I plop my Colette into her highchair for the 34thtime that day, it’s a change in location, which brings about a moment of peace. I take a deep breath as she squeals curiously, the beginnings of what will eventually escalate into frustrated consonants babbled at higher and higher volume and pitch with each passing moment. It’s all to say, “I’m bored, NEXT”. But for now I grab my phone and open instagram to see how the rest of the world is living.
My favorite blogger is in some remote village in Spain. I look it up and see its location and envision myself there for a moment. I’ll have to settle for a coconut La Croix from my fridge. I dodge IKEA plastic stacking cups that have been scattered around my kitchen floor and make it to my fridge just barely without incident. A small noise becomes louder and faster as Colette discovers with pure ecstasy the sounds that comes from banging her toy on the counter. I see her smiling with excitement and flash a smile before getting back to my quick scroll.
A friend has a work meeting over happy hour and I see her frosted glass of Chablis toggling from side to side in front of a slightly blurred bright blue ocean. I don’t think I’m allowed to drink at home yet, it only being 3:30 and all. I quickly calculate hours until bedtime, 4. I scroll on, and a family I follow has relocated to France for a year and has been traveling to every bit of Western Europe on the weekends. They are currently in Biarritz surfing and the weather looks perfect, a nice contrast to the stifling heat outside my house.
Colette’s squeals are slowly morphing from contentment to boredom just as my stomach reminds me I haven’t taken time to eat. My moment of peace is ticking away so I grab an entire bell pepper and eat it like an apple while scrolling. The Australian fitness guru slides onto my feed doing one of her vomit inducing workouts. Just a few dozen burpees and a few dozen jump squats repeated a few dozen times. I watch the video like I’m watching the Olympics; it is both entertaining and so impossible it doesn’t feel like a threat. I chomp my bell pepper and feel my still soft belly just because I’m a masochist. I can now no longer shut out Colette’s frustration. What she wants is to walk around, but she still so unstable and it takes a lot of work and concentration. So I set my phone down and plop her on the floor with plastic primary colored toys I swore I would never buy.
I grab my phone because if I don’t catch up it will nag at me like incomplete homework. A natural beauty company comes into view. A 20 year old without any visible makeup swipes a shade of sheer pink onto her lips and blots. She has pouty plump lips that owe themselves to youth and good genes, and probably some Photoshop. Makeup free is the new makeup, and youth of course is the caveat, as it is for high-wasted shorts and midriff T’s.
Colette has now escalated to a level I can’t ignore so I set my phone down to help her stand. My ratted hair, that hasn’t been properly groomed in days, falls into my face and I lean over to lift her up and she grabs it for support. I sustain the jolt of pain and tie it back in a bun. Undone is the new done, I think, I’m just being French is all.
She wants to walk so we travel into the living room where she has many Colette sized pieces of furniture to scale. I have to watch her closely lest she take a tumble, so I slide my socked feet across the floor and plop down onto our wood floor with a nice view of my thighs in my high school sweats. Not a sight for instagram.
I’ve left my phone in the kitchen and can’t be bothered to go get it. Colette starts pushing off the edge of the couch to precariously balance standing alone. She gets so utterly excited she can’t contain her toothy grin and looks in my direction to laugh. I watch her tubby legs as they dramatically bend, lift and plop down like she’s walking through shallow surf. She has tiny tan lines between her fat rolls and I laugh at how cute they are. She’s so happy now she starts to babble incessantly, ba bada, la, dada. I listen to all the details of her noises while staring at her curly brown hair. How can her hair be that perfect, I think? How can her cheeks be that ridiculous? I smile and feel that blessed rush of contentment, the kind that comes from presence, from existing where I am. The anxiety I was hardly aware of dissipates. Simplicity slides in and I find myself in a moment I’m living in. If I have the guts, I’ll decide to keep living my life within my life, instead of somewhere else. Sometimes I think about permanently staying in my moments, sometimes I think about being present to my contentment, sometimes I think about the relief of disconnection, sometimes I wish for less comparison.
But in a few hours I'll be scrolling to catch up.