just a little bit of homework for tonight…

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just before our first monsoon of the season rolled in the other evening, i plopped myself outside on the patio to watch the sun tuck itself over the horizon. the colors drew me in as i’d passed the doorway, demanding my attention the way a saturated color palette stretched as far as one could see would.  and so, with dishes still left on the table from dinner, a bunny hutch in need of a clean and a laptop with work still not yet opened for the day, i sat myself down and gazed upward.   beatrice and madalena wandered out to the patio and joined me a few minutes later. “you watching sunset, mama?” scooting their bums into my lap and pointing up at the majestic skyline. “it pretty!” “wow! orange!”

cuddling them both and gazing at the view, i still felt a little bit on edge. like, wait. do i have time for this sunset? what’s left on today’s to-do list? and, why can’t my stupid mind shut up and stop feeling frantic for a couple of dang minutes?!

for the last season of my life, as a mama juggling work and kiddos while living in a glorious city that never slept, my mentality for years has been built with a projection of go-go-go and then, go-go-go-some-more. it’s been very beneficial. it’s also been very detrimental. it is taking a lot of time, and will power, to purposefully acknowledge and then embrace a slower and calmer pace these days. a softer itinerary, a shorter to-do list in a quiet neighborhood where interaction with other human beings outside of my family is pretty rare.

i know so much of my current experience has to do with the current pandemic. while it is not impossible, it is trickier to navigate how to throw oneself into a new community to meet, serve, explore, mingle, and love – and do it safely. which is why on a lot of days, life just feels slower. dare i say isolating? sometimes even… lonely?

it’s hard for a girl who likes her control, likes her plans, and doesn’t like change. so, while it’s not surprising to often experience those same old go-go-go feelings, i still ask myself in frustration, “why can’t i shut my mind off and just enjoy a moment of shimmering sun fading from view right now?”

typing that sounds so “woe is me.” that’s not the end messaging i’m trying to articulate, as i know many others who are walking through massive tragedies and trials far greater than me vocalizing my summer has felt lonely and my mind won’t let off the gas pedal.  but this summer has been unlike any of my other summers, just as i know yours has been different in countless ways, too. but even with the fun big trips we’d had scheduled and weren’t able to take, with the parties and plans cancelled, with the whimsy adventures we’d normally have embarked on together in between the stroller naps and the redistribution of sunscreen on noses, with all the horrible things going on in the world, beyond the dinners with girlfriends where we’d crowd around a low-lit table for hours after the plates were cleared in fits of laughter and deep conversation – even in spite of all of that, summer has still been full of mystical, magical and unbelievable sunsets. 

and so i did the best i could in this moment on the patio, while holding my girls in my lap and admiring the last few minutes of light in the sky.  i said to myself – hey- life is wild and this pandemic sucks and you’re a little bit lonely and unsure and yes, you’ve got stuff to do. but right now, let all that go and appreciate THIS. focus on THIS. enjoy THIS.   i rubbed beatrice’s legs as she stretched them out over mine, and gave madalena the biggest kiss as she nuzzled her head onto my shoulder. it was a beautiful sunset. a special moment. and a memory i’m thankful i had the chance to create.

i’d love to encourage you to try to catch the sunset tonight, wherever you may be on this earth and wherever you may be in your headspace. maybe you’ve already mastered the calm, the sit-still, the beauty of peering out at a sunset without allowing your mind to carry on at marathon speed. but maybe you’re a little bit like me, and still struggle with all of the unknown swirling around us and not feeling as in control as we once did.

whether in a jam-packed adventurous summer or in a summer that feels very paused or quite horrible, i hope you can catch the next sunset and quietly calm your mind so you can just enjoy. i’m not anyone’s teacher, but let’s all pretend for just a minute that today i’m something along those lines so we can take this homework away for the day? and tonight, together, we successfully complete it.

i am sending you lots of love as summer comes to a close. thank you for the love you have sent this way, all summer long.

  1. Raylan

    I needed this today. I come from a small city, much unlike New York, and this change of pace has been hard for me. I’m sure the shock of your change in pace reverberates much deeper than mine. So nice to know that as isolating as this all feels some days, that we are all in this together.

  2. Helene

    Thank you for this! We all need to hear that this is hard and that’s okay to feel and think. We’re all going trough this together. We moved to Tucson last summer, far, far away from friends and family. This year has been so hard, so lonely. I don’t know how long this will last, but it won’t be forever and I expect to come out of it stronger somehow. I won’t let anything break my spirit.

  3. Colleen

    I needed this more than you know! We moved from MA to GA a few months before pandemic so when it came time to get out and meet people and do new things we couldn’t. I have struggled so much with my brain questioning everything all day every day. I too have moved to an area with an extremely slow pace and wonder if this is the place for me? However, I am starting to see the beauty in every little thing more than ever. Thank you for reminding me there are so many others going through this right now and one day we will hopefully look back on the lessons we learned from it with a smile. Love your instagram and will surely follow the blog now! Your family is beautiful ❤️

  4. Abby

    I’ll take this homework any day.. when we moved in to our new home we haven’t been able to watch the sunset much (since it’s in the front of our house and semi blocked by houses and trees). But I keep saying we need to go for a drive on the backroads to fully watch it go down.. thank you for this, Naomi! I think it will actually get done tonight..

    xo,
    Abby
    EverydayFromA.com

  5. Morgan

    I loved this. I so deeply resonate with having a go go go mentality and how much a struggle this pandemic has been with it’s loneliness and isolation, while also giving some wonderful and slow memories of simple days at home with my kids. Thanks for the reminder to be present with my little chickens, I’ll be sitting on my porch tonight as the sun goes down!
    Ps. So wild to hear you saying “cleaning out the hen coop” on your evening to do list! SO fun!

  6. Desiree

    Thanks for sharing! It is so important for us to remember to live in the present moment, wherever that may be. I’m interested in learning more about your drastic change of pace, if you’re willing to share. You built such a life and, honestly, a brand, of being a mother in NYC and it seemed like it was your true home and you deeply tied your identity to being a New Yorker and raising your littles as such. What made you abandon it so quickly for something so completely different?

  7. Jane Watson

    Beautiful words, sending you love and strength from across the pond xx

  8. Jessica

    This was beautifully put and one that we all have to learn to do at some point. Slowing down and enjoy the sunset. And this summer does feel weird, this year feels weird and strange but there are still a hundred other wonderful, beautiful moments with in it as well.

  9. Alicia N

    Your words touched my soul today Naomi. Like yours, our summer has been full with just family, in-home coffees and in-the-garden activities. I am gratefu for all of us being ok but, despite this and despite this the great memories we’ve made i still feel the isolation que the knot un my throat for the uncertities. Somehow It is a relief to know others feel similar. I’ll try to enjoy next sunset que focus just on It. Thanks for sharing ♥️

  10. Mascha Majoor

    Tnx. I needed to hear that other people are still struggling with this new pace of life even it is already months this pandemic is going on.
    And I will do my homework;)

  11. Judith

    Naomi,

    here I’m sitting at my dinner table after all the dishes are dried and the boys are in bed (and half a world away from you in Germany) – I just wanted to say thank you! Thank you for this beautiful post and reminder. You put all my current feelings into words and so much better than I ever could. So thank you for reminding me to use those special moments and to cherish them.

    ❤️

  12. Nicole

    We usually stay locked up pretty tight until around Oct-Apr. Thats when the neighborhood streets fill with kids on bikes and scooters and everyone loves to be outside! Just a little tip! You will see a difference soon. :)

  13. Denise Salas

    So happy you get experience the Westcoast sunsets daily, they sure are beautiful. Such a great reminder of slowing down and forgetting our to-do list from time to time.

    So I know what brought you here, but what made you guys choose Arizona? And what happen with your NYC apartment and all of your things? I don’t mean to come off as prying, I’m just genuinely curious.

  14. Michelle

    Get over yourself. It’s your fault your in the situation that you’re in. Im so tired of rich white women complaining how hard their lives are 🙄

  15. Brenda Worley

    We do have glorious sunsets in Az. 💗 This is such an extremely lonely time for a lot of us. Just reading your words and seeing your lovely images bring smiles 😊 🌵

  16. Inês

    This is so lovely Naomi!
    Been following you since The RockStar Diaries times and you never cease to inspire me.

    I hope you find peace and joy in The little things :) You sure help me to do so.

    Hugs from Portugal

    Inês

  17. sabrina

    You may be lonely but your writing has never been more full and deep and beautiful. From one lonely mom to another, thank you.

  18. malise

    This was really helpful. We moved from NYC to Jupiter, Florida not too long ago and I have two daughters, 5 and 2.5yo. I’m wildly extroverted, like my oldest daughter, and the question of how to serve and enjoy others is always on my mind. I often compared NYC to an iphone home screen, full of addictive apps. All of these different experiences, games, cultures, and more all in one place. Sometimes all in one square mile. I was quietly proud of myself for avoiding screen time in favor of running about, but that experience is not normal, and like too much of anything, it can dull the senses. I’m also learning to readjust and it’s been good for me, even if I don’t always see it.

    PS- we have mango, avocado, and banana trees, and they are heaven on earth :-) so yes, not all bad.

  19. Your timing is perfect. I have been feeling similar emotions and I’ve been unsure how to handle them. This challenge is a good reminder. Thank you!

  20. Mary

    So tender..made tear up! You are a wonderful mother. Covid has brought me back to what matters most. It’s those simple moments when we Pause and can take it all in.

  21. Birgit

    I feel you
    I started the lockdown loving the downtime, the no rushing and coming closer to my little family of 4.
    But after 6 months I hunger for touch and kisses and laughter and big tables with friends and loved ones.
    I feel blessed cause we are healthy and we have all we need. But yet again I realize it’s the company of others I long for and miss. My family of friends that I choose myself is what I miss the hardest cause they make the highs higher and the lows less low.
    Xoxo, b

  22. karla

    this is one of the most beautiful posts i´ve recently read:-) many times i advice my friends to face the sun so all the shadows fall behind them :-) and i wish i don´t fail in the homework you suggested, naomi … as it is extremely hard for me to calm my mind and so these days i often find myself struggling with being able to welcome those calming moments each day can bring…even at sunset. warm greetings from europe, a small country in the middle of it, slovakia.

  23. Rebekah

    Thank you for this post.

    I just moved too, and I absolutely relate to the feelings of isolation and confusion on how to safely attempt to find new friends, a new community, and a new life. While we used to be completely surrounded by family, now that we’ve moved away for my husband to start law school, it’s just me, him, and our 9-month-old daughter. It’s a wonderful adventure, but with the pandemic, it’s also little lonely at times.

    This is all to say that your post really hit home over here. My mind is ALWAYS racing. I’m a go-go-go girl too and also have to force myself to slow down (to me, relaxing and slowing down is easier said than done haha). It’s nice to know I’m not the only one. Thanks for being a virtual friend for me to relate to today. :)

  24. Jen

    I needed this today
    Thank you

  25. Kathy

    I love this. I had a similar moment. I took my boys to a secluded/empty beach on Lake Erie near our home. I had just read some disturbing news about current events. Then I looked at the water. There was a man on a boat fishing. I thought, all of that bad news is happening and this man is on a boat fishing. It’s all happening at once. Kind of like your sunset, it made me pause. It brought me peace somehow to see someone doing something so normal and beautiful. I can relate to your feelings about this summer. But I will definitely catch the sunset. Take care!

  26. Iva

    Dont ever stop writing! Thank you!

  27. Nikki

    What a beautiful post.
    Moving is unbelievably difficult, especially when you’re in a new, very hot city. We’re in central Phoenix but I would encourage you to check out FIT4MOM. It really is where I was able to find all my amazing mom friends and the community is so supportive and allows you to have a routine and be active (when we’re allowed to back to a more normal life anyways). I know this feeling so well, the isolation and yes, I think loneliness a mama can feel. Thank you for sharing.

  28. Spoiler alert, summer in AZ isn’t over yet. 🤪🤪 Give us until October and then it will be cool enough to stop swimming. So glad you’re here and love the sunsets. We moved during the pandemic too and this change of pace was so nice yet so so lonely. I still don’t feel like I know ANYONE around me. Even our ward we’ve met maybe 3 people. It’s going to be good though. We will make it so.

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