Friday, September 19, 2008

little m's favorite nap location

there is a peet's coffee 2 miles from our house, and little m and i walk there a few times a week to get out of the house. i discovered early on - in little m's crazy fussy weeks, when she would cry for hours on end with no respite- that somehow, and to my GREAT delight, she loved peet's. maybe it' s the dark brown walls, or the lights dotting the ceiling, or the smell of coffee. or maybe i am content sitting there so she catches the vibe herself. who knows.

i do know that one of my favorite things since her birth has been to walk there with her and then sit for as long as she remains mellow (it usually entails a small small nap and a feeding before she goes stir crazy) until it is time to head home. we often run into someone there we know who is stopping in for coffee, working at one of the tables, or walking by outside to go to the grocery store. it is a reminder to me that even though we live in a city, that we also have community in this place. 

one morning, when m was still quite small, and therefore consistently fussy, she began crying inconsolably while i was sitting at a table inside. being a new mother, i was super sensitive about her crying noises, and didn't want to bother the other patrons, so we headed out to the corner. as i stood there, bouncing m to calm her down, i was struck that in that very moment, on fruitvale avenue, it seemed as if i was somewhere far more cosmopolitan than the dimond neighborhood in oakland. an african american couple sat chatting next to me on a bench; four middle eastern men- a grandfather, father, and his teenaged sons were crossing the street from my side; a trip of co-workers, two of them asian and one latino, were coming from the other side of the cross-walk. and there i was, so thankful that i live, and will raise little m, in a place of many generations, cultures, ethnicities, and languages. there may be a lot of crap in oakland, but there are also some wonderful gifts that come with living in such a diverse and vibrant city. 

i know my months (yikes, maybe weeks) are limited doing this particular ritual with her; soon she will be crawling around, trying to pick up all of the little doodads that are for sale throughout the cafe, climbing all over me, losing interest with sitting in any one spot after moments. but for now, it is one of my favorite ways to spend the morning with her, and one of my favorite ways to remember that despite some of the drawbacks, i love living in oakland of all places. 

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