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Alameda is the small island off the coast of Oakland where we’ve been living since I was pregnant with Number One.

We love the place – it’s a charming little island across the bay from San Francisco. There is a great beach, a view of San Francisco that is beatable only by the view from the San Quentin Prison and since it’s where people like to move to breed, it’s chock full of strollers, parks, and all things “baby”.

It’s a pretty wonderful place to live, which is I guess why we’ve been there for so long!

Moving on with our dreams and life by way of the Pan Am Overland, and with a big sentimental ball of mush named, “me”, we went around and said goodbye to places that I know I’ll speak of in the future with a certain amount of longing. Like…

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Trader Joe’s.

My favorite supermarket. That bastion of high flavour, low-cost!

Oh, Trader Joe’s! How I shall miss you! 

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Our beach, with memories coating just about every.single.inch of the territory. This is where Moxie was eating grass in that one post.

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Our tree. This is where we got married!

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Our old apartment… this where I gave birth to Moxie! (bottom left – oh, how we loved this place!)

Our little McD’s – okay we didn’t really need to say goodbye to that place – I know we”ll have more McD’s than we will care to on the road. But I won’t likely forget the stunning diversity in that little play space soon. Hanging out with a Croatian grandma and a Tongan mother while watching the kids….?! Conversations with mama from Hong Kong about the relative merits of various local Dim Sum houses?! You just don’t get diversity like that in many places. And friendly diversity at that.

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My true friend, Terre: may good karma follow her through her life. She eased our hearts by taking Dante in for her very own.

We miss him.

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Goodbye to our teeny tiny apartment. The place where we grew so much.

The past week has been so intense. Sitting on the floor and just sobbing, wondering WHAT THE FUCK we were doing, HOW ON EARTH we were going to see this through, even just past the point of cleaning the apartment.

It. Was. Hard.

Stupid-hard, like excruciating, take-every-bit-of-our-soul, hard.

Hard to my marrow, hard like,”is it too late to back out?”, hard. Hard, because I hoard memories and I had to throw out truckloads.

Hard, because I had to make choices on what I wanted more: an intangible future or a tangible past.

Guess what I chose?

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Yep. I chose the u-haul. The goodbye. The leaving.

Besides the “you can do this!” messages from my best friends, discovering these helped me sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much:

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They truly made me pause.

Because I had forgotten, you see. I had forgotten that only THREE YEARS AGO, I was struggling to use these because I had been paralyzed from placenta being left in  me after Moxie’s home birth. THREE YEARS AGO I was still in crippling pain and when the physical therapist gave these to me and suggested we try and walk to the end of the block with these, I started crying because I had no idea how I could do it, I was hurting so fucking much.

THREE. YEARS.

And here I was crying because I had no idea how I could finish the cleaning, the purging, the scrubbing, the…everything that this move was necessitating.

Okay.

I can do this, Universe. I can do this, God. Because You carried me this far; I can do this.

I can do this.

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Or rather, “we”, because let me tell you : it was definitely Mikey too.

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***

Back to goodbyes.

We said goodbye to our favorite Taco Truck – and MacQ had his first bite of lime!

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And our hearts were full as we pulled away.

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Our hearts were not so sad – it was time, this is the right thing – we are ready and we want this.

But full. Our  hearts were full.

*****

PS

This is Down syndrome Awareness Month in the US – I am participating in the 31-for-21 Blog Challenge through my “31 Photos” – which is a photo a day, on Disability With a Little Moxie. Please join me there, and also for the 3/21 Community Blog Hop which will be held here – same time, same place.

My baby, Manzanita Stardust, “Ziggy“, quietly died in utero. It was like one day she was alive and the next, she just wasn’t. We went to see her at around 10 weeks, saw her little heart beating and felt the excitement of her presence – then when we went back at around 14 weeks, she was just… gone.

Nothing in my life had adequately prepared me for the pain of losing Ziggy. Nothing. That blindsided me like the proverbial freight train – it just whacked me down and flat out, pressed the living breath right out of me.

I went through a week of waiting through ripping pain, curled in fetal position, unable to sleep, night after night, simply washed up in writhe-worthy pain. Pain. Pain. More Pain. Pain of the misoprostol, pain from the cramping, pain from the drawn out “labor” of trying to pass the baby who had already died. Pain from my heart – why did I lose her? Pain from my soul – was it ME? It was ME, wasn’t it? I didn’t protect her well enough from all the stress in my life, my body failed me and I was a deeply wounded person.

My first-born, Micah saved me then – in all that pain, he’d wrap his little body around me, and just lie still. He’d hold me. This small proof that somehow, in some way, I too could create living perfection.

When Ziggy finally passed out of me, I gathered her tiny body and put it in a beautiful hand-carved Japanese box that I had had for years. I placed her body on  paper, love letters to her, letters of apology to her, and prayers for her lined the areas around the box. And then, in the cold, hazy fog of a Bay Area dawn, I buried her in her tiny box under a tree.

I probably broke a million laws in doing so.

But I needed to bury her in a place that was beautiful, needed to feel that she was cocooned by the trees, by nature around her, that her tiny self would return to the earth.

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I said goodbye to Ziggy.

Goodbye to the child whose death actively contributed to Moxie’s life.

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I stood there and prayed for my child that I’ll only meet when we are reunited in the next world, and felt my heart just about explode from gratitude for Moxie.

I can’t shake the feeling that somehow Ziggy came and left so I would accept Moxie. So that I would choose to keep her despite her prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis.

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But I won’t know until I can ask her.

 

 

IMG_1327I just need to start with some photos because every post deserves photos, right?

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We – and by “we” I mean MacQ and Moxie and myself – were sitting in the playground sandbox yesterday, hanging out and letting My One True Darling Man, Mikey clean and paint like an obsessed fiend. The ladies of the playground were the typical interesting Alameda mix of immigrant South East Asian (with sparkly, drape-y clohtes), mixed Asian (designer jeans clad), middle eastern (- burka wearing), plain ‘ole white (- that would be me and I honestly don’t remember what I was wearing but I’ll be happy if it was clean). I like that. I know I’m going to miss that because that’s a rare thing in the world, you know, to see so much diversity just hanging out around the sandbox and utterly chill with it.

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So!

We were sitting there and hanging out, our kids playing together and this other lady walks up (turns out she was Guatamalan! The youngest of 17!). We started talking, mostly in comraderie over the difficulty in teaching kids to NOT THROW SAND (“come ON guys! that stuff HURTS when it gets in your eyes!” – throw, throw, hysterical laughter, screams). I don’t know how it came up but it came up that we are moving.

‘Oh, tomorrow?” they nodded, sympathy in their eyes.

“Yes,” I said with a sigh. I wanted sympathy from anyone, from any source because I was so deeply tired of cleaning and packing and the non stop no-fun that moving with 3 kids is – heck, just make that MOVING; moving itself is a ball of no-fun.

“Where are you moving to?” they asked, curious. I could tell they were really wondering what part of Alameda I was moving to – a better part? Oooooh, one of the old Victorians? Where?

“Well, we don’t really know…. we are going to drive down the Pan American Highway towards South American and hopefully we’ll find where we want to live along the way.” I said this matter of factly, hoping the cadence of my voice was in that exact *right* tone of not too excited, but not too flat, just stating what’s what.

“Oh…. How nice…..” – and they looked politely away.

I bust out laughing,

HARD, big, belly laughs splitting out of me, “you guys think I’m off my rocker don’t you! just really crazy! I KNOW!! It sounds totally crazy doesn’t it?!!! ”

And my laughter loosened their laughter and we were all laughing together and it felt really good.

They still thought I was crazy.

I probably am.

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PS

I just wanted to  mention that I’m really noticing a difference lately in Moxie’s play: she wants to play WITH other kids now. Not just side by side, not just in the same space but play alone. She wants to play WITH other kids. She’ll deliberately go up to kids and engage with them and try and play WITH them. It’s pretty cool because she seems to be playing really well with others, even without talking.

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PS2

Oh, and…

When we first plopped ourselves down in the sandbox, the East Asian mother complimented me on my “beautiful daughter” – with a nod to MacQ and my “handsome son”, indicating Moxie. I laughed and was like, “you mean my beautiful SON (- with a nod to MacQ) and my handsome DAUGHTER (indicating Moxie)?

And so. That’s what I get for putting my boy in pink crocs with necklaces and giving my girl a shag haircut and dressing her in overalls…(*facepalm*)

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Last ones! I promise! But she was cute climbing up that thing, I just can’t resist

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