A sure sign that it’s coming on Christmas that I never noticed before? The cars you pass, even just on the way to town, are filled with more people.
Beat up sedans full of girls who must be together for the first time since getting back from college. SUVs that gleam despite the salty roads driven by manicured women who are accompanied by a tiny woman who must be grandma, out on a rare adventure for the holidays. For a few days at least, our little isolation booths, our tons of steel and glass that hurtle down the roads delivering us from one mission to the next, are not just vehicles for one. We have the chance to break the routines and take routes we’d never get to travel in the middle of any other week in the year and share the journey with those who gather because it is nearly December 25th.
Who are these other people, untethered by the 9-5 work day? What are their stories on this Christmas Eve Eve and what will they be on any other day in January when the lights have all been removed and we are resigned to the typical gray of winter?
These last two months at home, especially the last few weeks when I actually venture out with Moira secure in her carseat behind me, have really made me appreciate uncharted days, a bundle of hours that are not structured by anyone else’s schedule. It still feels oddly reckless to make a chiropractor appointment for noontime. For all that I have been begging the gods to get me out of my day job, I still feel like somebody must be wondering why that thirty year old woman is not at work.
As much as I always though they were ridiculous, I suddenly am starting to understand why people hang those silly little “Baby On Board” signs in their car windows. When you walk down the street or through the supermarket with a stroller, everyone knows to hold the door for you. You come to expect a little more patience from people and you may be slightly offended when they don’t look at the angel who happens to be sleeping in your grocery cart. A baby is a good luck charm and a guarantee of others’ good behavior. As permeable as one feels as a new mother out in the world with an infant, you need what little protection and consideration can offer.
My story as I drive around town in these last moments before the world takes a collective Christmas breath is that my heart, my mind, the entire focus of my being is tucked into the back seat. I am not traveling solo anymore, and though she will grow more and more independent and allow me some breathing room when the time is right so I can get my wits about me and remember what it is just to be Marisa, right now, I cannot imagine us existing without each other.
I don’t want to hang one of those yellow signs in the window so that I can have an excuse to drive like a madwoman, I just want the world to know that my PT Cruiser carries a new life and a new mama and that is something pretty special.
Because I want to find the river that takes me to an unending number of days when Moira and I can craft our own schedule and gad about town any old time, I give you Joni Mitchell…