Sometimes I still can’t believe how much shit can be hitting the fan one minute and then, suddenly, like when the cops show up to a party, everything is calm again, like it never happened. Somedays, that’s how I would describe life with two tiny kids.
Last weekend we took a road trip up to Pismo Beach for Scott’s cousin’s wedding. A six hour drive took us only about seven, which isn’t bad. There were moments of the drive that were pure bliss; Avalon watching animated trash trucks on the i-pad and Isla sleeping so hard her mouth hung open as we wound around the sunny coastline talking about podcasts we’ve listened to. Other times both kids were crying while we sat in gridlock and regretted eating In-N-Out (ok, that was just me) and all I could think about was when Scott and I used to do these trips alone, belting out Cold War Kids or Eminem songs in the night as we made our way to drink hard cider on damp tree stumps around a fire burning parched ones.
You know how people ask you if you have a good baby and it’s just the stupidest question? Like you might respond, “Yeah, this baby sucks. If only a different embryo implanted in my uterus!” Well anyways, no one really means it that way, but so far all I can think when I hear that question is “This baby is fricken perfect, she just cries all the time”. ‘All the time’ being relative, of course. Thirty minutes of screaming can feel like three hours when you are either trapped in a car or home alone with the kids twelve hours a day.
After a particular meltdown on our drive home where I ended up with toddler poop on my pants and baby spit-up mysteriously in my watch band, I was looking out the window as we passed the most perfect looking day at one of our favorite surf spots in Ventura called Emma Wood. A dreamy four foot peak was heading right for a surfer who was sitting all alone. “I just want to ride that wave!” I said. But then the guy took off and fell and I started laughing. “Are you happy he fell?” Scott asked.
“No,” I laughed. “That’s probably exactly what I would have done!”
Avalon’s newborn days were a mix of pure love, pure exhaustion, and some sad self-loathing. This is pretty well documented here. But God, in all those long hours, I fell in love with that kid. She burrowed into my being like that plaque that causes heart attacks or that magic that makes someone live again. Her tiny voice, ever-asking to “Eat now?” being one of my favorite sounds I’ve ever heard. We fall in love with them in those long nights and sleepy mornings. We fall away from prioritizing ourselves for a while too. And this is as it should be.
I was going to continue writing 200 more words about how the trip was hard, but helped us grow and how sometimes I think the newborn phase is not my cup of tea, but the truth is with all that’s been going on in the world, I don’t have anything to complain about. My baby sleeps really well, she took a pacifier and bottle this week, she wants me to hold her all the time.
This morning, while Avalon was at school and I was just about to doze off, Isla woke up in the crook of my arm so slowly and sweetly, looking at me almost like it was the first time she ever saw me. And maybe it was like I saw her again for the first time, too. She wasn’t a thing I had to tend to and then reap the reward of later, like a garden seed that would bloom into a flower, she was perfect right in front of me.