Monday, July 07, 2014

Cincinnati--We're Here

Forgive me, all I have right now are iPhone/instagram pics.  
You can follow me on insta at thislittlemiggy.  



Hey.
'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 we are I am, we leave early and head home.  But the girls want more.  They want fun, friends and fireworks.  I don't blame them.  The baby was asleep, the kitchen a mess so I sent the husband out with both girls to go back to the BBQ for the evening festivities.

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.

Fireflies.  

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.  

14 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:54 AM

    Welcome back! If you find yourself at a certain craft store in Hyde Park, hope you'll stop by the frame shop and say hello!

    - Laurie

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    1. Laurie! I will! Let me just say I've felt like such a jerk for a while now...see when you kindly gave me those two big boxes of supplies I put them in the garage and didn't open them until we moved to SA. Then once I opened them I was like WHAT? This is A LOT of really nice stuff. All the scissors, hole punches, etc. I never wrote a proper thank you--I should have before I opened them anyway--and then I felt so bad after realizing just how much stuff you gave me and the girls. I'm so glad you're still reading so THANK YOU. We use those supplies all the time. If we're in your neck of the woods we'll say hi for sure!

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  2. As a native Cincinnaitian I admit my bias, but I still think you will end up loving where you live. A Graeter's near by? That's the stuff childhood memories are made of. And when you have time, take your girls to Kings Island for a day full of fun. I can't think about summer in Cincinnati without thinking about eating LaRosa's pizza underneath the Vortex roller coaster at good 'ole KI.

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    1. Jengalietti--Yes to all of the above! We did KI once and had a great time. And I agree, a childhood with Graeters nearby is bound to be good.

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  3. As I got to the end of your post, small tears of nostalgia, jealousy, hope, happiness, and a host of other indefinable emotions made their way to my lashes. Jealousy that, as an Arizona/Utah girl who's never been east of Colorado, I haven't yet had the experience of seeing fireflies. Nostalgic for a time when my children were little, rather than teen aged; when their victories came a little easier and their losses didn't seem so potentially devastating. Hopeful at the knowledge that life, like Cincinnati and the 4th of July, is what we make of it.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. Jen--Thank you. Your comment gave me a virtual hug of validation. If that's a thing. Here's to hope, living in the moment and seizing the day.

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  4. You had me at fireflies. I've learned to love Kansas because of fireflies. Magical is the perfect word to describe them.

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  5. Welcome back! Your neighborhood sounds amazing. If you need recommendations of the best restaurants or kid friendly places to take the littles, shoot me an email! Cincinnati has SO much to offer right now. (And you should go to City Flea this coming Saturday in Washington Park in Over-The-Rhine)

    :) lauren@stylizedexistence.com

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    1. Lauren--Thanks! So I heard about the City Flea this Saturday...hopefully we have time to check it out. Sounds amazing. And I just may send you an email for some of those recommendations. Thanks!

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  6. We love and miss you guys but I am so glad to read this! Great things are coming!

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    1. I miss you guys too.
      But yeah...it's good that this feels good. :)

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  7. We also live in Cincinnati and also just moved a few weeks ago. I grew up in rural WV and have lots of memories of fireflies - catching them, watching them, chasing them, etc. But I have never seen anything like the magic that happens in our back yard every night. There are thousands, maybe even millions of them, and they blink past the treetops. You're completely right, way better than a fireworks show. But the best part has been watching our daughter watch the fireflies. She is 12, and we just adopted her a few months ago. The "firsts" we get to experience as first time parents to an older child are pretty awesome, and I doubt think anything will ever beat "first automatic car wash" in terms of pure joy, but "first firefly viewing"is way up there in magical awe and wonder. Truly priceless.

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    1. Jennifer--OK, I want to know what part of town you live in because I don't think we get thousands upon millions! That sounds amazing! But even what we have is pretty awesome. And so cool to hear about all your firsts with your daughter--that's amazing. I need to hear more about this first automatic car wash--haha!

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  8. This post makes me miss you so much. and you are funny. And on the fourth we were at some nice new peoples house who had a pool and were friendly and such and I sat there looking at it all and thought, "I miss Amy." Amen.

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