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BLOG – Back to life, back from maternity

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It has been many a month since I last sat down to offer my thoughts, however scatter-brained, to the community at large here on the YS News Web site. As countless friends and family members have told me in the past weeks, however, when I’ve neglected some daily responsibility, like dishes, laundry, or most often, showering, I “have a good reason”: on August 17, at 4:10 p.m., I gave birth to my daughter, Lucy. The weeks following have been full of many things: new discoveries, learning experiences, unbelievable joy and explosive bowel movements (mostly from the baby). What they have not been full of are the normal things new parents must give up, but which are things that happen to be essential to the writer’s life: sleep, coffee and free time. Now, nearly twelve weeks into this adventure, I’m stealing some minutes of my own, and a cup of decaf, and sitting down to write. (The sleep still hasn’t shown up, but two out of three, as they say, ain’t bad.)

When I began this blog, it was with the intention of recording my observations of Yellow Springs as a relative outsider. Having spent the majority of my life in the southeastern United States, and most of that in a tourist beach town in Florida, the ins and outs of life in a midwestern village continue to fascinate me. Since the birth of my child, however, I can’t help but look at everything in my life with the consideration of how it will affect her; this includes, of course, Yellow Springs.

One of my favorite things to do when friends and family come to visit, of course, is to take them to the spot for which the town was named, the Yellow Springs (a moniker that fellow blogger Vanessa recently hailed as less than apt, with good reason). When my mother and sister came to visit less than a month after Lucy was born, it seemed only natural that we all take a trip down to the springs. This was one of those semi-frequent early moments when I forgot that maneuvering around the world with a small child is not the same as maneuvering around the world without one. I wore Lucy on my torso with the help of a wrap as I was accustomed to doing by that point, but didn’t think how much more tiring it would be to traverse a wooded, hilly area with a baby strapped to my chest. The following image deftly illustrates the lesson I learned:

For real passed out in the Glen.

For real passed out in the Glen.

That lesson continues to make itself apparent in every day encounters: in the grocery store, at restaurants, and the most obvious, at the movies. My partner Anthony and I have not yet dipped our toes into the troubled water that is the estranged relationship between parents of young children and movie theaters. Instead, we’ve taken advantage of the fact that good movies are within walking distance in Yellow Springs, and take our trips to the Little Art in shifts on a Friday or Saturday night.

The work-week is another issue that takes creative problem solving. In a society that makes it almost impossible for people of our payscale to afford adequate childcare, we’re extremely lucky. The fine people at the YS News not only allow but encourage me to bring Lucy to work with me whenever it’s necessary, citing her as just another addition to the panoply of children and pets that hang around the office on a daily basis. People who visit the News at certain times may see me sitting in my little office holding a squirming baby in one hand, and clicking my mouse with the other.

As different as life is with a baby, this town has made it easier to transition into that life, which cements for me the fact that this is the place I want my child to call home. It’s exciting, and surreal, to think that she will not grow up the same way I did, or in the same place. The images that shaped my childhood, for good or for bad, will not be the images that shape hers, and her sense of place will be something unique to her in our little family. I may not be from around here, but little Lucy, born and raised among cornfields and clean air and people who look out for each other, already is.


2 Responses to “BLOG – Back to life, back from maternity”

  1. Lauren Shows says:

    i might not have imagined it possible, susan, but i always hoped for it. i think we all do. 🙂

  2. Susan Gartner says:

    This is so sweet, Lauren. Thanks for letting the public in behind-the-scenes. Bet you never imagined writing an article using the expression “explosive bowel movements” in such a tender (and appropriate) way!

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