California, what are you doing to me?

Yesterday we went to the beach. I walked to the edge of this continent and felt a sense of coming home. The incoming waves glided slowly toward me and kissed my feet before receding back with the tide. I felt the full intensity of the sun shining right through me. M and I ran across the sand, through the shallow pools, laughing and squealing, ageless. Hours passed and we felt not a single minute. The ocean breakers in the distance rose and fell and crashed, like the inhale and exhale of breath.

The other day I was driving back from East Bay, and somehow got routed down a rural road. We wove through the emerald hills, while the sun sank down and tinted them gold. I pulled over three or four times just to take photos, just to let my eyes absorb it all. Is this the same country I’ve always lived in? Has it always been so beautiful? Why do I love these hills in a way that only someone born there should?

Not to cheapen the poetry with finances, but my paychecks are now rolling in every week. I can afford to pay my bills. I can afford childcare. I can afford to send M to a Montessori through 8th grade. I can even save some money. A huge weight has lifted off of me… oh my god, I can be a single mom here and be ok. They pay nurses here what I feel like I actually deserve to earn most nights. 

I was not ok in Michigan. I was alone, I was broke and going into debt, I was worried about child care, about putting M in a school that wasn’t the best for her just because it was free. Nothing was coming together. Worse, it was all falling apart. I felt trapped, stuck, like being in a relationship you’ve long concluded was unhealthy, but were never able to repair no matter how you tried. And yet I’d known nothing else, so I thought surely it was better than any alternative. But I was wrong about that. Now that it feels like I’m standing in the clear light of day, I can see that I was so dangerously on the edge of sinking into complacency and old, fruitless patterns of thought and emotion. Thank you thank you to the universe, god, my inner self, all of it, for pushing through the fear and making the leap. It wasn’t easy to shed so much old skin, but I have not one single regret now. I have no desire to look back, because my forward seems so amazing.

I have a chance to begin again. I can be who I truly am, who I know I must be. Now I can breathe. I’m finally breathing. The ocean called to me and I came: now I know it’s all going to be ok. Whatever the future brings, I will never forget this chance I’ve been given, this freedom and weightlessness.

Lucky. Blessed. Gratitude. That’s all I feel right now.

Author: Mother of All Things

Mother by fostering, adoption, and marriage... wife to my best friend... Bay area critical care nurse... travel in my blood, reading in my bones, clean food on my mind!

2 thoughts on “California, what are you doing to me?”

  1. SO GLAD. and so proud of your courage. It took LOTS of courage. How is your mother doing? Has a bit of dry weather helped her? Is she finding enough things to do that she is not too alone? So Proud of Your Courage! (You do know, I hope, that the green hills will be golden, aka brown, very soon. Do not be surprised.)

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