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Monday, September 09, 2013

Lessons


Work hard, but only at the things you love.
Stand up for what you believe in. It will upset people, and that is OK.
Don't be dishonest, but play your cards close.


I learned these lessons later in life than I should have. But had it not been for one of my best friends and most valuable mentors, I may have lived the rest of my years continuing to believe that I always had to be the best, that everyone had to like me, and that image was everything. Thank goodness for Bud, who helped me see the light.

Not completely unrelated: He also taught me the secrets to a healthy tomato crop. 


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On a sunny afternoon in September, I sat on the overstuffed armchair in my mother's living room and wrote work reports. Every few minutes or so, I'd take a break and walk down the hall to the master bedroom. I sat in a recliner in the corner and my mom sat next to my stepdad, holding his hand.
"Your skin has gotten so smooth," she told him.
 "It's because he hasn't been in the sun," I answered.
We sat. We talked. She cried. We counted the seconds, then minutes, between his breaths.
I went back to the living room to check emails on the drip-slow internet connection.

It was over a year before I realized--later than my coworkers had, I'm told--that the reports I sent to them the following week bore the date of my stepfather's death.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Dudes. This gig is hard.

In the spirit of authenticity, I'll be re-publishing some of the posts I had sent back to draft during the last few years. This is one that Catherine Connors from Her Bad Mother refers to as her "point of access" into the world of online storytelling. That--even after a few years of professional growth and relative success--remains one of the most treasured compliments I've ever received.

I'm also just a teensy bit appalled to realize that the infant referred to in the post below has grown into the almost-2nd grader pictured here:


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From January 18(ish), 2006:
 
Motherhood is a mother, y'all.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love, love, LOVE Alex. He rocks. But I have to admit that being a mom and its 24/7-ness kind of smacked me right in the tushy. Last week was one of the very most difficult weeks of my life.

First, there was that little complication that warranted my ingesting stupid amounts of one of the most potent antibiotics known to man (Augmentin? Blows. Literally.). Not only did it turn my stomach into a churning cauldron of bile, but it did quite a number on Alex, too. By the time we got the timing of the gas drops down, I was done with the antibiotics and all was well.

Except now, I think he has a dairy sensitivity, and I KNOW there are issues with chocolate. Perfect.

Then, there was the realization that this is forever. And that I am going to hurt--really hurt-- every time the little man hurts. And I worry about everything bad thing that could ever happen to him or his Papa or me. And I sometimes just want to cry, cry, and cry some more. For no reason whatsoever. Chalk it up to Baby Blues, or hormonal upheaval or sleep deprivation, or whatever. But it isn't pretty. I'm relieved to find that each day gets a little better. Hopefully, the worst of that has passed.

And people keep coming to my house. And I'm not exactly what you would call a Social Butterfly, know what I mean?

Oh, and two-week-old babies? They're a bit needy. Just because I'm home all day, do not think for one second that I've had time to do any laundry or vacuum or even play Text Twist because I am a human milk machine and my baby is a hungry little piranha.
But really? All is well, even if I do sound like a psycho waiting to happen. Alex is growing "like a champ," according to his pediatrician, my milk supply is good and breastfeeding is going better than I expected. The Papa and I seem to have grown even closer during the last couple of weeks, and boy am I ever fortunate, given the train wreck that he witnessed during my labor and delivery.

Anyway, I really do hope that I manage to pull myself together soon so that I can update more often here. And I really hope that I can come up with some stuff to talk about that doesn't pertain to the baby or motherhood or breastfeeding. And maybe I'll change out of these sweats and T-shirt that I have been wearing for three days straight. Nah, I'm just setting myself up for failure, there.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Beginning (again)


Lens flare. One of my favorite things.
I've been pushing through a little identity crisis over the last several months. OK, so it's not so little. It's quite large and significant--to me, anyway. It's definitely not a leave-the-family-and-move-to-an-apartment-and-buy-an-ugly-sports-car kind of crisis. Nothing like that. In fact, my little family and our little home and even my little no-frills car are some of the few things that I am perfectly certain of. Distilling everything else down to What Matters will take some time. And today that long and slow walk begins.