I came home last Saturday evening exhausted and cynical, wearing the day-stale clothes of a weekend conference, a commitment made in the spirit of rest and me-time and a nice little break that left me feeling less refreshed than hollowed, or weary, or perhaps simply bored. I came home, came to our ill-fitting front door and unleveled floor boards and Fable’s magnificent crooked smile, and her daddo let go of her hand.
And she walked.
She walked – tiny, hesitant, wobbling steps that we have waited and wished and pined for, and something in me shouted “Yes!” in its loudest breaking swelling voice. Yes to this moment, yes to uncertain first steps and the slowing of the world and the perfect focus that is this small, magnificent happening. Yes to this place, with its cracked ceiling and narrow hallway, yes to this man and the way that he gives and gives and gives some more, yes to this tiny, trying, incredible, unsteady girl.
She is taking her first steps. And I am taking mine.
These steps, these motherhood-entering steps, have been shakier than I planned them. I have waited all my life to be in this season, and it has thrown me off balance to find myself restless, distracted, exhausted, struggling to engage. More often than I care to admit, I am lost in my phone, or missing first discoveries as I scramble to Instagram them, or swallowed up in email when I should simply be swallowing the fresh air of spring and a tall glass of something sweet and the perfection of this piece of time. I find myself craving balance and rhythm and space.
It is worth mentioning, also, that I love you so. So often, my inbox and social media pages are filled with sweet notes from you, and I cannot write well enough to tell you how much I appreciate your generosity, your stories, your willingness to reach out and share yourselves with me. I treasure them. I carry them. I think of you – I see things that remind me of your letters in stores and I remember your names. Those of you who have been here for years and years, the beautiful hundreds of you who arrived on that crazy November day, you are my village, and I am grateful for you.
This sounds like a goodbye letter. It isn’t one. Nobody is going anywhere.
Well, except, perhaps, outside. Because, since November, I’ve found myself wrestling with all kinds of thinkings – new opportunities, so many chances to say yes to doing more, writing more, selling more, making actual dollars. I’m really good at saying yes to more. But I don’t want to be another blogger selling you my idea of perfection, winking at you the suggestion that perhaps you’d look thinner in these fabulous shoes, or sending pictures of our sponsored adventures cavalierly into your inbox so you will hurry up and have them too. Those things have value and a place, but this isn’t it.
This is, and has always been, our place – yours and mine, the safest of corners where I say to you “Things aren’t so perfect, but isn’t it lovely?” and you whisper back “Yes, yes, imperfect is perfect after all, here’s a beer and a cupcake,” and we hold hands across these silly invisible wires and feel a little more like ourselves. I want this to be our secret clubhouse, alway, just ours.
So there will be no ads. There will be no sponsors, unless they are my dear friends and are offering gifts to you (I’m not cruel, after all). There will be no selling, except the selling of the idea that we are better than our imaginary wars and should all probably lighten up and go play a little.
In return, I’m asking you to help me give myself permission this spring and summer to let things slide a bit. I need space for adventure and long walks and I want to write words to you that mean something, that come from itchy fingers that simply cannot wait to tell you all the wonderful things they’ve discovered, and not so much the sort of words that come from staring angrily at my screen trying to figure out how to get at least two posts up this week. This season, I want to worry less about post frequency and Facebook stats and page views and more about growing strawberries and counting wobbly toddler steps and creating stories to tell you when we meet here.
I’ll still be here. We’ll still have book club and babywearing and letters to our beautiful girl, but maybe a week will come where I need to check out of the internet, and there will be only quiet and sunshine and peace. And maybe I will be a bit slower to respond to your letters (though I will, I will, I always will), or maybe I’ll write you a flurry of things all at once and you’ll frantically try to figure out how to stop getting my email notifications and the stupid subscription service won’t let you cancel (annoyingly likely). But I hope you’ll stay.
Maybe, in the still spaces and the quiet gaps, you’ll write to your own beautiful girl or boy, and you’ll think of us as you plan adventures, and we’ll all be glad for freedom and irresponsibility and the magic precious passing of time. Maybe you’ll go outside and grow things, or stay inside and grow them, or simply grow.
She is taking her first steps toward balance, my girl- and I am taking mine.