This week’s Magpie Edit assumes a new, provisional shape. I very much expect to return to the former format next week, but this week — this week. Nothing bad or serious happened, but I felt like a piece of driftwood being tossed by deep sea waves. There were HVAC issues, playdates and parties, prep for travel next week, intense summer camp registrations (“BE ONLINE AT THE STROKE OF 10 A.M. WITH WALLET IN HAND OR YOUR CHILDREN WILL NEVER EVER EVER GET IN…ALSO YOU NEED TO HAVE THE EXACT DATES OF THEIR LAST TETANUS SHOTS, COPIES OF YOUR LIVING WILL…”), last-minute doctors appointments, a barrage of small pockets of unpleasant news from loved ones (ailments! sick children!), meetings, missing packages, prep for my husband’s birthday, a lot of logisticizing over social gatherings and plans for the coming weeks, wrangling sitters. I thought I might lose it when the birthday gift I’d ordered last week for a little girl in mini’s class went missing in the mail, necessitating me to make a last-minute stop to the toy store on a day where I was already slaloming around immovable commitments. You know. All the proper “adulting stuff” we somehow muscle through on a weekly basis, just particularly highly concentrated into a stretch of seven days.
As I said, nothing serious or bad, just — life.
Therefore, I felt uninspired by myself this week. Ha. All the joy I normally take in snapping small vignettes of things I’m liking in my daily life did not materialize. I have virtually nothing meaningful on my phone from this week save for a photo I took of my daughter teaching my son to write (I wish I’d taken a video — she was instructing with such patience and gentleness), in which my son is wearing underwear and a too-small pajama top backwards with stains all down the front. Not exactly blog-appropriate. However, my husband’s amaryllis (seen above) did bloom this week, and I was able to wipe the fog from my eyes long enough to appreciate that miracle.
I was also still able to maintain my resolution not to eat lunch at my desk, but I had to sort of fudge a bit by working on my phone instead while eating downstairs.
I did not do a good job truly listening to my husband when he was telling me about an issue he’s been trying to think through at work.
My mother stopped by to deliver a gift for Mr. Magpie and I more or less received the gift and ushered her out the door.
I hated every outfit I wore this week. Like, every single one.
I did stick to my running regimen, but one was woefully clipped short by an impending camp registration (I’d foolishly wedged the run in between drop-off and a 10 a.m. registration), and I was peeved because I went into it with a BIG energy.
There wasn’t really….a choice? though? It felt like there was nothing I could drop this week. Sharing all of this drivel because I know many of you can relate. Some weeks are fallow and others are full. This was full in the bad kind of way — full of stuff and logistics, fallow for the soul. Hoping to flip the equation next week. (What can I drop?!)
I did manage to stumble across some goodies I need to share with my Magpies:
+Watching: “Break Point” on Netflix. A really fun docu-series on rising tennis stars. We tore through this over the course of the week during “our one allotted hour of recreation per day,” as Mr. Magpie puts it, morosely. The margins just run thin right now–by the time children are in bed, dog is walked, kitchen and living areas are cleaned, it’s 8 P.M. and we try most nights to head up to bed around 9. Anyhow, setting aside our lame parenting woes, “Break Point” is fun. This season tangos with a lot of interesting elements of tennis: competition, financing, mental wellness for athletes. Mr. Magpie felt that the show didn’t do a good job editing footage of the actual matches (he’s an actual tennis player so I trust there is merit in this critique), but beyond that, we were gripped.
+Reading: Tomorrow Tomorrow Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevins. Oh my goodness – this book is incredible. I am about a quarter of the way through and find the imaginativeness of the narrative structure (borrows a lot from “gaming” conventions) beautifully suited to the story, which is itself about gamers, but so much more than that. Zevins has a lovely way of communicating in understated, almost matter-of-fact prose. There is one line where she writes: “She had, he thought, one of the world’s greatest laughs.” Simple, but so artfully done: this quiet observation of what is undoubtedly hyperbole nearly brought me to tears. A Hemingway vibe, situated in a more modern context. I am loving this book.
+Wearing: Given my hissy fit about hating everything I wore this week, I ordered a bunch of new items that I can’t wait to share. I don’t normally shop like this (I’m more opportunistic — buying items here and there as I come upon them), but I placed a big order at Shopbop, including a few pairs of jeans (shared those styles yesterday), a bunch of dresses to try on for various special occasions (especially excited about this and this), two new white frilly tops (a weakness for me, but I really get so much wear out of them — ordered this and this), and this basic white everyday tee I’ve heard good things about. I’m thinking that shirt will be perfect for a front-tuck (untucked in back) with the Gap jeans I’ve been wearing allll the time.
+Eating: I love food diaries, don’t you? I won’t drag you through my entire eating itinerary, but peak dishes from this week were: a big Indian order from Vegz down in Adams Morgan (so delicious — note that the dosas reheat beautifully in the oven); potatoes dauphinoise from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles cookbook (which Mr. Magpie served alongside roast chicken and Daniel Boulud carrots, which are, like, the most deliciously tender garlic-y carrots you will ever eat); homemade tortellini en brodo; and a breakfast of peanut butter puffins and sliced bananas in oat milk (I rarely have cereal but this combination is so incredibly satisfying). By the time you are reading this, I will be halfway into preparing for Mr. Magpie’s birthday dinner (HBD MR. MAGPIE!), for which I am making a couple of dishes from the Jerusalem cookbook, including their incredible koftes, and a chocolate cake from Bravetart. Hoping I will mentally be tacking these dishes onto this list of highlights.
+Thinking: I spent a lot of time thinking about motherhood this week. I was so moved by the many comments, DMs, and emails this post garnered. The same day I published that essay, I learned that my friend’s son (toddler-aged) had been taken by ambulance to the E.R. because of a seizure (turned out to be fever-induced and so we think all is going to be OK), and I found myself just sort of moody and sniffly about motherhood and the tremendous blessing and burden of caring for children. Last night, my son woke me up twice wanting to come into our bed. We’ve had to instate a new and rather severe rule about this because he was coming in too often and then keeping all three of us awake for large stretches of the night. So instead I made a makeshift bed on his floor, thinking this would be a clever way to cuddle him and work him through this transition, and he was apoplectic. “I like big beds!” he cried, enormous crocodile tears streaming down his cheeks in his midnight confusion. (I was tired but not too tired to resist the urge to sing in my head, “I like big beds and I cannot lie…!”) And so instead I cradled him in my arms sitting on the floor, rocking him back and forth just like I did for months on end in his nursery in our second NYC apartment, which was too small to fit an armchair. This felt situationally ironic, as I just mentioned how much I miss rocking him to sleep. (Karma is a queen!) His eyes kept drooping closed and then swinging open and finally, about twenty minutes (and two or three decades of the rosary) in, he quietly rose and laid himself in his own bed and fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. Then he was up again an hour later. I do not know why. Things were back to normal the night following. Motherhood is a lot like this: looking for patterns, occasionally finding some, usually writing things off as “a blip.” You have to be fleet-footed in this role, constantly reminding yourself that everything is temporary. Motherhood is also a lot like this: eating leftover cantelope, some of which has become smudged with maple syrup or yogurt, off your children’s plates and calling it breakfast. I think one aspect I am trying to communicate here is that motherhood can sometimes feel like a stereogram: you look at it one way, and you’re in the nitty-gritty weeds; you look at it another way, and you’re overwhelmed by its majesty. Sometimes you are seeing both views at once, too, which makes things ultra chaotic. Like, I was exhausted rocking my son to sleep twice in one night, but I was also tender-hearted about it. How is it possible that I can be simultaneously looking at both the Grand Canyon and a fistful of individual grains of dirt gathered in my palm? Motherhood demands it.
+Reframing: A special thank you to a Magpie reader who encouraged me to say “I GET to run” instead of “I HAVE to run.” I’ve been applying this re-frame to a lot this week. As an example, my tantrum about having to run out to the toy store at the last minute. I told myself: “I GET to do this.” Like, how wonderful that a “pain point” in my day was going to a toy store to select a toy for a sweet girl? That I have a car to do it in, that I have a flexible schedule to accommodate, that I have the means to buy her something wonderful, that this errand wasn’t something like, say, getting a colonoscopy or rushing off to the ER with a toddler in a seizure? I know, I’m sounding vaguely Pollyanna over here but the phrase does help reframe when you’re irritated by the things “in your way” each day.
+Shopping: Aside from my Shopbop haul, I picked up a few items from the Oso and Me sale (ends today!) for my son, some sweet little girl finds for mini (shared almost all of them here), this Lug Von Siga top (super sale), some new Merit beauty products (bronzer, brush, foundation/concealer hybrid), and a bunch of new fitness duds for Mr. Magpie, who has been regimented about his indoor cycling since the start of the year. I bought him a pair of these Reigning Champ hybrid training shorts in the fir green (found on sale in black here), a Beyond Yoga tee, these repetition shorts from Alo, Nike crew socks, a Nike hat (love the throwback flair), and this Rhone tee. I thought it’d be good for him to test a bunch of different higher-end performance wear brands to see what he likes vs. not and then we can purchase more as needed. He does not need new shoes at the moment, but I’m curious what he’d make of these wildly popular On Cloudmonster ones. The colors are SO good, but I think he’ll find the style gimmicky? (He’s usually, like me, a Nike athlete).
Writing all of that out, I’m aware that this week actually did have some magic to it. Thank you for allowing me the space to see that.
How was your week?
P.P.S. What to do when you’re feeling “run aground.”
P.P.P.S. Fun sweaters for the new year.