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Letting Go

I can’t believe it’s been over a week since I’ve blogged. I think that’s the longest I’ve gone in years. I’ve been trying to be more forgiving of myself though when it comes to not accomplishing things, and blogging has been one thing I’ve tried not to beat myself up over. That said, I do miss it. I’ve always loved coming here and getting the opportunity to spill out my thoughts like a little bag of marbles, marveling over each one and arranging them in some kind of order that makes sense.

My thoughts these days are scattered. Nothing seems to have any sense of continuity. Any snatches of free time that I get I’ve been spending either fulfilling my writing duties for BlackBook or going for long runs around my neighborhood. I’ve been loving running again. I really missed it during my pregnancy and even though we’ve had a heat wave, it’s felt great to be out, moving my body and sweating. Every time I feel fatigued or get a cramp I remind myself of how much I missed this, of how envious I felt seeing other runners when I was seven, eight, nine months pregnant, and then I feel spurred on all over again.

I ran for forty minutes yesterday morning, down Ocean Park and into Cloverfield Park, running past kids playing soccer and a mom teaching her son to ride a bike. Three times I ran past this mom and her son, and three times I watched her push him forward on his bike, running alongside him for a moment until she let go. Three times I watched him fall into the grass, a look of surprise and dismay crumpling his little face. Three times I watched his mom squat down and help pick him back up. And three times I teared up thinking about how sweet life is, how it’s these moments that pull us forward, that sustain us, and that these are the moments we will look back on years from now.

It’s things like this that help me to let go when I feel discouraged about not writing more often right now or when another bill we can hardly afford to pay lands on my desk, or when it’s 9:30 at night and I’ve been trying for almost two hours to get the baby to fall asleep. I’ll take a deep breath and let it out, feeling my body soften and relax, and I try to remind myself that life is not made up of bills or stressors or stupid numbers on the scale in the bathroom. Rather it surely consists of moments between people, of the way the light shifts in the sky at dusk or the feeling of an infant’s quick little breath on my neck.

In some ways it’s felt good to give up on getting anything done. I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time at the beach. I figure if I’m not going to be getting anything done, I may as well not get things done while on the sand, staring out at the water. Jules seems to like the ocean air and Vera is content to play in the sand for hours. Often I marvel at the idea that my girls are going to grow up amidst palm trees and sea breezes.

I’m finding it easier and easier to get swept up in gratitude for this time in my life. For California, for being a writer and a mom and a therapist, for this beautiful, little family I am a part of. I took this photo on my father’s death anniversary last week, struck by what a different place I find myself in all these years later. A reminder that even when it feels like we’re not moving forward, we are.

7 Comments

  1. This is really beautiful. I couldn’t help but think back to your last post about your dad, in which you said that you missed having “someone to tell [you] that these years will unfurl whether [you] want them to or not” and to turn “what is large into something smaller, something softer and less scary, something we can handle.” It seems as though you are now telling yourself those same things and patiently and courageously learning to believe in them. Along the way, you are inspiring us to do the same, to accept that life keeps moving and to remember how much the little things count. Thank you for sharing yet another poignant post.

    Comment by Emily Page Hatch on August 13, 2012 at 11:43 am

  2. Thank you, Emily! That’s such a nice way of looking at all this. I hadn’t thought of it that way…

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on August 15, 2012 at 9:25 am

  3. How I love this. In the memoir that I wrote and chose to put away, the very last scene was of my son riding away from me on his bike. There is something so incredibly poignant about that moment (and yes I know I’m not the first person to remark on that!). Your gratitude inspires me to remember my own. Thank you. xox

    Comment by Lindsey on August 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm

  4. This was so beautiful, Claire. Loving your posts…as always. And, I positively love that last photo.

    Comment by Lynne on August 15, 2012 at 6:40 pm

  5. I love Vera’s anklet :)

    Comment by Kavita on August 16, 2012 at 9:50 pm

  6. The last time I read your blog you were pregnant. When I reconnected with it, I discovered that you have had a beautiful little girl, Juliette. Congratulations-She is divine! Secondly I discovered that you are coming to Australia… If only you were coming to Perth!

    Your posts continue to move me. I have two sons, Joshua (2 and a half) and Samuel (10 months). The first few months were an absolute blur but now that I am able to take stock, it is so lovely to have my two boys. It really does just get better and better!

    I admire your honesty and your descriptions of motherhood.

    Thanks so much Claire. xxx

    Comment by Claire on August 20, 2012 at 7:22 pm

  7. Taking the time to “just be” is so much easier said than done these days. It’s so great that you are relishing in these moments and letting go. As I read the news and hear about other people’s lives that are flipped upside down because of tragedy, the reality of my hurrying through life hits me like a wall. Lindsey Mead wrote in her blog recently that if she ever got a tattoo, it would say “be here now.” I’m trying to adopt this motto in my own life. I love this post for its soothing simplicity (and for the little girl pics-I can’t get enough!) :)

    Comment by Hallie Sawyer on March 22, 2013 at 9:54 pm

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