Today as I sit in front of this computer in my pajamas listening to Purslane rearrange the furniture in her bedroom during "rest time" and Knox complain loudly in his crib about nap time, I realize that instead of frustration or annoyance I just feel amused. And I want to document this because as the mother of two young babes, frustration is my go to feeling when I have provided the perfect soothing milieu and both my children reject my efforts.
Why don't you appreciate what I do for you and respond correctly??
But I realize that the reason I am smiling peacefully while I listen to my children exercise their free will and fabulously precocious personalities is that I am content. Not just in this moment wearing pajamas after noon or eating cucumbers and dark chocolate mints for lunch, but in a truly holistic sense, I am content.
We spent the past weekend in State College with some of our dearest friends and their children. Because we were at Penn State for 5 years while Grant worked on his PhD, these people knew us pre, intra and post Purslane and Knox. Before we had kids or completed degrees, we road tripped and stayed up too late talking and drinking, had whiskey tasting parties and celebrated every excuse to wear a costume. We sat in church together and had dinner group on Thursday nights. They walked through pregnancy with us, were the first ones through the door of the hospital after both babes were born and brought us food and drink in the first few months of being new parents. They helped us pack up our house when we moved to Pittsburgh and have come to visit multiple times since then. They are our family, our community, our confidants, our sounding boards, our favorite dinner party guests, our fellow concert attenders, our babysitters, our sous chefs- in other words, these are our people.
And now some of us have children, some of us are returning to school, some of us are job seeking... life keeps evolving and on Saturday we sat around a fire pit in the Parks' backyard and talked about our crazy days and weeks and months. We took turns holding the two newest members of our family- Everett and Catherine Portz. 10 weeks old and breathtaking. Two families were noticeably absent, but at some point that evening both commented on Instagram photos we were posting of our reunion. Ah, social media to the rescue again. Alex, Becki, Mark and Kim, we missed you.
So back to Pittsburgh and instead of feeling lonely and regretful and looking at jobs for Grant and I back in State College (my usual post-Happy Valley funk) I was just overwhelmed with gratefulness that these people exist and being together is as normal and comfortable as when we lived down the street. I feel happy that as life has moved on we can catch up and fall back into rhythm- even for a weekend.
One crazy thing to me is that I didn't bring my camera. I took pictures on my cell phone for Instagram, but did not have my Canon on my hip where it lives most days. Maybe I recognized that I didn't need to frantically document this trip with these people. I just lived in the moments as they happened. Would Freud say my Id was controlling my subconscious desire to be present not behind the lens of my camera? I can't remember how those fighting subconscious elements work... (Dr Brinkman, a little help?? :)
But Pittsburgh is home now and we are building memories and community here. As I'm sure some of you are aware, Grant and I are huge Pittsburgh Pirates fans and after 20+ years, tonight is a playoff game at PNC park. We are in the playoffs. We have a babysitter, I switched my regular shift and worked last night (Pittsburgh is a city of sports fans and when I called my boss and asked to work Monday instead of Tuesday her response was "Go Bucs!" and said no more) and Grant and I are heading to the ballpark at 645 to watch history be made. I also have a lineup of fantastic new friends willing to hang out with Purslane and Knox should the Pirates continue to advance to the World Series.
Dinner parties are a little different now. Instead of people walking in the door and taking over my kitchen- helping themselves to serving spoons, sour cream, hot pads, stovetop burners- we have new friends who don't know where things are and are still just bringing the salad. But they will learn. And soon dinner parties will be the hullabaloo they were in State College.
I can't wait.