Friday, April 10, 2009

Linger on the Sidewalk

Last Friday, I had coffee with a lady who became a friend through motherhood. You know, someone who is an acquaintance becomes a first time mom, and all of the sudden you have loads more in common. Motherhood, the great equalizer.

We met at The Morning Times in downtown Raleigh. I circled around Moore Square (twice) trying to find some street parking. There was some, but I was on the opposite side of the street from it. Both times. Parking in downtown Raleigh isn't impossible, but it also isn't easy.

After giving in and entering the parking deck off Wilmington Street, I found a spot on the seventh level and loaded Little Bird up in the Babyhawk. I called out for the woman in the elevator to please hold it, and jogged over to jump in with her. She was on her way to the courthouse, but didn't know where it was. I showed her how level three was actually street level and walked her down to where she could see how to get to Fayetteville Street Mall.

I am at home downtown. Having worked next door to the courthouse for six years, I know my way around well, and actually miss being there. I miss lunch at The Mecca, takeout from The Square Rabbit. I miss the man who lived at Sir Walter Raleigh and would walk his tiny terrier up and down the mall. I miss sitting outside on a day like today to have lunch in the sunshine and watch the people go by.

It's different now, and yet totally the same. The RBC tower is huge and intimidating, but just a block down is Stitch where you can hand pick a Holly Aiken bag of your very own. She left the lettering on the windows that says "Ladies Shop" from when it used to be a clothing boutique full of your Sunday best with hats included. A true Deep South downtown, the juxtoposition of the local art on one square and the huge commerce on the next square is still there.

It is what makes me feel at home.

As I weaved my way through the streets to the coffeeshop, with my baby strapped to me, it was all so close to me. I could have just as easily have been wearing a suit and heels as I could be wearing that toddler. It wasn't that long ago, and yet it was another lifetime. Or more honestly, it was another phase.

Downtown for me right now is a place to eat, to play, to shop, and to dream. A stay at home mom's point of view of the big city that I still love, even if I don't work there anymore.

An original Triangle Mamas post. Marty can also be found at Don't Take the Repeats, and for those of you with shorter attention spans, follow her on Twitter.

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