5.18.2014

Be like water.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about death. My own, specifically. There were some days a couple of weeks ago that felt so joyful, so strong, that my immediate reaction was to wonder which Prius was going to run me over in a Berkeley crosswalk later that day. Because life can't be so joyful, can it? Because blueberries can't taste THAT redonk and my work with Plucky can't possibly be THAT fulfilling and my son's amazement at a squirrel can't continue forever.

Right?

Then, two days before Mother's Day, I got the news that a friend from High School died of cancer that returned 25 years after he'd fought it when we were kids. His daughter is a couple months older than Noah. He lived a few blocks from us in Brooklyn and we used to run into each other from time to time on the street; we talked about pediatricians and nanny shares and introduced our spouses.

So for two days leading up to Mother's Day I was weepy, just horrified really. The death that comes at a sweet pinnacle of one's life inched closer.

*

I spend more time in nature these days and it provides such perspective. This morning I threw the kid in the car and we spent an hour poking around the Berkeley Botanical Gardens before his nap. There's a little stream that flows from a pond with lily pads and we watched the water move for a little while. Water doesn't double back. It keeps going, flowing, finding spaces and places to occupy. Sometimes it soaks into the ground and other times it evaporates into the air but I find it especially compelling when it pools and waterfalls down a steep hill.

Time to regroup.

Time to freefall.

Time to regroup.

Time to freefall.

I think that's the cycle I'm in right now. Hell, that's probably the cycle we're all in. I listen to Pharrell and Katy Perry while I cook Noah oatmeal in the mornings and I feel like we can do anything. And then later I stumble on this gem when washing dishes and suddenly I'm sobbing over the sink.

Time to regroup.

Time to freefall.

A few weeks ago, a friend confessed that turning 40 has turned him into a sap. He tears up at the slightest thing.

I'm not even 40. So what does it mean when you're 33 and already everything, the pristine goodness of the world and the ugly unfairness, reduces you to your own salt water?

*

I love our life in Berkeley. I feel faceless in Berkeley. I haven't seen flowers like these ever before in my life. Other than my husband, I don't have almost anyone to hug me. The blueberries are incredible but they are $7.98 a pound and I spent $40 on fruit last week, which is (clearly) unsustainable. They collect compost here. We have hundreds of fruit flies inhabiting our kitchen from the compost. My son's daycare spends more time outside. My son's daycare spends less time on arts & crafts. I have more time to cook here. I'm still a crappy cook, though.

"How was the move?" people ask. "How's Berkeley?" And I don't know how to answer. The physical move happened, but the emotional move is still happening. It occurs to me that maybe some people settle someplace for the rest of their lives because they get tired of the cost of transitional periods, the cost of settling in, the months it takes to find routines and make friends and hang paintings. 

 In the meantime, we regroup. And then we freefall. And I try not to think about my death so much. I remember that Brene Brown says that, in moments of imagining the worst (because you feel such joy), you should reject the fear and instead feel gratitude. 

So I'm grateful. For the new opportunities, for the sunshine, for the redwoods and the flowers. For my family and the number of people who love us back home and for my life, that for now continues on, my own swift adventure down a steep hill.

5.16.2014

Some days are great and some days are...

... like today. It's only 10:30am. I know there's a lot of day left. (Ohhh, how I know.) But it's a tough day today so far. We are all so tired.

I don't get a lot of time to myself these days, which explains my absence on the blog. When Noah takes a nap, I generally try to shower or send work emails or drink a cup of coffee. The pain these days (for me, anyway) comes from having ideas and big dreams and the motivation to do them... but a lack of time. Sometimes this is about work stuff, but just as often it's about going to a new place or reading a new book or running again.

I just don't know how to rejigger our schedules to make time for these things.

Then I think, "well that's just this period of our lives, we have to sacrifice our individual interests for our family at the moment" and then I think about maybe one day having a second kid and I realize this period might be longer than I'm promising myself. And that feels pretty tough.

There are fulfilling days in parenthood, but there are also many days that feel like compromising potential. I hope that doesn't sound rude. Obviously I adore my son. But I, too, am a person on a journey.

I look for ways to slow down. Sometimes we look at flowers together, or dig with small sticks and pebbles. These moments are important, the slowing and the being present. I feel we're doing more of this in California, most definitely inspired by the nature around us.

But what if sometimes going fast isn't the worst thing? What if the thrill of conceiving of a project and fulfilling it is *also* being present? Because I think it's an important part of what I love about the world.

I don't have an ending. I have to go make a long to-do list, which may make me feel better. In the meantime, I send you blips from our radar. We're alive and we're making it, but today we're tired. And I hope you - all of you - are making it too. xx

5.06.2014

Announcing a new mom project



Every once in a while I find a moment of culmination in my life, an opportunity or a conversation or a project that brings a bunch of random threads together and says "yep. THIS is where things have been leading."

Today I'm so excited to announce the latest of these moments... performance reviews for moms!

I had this idea a while back, probably while unloading the dishwasher. (This seems to be my most grumbly chore.) While I do get a lot of appreciation from my work life, I thought about how being a mom - the HARDEST JOB EVER - is the silent full time job in my life. And one of the things that has always fueled me in my career has been the feedback, the moments of appreciation and a desire to keep doing what's great and grow ambitiously from what's lackluster.

Then I thought about some mom friends of mine who are at home full time, who aren't getting the opportunity for positive feedback from another job. And I kinda wanted to send them all a thank you card, no joke, each one saying something like "thanks for wiping the counter when no one sees it" or "thanks for scooping the litterbox, even if the cat doesn't thank you," or "thanks for putting the books back on the shelf even though 14 seconds later they'll be out again."

Since I work in technology, I meet a lot of technologists. (Ha.) I met Craig Bryant at a conference in Portland about 5 weeks ago and he runs a product called Kin, which is HR software for small businesses. We talked about being parents and HR and humans and decided to collaborate on a project for Mother's Day. So The Department of Family Appreciation was born!

Go check it out. Fill out a review for your mom or your wife or your friend/sister/aunt/niece who is a mom and who could use some positive vibes to keep her going all year long. It's free. And it's one small way we can assure that lots of moms wake up on Sunday morning with a big pile of gratitude in their inboxes...

Which, I think, is how we make the world a little bit better. xx