My mom and I spent the weekend in New York City together for Mother’s Day. Rain spewed down from the sky the entire car ride, aside from when we were in the Lincoln Tunnel. By the time we checked into our hotel it was pouring. That evening, clad with our umbrellas, we ventured out for dinner and a show. After the show we wandered through Times Square. Every time I go to New York City there is something different in the air. A different feel. A different time of year. A different purpose. A different objective. A different person(s). A different weather forecast, as was such with the rain.
As we strolled late in the evening, I got fixated on the umbrellas bobbing up and down along the city sidewalks. Red ones. Polka Dotted ones. Big ones. Black ones. Clear ones. Matching ones. Broken ones. My mom’s had pieces of chocolate all over it. Mine was rainbow striped. I started taking pictures of the umbrellas in my line of vision, frantically skipping after ones that caught my eye. I jumped puddles and snapped pictures. Snap, snap. At one point I decided that instead of trying to capture any more umbrellas, I put my rain-splattered phone in my pocket and tried to walk arm in arm with my mom without our umbrellas becoming tangled. I phone-lessly recognized how nice it was to walk with only my eyes to capture the sea of umbrellas. For a quick ‘fix’ that night I threw up a photo on Instagram with a few words about the ‘something different’ that I experienced in the city.
This morning after Vivian and I dropped Lance off at school, I spontaneously drove to the Arboretum for cool morning air and sunlight. I was immediately inspired by the colors and arrangements of flowers everywhere we looked, coupled with Vivian’s ‘twirly’ yellow dress. Snap, snap went my iPhone. Snap, snap. A picture here. A picture there. She smelled a flower, ahh how cute. She sang and skipped, even cuter. (In a mother’s eye). Snap, snap. We found two chairs in a ‘secret spot’ tucked away from a main area. We sat and chatted about her favorite flowers. I started scrolling through my pictures. That led to her wanting to look at my pictures from NYC, which led to frustration on my part because it bumped up against the ‘in-the-moment-morning’ we were having without the pitfalls of technology that cause people to miss out on the sweetness of the now. I made a decision. I walked us back out into the parking lot and tossed my phone in the front seat. Not before getting one last phone ‘fix’ that I could not stop myself from having. I uploaded a 24 second video to Instagram of Vivian twirling.
For the next two hours at the Arboretum Vivian had all of me to herself. I watched her set up a treehouse with tiny people, put painted rocks in order by number, we read a book about fairies, she climbed a caterpillar sculpture, discovered new butterfly wings by the chimes, played with funnels in a tub of water, asked me to tie the back of her yellow ‘twirly’ dress into a knot so she could play in the sandbox without getting it sandy, she asked me to join her on a log inside a tee-pee, she ran through the grass, gazed in the fountains. I phone-lessly watched the entire way. And it felt AMAZING.
I have been struggling lately about what I want to share and blog about. As I travel through my days I am always ‘writing’ stories in my mind and wanting to race home to my computer to blog about what I see, what I think, what I feel, what I want to remember. But doing that seems like so much work and stressful to articulate and choose visuals. I want to blog more this summer, but I am unsure of how I want to go about it. Blog once a week? Blog thematically? Use pictures? Write about my family? Not write about my family? Not blog at all?
My creative life has been in full swing this spring. I took a 10-week class and produced three 3,500 word essays. In my free time I did some writing about the past, captured moments on Instagram in the present, and I have worked through various issues in my life on the page. In the mornings I journal. Last month I went on a writing retreat. The words are flowing. My mind is singing.
Earlier this month I started considering what I want my writerly life to look like this summer. I have to decide what I want to do which, now that I think about it, is a signal to keep blogging. Writing is my answer to everything. Like seriously.
More to come on the Banter this summer (I hope). More journal-like stories that are born out of intentional observations about what is gong on around me. More stories that highlight being phone-lessly present that provide me with lasting inspiration.
I am feeling optimistic about the summer months that lie ahead.