The house on the hill

On weekends we normally drive Gus around to fall asleep for his nap. He transfers from the car to the house pretty reliably if we time it right and the whole process takes 20 minutes while trying to get him down inside in his bed will take 45+. (Don’t you worry, he naps like a dream at daycare…) We know many good routes but often we just go somewhere in the morning to be wild and he falls asleep on the way home. Occasionally we need to do a big lap around the neighborhood to seal the deal.

This weekend we took a bit of a drive up through the hills behind out house. It was snowing up there and we drove through the slush listening to Neko Case (Gus’s calm down music) and pulled in the driveway thinking he was asleep. We had something we wanted to do that afternoon and worked hard to time it right and were annoyed when he was wide awake in the back seat. Lesley went inside and I did the lap again where he promptly feel asleep, took a long nap, and we were a half hour late for our afternoon engagement.

The drive up through the hills has us pass by our old rental house. We lived there for two years right before we bought our house three and a half years ago. Both years we lived with roommates – first a good friend who is no longer a good friend. She was an easy roommate as she was at her boyfriend’s 95% of the time. Our next roommate was our dear friend K who moved from Canada from grad school, lived with us there (thanks craigslist!), moved with us to our current house when we bought it, moved into her own place when I was pregnant, and then went back to Canada. (This is a lot of information that doesn’t relate to this but she is temporarily moving back and arrives Sunday and I CAN’T WAIT.) We paid something like $650 in rent, called our landlord when there were problems, and had no major responsibilities.

The house had many drawbacks. It was likely not insulated. Mold grew out of our floor. It was impossible to bike to and from it unless you were in much better shape than I will ever be. But life was so simple and easy. We thought we had no money but we paid $650 in rent and did not have a toddler. We did whatever we wanted when we wanted. We went out for beers and bike rides and binge watched tv. It was super great.

Life now is good but different and when I drive by the house on the hill with a toddler who won’t nap unless being driven around (and that’s iffy), a toddler I screamed at moments earlier for never not touching things, it seems so simple there. Retrospect life seems so amazing and I feel a twinge of something that is more jealousy than regret. I’ve lost good friendships since having Gus and while those weren’t because of him I wouldn’t have lost them without him coming. I’ve made new friendships but they are not as close as old ones. I have a group of mom friends that are wonderful but don’t feel like home. I have a life that I never feel I can control. I want to get my shit together and I just can’t. I didn’t have it together before but I really want to now. I want to show up somewhere on time.

It’s so easy to find the negative in life with a toddler. But while looping around, listening to baby snore over the sounds of Neko Case I remembered that that day, last Saturday, was three years since I got pregnant. I got pregnant three year ago on New Years Day. So much changed in the time around that. We had bought a house 7 months earlier. Our relationships with people changed in the year after. Our lives are so different than they were when we lived in the house on the hill. They are better. We have less time to drink in the sun. We ride bikes less. We are always late. But life is so much better. And you know what? In a few years we’ll be able to do all the things that we can’t do now. He’ll hang out with us when we ride bikes to a bar in the middle of the day. (We do this now with him but it will become more fun.) We’ll get places on time. It will all be okay. This is just a small part of our life that is fantastic and really fucking hard. But realistically – isn’t all of life fantastic and really fucking hard?

Also, after we moved out there was a murder/suicide in the house on the hill. Definitely makes it seem less awesome.

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Posted on January 6, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Catch and I moved right before Charlotte was born. We’d been living in a little triplex in the “arts district” in North Hollywood for 8-ish years. Our neighborhood there was FULL of friends–some of our absolute hands down favorite people on earth and they lived two or three houses away. We hung out with our neighbors constantly. We were always drinking wine on someone’s lawn at dusk. Our favorite restaurants are all within a mile or two of that place. It was central to both our jobs. Our little back yard was perfection–green grass and twinkle lights with a covered patio, and I cannot count how many nights we sat out there by a fire until the wee hours of the morning with our friends. Now, we live in a neighborhood where we don’t know anyone. We are superficially nice to a couple of neighbors, but that’s it. Most of our neighborhood doesn’t speak english, which makes it hard. Hardly anyone is ever out walking their dogs or playing. Sometimes I miss our old life so much that it physically hurts. I want to just pack everything up and move back to our 600 sq ft happy place. I want to be with our people and drink wine in the front yard again. But then there’s Charlotte, and I know that she’s better than all of what we used to have combined… and I know it will continue to get better. We’ll build a new life around her. But it’s so hard. Crazy hard. And like you, I so desperately want to feel like I have my shit together, and even on the rare occasion that I manage to feel like I do, it only lasts for 10 minutes. I know I just totally went crazy in your comments section–I just wanted you to know how very much this post resonated with me.

    • It’s so hard because of course even if nothing would have changed everything would have changed, you know? My life wouldn’t be that life. I think of it I could go back and do a few things differently to preserve some of that life and I probably could but at a cost to my life now. (Like I could have shut my mouth about my thoughts and feelings and not lost friends but I really try hard to be authentic and by being honest I have heard from so many people [like you!] that it has helped them feel less alone so I don’t know that shutting up would feel like the right choice for me.) It would have changed. It always changes. Staying in those places and having babies would have still changed things. Not having babies would not have stopped things from changing. It’s just what happens. But some moments I just convince myself it wouldn’t have and we could have that life.

      • I kept meaning to come back to this all weekend, but I never had the chance. You’re absolutely right–everything changes whether we’re there to see it or not. Much like how fast our kids grow. Also, after I commented on this post on Friday, I started crying on my way home because I miss our old life so much. Got home–period started. Sigh.

  2. I have been deeply longing for my “old life” recently. Probably because the idea of another kid is both exciting but also like the ultimate resignation that I am a very different person now. Not even pre-baby life, since I would also need to go back to pre-tryingtogetpregnant life. But I’ve been mourning the car-less bike punk living in a studio apartment life. The working-at-a-bookstore-for-$7 an hour life. The -getting-drunk-and-making-out-with-my-friends life. It’s not even a reasonable longing, but I have it.
    I think the parenting-young-children phase is a tough one. That’s what I hear, anyway. That when they get older, it’s easier to cultivate the things that bring you more joy, capture some control, manifest more friendships that aren’t based on conversations about potty training and sleeping. I hope this is true. I miss the relationships I had more than anything. They are lost in part due to distance now, but were fading when we left.
    I mean, it’s trite but true – it’s going to change again, inevitably. Hopefully it’s for the better?

    • I miss 22 year old me all the time. I had a car loan through my dad that I didn’t make payments on and he took it back. I spent my rent money at the bar. I was a college drop out. I shaved my head and had a 1970’s schwinn single speed bike I rode to my job at the thrift store. It was not a glamorous life. But I will never have connections with people like I did then.

    • Also, that’s the age I was when Lesley and I met and I will never fall in love like that again which is kind of a sad thing when you think about it.

      • Oh god right?!?

      • My parents said that the best thing to happen since the kids moved out ( us and he said it was one of the saddest days of his life) was that he and my mom had become different people over the twenty some odd years they had been raising kids, and they got to fall in love all over again. Remember who they were, talk and reminisce about their journeys, and then fall in love with these new people. The way he looked at my mom and described it made me happy that it might be coming for me too…just wanted to say that…

  3. And you said you didn’t have things to post about. This is a lovely post.

  4. Remembering that old life, it’s really hard for me sometimes. I’m actually really fortunate that my friends are really just incredible people who didn’t let us having kids alter our relationship, BUT there are plenty of times when the fact that we have kids has changed so much. I very much miss sitting on the roof, smoking pot, taking 40oz malt liquor to our hands and playing “Edward 40hands”, laughing until 4am, then deciding to get into a cab for a 45 minute drive to the nearest beach and huddle in a sandy, drunken mess and watched the sun rise in silence. My child-less thirtysomething friends, they still do that stuff. They don’t bother calling. Missing the spontaneity of getting up and going, I miss THAT the most.

    I will say though, it’s nice to do things with my kids that I seriously enjoy doing with friends, and get to fuse the two worlds, like our camping trip this past September. It’s awesome to see my closest friends, interact with my kids, enjoying the things we all love to do together so much. It’s nice…

  5. I was just reading an article posted on Facebook about parents with young kids/babies. It said the highs are higher and the lows are lower. It’s so important to really reflect on the highs as much as we might reflect on how easy life was pre-baby. Love your honest reflection of the good and the bad of the big life changes. I also look forward to taking an older child to the pub with us for summer beers on the patio!

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