This Late August Afternoon

This Late August Afternoon | Freckled Italian

In my head I only just sat down and wrote a blog post last weekend, but here I am on a Sunday logging in to Squarespace for the first time in what turns out to be almost a month. What have I been up to since July? A lot, and also not much. The past few weeks have flown by.

I started teaching again at my barre studio—in January I was feeling overwhelmed and in March I officially got off the schedule. I wasn’t sure if it was forever or if I just needed a break, but I was sad to let go of something I had worked so hard for, something I had grown to love. But it taught me that it’s okay to rest when you’re tired, and it encouraged me to be more open with the people I work with and not just push through until you hit burnout. Now, five months later I’m back two mornings a week teaching four classes; finally leaning on our nanny for more than just errands.

I also finished another cookbook this summer. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to write one any time soon but my publisher reached out to me about a project that ended up falling through. I figured it wasn’t meant to be and then a few weeks later they approached me with an even more exciting offer and I went for it. When I was in college, writing papers and dreaming about being a writer one day I never imagined that I’d actually become an author, or that my thing would become cookbooks, but I love it so much.

And I’ve started working out a CrossFit gym as well—it’s closer to my house than the barre studio and has class at 6AM and is costing us a small fortune so I make it there 4 days a week no matter what. It was a small shift, but one that I needed. It’s 100% for me and I leave before anyone wakes up and am back home, tomato-faced and sweaty, making myself a latte in time for Rob’s alarm to go off. Going to the gym and being around all of the equipment feels oddly nostalgic to me—it reminds me of being back in Roanoke the summer after grad school when Rob was moving to DC and I hadn’t gotten a job yet. I worked out with my mom every morning until I started at a small software company where I worked until Rob moved to Minneapolis and I followed him six months later.

I still spend a lot of time feeling like I don’t do enough—or, worse, feeling guilty for needing some time here and there for myself. I don’t know why I do that. I’ve wanted to be a stay-at-home mom for longer than I can remember, but there’s this part of me that sometimes feels like it’s not “enough.” Over the past few months I’ve given myself a lot of grace to just focus on my family—it’s such a gift to have this time together and I often forget that. And yet there are still days where I try to do it all--to write and share and develop recipes and market my cookbooks and keep the house clean and engage Sophie 100% of the time she's awake and walk the dog and keep in touch with my friends and get groceries and memorize new choreo for my classes and call my mom and cook healthy meals.

There are times I feel left behind in some ways. While people excel in their careers, blow up on Instagram, travel the world. But when I walk into the room and Sophie yells “MAMA!” with so much excitement, when she brings me a book from across the room and plops herself into my lap with all the confidence in the world, when we sit down for dinner and sing every song she knows on repeat, when we take Ender on a walk on a weekday morning and I get to watch her look around and point at every bird and tree along the way, I know that this is exactly what I had been working toward for all those years—a flexible, but sometimes unorganized life full of love.

...someday she’ll long
for this late August afternoon

when she could have held
each instant
like a jewel
in the palm of her still smooth hand.
— Sonya Sones