Saturday, September 24, 2016

Celebrating My Soulmate

My sweet boy is one tomorrow. 

Everyone asks me, “It went by so quickly, didn’t it?” And while the answer is yes, I also feel like so much has happened in his first year of life. I’m actually relieved we made it to this milestone mostly unscathed. 

I was talking about my hospital stay with a friend of mine the other day. It was awesome. I delivered at Mountainview Hospital. It wasn’t a busy birthing time and I was lucky enough to get the largest suite on the floor. The room even lived up to the hospital’s namesake and I enjoyed beautiful views of the mountains off in the distance. Because I ended up having an emergency c-section, I got to stay one more day than originally planned. My mom kept saying how it will be so nice once I was able to go home but I was in no hurry. Not only was every nurse that came into my room nicer than the one before (and the first one was amazing!), but it was pretty wonderful being waited on hand and foot for three days. Yes, there was a tiny human sharing a room with me and scaring me to death throughout the process, but my mom was with me almost the entire time and when she wasn’t there, I had Johnny to be frightened with. 

But the best time of all was my final night. My mom had gone home to get some sleep and Johnny was at work. The television was on in my dark room but only to provide a soothing dim light and hum while Xander and I nursed and spent some quiet time together. Of course I had no idea at that time the tumultuous year we had ahead with Johnny and I breaking up, me giving up my lifestyle of drinking and smoking and ultimately moving in with my parents, the tears, the struggles, the stress and the fights. In that moment, I remember just looking down at his little face and thinking, “Okay. Now it’s you. Now it’s all about you.” 

So last week after my brother, who stormed out of my son’s birthday party because I politely asked him to control his misbehaving son, sent me a text calling me spoiled and encouraged me to start putting my son before myself, I felt heartbroken. Spoiled? Really? And putting myself first? That’s actually almost laughable... but I didn’t laugh. 

Call me narcissistic, sure. A loudmouth? Absolutely. Self-righteous? That goes without saying. But how could anyone who has spent ANY time with me in the last year imply that my first thought when making any and ALL decisions hasn’t been what is best for my son. 

I liked drinking. I liked smoking. Cigarettes AND weed. I liked staying out all night. I liked having no one to answer to. I liked living independently. I liked my life. It may have been slowly killing me, but I didn’t care. I LIKED IT. And if I hadn’t gotten pregnant, I can guarantee you, I wouldn’t have changed anything about the way I was living. 

THAT was being spoiled. THAT was putting myself before anything and everyone else. I may get into Mama Bear mode now and then these days, but I was a straight up asshole before my son was born. And I didn’t give ANY fucks about it. 

So, yeah, it sucked to hear my brother thinks that about me now. It either shows that I have a long way to go to be the kind of mother I want to be... or that he doesn’t know me at all. 

Even though I stopped nursing Xander at nine months, I still hold him while he has his last bottle of the day. We sit together on the chair in his nursery, in the dark, with nothing but the white noise from the fan to soothe us. It always reminds me of that night in the hospital, our first time alone together. I like to think that he remembers it too. 

We have lots of love and support in our lives and for that, we are extremely lucky. But there is also something special that he and I have. A “Me and Xander Against the World” kind of feeling. I hope he always knows my intentions and that my new life is being truly, deeply and 100% committed to his. 

Happy 1st birthday, beautiful boy. This is not the first time I’ve said it and it will most certainly not be the last...

Thank you for saving my life.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Recipe of Mixed Emotions Bakes a Random Cake

“Nobody talks anymore. And so we’ve all become a bunch of unopened love letters.” 

- Erin Van Vuren

Via text: 

“I’m not sure when it happened, but it was fairly recent... I found myself thinking about you. More so than just wondering how you were doing or thinking of something funny to text you. You were just there, on my mind, day in and day out and I couldn’t shake it. I know it’s not appropriate for many reasons and I would never act on anything because of both your personal relationship and our [friendship]. I respect both very much. And honestly, I kind of wish I’d stop thinking about you because it DOES prevent me from pursuing other options. So I just wait for this all to pass, but not knowing how that works exactly.”

That’s the closest to a love letter I’ve written in a very long time. I wasn't sure I should’ve written it at all, let alone actually SEND it. But I did both. 

It’s been so long since I’ve had a genuine “crush” on someone. Something beyond just a sexual attraction. This is the kind where you get excited to see the other person. You wonder what is going on in their lives and what made them laugh that day. You seek opportunities to cross paths and start conversations just to have some sort of interaction. You wait until they aren’t home and take a bath in their bathtub..

Oh wait.. not that last part. That was from Orange is the New Black.. 

Everything else though. And it’s nice to feel that way. I have been so wrapped up in my own bullshit for so many years that I never really took the time to have a true, real crush on another person. And while, in this particular case, it will never become more than that, I’m still enjoying feeling the butterflies, fleeting as they may be. Good, well-intentioned crushes are good for the soul, I think. 

* * *

Fifteen years ago today, people said their last words to thousands of loved ones without knowing it. It never gets easier when this day comes. Whether it's the specials on television, the touching statuses and pictures on social media or just the memories of where I was that day, it’s always difficult. Because it’s not just the act itself that was so destructive. The aftermath of sadness, frustration, hate and retaliation has been absolutely heartbreaking. We were united as a country for such a short period of time. Now, racism and social injustice are more rampant than ever. A country divided, that’s what we are. And I don’t know how we are going to fix it. 

Mother Theresa said that if you want to change the world, go home and love your family. Sadly, it doesn’t mean that bad things aren’t going to happen. But I need the people most important to me to know the difference they make in my life. I need my parents to know how much I love and respect them. I need my brother to know that I understand how hard life can be. I need my son to know that every decision I’ve made since finding out he was going to be mine has been with only his best interests at heart. 

And I need my crush to know that he’s... well... my crush. Because everyone deserves to feel good about who they are to someone else. Even if it never has a chance to go any further than that. 

I hold so much negativity about choices I’ve made in my life. I get frustrated when I think about all the people I let in that I shouldn’t have and all the other ones that I let walk away without them knowing how much they meant to me. So as I continue working on being the best person I can be, this is another area in which I hope to improve. 

This is not a day to be happy. And even though I plan on spending it with my favorite people (my family) doing my favorite thing (watching football), I still have a heavy heart. The world may never, ever be good again. We may never figure out how to live happily as a society. Our next president may just be the worst and scariest one we’ve had. And Colin Kaepernick may never stand for the National Anthem again... 

But I kissed my son. I hugged my friends. I loved my family. And I sent that text. I feel like Mother Theresa would be proud. 

I know it sounds a bit cliche... but if you are reading this, maybe you will tell someone today what they mean to you. Or just that you are thinking about them. It doesn’t take much but it could mean everything. Not just for their happiness... but for yours as well. Who knows? Maybe you'll choose to reveal your crush too. 

I'd probably go ahead and skip the creepy bath thing though...