To the coast by Christina Rosalie

We went to the coast, just us two for a few days. We climbed cliffs and ate fish tacos and watched whales spout and turn as the sun set and the gulls dance. We drank wine on sand dunes in the rain. We lay side by side and felt the earth spin. We ran down dunes, giddy, laughing. We slept in late. Argued. Made love. Went for a run. Explored every tide pool. Wandered slowly. Answered the 36 questions, and then more questions, mapping everything: tattoos, trips abroad, new ways of seeing, the future big, passion-filled, near. It was good. These are the images I don't want to forget. Processed with VSCOcam with kk2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with kk1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset


Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset





To seek balance, and find ourselves instead in motion by Christina Rosalie

closeLikeThis_back We're running. He's ahead of my by a half a stride, and I can feel the way this makes me run harder, then harder still, trying to catch up, to syncopate, to be in step. Finally I ask him, "Where do you see me now? Next to you or behind?"
"Next to me," he says, zero hesitation.
I sprint a step ahead so we're in line, his feet moving in time with mine now, our knees and feet matching in gate. "How about now?" I ask.
I put my arm out like the wing of an airplane, perpendicular to my side, it brushes lightly against his chest. We're exactly in line. "I'm beside you now," I say, "But I wasn't before."
"No way!" he's incredulous. A dozen small finches lift up from alongside the road where the yellow coltsfoot is finally blooming like hundreds of small suns.
We've been running together for years, side by side, more or less in synch, our strides matching save for this irregularity of peripheral vision. Him, just a little bit ahead. Because of the way I'm strung together like a lanky marionett, my legs are nearly as long as his (though his torso is a good 6 inches longer than mine.) I'm made of legs, then ribcage, not much in between. And because of this we've always run together more or less side by side, even at a sprint.
Still, this is the first time I've bothered to ask if that half a stride distance ahead of is something he's been doing on purpose.
Most of the time it doesn't bother me. I like the challenge. I like to run hard, feel my lungs burn and my quads heat with the sure fire of muscle motion. But there are some days, like this one, when all I want is for the effortlessness of togetherness. Neither behind nor ahead, neither pushing, nor being pushed.
He laughs now, his voice ringing out into the cold spring air. The sky is overcast but bright. The pebbles on the road gleam white and copper and ocher in between the soft places where our soles sink in the mud. The fields are greening. The shadows growing long in the gloaming.
For the rest of the run we try it. Side by side. It's such a subtle shift, if I weren't paying attention I might not have noticed it at all. They way my body stops pushing. The way things feel suddenly at ease, in balance.
It's so easy, to let habit become fact. To let inertia shape the channel through which your energy flows. To settle into the way things have always been, even if it no longer feels in balance.
It's easy for this to happen especially when you've been at something for a long time (13 years for us). When the days stack up full of things that need doing and work comes home for the weekend; when dishes wait on the kitchen counter and alone-time and time together are both in short supply.
Harder to bring attention to breath and pulse and heart. To take notice of the way things make you feel; to dial in and really listen. And then to ask, to reach, to wonder, aloud and together until there is a stirring of energy. Activation. Attention. Motivation.

What if instead of seeking balance, we found ourselves anew in motion over and over again?

What love looks like today by Christina Rosalie

  We've known eachother since we were 21.   I still remember how shortly after we started dating we agreed that we were each allowed to cull a few "deal breaker" items from each other's closet. He insisted a pair of my very awkward and proper pointy-toed lace-up shoes needed to go; and I swore that if he ever wore the glasses with frames that went below his cheekbones again, I'd have to break up with him.   Still, we were complete dorks. I wore sneakers all the time, and sweatshirts that were perpetually 3 sizes too big. He wore khaki pants with pleats and suspenders. We both wore a lot of spandex (mountain and road riding.)   Once he grew a goatee at my request (don't ask.) Then I accidentally dyed my hair carrot red the weekend he proposed. We were both still baby-faced: whatever all-nighters we pulled they didn't amount to anything near the cumulative tired that would come with little ones, marking our eyes with raccoon rings and crows feet.   The years in between then and now have flown by in a blur, and many of them are recorded here in the archives. How we moved here with a 6 month old. How we made our own rituals. The way we fought. The way we laughed. How we adored watching our first kid discover his world. Buying our house here and gutting it. Creating this home from scratch. Navigating depression. Being tossed headlong into financial uncertainty. Finding out I was pregnant. Having our second baby. Quitting. Starting. A book. Graduate school. A new job. Graduating. Another new job. Finding purpose. Co-piloting. Always becoming.   And now here we are on the other side of those pell-mell early years suddenly, with kids big enough now to leave behind for long enough to reclaim the spark and delight that caused us to flirt, and say yes, and make babies in the first place. Mmm-hmmm.   New Orleans was exactly that. Sun drenched, with enough time for a nap on Friday, and then music and shrimp and grits, and daiquiris after running (because that's the recovery drink of champions, right?) and lots of laughing and hand holding and ducking into doorways and kissing and people watching and all that good stuff that happens when the "Do Not Disturb" sign goes up and doesn't come down until 11AM the next day. Mmmm. Yes.   Then of course, there was the flight back--three legs in all that took us to Minnesota and then Illinois. But still, even that was fun, sitting in cramped seats side by side and talking and talking like we'd just met. If having kids does anything to people who are in love, it makes them appreciate what a boon uninterrupted hours are--because on an average day around here to finish a sentence feels miraculous, let alone to have a conversation about poetry and possibility. Several uninterrupted hours? Amazing. And so worth it. Even though reality hit the minute we touched down in Vermont, and all the work we'd left behind had apparently mated and produced more work.   Since autumn this has been our commitment--to ourselves and each other. To nourish, to sustain, and to rediscover.   Tell me, how do you nourish your relationship with the one you love?

How to fall in love with your life: the wisdom of little boys by Christina Rosalie

Bean is watching my every subtle move. We are in the middle of a game of “alligator” and Sprout, perched on the couch cushions above us launches himself suddenly through the air, chubby thighs bare, and lands between his brother and me, straddling my chest, laughter erupting.

Alligator is a game that Bean invented. It requires certain might and restraint and all the physicality that little boys crave. The rules are simple: I catch him and wrap in my arms and legs, my fierce alligator jaws devouring his lithe little body, and then I hold him tight regardless of any plea, or request, or peel of giggles as he tries to wriggle free.

Sometimes I follow the rules. I am a fierce and steadfast gator, remaining unswayed until just exactly the right moment when the wiry-mulled little boy I’ve trapped is clever enough to outwit me, or strong enough to slip between clenched biceps. Other times I add a twist: I pretend to be asleep and snore, and he slips out easily, much to his delight and my pretend chagrin. And then there are the times, when it takes everything I have not do not to devour him whole: soft cheeks and sandy hair that smells like honey and milk.

Today he’s already made his first escape, and has immediately clambered on top of my ribcage for more. His weight familiar. I’ve always carried him; always held the heft of him close; always been the cradle for his small knees and elbows and belly. And thisI think, is part of what I do that makes it possible to sustain this full velocity life. Of doing the work of my heart in all the ways that I must: writer and mama, strategist and artist, graduate student and runner, all in unequal measures as the day demands. No matter what the day holds, it will always finds us like this, limbs colliding in this certain and unequivocal choreography of love.

I watch him watch me, imagining what he must think of me. My own childhood was far less physical. There was no puppy piling, no running through the house, no yelling. I remember often being told to be quite, to find the boundaries of my ebullient self and rein them in. I praised for my intellect, never for my ability to make people laugh; and other than sitting on my father’s lap to listen to a book read aloud, or hugging my parent’s goodnight, or holding hands when walking along a busy street, love was never spelled limb against limb, twirling in giddiness, kissing like blowfish, or howling like the pack of wild hyaenas always on the loose and restless in my soul.

Which is why his answer delights me deeply when I ask:

“If you were to describe me to someone who has never met me, what would you tell them?”

He tilts his head to the side and looks at my face.

And then he says, “That you’re strong…. that you’re funny*….and that you stay up late.”

Then he adds, “And that you wrestle with me.” As if this is the most important thing of all.

It’s such a gift to catch the tiniest of glimpses into how he sees me. It’s a gift, always, when you can get a glimpse of how anyone sees you. It broadens your view of yourself; increases your imagination of what you think is possible, and makes you lean into your potential differently. Give yourself this gift today: go ask someone how they would describe you to a stranger. Bask in their reply.

xoxo! Me.

*FUNNY made the list! Funny. You have no idea how over the moon that makes me.

tonight by Christina Rosalie

“Mommy,” he says, sitting up like a small bird in his top bunk, “I just have the feeling stuck in my head that the lightening can strike and kill me. “ I can’t see his eyes, but I know they’re huge; red rimmed from allergies, lashes so long they get crisscrossed when he rubs them.

I’ve been in class since one; in meetings since eight this morning. I’ve had a cumulative fourteen hours of sleep in the past three days. There are circles under my eyes; I haven’t exercised; deadlines still defining every waking hour.

I hear him sniffle, rub his nose, squirm under the covers, his thin torso still propped up on an elbow. I can see his silhouette: he’s watching the window, even though the shades are shut.

I want to snap at: Stop being silly. You’re fine. Go to sleep. I want to plunk the little one into his crib instead of holding him in my lap, rocking as he squirms around, not settled either, also anxious about the storm that has arrived suddenly, just as T drove off for a meeting. I can feel the impatience thick on my tongue.

Instead I take a breath. I zero in. I let the breath expand the place where my ribs join; let my love for these two boys flood me like the storm.

“It’s okay," I say softly. "I’m right here. Mama will be right here,” and then I begin to whisper, “Shush, shushhhhhh.”

And the lightening comes, the thunder comes, the sky grows dark, darker. The windows pelt with rain, and I rock and whisper and then begin to softly sing Brahms’ lullaby, until I can feel Sprout’s body soften, his hair suddenly damp and warm with the onset of sleep. And I keep singing.

I keep singing as the lightening lights up the room, once, twice, six times, twelve. I lose count and keep singing until I can hear Bean settle, curling like a small animal in his covers. I sing until they are breathing in time, steadily, evenly, with the sweet magic of sleep.

How to love someone after eleven years: by Christina Rosalie

Wake up. Shower, fumble for the hair dryer, grab a load of laundry before heading downstairs. Find his face across the room over a skillet of eggs; find his eyes, and meet them. Feel how his smile fills you up like good bread. Fill the washing machine, add soap, press the illuminated buttons and wait for the machine to start. Walk away, walk back, keep walking until you encounter the warmth of his back. Reach out for him even though things are unresolved and will be unresolved again. Wrap your arms around him and press your body close until you can feel his heat through your shirt; through his.

Say only a little until after you have had coffee. Pick and choose between complaining and being heard. Notice the things that you love: the way he makes you maple lattes and kisses the boys heads always and again and laughs and the silliest of their jokes. Eat eggs fried in a cast iron skillet with the pancakes he made from scratch while you showered. As you dressed you could hear your little one asserting: “I do it, I do it” (his first true three word sentence.) The pancakes are made with cornmeal and buttermilk and tenderness.

Fill the bird feeders and make small talk until you are present in yourself and the torn edges of sleep have been brushed aside like cobwebs swept. Then laugh. Then say what you need to say, and listen as he says what he needs to say.

Learn to ask questions that don’t assume answers.

Questions that are empty like a jar before rain. Questions that offer neutrality: how can I help? What do you need? How do you feel?

Learn to ask yourself these questions too.

How do you feel?

What do you need?

How can you help yourself?

Let the spinning orbit of your day pull you in: finding snowgear for two children and leaving and arriving; buying gas and water and Cliff bars. Kicking snow off your boots. Laughing in line at the lifts. Across the table over rootbeer and salty fries find yourself reflected in his gaze (again and again this is the way it goes.) Find your heart spread across the surface of his words, spreading out like ripples in the lake of his laughter. A decade feels short and long, just as days often do. Reach for his hand and feel his pulse.

unfamiliar familiar by Christina Rosalie

This is where I always slip: where the snare of expectation catches me off guard and I’m unaware that I’m expecting anything until it doesn’t happen and my feelings are dashed.

Sometimes even then I don’t know what I want. Sometimes I just can’t say what I’m hoping for, and it’s one of those times, back at home in the small world familiar things that are my life: fat snow; hazelnut shells in a bowl; T beside me at the table eating curry + chicken the fire flickering behind us; the boys after their bath with damp hair and new pajamas; marbles rolling around on the floor; laundry to fold.

I don’t expect the vulnerability I feel until I feel it. It’s jet lag maybe; hormones; whatever.

“We’ve known each other for eleven years, it’s safe to say I know you,” he says.

We’re in bed, lying stiff like boards, shoulder to shoulder. It’s not an argument really, and yet it is.

“I just want to feel like you’re curious about me still,” I say, not really knowing what I mean.

And yet it’s exactly what I mean.

We're so familiar we’re unfamiliar some days.

And sometimes it’s easier to give in to the laws of physics; to push away; to walk away; to look away. Equal and opposite reactions.

Tonight we move our shoulders towards each other in the dark. A small concession, but the night is already half gone.