Seven by Seven

bridge2

I’ve been thinking alot lately about why I work.

My maternity leave from August to December last year was the first time since I was 15 that I’ve had so much consecutive time to myself.

Granted, that time to myself was largely spent changing diapers and pushing a pram through the park. But still, it was week after week of 40 hours NOT spent locked down at a desk.

And the thing that amazed me the most about it was that I never once got bored.

Ok, yes, there was the whole new mother thing happening. But putting the baby metaphorically aside for the moment, the point is that I had no trouble filling my days. Each morning was a gift of “What are we going to do today?”

The aforementioned walks in the park became a big deal, something I always looked forward to. And there were poems to write and cin├ępoems to edit and a yard to putter around in and if there had been a dog on the premises, there would have been even more to do.

But then my time was up and here I am again, surrendering 40 precious hours to the machine.

I can’t tell you how many times since December 8th I’ve sat in meetings listening to marketing muckety-mucks arguing about what headline I should write to get people to buy a bunch of crap they don’t really need. And all I’m thinking is, “I could be pushing a pram through a park right now.”

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I work.

And the answer lies on the tip of a western peninsula, within the seven by seven miles that I call home… San Francisco, where the majority of residents are renters because buying a home is too expensive.

When Bruce and I pulled up stakes in Illinois ten years ago, we knew the move was permanent. There has never been any looking back, not even in 2001 when I got laid off six times in a row. (In any recession, it seems the copywriter is always the first to go.)

More than any other place on earth I’ve been, San Francisco is home.

Before Lucette arrived, I didn’t mind working. I have always tried to find the most creative word-wrangling job I can to finance the life I love to live.

But now that our family is one person larger, I have begun to begrudge those workaday hours. And so I have to remind myself why I do it.

Because I don’t have to work.

We could always move somewhere cheaper. Perhaps a nice cul-de-sac in a beige suburb where everyone drives the .05 miles to the neighborhood Wal-Mart.

But the dream was never to hie westward and settle in San Mateo. Or Oakland, Alameda, Fresno or Dinuba.

The dream is San Francisco. And it’s a dream I want to give to my daughter.

I want her to grow up here, in this beautiful city, surrounded by people of all races, creeds, languages and sexual orientations. I want her to wake up to the salt air of the ocean, to sleep to the sound of the foghorns.

I want her to have the Golden Gate in her backyard and the mountains within reach. I want her to own the wealth of used bookstores and know the wonder of world-class ballet.

I want her to eat more food from Farmer’s Markets than McDonald’s. I want her to wear out her walking shoes. I want sand on her toes and sun in her hair.

I want her to disagree without being disagreeable. I want her to know that it’s ok to be different.

I want what all parents want — to give their child the world. The difference is that in San Francisco, I can actually give it to her. Because the world lies just outside our front door.

And that is why I work. For Lucette. For San Francisco. For the dream.

-Lo, whose paychecks fuel freedom

We are family

mood: busy | drinking: water
momdad_muir

The Mama & Papa Witmer were just in California for a visit. (They’re pretty adorable, no?)

I always look forward to the parental visits. Having moved so far away from the place where I grew up, I don’t often find myself reminded of my childhood.

But seeing my parents always brings back a flood of memories, and we usually end up around the table swapping stories that start with, “Remember that time…”

I have no doubt that becoming a parent myself will alter my view of my own mom and dad. For the first time, I’ll be standing in their shoes, forced to make some of the same decisions they had to wrestle with when my sister and I were tiny.

Boy and I have already started talking about how to let Bean be whoever she (or he) will be. How to let her (let’s just go with her for now) grow up to be confident in who she is, even if that “who” isn’t quite what we expected.

momdadme_muirI’m sure when I was a little two-year-old tow head running around pulling puppy dog tails, my parents didn’t expect that one day I would change my hair color a ridiculous number of times, date a boy in a band, stop going to church, get tattoos and buy a motorcycle. (Not necessarily all at the same time, of course.)

I’m sure, when they tucked me in at night, they had very different ideas of who I would become.

But they have let me grow up with grace. They let me make decisions they didn’t understand. They let me disagree. They let me go.

It couldn’t have been very easy for them.

But the freedom they gave me has made me a better me. And I think it’s one of the many reasons I actually get excited when my parents are coming to town, while many of my friends live in dread of that day.

If we start now, and we practice really hard, I hope that Boy and I can give Bean the same freedom and let her fly.

-Lo, who somehow also grew up to be taller than both her parents.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started