Our family has been given the unexpected opportunity to move into a bigger home this season, an abundant provision that we don’t deserve. We’re filled with gratitude, cautiously hopeful for a little more space, a little more sanity. It’s been so much fun walking through homes, imagining how we might use or reinvent each space. A backyard for planting trees and hosting friends, a formal dining room repurposed into a playroom, a sweet hallway nook transformed into a reading corner for our budding bookworm.
Lately, my 3-year-old has been engaging in a nightly battle of I don’t wanna go to bed. My weapon of choice has been threats of her Elsa Halloween costume heading straight back to Amazon with the delivery man (mamas, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, yes??). Her whining and inching towards the door signals further opposition. Charlotte, you’ll have to walk your school Halloween parade without a costume if you’re not in bed. Now. That usually has her leaping back under her covers. Surrender, till it starts up again the next night. Oh yes, I can resist this face.
A close friend’s wedding in New York last week was the perfect excuse for a mini-trip for our family, a timely getaway in the midst of a heavy season of soul searching. Though worlds apart from our cozy life in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, New York still holds such a special place in our hearts and our story. We spent the first two years of our marriage there - eating our way through NYC, spending long weekends camping in the Catskills or exploring a new east coast city, weathering the intensity of PA school, learning our rhythm as husband and wife.
You may have seen glimpses on Instagram, but we’re definitely a Christmas in July (perhaps even more like March) kind of business. There are catalogs to be prepared, newsletters slated, products sent into production. Every year, we’re mindful of the tension as we anticipate the big buying season that sustains our business all the while wanting to be thoughtful, minimal consumers ourselves. We, too, want to push back against the waste and pollution that comes with large-scale manufacturing, considering what we truly need and don’t.
We’ve officially entered toddler land, where things nosedive from sweet to sour in about .5 seconds. This morning: a perfectly pleasant morning at our local park followed by a full-blown tantrum once we pulled into the driveway two minutes later. The cause? Will never know, haha. We’re also navigating the ever-present “mine!” - a cry for ownership, a claim on her newly discovered autonomy. I vacillate between wanting to affirm that yes, that bottle (toy, bracelet, hair tie, book, sticker) is hers, that her personhood is significant, and attempting to teach her a deeper truth: everything we have is meant to be shared.
This season has brought so much unanticipated change both personally and here at Our Heiday. Navigating unexpected roads keeps our stories interesting and full of depth, like all the classics we’ve read growing up. With any small business, change is inevitable, along with taxes or bookkeeping, and I’ve found the internal resistance happens when I fixate on staying where things are comfortable. Riding the current when the waves are good feels so much better than tumbling.
Yesterday, I watched my almost 18-month-old dance her heart out to some VBS songs, and I mean literally her heart out. She was full on squat-clapping (she made this move up, so impressive), swinging her arms around and over her head, stomping her feet, flapping her little hands - totally lost in the music, blissfully unaware of how she might appear to a bystander. The preciousness of it all made my heart simultaneously soar and ache (sigh, motherhood, right?).
I know it may seem silly and superfluous to celebrate a dating anniversary once you also have a wedding anniversary, but I’ve always loved acknowledging that summer day (eleven years ago!!) where Daniel and I took our almost nine years of friendship to the next level ;) We were both home for the summer after finishing our freshman year of college and it finally felt like the right time to say the thing I inexplicably knew all along: you’re my person. But that’s a story for another day.
When I read or hear stories about other parents’ toddler seasons, there are so many things that ring true - the testing of boundaries, the endless ways to avoid bedtime, the negotiating (omg the negotiating), the threenager attitude. It’s a trying (and beautiful) time - the common thread weaving us all together. With a little turn to the left and right in moments of despair, we’re often met with a knowing smile, reassurance of camaraderie.
When we first bought our home a few years ago, I sat in the complex, unfamiliar reality of loving and hating something at the same time. We had moved for our six-month old, feeling squeezed out of our condo and suffocated by the car smog, but I couldn’t bring myself to accept this new, very suburban life. My heart swelled with gratitude as I strolled through our neighborhood under huge oaks rather than huge skyscrapers (omg fresh air), then immediately deflated with the dissatisfaction of hearing nothing but crickets chirping after 8pm (omg where is everyone). After having spent the past six years prior in LA proper, three of them in the heart of downtown where Clarence and I had lived in the most beautiful, historically renovated loft - floor to ceiling brick walls, huge windows, the whole thing - I was now finding myself trying to make this 3 bd/3ba beige-walled house feel like home.