My Child is an Explorer.

If my hunch is correct, and I think it just might be, then I need to get comfortable with the idea of raising an extroverted child. I remember realising I was an introvert and feeling like ‘oh yeah, that’s it, that’s me’. I think it’s only natural to assume you’re going to have a kid that’s just like you. I mean, who else do you know as well as yourself?

Haha, how wrong can you be.

This child is an adventurer. He is bold and fearless. A born explorer. He lights up around people; smiling at strangers on the street, chatting with the man in the chemist or the woman in the bank or the little girl in the doctors waiting room. He loves nothing more than being outside, unrestrained and wildly free. He’s only 11 months young and I am already in awe of the ways he pushes himself, determined to a fault, perhaps. 

No doubt I will find the endless chatter hard. It already is and he can’t form actual words or pose impossible existential questions yet. The need to turn every possible item into a drum and drumstick, creating deafening but hearty ‘music’, seems to be an early and easily mastered skill to him. I might run ragged chasing him up the stairs, or lose the plot trying to change the nappy of a never-not-moving baby but I hope that I can find the patience to understand that we are different and that’s ok. I hope he learns the same.

Of course, things change as they are wont to do. Perhaps he will become a shy five year old or a timid eight year old, or a borderline hermit in his middle age. I doubt it but, you know, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. 

I hope that I can always meet him where he is and let him know that as long as he’s doing his best, then he’s doing pretty ok.   

It’s good to be Home.

We flew into Dublin airport on a Thursday morning. Two weeks ago today. Rich spotted a Dublin bus from the air as we landed. We revelled at all the green fields and trees and grey drizzly sky. Though it was nothing compared to the torrential downpour we left behind in New York. A whistle stop tour in which we walked and ate and walked and ate and walked some more. In other words, the best kind of tour. I’ll post some photos if I ever find that roll of film we shot. 

Rich kept saying he wasn’t sure if he was ready. Was this ok? Were we right in coming home? [did we have a choice?] All good things must come to an end and I gave him a firm ‘yes.’  I had no doubt really. This is home. Nowhere else will ever be that. The streets, the people, the smells and sounds,  the familiar clouds in the sky—together they make up our home and my place in this world. The place I want my baby to know and love [keep reading, I’ll get there]. I feel comfortable, even though our situation is anything but right now. Precariously living back at home—and someone else’s home at that!—after year of independent bliss is challenging. To say the least of it. 

We came home with excess baggage in the form of five suitcases, one large cardboard box, a bicycle, helmet & skateboard, two backpacks and an unborn seventeen week old potential somebody. Surprised? Tell me about it!

We surprised my brother on his doorstep at 10 am. Tears sprung from his eyes upon seeing us. It was worth the lying and the butterflies. My niece hugged me with her chubby little arms spread wide and showed Rich everything in her bedroom, pointing and laughing. That was all the confirmation I could ever need. Our people are here and this is our place. 

One day soon I’ll write about all the things I learned and all the ways we grew. There will be time for photos and sharing and keeping track of what’s what. For now we are home and that is enough. 

I scribbled this out one day as a response to ‘show me love’ [an assignment for a poster making class]—it lived above our bed for a year; an often necessary and worthwhile reminder.

When Family Visits.

We had some visitors a couple of weeks ago and I can’t stop looking at the photos. It was a whirlwind week with my three year old cousin Emily and her lovely mama Mel. We ate, drank and did a lot of playing.  Three year olds don’t make for great tourists; they can be grumpy and demanding but when they’re sweet, they are so so sweet.

Here are some things I want to remember from this week:

How you momentarily forgot what ‘blowing a raspberry’ was and instead, when prompted, just blew air onto Richard’s belly. 

How you sat and painted pictures with me in the sunshine.

How we spent hours making ‘leaf soup’ in the garden from your previous day’s impromptu leaf collection. 

How you exclaimed with glee in the restaurant (we were playing Mr Napkinhead) and smashed a glass and then quietly said ‘sometimes I just get so excited.’

How you repeated Rich when he said that sunflower seeds were like crack to the chickens, ‘Yeah, like crack. Let’s give them some more crack.’

How you think we’re all silly, all the time. 

How you trust that we’ll always catch you, always find you, always love you.

How, during an epic-level tantrum you told us all to stay put while you left only to have you run back moments later crying that there was a road up ahead that you couldn’t cross. 

How you loved—and requested—Rich to drive fast. You say ‘that’s power, that’s real fast.’

How you somehow picked up an American accent by osmosis (on the plane?), stretching out your words like ‘fee-ast.’

How you say ‘I’m not cute, I’m a people.’ 

How you ask ‘do you need a cuddle?’

How you said ‘Clio likes to kiss me all the time but I don’t want to be kissed.’ I promptly stopped despite it breaking my heart. You’re just so kissable. 

How you hate pictures and cover your face whenever you catch sight of the camera. 

How a scary face involves you holding your fingers wide and over your eyes. 

How you picked blackberries for us every single day without fail but refused to even try one yourself. 

How you danced to the band in the restaurant on the day you arrived. And then you insisted Eoin dance too—not with you though, all on his own. 

How you laughed.  

How quickly we fell into ourselves, you and us—it was like no time had passed.

Friends Like These.

Before leaving Ireland I didn’t think too much about finding friends in California. Being more on the more introverted end of the spectrum I did worry about it a little about it but overall I thought it would just work itself out. I planned on joining a team or something like that if things were getting tough. Like most realities it was both easier and harder to make friends here than I expected.

M & R are our first real ‘couple friends’ which makes me feel pretty old but also old enough not to care because I have decided couple friends are the best! We couldn’t have asked for better friends to hike, cycle, eat, drink, hang out and solve the worlds’ problems with. We also managed to live with them for almost a week and remain friends which is seriously saying something! Ha! 

We took these photos on our last hike before M+R left for Ireland. We had been meaning to head to Bolinas for a long time and it seemed like a opportune way to mark the occasion. We hiked to Alamere falls, a stunning waterfall that flows right onto a beach. The only way to access the beach is to hike a four mile trail and then climb down a rocky cliff onto the beach. It was so incredibly beautiful—I cannot wait to go again. 

I’m not sure what this year would have been like without friends like these two. I think we have all grown and learned and stretched during some intense debates and seriously steep inclines. It’s been two weeks since M + R left for home and we really miss them. I can’t wait to see where we all end up next. 

Bryce Canyon National Park

After our hike in Zion we loaded our tired and sweaty bodies into the car and drove (or, in the girls’ case were driven) to Bryce Canyon. By the time we arrived it was dark and we checked into our motel, drove across the road to the only restaurant to eat and then crashed early. We were so tired. Bryce Canyon National Park is pretty unassuming on approach. It looks kind of like a sparse forest crossed with scrub land. There are deer hanging around and warning signs for moose (which we didn’t see, bummer!). We drove in a little deeper, parked and hopped out to take in the view. And wow. What a view. Bryce Canyon is, as the name suggests, a canyon. This means that it’s kind of like one of nature’s little secrets; you cannot see any of its vast beauty from the road. 

I captioned my instagram with something along the lines of ‘Bryce Canyon is the fakest looking real thing I have ever seen’ and that pretty much sums up my experience of this natural wonder. It looks like mars. It looks like those little sand people you make on the beach when you’re bored. It looks like a cartoon. It looks magical, beautiful, wonderful, unreal. Incredibly unreal. These photos are still captivate to me even though I’ve looked through them a hundred times already. 

Our legs hurt like hell and the hike—though much easier than Angel’s Landing—felt really tough to me. We walked and took photos and walked and stopped to eat apples and drink in the wonder of all this orange rock.

How is this real? Get yourself there. Your eyes need to see this.