ready to catch his parents’ hearts.  Our little dude arrived on August 14th at 12:44 pm,  weighing in at 6.9 lbs and 19.5 inches long after a 12-hour labor at the Missoula Birth Center.  Although his passport won’t show it, Talon has already visited Tonga, New Zealand, Thailand, Myanmar and several choice spots in the Pacific Northwest.  Check him out:IMG_1034

Day 3: Talon’s first visit to Rattlesnake Creek.
IMG_1023 (2)Day 1: Being born ain’t no picnic.IMG_1047 Day 6: Still a tiny peanut.IMG_1036

Day 4: Just chillin’.IMG_1042Day 7: A week-old birthday party with his new friends, Everett and Dawson.
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A lot of sleeping to celebrate their first play date.IMG_1044The carseat that swallows Mr. T.IMG_1022 Day 2: Daddy is comfy.IMG_1026 Day 2: Figuring life out.IMG_1032Day 3: Welcome to Montana, kiddo.

kevin, mamie, and willow - our next door neighbors in missoula, montana on the horizon line

Happy Hillside Commune

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Parenting

Chickens, dogs, and kiddos at the happy hillside commune - on the horizon line with bri and rob

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You might not know it, but Bri and Rob are part of a…dare I say it…commune. That’s right, call them hippies or hipsters, these two belong to the Happy Hillside Commune: A N’Amish Community. What’s N’Amish you ask?

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Well it’s NOT Amish, aka N’Amish. This lucky group consists of any number of neighbors and friends who live or gather on our street in the Rattlesnake neighborhood of Missoula. We share our fence lines, but not our husbands.  We share our wine, chicken eggs, hot tubs, and saunas, but not bank accounts.

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We share our hillside with the deer, our view of the valley, power tools, ideas, and occasionally old clothes we don’t want anymore.  In short, it’s perfect.

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So, to my new neighbors welcome, but ya’ll have some big shoes to fill.

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There is a worn path between our houses snaking through each other’s yards. On sunny summer nights you can find us outside having family style dinners, sipping wine and gabbing. We watch the hills turn brown and glowy. Real family members stop by like Bri’s parents. There’s sure to be game on the grill. Maybe even a deer from the actual hillside or an elk from further up the valley. Friends from out of town might be there, marveling at Missoula’s off the radar coolness.

N'Amish commune dinner party at bri and rob's house in Missoula

We try to convince them that winters are cold. “Don’t tell people about Missoula” we joke. “Really, it’s dark in the winter.”  My husband and I once made a list of the essential things you need to have to make it through a Montana winter. It included: a down coat, someone to snuggle with, a ski pass, good tires on your car, and I would add…neighbors who will bring you Tylenol at 11 pm when you get the flu. I actually sent a text to one of my N’Amish members that said, “check on me in the morning to make sure I made it through the night.” She did, and I did. These are the neighbors I always hoped I’d have.

Rob has a funny way of loitering in his own yard. You know he’s working on some kind of garden projects but doing it on his own timeframe, a timeframe steeped in a molasses-like active slowness. Rob’s tropical cadence will fit right in in the South Pacific.  He often lingers at the fence or pops over into our yard like their free-roaming chickens. Happy to give advice on seedlings, lift something heavy or pass on a story about his time in Madagascar. (As a tall white man in a village where children had never seen anyone but their own, he literally made children pee themselves). Bri consistently poaches our wireless booster to talk on her cell phone.  I have seen her many a time, talking, pacing around our yard trying to stay warm while she chats.

bri, cassidy and mamie after mamie painted our faces at the park near our house - on the horizon line

The blur between our yards and worlds makes me feel loved and part of something. There is a great yogic philosopher who says that what we are missing in this world is intimacy. Not the sexual kind, but the kind that comes from knowing someone well, from removing the boundaries we live within in western society. The kind of close ties and caring that comes with time, experience, mutual compassion and group parties in the hot tub watching shooting stars. Yeah, we have that.

In a few weeks the N’Amish will be losing key members to a trip into the unknown. The Happy Hillside Commune will go virtual. Bri and Rob, as you wander the ocean, more than a little bit of us will be with you.  Your body contains the soil of this hillside. Your muscles developed from protein of the deer that roamed these mountains.  Your dog Abe continually pooped in my yard, and I didn’t mind one bit. Your heart is forged N’Amish. Don’t you forget it.

kevin, mamie, and willow - our next door neighbors in missoula, montana on the horizon line

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