What’s (taking up too much space) in Your Shopping Cart?

Today I watched a man haul a bulk-sized load of toilet paper on his shoulders, presumably walking home from the grocery store.

That got me thinking- isn’t it true that we always have that one gigantic thing we need from the store? Does this bulk-sized item in our shopping cart serve as a give away as to which stage we’re at in life? Let’s see.

College. 

 
Single.

  
Dating. 

Living together.

  With newborn.

  And again.

  And finally, the kids have moved out.

   

Raising Memories

  
I grew up on along the Jersey shore. Not literally, but close enough. So many summer memories from childhood right up through college and beyond involve those hot, sticky sand days and boardwalk nights. They are memories that define me, candle scents I search for and harshly critique, and rolling ocean sounds that I can still hear in my head.

I didn’t expect to grow up and move 2,000 miles away. And more than that, I didn’t expect those memories to represent home to me for the rest of my life in the way that they do.

That said, I’m raising my daughter in the desert. Not literally, but close enough. And sometimes I feel palpably saddened for her to think that she isn’t growing up… well, the exact same way I did. 

Which is of course, ridiculous. Because they don’t. Not completely anyway. Times change, things ebb and flow. She’s growing up in an entirely different world. Faster paced, sure. But that’s not quite what I’m getting at. She’s growing up in the world of Spring Training up the street, fire pits and marshmallow roasting during the winter, and “driving to the snow.” 

She can look in through the gates at Sloan Park and see the next Cubs pitcher warming up on the practice mound; like it’s Little League practice. She can look off into the distance in literally any direction and see mountains just a few miles away. And on a lucky winter’s day, some of them white-capped. 

She can ride “up north” to visit any season at all, and see fall trees and sledding, skiing and mittens. She can pop out back any evening from October through May and ask if we can “do a fire tonight.” 

Maybe the grass here in the desert isn’t always green, and when it is; maybe it shouldn’t be. Maybe our front yard is gravel and our summer heat scathes the paint off her backyard toys. Maybe she’ll never wake up to a snow day. Maybe she won’t grow up with cool summer nights.

But she’ll have high energy Spring Training crowds up the street and all over town. And beautiful winters and campfire marshmallows out back. She’ll grow up understanding only certain shady summer trees can grow in the desert, and that they’re special and rare. Maybe it’s not about giving her my memories, but making space for her to make her own.

  

On Turning Five

 In three days, my little goober turns 5.

This is not new or surprising information. I’ve only blogged about it maybe 6 or 7 times now. But birthday number 5 feels a lot like birthday number 1, and perhaps for good reason.

The first birthday, for mom and dad, is largely about survival. Or, having survived. The first year of your first born’s life is often equal parts bliss and oblivion; and the celebration of the first year encompasses each of those emotions.

But the fifth birthday; this one wraps up the first few years in a bow. It sets our little ones right up for kindergarten, and reminds us, quite often by way of a well-executed blow of smart sassiness, that the times, they are-a-changin’.

Five year olds are people. They have thoughts of their own, ideas of their own, and what I can only assume is the beginning of an internal dialogue on the world.

This is alarming.

All these years we have held her and paddled her little feet out to the edge of the branch, and jumped back. And then we stepped forward again, tapped her on the little head, scurried her out to the edge of the branch again, and tip toed back.

And now, it is safe to say…. the tricycle in our backyard is obsolete. The alphabet puzzles are no longer a fun challenge. The sippie cups stand, stagnant, in the cabinet. It takes a full twenty minutes to find a wipe in this house now. The swingset in the backyard no longer looks so looming. Story time at the library is just another opportunity for her to pull out her school skills. And these are good things. These are the things we live for when we become parents, the notion that while time marches on, we have prepared them for it.



Well. Kind of. Because after all, this is only test #1.


Happy 5th birthday to our baby girl. I mean big girl. I’m sorry; young lady.

To my kid.

To my whole heart.

To my husband and I.

We have fed her and bathed her and kept her warm and dry for five years now.

Remember when day one seemed so daunting? We did it.