We’ve been here a month. Right now I have this annoying head cold that requires me to eat chicken soup for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I made rice to go with it and my boys threw it everywhere like we were at a wedding. Anyway, it’s been an interesting month, there’s been a fair amount of exploring going on, the air is clean, it’s really green, and Salinas, the town we live in, is the lettuce capital of the world. This place is surrounded by farmland and mountains, and it’s a 20 minute drive to the beach. Every time I drive down Highway 68, I can feel the stories. There is so much. I’m happy to be here. My lungs are also thankful.
I’ve been writing almost every day. I decided to do NaNoWriMo this month. I am 1,400 words away from the 50,000 goal. I have no idea what’s going to happen in those 1,400 words but I’m looking forward to figuring it out. I’ve never written a novel as an adult before, that was something I did when I was a kid, and so doing this feels like a return. Many things about my life right now feel like a return. But this writing thing, I had forgotten how much I love to tell stories and how many stories I have to tell, like this place we’re living. It all feels too coincidental, all wrapped up neatly by the fact that I’ve been rereading East of Eden, my favorite Steinbeck, which happens to take place in … Salinas. I’m dying to finish the book but I can’t find it right now, and I’m sure a certain small child or two has something to do with that.
Christmas is on its way and we’ve decided that this year the holiday season needs to be absolutely magical. We don’t have any money so it won’t be like there will be a pile of gifts under the tree, but I keep thinking about the things that made my childhood Christmases so magical and they had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with presents. This obsession with giving stuff for Christmas has gotten a bit silly, how do people afford these big blown-up Christmases? Don’t get me wrong, I have a wishlist, so do my boys, but I don’t expect to get anything off of them. Would it be nice? Hell yeah, our point and shoot camera bit the dust, I’d love some cute shirts, blah blah blah.
In the end, we have all we need.
But here’s what I want for this holiday season to be like: Christmas music all the time, hot chocolate and apple cider, lights on the tree glowing at 1 AM when I come out of the bedroom to get a drink of water, our annual search for the perfect ornament to add to the tree, advent calendars, Christmas pajamas, making our first Christmas dinner and then eating it, participating in all the holiday activities that we can. 2011 really knocked the wind out of us, it’s not like it’s been terrible, but it’s been hard, and I’m ready to just sit down and breathe and enjoy. It’s the most wonderful time of the year and I want it to feel like it, dammit.
I don’t know, I’ve been doing some research for my novel, which involves reading the blog of a teenage girl, and I’ve decided that 32 is a good age. I hate to use the word “freedom” but I can’t think of a better one to describe the process of growing up. Being really young was hard and confusing. My youth was similar to walking around through a valley and there was no clarity to be found. There are things I miss about being younger, like you know, legs without varicose veins, blonder hair. I took a few self-portraits the other day and noticed that I have JOWLS. Or at least I did then. Maybe they’re gone today.
There’s always hope it was a bad angle.
The days are mostly good, there are days when I can’t wait for naptime, of course, but that mostly has to do with the fact that I’m tired and that I’ve barely slept since September 24, 2008. I like this time in my life. I like my life. I hear people with grown-up kids say things like “those were the best days of my life” in reference to having small children, and I can’t tell you how much I wish that doesn’t end up being the case for me. I want life to always get better, I don’t want to look back and want to go back to another time, I want to remember every single moment of my life.
Simon is my fire, my reminder to be brave and fearless. Charlie is my light, a call to be open and loving. Roy is my earth, the foundation upon which I stand. I don’t know who I am entirely but I have a few clues. I do know that we’re solid together, my little family.
It’s almost the end of November and I feel good.