Forgive me, all I have right now are iPhone/instagram pics.
You can follow me on insta at thislittlemiggy.
'Sup. Where you guys been?
Anyway, we're here in Cincinnati. The nervousness, the excitement, the calm, the fears, the confidence, the questions.... we brought it all with us. Do I feel like we made the right decision? To be honest, it could go either way.
To illustrate my point lets talk about the 4th of July. Because in my book this is a holiday that can also go either way. I love America and I consider myself a patriot. I like food, friends, fireworks and summer. The 4th should be a home run holiday for me every time. But historically, that hasn't always been the case. Like every holiday a satisfactory experience revolves around a few things--some sort of activity, good food and great people. For the 4th specifically, the daytime activities are important--like BBQ's and parades--but the culmination of everything is in the fireworks. If you're not somewhere with someone(s) watching fireworks at the end of the day, consider your 4th a bust.
Some of my favorite childhood July 4th's include The Stadium of Fire in Provo, Utah watching a show featuring some sort of Osmond, maybe a country singer or two, a local performance and one year I swear Neil Diamond was there but maybe it was David Hasselhoff. But definitely, definitely an extraordinary fireworks show was the grand finale of the evening. We went to this event a few times in my early childhood and the problem, if I can call it that, with having such amazing, early experiences with awesome 4th of July stuff, is that it sets up this expectation that every 4th of July will be amazing, exciting, and over-the-top entertaining. Spoiler alert: It's not.
So contrast that with another memory, sometime in college, where I walked out of an empty apartment watching fireworks burst above the tree tops while I stood in an empty street wondering what everyone was up to. Total bust. I have no idea what I did earlier that day, because all I can remember is that lonely evening knowing everyone else was out having fun without me. Everyone else was definitely doing something more exciting. For sure. And they didn't think to call me.
Yes I'm still talking about Cincinnati, just hang on with me....
Looking back at that lonely college 4th of July, I remember a girl who maybe felt a bit sorry for herself. Poor widdle me. Where did all my fwiends go? What I should have been wondering is why didn't I call anyone and make plans for myself instead of waiting for plans to be made for me? Or why didn't at least make it a fun night in with a movie and ice cream for one? So you know, perspective, responsibility, ownership and a healthy dose of manageable expectations would have been useful at that time. (And will probably have something to do with our decision to settle in Cincinnati. This obvious little connection is something called foreshadowing. I bet you didn't catch that.)
So Cincinnati. We pulled in early last week, and I do mean early (4:30 in the morning, 17 hour drive! Hello!). And we've commenced the rigorous business of moving with all it's ups and downs--We forgot to call about the gas, cold showers! Carpets got cleaned but it still smells like wet dog! The boxes are piled high and I've been trying to get the kitchen island cleared off for 3 days now to no avail. But let's temper that with the fact that we have a nice, big lot in a quiet cul-de-sac. The neighbors brought us cookies. And the girls have been playing outside for hours at a time, exploring the new yard and the new foliage. Additionally, we live near a Graeters Ice Cream shop and have been there too many times for one week. Our new home is lovely as is our neighborhood. Quiet, spacious and I even like the paint colors I choose long distance.
We woke up to a crazy messy house on the 4th of July and headed to the neighborhood parade. This is the first time we've lived in a neighborhood with a neighborhood 4th of July parade. Turns out this has been a tradition for our new 'hood for decades. When we got to the end of the parade there were tables of baked goods, hot dogs, hamburgers and lemonade. Straight up Norman Rockwell style. THEN, the guy on the microphone welcomes everyone and asks if there are any new neighbors. We timidly raise our hands and they usher us to the front where our entire family is introduced. I'm not making this up people. This happened in real life.
We spend most of the day unpacking, but sometime during the day our eldest learned to ride a bike. A process years in the making, but the biggest factor I think wasn't ability, but accessibility. A long driveway and a cul-de-sac is the perfect learn-to-ride-your-first-bike combination. The evening was spent at a friends house who had invited us over for a 4th of July BBQ where we caught up with old and new friends, and ate some good food. (OK, so are you following? Parade, BBQ... so far so good...). But we have a baby and being the sleep nazi's
I found myself at home, cleaning an uncleanable kitchen, with my baby asleep and no one to call or hang out with. Another firework-less 4th of July. At some point I walked into the empty backyard thinking about this new life. The streets are quiet. Are they a little too quiet? The neighbors are nice, but mostly empty nesters with not many young children near by. And well, we've been here before. Not this street, but Cincinnati. And for some reason I've been hung up on the idea of moving forward in life, but moving backward in geography. For some reason those two things feel at odds.
But then I notice the trees buzzing with flickering lights.
Perhaps fireflies are the norm for some of you, but for this mountain grown girl, they're a new phenomenon. When we lived in Cincy the first time, I saw my first real life firefly, but never more than 2 or 3 at a time. But our new yard? We gots ourselves some fireflies. And I'm sorry, but fireflies... they're just magical. Feel free to wipe the cheese off your screen, but I can't help it--they are magical dagnabit! They're not the loud booming fireworks that I'm supposed to have, but they're special in their own right. Some, and maybe myself included, would even choose fireflies over fireworks.
Sure I miss the excitement and hustle and bustle of New York. There is nothing in the world like living in that city and it stays in your blood forever. In general I've lived in some exciting places, from Hawaii to New York City and everywhere in between. Fireworks! But right now a quiet cul-de-sac with a long driveway and an expansive yard feels right. We spent years sporadically trying to teach my oldest how to ride a bike, but all she needed was one day in the perfect environment. I'm hoping this is the perfect environment for a lots of things. I miss our friends and our old stomping grounds in San Antonio. But as we walked into church today greeted by old friends, the people who surrounded our little family when Lamp was born, we felt a familiar love and comfort and it didn't feel as backward as I thought it would.
Like the 4th of July, Cincinnati is what we make of it. They'll be good times and bad times, but mostly it's up to us to make our own awesome plans and make our own awesome life. Yes, some years I might miss the fireworks. But I hope I'm not too dumb and caught up in missing the fireworks that I forget to look around and enjoy the fireflies.
Because Cincinnati? We gots ourselves some fireflies.