Looking for a new stoop to sit on

robin fledglings

Three weeks ago I wrote that I was struggling to find time to write here, despite a head full of ideas. In the weeks since I have realized the truth about my not writing is a pretty tangled to-do.

Life here brims with daily blessings and wonder. For two weeks we watched three robin hatchlings grow at lightning speed, until Saturday, when they flew from their nest. There is more rhubarb here on the farm right now than you can shake a stick at. My son adores the whole farm crew and hightails it from our front porch to their back deck several times a day. I don’t know if they see him as more of an Urkel or a Kramer, but their patience and tenderness with him is a balm to my weary heart every single time. Yesterday we went out for lunch and ice cream and left the shop with two quarts of just-picked strawberries. As we did the rest of our errands I daydreamed, half drunk on their sweet perfume, about what I most wanted to do with them. Jam? Ice cream? Alice Medrich’s buckwheat shortcakes? My husband came home from work at six and we three piled onto the bench on our back deck with the box of strawberries and a bag of pistachios and together we polished off almost everything as the sun eased down the sky.

And the resources at hand here – cultural, educational, social, natural, culinary – are truly exciting. There are so many of them, and they’re so much closer than they were in Virginia. It’s really a delight to imagine the ways our life will unfold here over the years.

Still. I’m struggling. More than I thought I would. It’s partly the move from a farm where I was needed to a farm where I am not. I never felt I juggled motherhood and the work I did for our business with much aplomb, and as we prepared for the move I relished the idea of narrowing my focus to family and home for a time. But it turns out it feels good to feel necessary and quite a bit less good not to. I’m also struggling as a parent, to respond more often than I react, and to figure out what kinds of structure and rhythm we all need. And I’ve been reminded a few times in recent weeks of what an unkind place the internet can be. It has not been that way for me, but knowing that kind of heartlessness is out there makes me feel fiercely protective of my family, and perhaps also of my own pride, and leaves me wondering if I should be writing here at all. And finally, there is the small but steady voice I keep hearing, the one that says if I am going to be here in this space, perhaps it is time wrap up all this earnest talk of how difficult transitions are. Perhaps it is time to move on to something else, or at least something more.

Here’s what I know will help: time. Compassion, for myself and for the people I love. Rest. Good food. Movement. Meditation. Time. Family. Friends. Elders. Being of service. Time. Writing. Reading. Establishing rhythms and routines. Connecting. Time. A sense of belonging. A sense of purpose. Time. Moving at my son’s pace and trying to understand how he sees this new place. Staying busy, productive, and curious. Gratitude practices. Have I mentioned time?

______

When I was stressed in my New York City days, the surest quickest route toward well being and away from self pity was to just open my door. Sometimes I’d walk through Tompkins Square Park and toward the East River. Sometimes I’d catch the next M15 up First Avenue with no particular destination. But most often I’d just sit on our stoop and watch the city go by. For me, it was that same feeling you get staring up at a perfect and vast midsummer sky, that reminder that you matter, but only as much as the next person or tree or mosquito. “Oh yeah,” I’d think, “it’s not just me.”

So here I am, looking for a new stoop to sit on. I’ll keep you posted.

7 thoughts on “Looking for a new stoop to sit on

  1. Nik

    Sometimes – quite often – when I’m struggling to write, I’m just plain struggling.

    Good thoughts to you three lovely humans up there. <3

  2. Kat

    I love your writing and I hope you don’t stop sharing, but I do really understand and empathize on so many levels. Even though I’m not a parent, our lives can be pretty hectic and unexpected, though exciting too. But I do always feel like I want to stop moving and just be able to do something more. At the same time, I appreciate all that we are able to experience and sometimes that’s more difficult. As for sharing (especially writing on my personal blog) stuff about our life, I’m usually in a constant struggle about that – especially with how much to share and usually I don’t share as much even if it seems like I am.

    I love the last two paragraphs of this post so much.

    Anyway, there’s so much more I’d like to say but I can relate to this for sure. Hugs and love to you all, Lisa, and an extra hug and love for you. xo

  3. dixie

    As I sit here, with coffee in hand, I feel like I just had a conversation with a kindred spirit who said, “Oh boy, do I ever get it!” Thank you for that. xo.

  4. abbie

    oh sweet friend. I wish I could hug you. Actually, I wish I could carve out some days to sit and sift through all of this with you. We struggle with so much of the same. Lately, I find myself truly questioning what my place is, is it ok to take this time with my child? Or should I be milking more? Should I put him in daycare in order to relieve my dad? Is it really true that the work I do raising my boy is of the utmost importance, as my dad would say, “you’re raising the most important crop.” Balancing. Forever, balancing. I am thinking of you. I’m hoping this summer brings us even a night to catch up and share stories. xoxo

  5. Stacey

    No, it’s definitely not just you. Thank you for sharing all of this and helping me to see that it’s not just me either. I often forget to stay mindful in the present, and instead, worry more about how my choices today will affect our future. I’m in a spot now where I wonder if I should move away from my professional career (temporarily? permanently?) to be with my children more… or will I miss it so much that I only see that decision as a mistake? Either way, sitting on the stoop is a great analogy for me in slowing down, looking around me, and making thoughtful decisions about today. Hugs to you as you settle into this transition and many wishes for contentment in whatever path you take.

  6. amanda (sweetpotatoclaire)

    there is a lot about this post that made me want to comment. the lovely impromptu dinner of berries and nuts sounds perfect. sometimes, almost always I guess, simplest is best. while I can’t speak to what you’re going through with all of your personal/geographical changes (I’m new to your blog), I can wholeheartedly agree that yes, parenting is rough. in so many ways. we are also a family of three, (we have a three year old daughter) and this first part of three has been a real challenge for us in so many ways. I often have to remind myself to get grounded in love and compassion in order to act and not react. dealing with the intensity of another little being going through struggles and navigating all that is becoming a little person can be heavy stuff! I am learning new things about myself daily. and of course it isn’t always stuff I care to learn 😉 I hope you keep writing, I’ve enjoyed reading your words.

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