Moving on out…

My dear readers, this will be my last post on my much beloved blog, celiac kiddo (sniff!), but you can still find my gluten free recipes, and my musings on writing, kids, and life in general, on my new blog, Writing at the Table. If you’re following this blog, you won’t receive many more alerts, but you can follow me over there, if you’d like.

I hope you know how much I appreciate you reading my words here, and perhaps, over there, but either way, I’ll always be grateful to you for visiting this blog and making me feel like I wasn’t writing into a void. I’ve made such lovely and heartfelt connections and friends during my three+ years here. 

endingsI will miss this space, but part of life is knowing when to move on. When I first began this blog it was on instinct. Bunky was diagnosed with celiac in 2011 and it felt like my life was crumbling (faster than 1970s gluten free bread). It didn’t, of course, and that was in part from the support and comfort I received from you. Living gluten free will always be part of our lives, but it’s no longer my sole focus. Also, my dear girl is growing up (as is my little guy!) and I would like to respect her privacy more and not focus on her life with celiac.

A pic from our holiday photo shoot 2014

A pic from our holiday photo shoot 2014

 

My childhood dream, one that continues to follow and haunt me (in a good way), is to write. That’s what I’ve done here, and will continue to do on my new blog.

Feeding my dream and my family is my new tagline. I’m claiming my title as a writer more firmly now, but I’m still a mom, and my gluten free family needs to be fed. A lot.

Wishing you a happy and peaceful New Year. See you in 2015!

 

When Life Happens

I haven’t written in days and I’m starting to twitch. We’re moving in T minus two days. And when I say “moving” I mean we’re packing up our Brooklyn apartment, putting most of it in storage and going to stay with my dad in New Jersey, and then, after we trash his house, on to our upstate place. We were supposed to close on our new home at the end of August and move in just in time for school to start… but that’s not happening.

Why? Because life is not some stylized photo shoot. You can’t plan or stage it. You can’t decorate it with pretty props. Life is not a pristine layer cake, like the kind that populate Pinterest and fancy foodie blogs, with frosting smooth as shellac, fondant decorations, the whole thing resting on a porcelain platter atop of a rustic wooden table all beautifully backlit with a vase of flowers and a glass pitcher of milk.

photo credit, Southern Living.com

photo credit, Southern Living.com

Nope. Life is messy, chaotic, ruthless. Life is one of those sloppy homemade cakes. The kind where the layers are uneven, the whole thing leaning precariously to one side, crumbs litter the frosting, a mess of sprinkles dumped on top, a lumpy slice slapped on a plate with a plastic fork. More like this:

Real life looks more like this. Tastes better, too. photo credit, glutenismybitch.com

Real life looks more like this. Tastes better, too.
photo credit, glutenismybitch.com

Life happens and you’re supposed roll with it. Or you don’t. But there is always choice involved in how you deal with your sloppy cake. You decide if you’re going to freak out, blame everyone else, scream your brains out, yell at your kids/spouse, tear out your hair, cry, rage, throw yourself out the window (or just threaten to do so). You decide how to look at the mess. Is it garbage or a hidden Picasso? This has always been my problem. I tend to choose the dark side. I blame, rage, cry, yell, lash out. I let it take over. I let it control me.

I’ve been having some unfortunate bouts of insomnia lately, as our departure approaches. And in those late night eyeball wide moments, I see everything so clearly. I see the right way, the light way. I think, okay, I can do this! I can choose not to dwell and complain, I can choose love over anger, I can choose to see this new twist/roadblock as an adventure as opposed to a disaster.

But then I wake up. And I’m bone tired and my kids are hungry but won’t eat anything, and I’m wiping butts and making smoothies, and before I know it, all those good intentions fly out the window and my impatience and anger rolls in. I lose it and then feel sunk by my failure. By my inability to change.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I am changing, or at least trying. I’m having enlightened moments in the darkest hours of the night, even if they often disintegrate by morning. I see glimpses of difference, other ways of being.

Yesterday in between the usual child tantrums and parental misery, we had a magical moment in the park. I took Little Guy to pee behind a tree (the kid is like a dog, loves peeing outside) and it happened to be a pine tree and it happened to be populated with dozens of fireflies. It was dusk, later than we’re usually out, and we had just been talking about how we hadn’t seen any fireflies this season, and there they were alight all around us, pausing to rest on blades of grass, on the needles of the tree, inches from our faces.

I pointed at them and said, do it again, and they did. Little Guy was entranced. We brought over Bunky and her dad and we all watched with wonder and awe as dozens of people streamed into the park for a concert, oblivious to our little piece of magic. Then my husband looked up and there were two baby raccoons in the tree, lounging on the upper branches, rolling around, but mostly resting and watching us watch them.

Moments earlier we had been sitting on a cement ledge at the entrance of the park across from the apartment I lived in with my husband before we were married.

Living on the edge. Or ledge. Edge of the ledge?

Living on the edge. Or ledge. Edge of the ledge?

We looked at it, trying to remember where our apartment was, in the back or on the side, what we saw when we looked out the window. We told Bunky about how we used to hear the concerts in the park from our living room. We talked about how she would always remember Brooklyn, but Little Guy would not. Just like my husband, who had been three years old when he left Brooklyn.

I looked at my husband over the kids’ heads and we shared a silent bittersweet moment at this realization.

He may not remember this swing, but we will for him.

He won’t remember this swing, but we will for him.

We told Bunky she could tell him stories about Brooklyn. We talked about how wonderful our time had been here, that we had a good run, but we would begin fresh adventures in New Hope. I smiled as I said these things, which are all true, but it’s not my natural tendency to look at change as adventure. I usually look at it with doom, or at the least, trepidation.

But having kids changes things, people. I don’t want my kids to soak up my lifelong tendency for negativity. I’m trying hard to do what my mom used to tell me to do: see the glass half full, make lemonade out of lemons, choose sweet over sour. But it is not easy. My poor mom, I can see how I must have broke her heart with my bouts of gloomy sadness. How I refused to choose joy even when it was laid out in front of me.

I see so much of myself in my daughter and it kills me. I want to save her from myself, from herself, but I can’t. I want her to love herself and love her life and choose love, but I can’t make her do any of those things just as my mother couldn’t make me. Being a mom is brutal that way. You relive the hardest moments of your life through your kids. And the best ones, too. Like these.

Coney Island July 2014

Coney Island July 2014

coney swings

coney kids

On a city bus, Little Guy's favorite.

On a city bus, Little Guy’s favorite.

The frog, July 2014

The frog, Cutie Playground, July 2014

So, life happens. But I’m learning to roll with it. The fireflies will be there no matter where we go. We just have to look.

family portraitGoodbye Brooklyn. We will miss you.

End of Kindergarten and end of…

Bunky graduated from kindergarten. I can’t believe it. I feel like we just took this picture of her before the first day, all of us so nervous and excited.

me and Bunky first day K

And then, bam. The year’s over. Here she is in her 1950s inspired graduation outfit: a kinda lame homemade poodle skirt, my shirt, a cute scarf from Target.

Kindergarten graduation, June 23, 2014

Kindergarten graduate, 6-23-2014

Graduation, or any public performance, is really hard on our girl. She has debilitating anxiety about being in front of an audience, which is heartbreaking since she loves singing and dancing. (When she got home, she sang me the entire graduation song, “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars, which makes me cry every time I hear it since it was also her preK grad song.) But she made it on stage for her graduation, in front of an enormous room of beaming adults. She ducked down, hiding between the rows of kids, but when I gestured to her from the sidelines, she wouldn’t come to me, and I’m really proud of her for that. My tender, sensitive girl. I hope her anxieties lessen over the years.

After grad, my husband escaped, I mean went to work, and I took the kids to a sprinkler playground. On the way back, Little Guy wriggled out of the stroller so he could walk with his big sister. It’s not the best picture, but it captures a little slice of our city life.

siblings walking

Which I’m rather devastated to say, we will be LEAVING in a matter of weeks.

Yes, that’s right, we’re joining the ranks of city deserters and moving out of Brooklyn. I know it’s the right thing for our family – we need more space, inside and out, and city life is funneling away all our funds, but I have to say I’m really struggling with this upcoming change.

My husband will still be commuting to Brooklyn for his job, so in a way he is only half leaving, but I will be living full time in a town where I know not a soul, in a geography that will be entirely new to navigate. To a woman who craves routine and familiarity (even when it has long stopped serving its purpose) this is HUGE.

I’m excited, too, because the area we’re moving to, New Hope, Pennsylvania, feels like it could very well live up to its name, and we already ate some fantastic gluten free pizza in nearby Doylestown, which may be where we end up, but my heart is already aching for Brooklyn.

There will probably be more frogs there, real ones.

There will probably be more frogs there, real ones.

Part of this is just my personality, all my Cancer crab homebody tendencies. I like to hunker down, I prefer the comfort of my comfort zone. It also makes sense because Brooklyn is not simply a place, but my past. It’s where I spent the careless carefree days of my youth, where I met my husband. It’s where I’ve been raising my children.

me and LG playground

Saying goodbye to Brooklyn is, in a way, like saying goodbye to a part of my life, it’s like saying goodbye to a piece of me.

I did some math recently (crazy, I know) and realized I’ve spent over 13 years living in Brooklyn, the same amount of time I spent in my childhood home from the age of 5 to 18 when I left for college. No wonder this impending move feels so significant.

This isn’t the first time we’ve left Brooklyn. A year after Bunky was born we moved in with my dad in New Jersey to regroup. As hard as it was for us to leave back then, we knew that we were coming back. But this time, we’re not.

Goodbye beloved Vanderbilt Playground where all our monkey bar dreams began

Goodbye beloved Vanderbilt Playground where all our monkey bar dreams began…

I’m starting to feel a sense of urgency and panic, as if I somehow have to squeeze in all the  things I haven’t done yet or recently, before we go. I’m feeling guilty, too, for not taking full advantage of living alongside Manhattan, and for neglecting the wonders Brooklyn has to offer beyond my neighborhood.

Concerts in the park with kids, not all it's cracked up to be.

Concerts in the park with kids, not all it’s cracked up to be. But still, I’ll miss you Prospect Park.

I can hear the clock ticking. Time is running out. Our apartment is in contract (holy crap!) and we haven’t yet found a new place to live (cue hyperventilation here). There are so many logistics to work out when it comes to moving a family – finding doctors, registering for school, sniffing out gluten free grocery stores, seeking out playgrounds, pools, parks, and of course, new friends.

[Pausing here to breath inside a paper bag.]

It will all “work out” as my husband and my brain keeps telling me, but I’m person who shrinks with fear at change, who shudders at novelty, to whom the term limbo is not merely a game to avoid at parties, but a place I try never to visit. Yet here I am LIVING INSIDE IT.

Which is probably good for me, right? To venture outside my comfort zone, to be uncomfortable. Because growth hurts. Kids know this, as their bodies expand at alarming rates, but adults often forget. I’m holding on so tightly right now to everything that I think I need, when maybe what I need to do is simply let go, and see what happens.

Last full day of K. Endings are hard on me, but this kid is psyched for school to be over.

Last full day of K. Endings are hard on me, but this kid is psyched for school to be over.

Recently, I read this wonderful post over at The Gift of Writing about how to maintain positive change, and when she referenced her one word for the year, I realized, with great embarrassment, that I completely forgot about my word for 2014, which was open.

As in, opening up. To possibilities, wonder, vulnerability, presence, heartache, joy. And change.

bunky sprinkler

I feel like the message is clear. I need to stop worrying, struggling, fighting with the invisible demons that perch on my shoulder and whisper sly lies in my ear about how this move is a huge mistake, and that we’d better to stay put, not move at all, because staying perfectly still keeps you safe.

bunky riding bike 2013

Which is one of the biggest lies you can tell yourself.

Leaving Brooklyn is an end, but I’ll keep reminding myself that it’s also a beginning.

I’ll keep you posted on our progress/pilgrimage, but if I go dark for a little while this summer you’ll know why. Until then, please share any moving moving stories you have! (No pressure, but happy endings preferred, ha.)