We had packed all our play clothes, ready to play in the earth’s sandbox. This was a few weeks back when Scott, Basia, Phil and I decided to make visiting the desert in February an annual thing.
We left just before the worst storm to hit California in seven years made its grand entrance with sand bags available at all markets and flash flood warnings arriving to our phones like worried glances from our mothers.
“My phone can’t make it through the whole day anymore,” I laughed to Scott as we drove. “It’s kind of like me!” I was about 12 weeks pregnant at this point and still functioning like a zombie on Xanax (oh wait, a few weeks later and I still am!).
We headed towards our AirBnB with only minor raindrops falling. Basia and Phil, on the other hand, rode down with the storm in their face like an angry mother bear. In the morning, when only the last breath of the storm hovered, we hiked to a hill called Shadow Mountain. I bring a diaper bag stocked with extra socks and hair bands with me even when I take Sprout to my parent’s house, but I ditched the whole thing for this walk, so of course we had an explosive diaper incident just before the sun dramatically exploded into the evening sky herself. I carried a diaper-less, crying toddler home singing about Golly Golls (dogs) with blue eyes for two miles praying she was done going to the bathroom for a bit. Sometimes opportunities to grow arrive like little cactus thorns in your socks.
There was a train table and a handmade train scene in a spare room of the rental house. It was neat because someone had spent a lot of, presumably, happy hours making it for others to enjoy and also because it was creepy without trying. Although, maybe it was the howling wind that moaned through the eves of that room.
The third day we made it to Joshua Tree National Park. I’m happy to know that I’ll only ever have to drive two and a half hours east to feel like I went to another planet, which is great since being an astronaut is actually my nightmare job (space= scary and stressful).
We saw a guy perched way up high walking a tightrope between two enormous boulders reaching for the sky. He was skimming the sky with his foot.
“You’d rather be up there?” Phil asked.
But then later I thought, he will never know what it’s like to be pregnant. And that is a pretty exhilarating accomplishment in life too.
Other things to note are that Sprout called Basia (pronounced Bash-a) “Bash” and Phil “Fish” the entire time and that sitting in the infinity-edged yard playing with the bb gun and remote control car made it really feel like we were on vacation for a while. We all came back different, better.