the state we're in

I've never taken heat stroke or homesickness very seriously.

But a week or so ago, Claire was bawling behind me in her bike trailer. And I pedaled away—dizzy, nauseous, the works. One of us was probably going to pass out before we got home, so I found a place to stop: a cafe/bakery where people park their BMW's and pop in for drinks, professional-looking omelettes, and designer cupcakes.

the trail where i often ride my bike with a little girl in tow.

I went inside, hot, sweaty, carrying a sobbing toddler in a princess swimsuit (the only clothes she agreed to wear that day). Since anything birthday-related makes her happy, I ordered a cupcake and the tallest glass of water in the place.

Did I want the red velvet or the ooey gooey? I told the cashier I didn't care.

Which color did I want? I didn't care.

Did I want a box or a plate? "I don't care. The baby doesn't care. Just give me a cupcake and water."

Does heat exhaustion make you louder than normal?

I refilled my glass six times before we left. When we got home, I went inside and lay on the floor until my hands stopped shaking.

even when hiking, the princess swimsuit is her outfit of choice. sigh.
We were fine—after all, cupcakes were involved.

But the whole adventure felt worse than it should have since it happened on the way back from a play group where the kids pushed my daughter out, no matter how many times she blew kisses and said, "Hi, friends." A play group where I tried to connect with other moms, but just had a series of awkward conversations (which is not rare for me, but bums me out anyway).

So I wrote a blog post that I didn't publish. I sounded whiny and tired, without realizing that the problem wasn't heat stroke or play groups or feeling like a sweaty hobo in a fancy bakery.

The problem was that everything here is always new right now.

And for one minute, I just needed the familiar, the comfortable, the worn-in. (*)

Thank goodness Christopher's brother decided to get married. Best excuse for a road trip ever, no matter how short.

We hadn't even seen anyone yet when we arrived on a stretch of I-15 that I've driven at least a thousand times. Is it odd that a certain turn in a road could feel like home? Because it did. Plus, the weather was cool enough to wear my favorite sweater.

no sign of heat stroke here.
We're back in AZ. Today's temp should hit 103. The little one and I are going out on the bike again. And I have a feeling there will be no heat stroke or homesick stories to tell this time.

(Update: No heat stroke stories to speak of. It was hot, but wonderful. Claire played with a girl her age who shared her Elmo and gave her a hug. And I talked to an amazing mom about the emotional and mental space that creativity requires.)

*I don't doubt that this place will become the familiar one soon.

Christopher started a new hobby that I'm not allowed to tell you about yet.

And I discovered a poet (!) who lives across the street.


Genevieve Beck said...

I very much relate to this post in so many ways. Yes, even though I get on the I-15 in Vegas and am still not really close to home, it always makes me feel so much better that the road leads straight home! Hang in there!

Jennifer Rose said...

You have a great way with words that I truly admire. I know exactly what you mean and my heart goes out to you. Good luck in your quest to make Arizona home. One year later, we're still striving to make Connecticut our home...

The Mrs. said...

Is Arizona a long term thing? My sisters both lived there (maybe you remember.) We made lots of road trips...I don't know how they (and you) manage the heat! I understand about a road feeling like home. I feel that way as soon as we are about 40 miles outside my hometown. Love you!

Adrienne said...

Homesickness is terrible. It does get better. It does take time. I think playgroups are a terrible idea, which is why I am the weird mom who never goes. Your family looks darling.

Abbie said...

Have you tried a splash park yet? Princess swimming suits encouraged. I recommend the one at Tempe Town Lake.

Deja said...

Moving is hard. It's just hard. My mom and I have a theory that it takes a month to not feel completely disoriented, three months to sort of adjust, and a year for things to really begin to feel familiar. I think three years is another turning point. Anyway, I wish you sweet days. It sounds like a good place that will keep getting better.

Bryson and Tara said...

I'm glad that things are getting a little better. I am so impressed with you and your bike rides (pulling a trailer, no less...). Good luck, friend. You seem to thrive, no matter what your circumstances. :)

janel said...

I love that sweater. I think it's a sign that you should move back. : ) Wishful thinking for us. I can't wait to hear your news.