The past six months are a blur.
For one thing, the weather in Cincinnati has been… disappointing… and has kept us inside more than I wish to admit. The perpetual rain has made it hard to feel motivated for the walk to work. And these recent, sudden hot/cold temperature fluctuations have been exhausting. Cincinnati has such fickle weather and I guess I’m more of a fair weather pedestrian than I’d like to admit.
Also, work got really hectic the past few months. Thankfully, my schedule has started to ease as June hit, but my husband is in the midst of the long, busy building season. Lots of late nights. Tired bones. And the end is nowhere in sight. Not for a few months, at least.
Oh, yeah. And I’m pregnant. I’m seven months pregnant at this point, which makes everything just a bit harder and each day a bit longer and every walk feel a bit more exhausting. And having a toddler has made this pregnancy different in every way from my last. And as I anticipate this new arrival, I am mourning how little time I have left to spend alone with my son, my first favorite baby, who will no longer be my “only” in just a handful of weeks.
As far as our city is concerned, the past few months have been a crazy time. The issues of the infamous streetcar and the casino, recent homicides in our neighborhood, businesses opening and closing. If I had not begun reading a Twitter feed with local news and neighborhood conversations, I would be clueless. And still, even with the Twitter updates, I always seem clued-in too late.
I just can’t keep up–physically or mentally.
And emotionally, I’m still a few months behind.
And when life moves so fast it can start to lose its charm.
Some friends came for a quick visit a few weeks ago on their way through town.
They are urban dwellers, living in Elgin, IL, a small city near Chicago that I used to call “home.” They asked about our work, the politics of the city, the changes in Over-the-Rhine.
My friends seemed so enchanted by our home, our neighborhood, and our family life here in Cincinnati. And when you stop to think about it, I guess we really do have something special here. Sometimes we just move too quickly to notice the small, subtle changes that make this city what it is.
We want change. We want better grocery options, an end to the hostility and violence among neighbors, less litter, fewer loiterers in the public parks, etc. But, sometimes we are so anxious for the big changes in our neighborhood that we forget to notice the small breaths of life that peek up around every corner. Day by day, this city–and the downtown area specifically–is becoming more healthy, viable, and safe. There may be a million naysayers living outside the city limits, but those of us who are here in the thick of it know the truth.
In pregnancy talk, there is a word for the moment a woman can feel the movements of her unborn child. It’s called “quickening,” and it’s a fabulous experience. Personally, it’s been the point when I can mentally accept that the thing growing inside of me is REAL, is LIVING, and is becoming more and more AMAZING every day.
As I type, I can feel this baby spinning circles inside of me.
And, while people outside our city are looking for quantifiable changes to prove the viability of Over-the-Rhine, those of us who live here can feel its “quickening.”
In fact, this city has been moving for years. But to understand it, you’ve got to crawl inside it, or put your hand up to its belly and feel it kick. You’ve got to walk its streets, play in its parks, explore its local flavors and colors. You’ve got to be willing to know it the way a woman knows her child, the way she nurtures it, the way she leans in and whispers “I know you’re in there,” and the way she anticipates its birth.
It’s a great time to live in this great city.
I hope I can slow down enough some day to take it all in before everything has progressed so far that we can’t believe its been so long since those first days when we felt it move.
How long have you been waiting?
And when did you first feel it?