it all comes into focus, eventually.

It’s funny how much of life is out of focus.

I feel like I live as awake as I can, aware that it all might end with a fast bus and a mis-step. And still, most of the days feel like a blur of things-to-do or moving from one task to another or listening to something while thinking about something else. We miss so much of this life. I do. I’m guessing you do too.

Our kid’s hilarious. She has a long retinue of imaginary friends, whose names she likes to chant when she’s fighting sleep. She listens to everything we say and then we listen to our stories come back in slightly surreal form through her. She’s starting to play with language in a way that moves me deeply, dipping into song play with her phrases and focusing on sounds instead of sense. And every night, I listen to her talking to herself in her room before she reluctantly falls into sleep. Every part of her day —— the interactions with other kids, the food we had for dinner, the little moments of trauma or surprise —— come out in her steady stream of stories.

She’s telling stories. She’s floating the words in the air of her bedroom, watching them fall onto her little pink stove. But she’s telling stories.

This is why I love writing so much. I may go through a day feeling fumbly, floundering. However, I can always see little spots of light when I turn around and open my eyes.

We’re pretty damned lucky, this little family of ours. We go adventuring often.

Lu knows the drill now. We pack the night before while she is asleep (sometimes) or the morning of the flight while she piles one stuffed animal after another into her tiny thrift-store suitcase with the faded dragonflies and the tag for the trip to Disneyland another kid took. Danny and I wonder once again if we are bringing too many clothes. (The answer is yes.) We grab the charge cords for the phone at the last moment and go to the car. We drive the length of the island to the ferry dock, waving goodbye to the the trees, which are bound to be more full or bare when we return, depending on the time of the year. One of us drops the other adult and Lu at the ferry dock, lugging all the suitcases to the bench outside and then drives the car up to the parking lot. Lu dances and skips, running back and forth between the entrance to the ferry and our sagging black suitcase. We watch up the hill for the tiny figure of Daddy making his way toward us. Hopefully, he doesn’t have to run.

Inevitably, I’m clutching my travel coffee mug, which I intended to leave in the car, so I have to carry it around with me everywhere on the trip.

We carry our bags onto the ferry, Lu dragging her suitcase behind her. The ferry workers always smile at her serious intent. She’s going to be helpful. We pile into the little elevator and let her push the button. She wants us to run around the ferry, playing hide and seek. One of us sits with the bags. And then we pile back in, down to the car deck, and walk our bags to the bus at the end of the dock. Or, we call a cab.

It’s off to the airport we go.

A few weeks ago, we were off to New York.

The night we arrived, a dear friend of mine texted me to say, “Welcome back to the city of your birth!”

I love New York City, madly. This has been so well documented that there’s no need for me to put links to past pieces or photos. The first year I lived there, it seems, they should have put me on the posters. My big grin on a I heart NY poster saying, “Shauna says, ‘Come and visit!’ If you’re lucky, you’ll love it as much as I do.”

By the time I left New York, in the summer of 2001, I had lived in Manhattan for four years (with 6 months of that in London). I always joked that time in New York is like dog years. So really, I lived there for 28 years. I was, without a doubt, a New Yorker, even if I lived in Seattle now.

Still, I left because I couldn’t see the sky easily enough. There were moments I was surrounded by concrete and nothing growing. I wanted space and silence and trees.

Whenever I go back for a visit, I see that I forgot to look for the light hard enough. It’s there.

Still, to be honest, this trip to New York was harder than I imagined it to be.

Our darling 4-year-old? Well, let’s just say that trips like this don’t suit her style. She’s remarkably chipper, a little trooper who traipses around the city and uses every subway trip as a chance to study the faces. Since she was born, we’ve been to New York many times. And each time, we just slung her in a stroller or held her hand as she toddled around a corner to our next destination. Easy peasy. World traveler.

We hadn’t been to NY in over a year. A lot changes between 3 and 4.

She has an entire social network on the island, with kids from two preschools to love. As much as she adores us —— and I love how sweet and tender 4 can be —— she needs those friends and those interactions. A week away was just too long this time.

Also, as active as Lucy is, she’s not Manhattan-ready with her walking. It always takes longer to walk from Broadway to Central Park than I remember. She’s good about saying what she needs, which is why she often said to us, “Mama, I am feeling a little concerned about all the people around me right now.” (Fair enough. We live on a small, rural island the same length as Manhattan with fewer than 10,000 people on it.) And so, she wanted to be carried. Danny and I took turns carrying her through the Natural History Museum, in the Village, from the A train stop at 145th to the friends’ building where we were staying, and most everywhere else. All this while insisting on wearing the too-tight high heels her friends Lucy and Edie gave her, the ones that gave her blisters and made her feet hurt. So she needed to be carried even farther.

My arms have just started to recover.

The fact is, it was this visit that made me realize New York may be the city of my birth but it’s no longer my home. It’s a hard place to be with an active kid who would much rather stay at the playground with the boy she befriended within 5 minutes than be dragged to another lunch with an editor.

Our long New York trips are gone for awhile. If there are business trips to be made, from now on I have to take them by myself.

I knew this definitively when we were in the Saveur offices, visiting some friends who work on the website. Helen introduced us around the office and in the kitchen. (Oh my goodness, that kitchen.) Lucy had just endured one lunch with a work colleague and was hustled to this meeting. She kept tugging on my pants when I was introduced to editors, singing her pleas for me to notice her, starting to fall apart at the seams at the idea of one more boring meeting. This is how I met James Oseland, the editor-in-chief of Saveur and one of my favorite people in the food world: standing in his overly warm office, sweating, with a four-year-old on my hip, tugging at my nose and saying, “Mama, I need your attention right now!”

Great. James Oseland will remember me as the sweaty woman with the obstreperous child.

But then I look back on this New York, this wonderful chaotic exhausting trip, and I see the light.

The dinner party with friends gathered in a small apartment, with kids running through the living room shouting, “We’re going to put on a show in 5 minutes!”

The breakfast we shared our first morning there, takeout from Daniel Boulud’s place on Broadway, and the hummus with smoked paprika and whole chickpeas that made me wake up more than the coffee did.

The long evening we spent with my dear friend Meri, after we eschewed the idea of yet another restaurant and raided Zabars, then climbed into a cab toward Harlem with bags of food. We ate salami and cheese, baba ganoush, gluten-free crackers and good chocolate at the low table in our friend Kim’s apartment and talked until late in the evening.

The languid morning we shared with our friend Kim, who had returned to her apartment with husband and kids the night before. For once on the trip, we didn’t feel the need to move and do and see. We let Lu watch a little Mr. Bean while we sipped coffee and shared stories with Kim while the sunlight filtered through the windows.

The crazy cab rides we had all over the city, including the incoherent guy from the Bronx who tried to convert us to Jesus, the Indian man who drove in his bare feet, the young Russian woman on her 3rd day of the job who asked directions from us, and the amazingly quiet man who drove us to the airport the last day on side streets entirely. He didn’t hit the freeway once. We drove through sections of Bed-Stuy I had never seen, including a 20-block neighborhood of Orthodox Jews that felt like Israel, followed in one block by an entirely Dominican community. When we reached the airport, I said how much I had enjoyed that ride. No one had ever taken me to the airport by side streets. He grinned and said, “That’s the real New York. I wanted you to see it.”

I’m so glad we did.

And it’s photographs that help me look back most clearly. Today, seeing this photo of Lucy on her tiptoes, exuberant at being sprayed by the water at a playground on a hot afternoon? I wanted to go back with her, to show her more.

I still love this New York, this crazy place that sells fruit and vegetables on the sidewalk. (I’ve always wanted a mango covered in car exhaust fumes.) Where people clamor for the outdoor seating in summer, their seats three feet from the curb and the people passing by.

This is hope, right here, selling bananas and oranges to any of dozens of different kinds of people who walk by. Papayas unite them.

We were in New York because I had been asked to speak at the Longhouse Food Writers’ Revival, the event that gathered food writers of all ages and backgrounds to a refurbished barn in the middle of a field, outside of a small town in upstate New York.

The first night, we sampled charcuterie made by a local butcher. The hungry women (and the couple of men attending) descended.

I’m sorry if you didn’t get to try any of the duck prosciutto. I think our kid ate most of it.

And there were pickled things: beans, cucumbers, garlic. It would have been a mighty night.

Well, except that the chefs from the restaurant in Brooklyn who were supposed to cook dinner for everyone gathered showed up three hours late. We ate dinner by candelight in the barn, the darkness outside deep, and everyone there bowed her heads and dived in with spoons. We were pretty hungry by that time.

The same thing happened the next day. The folks roasting the pig, which slowly turned on the spit all day, flecking ash into the sky and leaving our clothes smelling of smoke and pig fat? Well, they started late too. By the time dinner came, after an intense day of conversations, disagreements, and ideas that floated to the ceiling without ever coming down to the ground? We needed to eat. We ate in darkness once again.

Did any of that matter in the end? Not really.

Instead, looking back, what I remember are the spots of light, the intense connections with friends I know well and friends whose words I have been reading for years without ever meeting them. There were Americanos on demand in the morning and warm corn tortillas in the evening. There were clutches of conversations in the big field, conversations that mattered. There were poems read, films shown, interviews conducted, connections made between words and the attempt to make sense of them. There was music and a small girl dancing. There was a big red barn, freshly painted. There was the chance I had to speak about writing from the place of not knowing. There were young interns earnestly doing work around the clock to make all this happen. There was an incredible woman, a force of nature, who took on too much because her heart dictated that she try it all, a woman who made all this happen.

There was even gluten-free pizza from the wood-fired oven.

This was, in retrospect, an event filled with light.

That’s the thing. Life can’t always be in focus when you live it. Sometimes, you just have to write it.

This is why I believe firmly that writing matters, particularly food writing, whether you wrote only for print magazine for decades or have been writing online for a few years. (This was the theme of the Longhouse Revival, this false divide between old and new media.) We all have stories, stories that need to be shared. Good stories have a way of finding the people who need to hear them.

I feel like, in a way, we’re all just selling our fruit on a crowded New York street. Most people will walk by without looking. But sometimes, someone stops because she spotted the bright glimmer of a mango in the cement-colored world, and she hungered. I just brush off the exhaust, polish it off, and offer it to her hands.

And after I’ve boxed up all the remaining fruit, close up shop, and am pushing my cart back home, I can see the day more clearly. It all comes into focus then. It really was a good day.

One of the women who spoke at the Longhouse Revival interviewed a Mexican chef who talked about what tasted like home for her. She said something I had never heard before. “I have tasted guacamoles but none of them tasted just right to me. My mother always rubbed her hands with oregano before she used the mortar and pestle to make the guacamole.” My brain perked up. Oregano-scented hands, squeezing the lime?

Today we tried it. We put out all the ingredients we like, this time with fresh tomatoes since they’re still impossibly somehow in season here. And I rubbed fresh oregano on my hands before I tore the cilantro leaves and put them into the bowl. I touched everything. I slowed down. Danny and I ate this on the back porch, the sun still impossibly somehow shining here. And we talked about scary things, about friends who were diagnosed with cancer, and our fears. This guacamole helped.

That’s the thing about recipes. Even if I work hard to make something you’ll like, you won’t have the same experience I did. Maybe your best guacamole was in Mexico on your honeymoon. Maybe it was made at the table while loud Mariachi music played in the restaurant. Maybe it was nothing other than soft avocado and salt, but you were hungry and the food tasted good.

So I’m not going to give you a recipe for guacamole today. That seems pretty silly to me.

Instead, I wanted to show you these ingredients, maybe to inspire you to make your own.

Mostly, though, I want to hear your stories. What were the bright spots of light in your day?

48 comments on “it all comes into focus, eventually.

  1. Nikki

    So far in this day, the brightest spots were seeing that photo of your daughter playing in the fountain and the reminder about Mr. Bean. I had forgotten about that quirky man until just now. That brought a joyful smile to my face.

  2. Bren

    A bright spot in MY day is reading one of your lyrical posts! I love how you interweave everything with your photos, your love for your family, the realities of life, the breaths of hope and the magic of good whole healthy food. Thank you for these gems you toss out to us when we most need the bright sparkle of your words and thoughts!

  3. Cari

    After a grim grim day in the bee yard yesterday I needed the bright light of your stories. I sorry I can’t reciprocate but after finding one of my colonies of bees has simply vanished and killing a queen in another, I think you will agree. I need your light right now. Did you use fresh or dry oregano? I am so doing this today! I am seriously glad you recognize the culprit of those shoes. I paused so long at that picture with a belly laugh I couldn’t control. It made me wonder, is Lucy running the show or have Shauna and Danny mastered picking their battles. Either way all is good and I want to to go on your next trip the NYC!

    1. Hazle

      I’m so glad the shoes took some blame too – as an Alexander Technique devotee, my heart breaks a little when I see a child in heels. In fact, if I had my way, it would be illegal to make high-heeled shoes in kiddie sizes!

  4. Stacy

    I loved this post. And yes: there is always light, if only we look for it. It’s early in my day, but the bright spot thus far was rising even earlier to have breakfast with my husband before he rushed off to catch his train to work. Absolutely worthwhile, and I love being up long before the sun. It’s a good time for writing, after all. 😉

  5. Beth @ Tasty Yummies

    The brightest spots in my bright day yesterday were waking up next to my amazing husband and having an incredible yoga practice surrounded by amazing women! Thanks as usual for another amazing post with the most beautiful photos!

  6. Massarra

    Just giving you a heads up. The photos on your blog post today are very high resolution images and are making load times on your site extremely slow. Is it just me? Maybe it’s just on my end, but wanted to send you an email just in case others were experiencing the same issues.

    1. shauna

      It’s not the photos. There’s something wrong this morning with the server hosting our site. Hopefully it will be resolved soon!

      1. Connie

        I thought you did something to slow down the reveal…..keeping us focused. I thought it was brilliant!

  7. Sarah | The Accidental Okie

    It is so neat to see all the great things Lucy gets to experience. My mom came from a small town – was the only person in her family or graduating class to get an education. She was determined that my sister and I be cultured. We couldn’t travel much, but every new and different experience and culture that could be experienced was. We were using chop sticks at a young age, knew the difference between Filipino and Thai cuisine. Looking back as an adult, I see how formative those experiences were to my development. So cheers to Lucy and her explorations near and far.

  8. reader

    HI Shauna,
    I am always so happy to see new writings on your blog. Thank you for talking about your trip to NYC. My day had several bright spots. I got to look at new books at the library, and each day I’m so completely thankful that being gluten-free (though I’m not as good as you about being able to comfortably tell people this) has taken away the horrible, debilitating symptoms I was having. Thank goodness–each day without those symptoms is so wonderful, even if it has some hard things in it. This blog is one of my favorites, and it’s so motivational to read the recipes.

  9. Medusa Dot

    Your posts always leave me smiling!

    One bright spot in our day yesterday was when a friend thanked us for a favor by bringing over a pan of gluten-free apple crisp, and 3 huge dahlia blossoms in a lovely blue wine bottle!

    Hope you loved the view from the fields around the conference barn. It is the view that we are greatly blessed to see every day, from a very slightly different angle. So that view is our DAILY bright spot.

    Thanks again for all the joy you bring with your posts!!!

    1. shauna

      You live by the conference barn?! You are a very, very lucky person. That’s a gorgeous part of the world. And thank you.

  10. molly

    “Life can’t always be in focus when you live it. Sometimes, you just have to write it.”

    That, my friend, is worth painting on a wall.

    Funny thing? When I first tried to transcribe it? “Live” came out “love”. Typo? Truth? Both, probably. Maybe the blur comes of loving it all so much. Life at the speed of love.

    Welcome home, in all the places you find it.

    xo,
    M

  11. Kim Foster

    I have a lot of to say so I’m going to make a list:

    1. You are such a good writer.
    2. You are such a good writer.
    3. These photos are so beautiful, spare, but saying so much. (my ass is in one of them, just saying)
    4. That girl of yours, in those heels, in the fountain, kills me every friggin time.
    5. I am blessed to have some of your New York experience overlap into my my New York experience. Thanks for that.
    6. You are such a good writer.

    xo Kim

    PS: Thanks for that darling picture of Lucy and Edie. Its going on the wall. I love our girls!

  12. Laura

    Oh, my dear Shauna. This? This is some truly good writing. And I don’t mean that in a “you’re-being-graded” kind of way. I mean that in a “wow-you’ve-got-some-serious-skills-when-it-comes-to-descriptive-prose” kind of way. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your stories, for being so open and thoughtful. For painting a picture of change and nostalgia and the beauty of fruit being sold on the street.

    I rarely comment on your blog posts, but this one seemed to deserve it. Seemed to deserve a more thoughtful response than simply a retweet or a like. (That’s not to say retweets and likes don’t have their purpose and place. But in this case? Feeling moved by a story about taking time to recognize and really see the spots of light? About how writing matters? A proper—and definitely too long by comment-box standards—response seemed far more appropriate.)

    So, to your question—what were the bright spots of light in my day? There was the warmth of the sun and the chill of the breeze as my colleague and I ate lunch on a bench outside, describing our respective Thanksgiving gatherings and our favourite additions to breakfast oatmeal. There was the man with the silver-framed glasses and the smile who held the door for me at the department store, my hands over-full with new pillows and bedding—bought in anticipation of a family visit in two weeks time. And there was coming home to a big hug and a vegetable shepherd’s pie, made with love and leftovers from those meals we’d made together over the long weekend.

  13. Bobbie

    Bright spot for today was the zucchini parmesan that I had made ahead on Sunday and served tonight – without any breading! The pan was totally consumed in one sitting by my hungry family who didn’t even know that there was anything different. A layer of mushrooms and one of sweated onions and garlic added to the festival of flavors!! So my bright spot was food, even on a week night after a busy day teaching! Thanks for all your wonderful thoughts in prose all the time.

  14. Laura

    I love this post… it touches perfectly that wondrous feeling of realizing that home is where our people are…. and also the grief of seeing that we have moved on to different homes.

    The bright spot in my day…. as the energy in my classroom fizzed and waned in exhausted nervousness the day before final exams on a day when I am ready to be done for now and my students are definitely ready to be done…. on this day, a quiet Saudi woman who doggedly holds her own as the only woman in my very beginning level class of all Saudi males brought a plate arranged of dates and small cookies. Dates slit open on their plump sides and stuffed with a mixture of cream of wheat and tahini. They were delicious and completely worth the gluten reaction afterwords. We passed around the plate, and my students quietly nibbled the dates as they worked through a practice reading passage.

    I have eaten dates stuffed with almond butter, chocolate, hazelnut butter, cashew butter… but tahini? This was a first. Amazingly simple and yet completely eye-opening for me.

  15. heather

    those little heels crack me up! we too, have a little one (three) who isn’t so great with traveling for too long at the moment and simply hearing someone else describe the same reactions and meeting someone “sweating with a four year old on my hip” makes me feel better. i’ve been reading your stuff long before lucy and it’s been nice sort of following along reading about what to expect with our ollie in his stages with what you write about lu. i think you guys are raising an awesome kid and love reading about your adventures at home and away. thank you.

  16. Aimee @ Simple Bites

    Shaina thank you for this beautiful read, enjoyed from my dining room table with a mug of tea.
    I had thought about packing up my baby C and coming down to NY for the event, but this confirms that I made the right decision to stay home. I can’t do everything, even though each event sounds more enticing than the last. Thank you for the gracious recap. I so enjoyed it.

  17. Tanja

    Thanks Shauna for this.

    Life can’t always be in focus when we live it. I love that.

    I’m a mumma who had a lot of food dreams for my kiddos. Turns out, most of the time our kitchen is blurry. But sometimes the sun shines in the window just right and illuminates the tops of their heads, bent in munching concentration or tomato cutting, and I don’t notice where I wipe my hands.

  18. Shuku

    What a lovely reminder, Shauna – it all does come into focus eventually.

    It’s been a difficult time for the last few weeks over in my little corner of the world – I have been sick for weeks, long enough that I can’t remember what it feels like to wake up *well*, rather than foggy-headed and dreary. A close friend of the family died very suddenly, and we are all trying to deal with the fallout, between work crazy and stress levels high enough to give me migraines constantly. Your post was a bright spot for me yesterday, even though it made me cry (in a good way!)

    The bright spot today? Finally having the time to make a pot of ratatouille. I wrote about it here (http://glutenfreechaboh.blogspot.com/2012/10/it-started-off-with-conversation-like.html) because after reading your post, I needed to write and -do- something other than write. My best friend’s ratatouille was a central memory in one of the best periods of my life, and being able to finally make it today was healing.

    Thank you for the beautiful writing.

  19. heidih

    Yes – the special moments happen – we can’t plan or manipulate them. I was picking up a cantaloupe for my tortoise at the Farmers Market on Sunday and could not even smell it because of an intense raw onion smell. The vendor had made a guacamole enhanced with dead ripe tomatoes. They had some tortilla chips and were enjoying themselves – surely they got up well before dawn to get there and prep to but they were taking the time to savor and enjoy. I am now committed to a similar prep when I procure the ingredients on Sunday.

  20. Ceri

    Bright spot of the day was feeding the last of the fresh corn on the cob to my 1.5 year old. He hasn’t wanted to try corn this summer until now.

  21. Sheila

    The bright spot of my day (month, really):
    Just how gorgeous fall is in Colorado right now, made all the more crisp and alive, as I am falling in love with an amazing man.

  22. Lisa T

    Buying a spaghetti squash from the neighbor’s farm and giving her an impromptu lesson in how to use it in place of gluten free spaghetti after she told me her son-in-law has celiac disease.

  23. Betty

    Shauna I found you while you were learning the Chef. 🙂
    I so loved reading every word.
    Something has happened. To me.
    The light is everywhere but I can’t see it. I can’t appreciate it. I can’t let it in.

    I couldn’t read this entire post???? Things I love….loved? I am struggling.
    I turned 50 this year. I don’t care in the sense, I am not twenty. But, something
    deeper is going on. I am not me. Someone has invaded and, taken over.
    I want to scream will the real Betty please step forward! Sadly, she isn’t herself.

    The pics of Lucy in her heels? I had to wonder…..that is so not Shauna.
    The pic of Lucy playing in the sprinkler. Beautiful.

    Shauna I enjoy the work you do. Why I can’t focus…..I don’t know.

    Hoping all your dreams and, the adoption come true! Soon.

  24. Meghan

    Woman, you seriously bring joy to my life. How in the world do you write and bring forward MY memories while doing it? It’s astounding. wow.

  25. Michelle

    Hi Shauna,

    Your post about NY actually reminded me of walking through Paris and eating a freshly baked baguette for breakfast. I still remember how good that baguette tasted! I have often said how grateful i am that i got to eat my way through France and Italy before i was diagnosed with coeliac disease. I am also a Mum and love cooking for my kids, usually non gluten free. I think I remember reading on your site that Danny and Lu don’t eat gluten, I can understand that at home but do they eat food that is not gluten free when they are out? I guess the reason for the question is that I have such fond memories of non gluten free food that I can’t imagine giving it up voluntarily if I didn’t have to and as good as most GF food is now, I don’t think anything can replace a French baguette 🙂

    1. shauna

      Michelle, they can both eat gluten, it seems. So whenever we take Lu to Paris, I’m getting her a warm baguette! Or maybe a croissant…

  26. Christine

    Hasn’t it been an amazing year for tomatoes here in the Pacific Northwest? We always plant many seedlings and maybe get a few before the weather turns and all of the green fruit remains. This year? I’m hauling tomatoes to work, taking loads to the local food bank, and making wonderful food. Just wish we had planted more Romas than other varieties.

  27. Kate @ Eat, Recycle, Repeat

    This post was a bright spot – especially that picture of Lu in the fountain. I teach English in a Japanese school, and the student’s smiles are bright spots. When they really engage with me, it gives me a special thrill. Dancing to get out of a rut. Care packages. Autumn. Winter squash & sweet potatoes. Yoga. Podcasts. Sharing food. A sense of community. Gratitude lists & meditation. Doing things, like cooking or writing, that help me find myself again.

  28. Alex Braun

    Bright Spots:
    . sun shining on the autumn leaves on the drive home
    . having all the ingredients already in the fridge
    . chicken, curry paste, coconut milk, cilantro, onions, garlic, ginger, basmatti rice
    . taking the time to do it slowly, the sound of chopping, sautéing, the aromas, the flavours
    . serving up on deep blue plates
    . quiet as we eat

    Brightest Spot:
    “Thanks for making dinner, dad!”

  29. Cate O'Malley

    Beautiful post. I’m especially drawn to the part about life not always being in focus, and sometimes you have to write it. How very true. Sometimes when I’m writing a post, I gain more and more perspective as I write it, and see things in a completely different light than when the events actually unfolded.

  30. melissa

    I dunno, I don’t think you should entirely give up on New York and Lu just yet. It sounds from your description that it’s the schedule, not the city, that she was having a hard time with. A 4-year old is going to have trouble with endless meetings in any city, or walking more than she’s used to. And maybe some comfy little ballet flats could be brought along to facilitate a “teaching moment” about special shoes and when we wear them. I think it’s a matter of adjusting expectations, and not necessarily the city itself. And she’s growing all the time, and the trip at 5 may be as different as the last, as the trip at 4 was.

    The light in my day is time with my husband, kissing his face scruffy from too many late nights meeting article deadlines. We’re in the middle of a long immigration wait, so these short visits when he can be here with me are precious. I’m looking forward to a weekend of not having to be at work all day and squeezing in some alone time with him, laughing till I have to grab the inhaler and cooking delicious things together.

  31. Kimberly

    I must answer to this blog post, because I was a child like Lucy. Both of my parents traveled extensively for their jobs and I was an only child. I remember sitting through business lunches and meetings. I remember meeting grow up after grown up.

    I hate to give unsolicited advice about parenting, because really, it is obnoxious. But I will throw this out there: don’t be afraid to hire a sitter/travel with a family member/ask a friend to watch your child. Kids are not mini-adults, they are kids. I have very fond memories of my grandparents traveling with us and taking me for the day while my parents attended meetings.

    Attending them meetings myself? Not such fond memories.

    1. Jess

      I agree, I’m a nanny of 3 children under 5 and for as long as I’ve been with them (4.5 years) there have been times that I’ve travelled with my boss. It makes the day so much better for the children. When my boss was breast feeding, we would all travel to the city for the day and I would take the children sight seeing, meeting up with mum at points of the day for feeds. It was nice for us because we had a relaxing adventure and it was nice for Mum to have her mind soley on work instead of split between work and parenting (even though it’s impossible to make that divide).

      Occasionally I meet them for a night or two on their family holidays, to give Mum and Dad a chance to have a few nights out in a new city. The kids love it because I’m family and they’re excited to share a new place with me, and the parents get that much needed down time to refresh them for more focused parenting.

  32. Cheryl

    You have just schooled me in this craft we both share. How you manage to fit so much story into so little space, and bring it all around full-circle until the end meets the beginning without a single seam showing, is thrilling. Know you’ve touched this reader.

  33. Carmen

    Thank you for this beautiful piece of writing. I’m sitting at my work computer, sniffling. How lucky are we to live this life, and how lucky are we as writers to think about the meaning of things?

    Light in my day? It’s been cloudy and cold here in Northern California. Fall is much needed and appreciated here. The sun has finally come out though – almost an indication that the weekend is upon us.

  34. Ocean

    The bright spot in my week, day, life now, is finding that being GF is not going to be difficult. Just the realization that it is going to require diligence. And a keen eye for hidden ingredients. 3 weeks ago, I cleaned out my extensive food stockpile ( I coupon) of all gluten laden products. I was amazed! I passed the food goodies on to a friend who has been financially strapped, is not GF and has found herself hungry. I felt content in the knowing the food would not be wasted. I have yet to clear my freezer and will do so in a few weeks, as I am busy preparing for 2 back-to-back art shows ( I am a self-sustaining artist).
    I created wonderful crepes, thanks to your ratio recipe, and enjoyed them more than I have ever before. Perhaps it was the knowledge that I was no longer poisoning my body.

    So here is to the love, light and life that we are all seeking. For in its gladness we find our peace!

  35. Dana

    Beautiful post Shauna! I love your lyrical meandering ways. Your fruit vendor metaphor is perfect. And those high heels on sweet Lucy, hilarious (and awful in terms of walking, but I’ve been there!). One more thing about your dear girl – she is a total trooper! My own 4 year old wouldn’t have sat quietly through one lunch/meeting before demanding my attention. I can barely have a conversation with my own husband, let alone a stranger (to her). Sounds like Lucy hung in there for quite a while before that last one 🙂
    -Dana

  36. dramaqueen75

    Bright spots of light today?
    The Spring sun shining on my garden this warm, Sydney morning.
    Sharing breakfast with my kids before we all tumbled out into the day.
    Teaching some amazing kids about health and personal safety- some kids who are struggling, some kids who are shining despite the odds being stacked against them.
    A cup of tea with my puppy gambolling t my feet while I get a moment to read your lovely piece

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