"An adventure in the making…"
June 14, 2013Posted by on
Ask and ye shall receive…
Or, after today’s experiences, I’m going to go with: Be careful what you wish for!
After taking my four year old out for a mom and daughter day that included candy bar pancakes for Mini~Me at my favorite cafe, we ran a few errands. When we arrived home, I figured I’d take advantage of the fact I had someone keeping an eye on the kids to get caught up with the piles of laundry that are plaguing the house. Walking through our upstairs loft, I said offhandedly to my four-year-old, “Hey, do you mind putting the clothes in a basket for me?” I could hear her huffing and puffing as I folded towels in my bedroom, but really didn’t think too much of it. When I next stepped out in the loft, the clothes were gone, along with the basket. When I asked said four-year-old what happened to the clothes, she said very sweetly: “I took them downstairs, Mommy!” A bit surprised I asked, “Are they just laying around down there?” ”Oh no, I put them in the laundry room.”
Yeah, she most definitely did put the clothes in the laundry room. And by “clothes”, I mean, every single clothing item that belongs to her, her older sister, and her younger brother, clean or dirty, made their way into a huge pile in our laundry room. While I stared, totally amazed and totally daunted by the idea that I now had at least four times the laundry to wash as I had before, my very spitting image looked up at me with the eyes I passed onto her and said, “Did I do a good job?”
While I struggled to not burst out laughing, I gave her a hug and said, “You did the very best job you could have done, lovie.”
Moral of the story? Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.
Parental lesson of the day? Our children pay very close attention to us.
Life lesson of the day? Very carefully word what you want!
June 12, 2013Posted by on
“You need to know your limits and not go past that point,” is the advice my therapist has been giving me for over four years now.
Sadly, it’s rare I listen to one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given.
You see, I’ve been working on the same book for the past thirteen years. And it’s a highly personal book. The first and second drafts were the biggest struggle I faced in 2012, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I sent it off to my editor. When it was returned several weeks later, I put off again and again even looking at the track notes. When I finally did look at the track notes, I sighed, hit save, and ignored the file for several more weeks. Well, that’s not exactly true: I’d try and start working on it, but just couldn’t bring myself to write my story any longer. My heart would start racing and my chest would tighten up.
And maybe I’ll never finish writing Searching. Or maybe I’ll finish writing it in a few years, or in ten years. Or maybe after I’m long gone, one of my kiddos will pick the story up for me and finish it and be able to do so from a distance. Because I? I can’t distance myself from this one enough to finish writing it.
For the past year-and-a-half, I’ve pushed myself past my own limits in writing my story. And if I was being told my side of things by anyone else, my suggestion would have been to step away a long time ago, to wait to tell the story. But we’re our own worse enemies and our own worse critics. I feel like a failure and like I’m quitting.
But on the other side of that, the part of myself that has grown over the last year and a half recognizes that my sanity needs this break, needs to stop feeling pressure to complete something that causes me this much pain. That its my right as a person to say “yeah, I’m done” no matter what the situation is when I’ve had enough. To recognize my limits and not ignore those flashing red lights that have been going off for over a year now.
And there will be other books. Clearly, there will be other books since I currently have four I’m working on that don’t make me want to go running for the nearest bottles of Xanax and Smirnoff.
Time to let go and heal.
June 3, 2013Posted by on
While I’ve never been one to bemoan my children growing and achieving milestones, for some reason, Benjamin turning three has tossed me for a loop.
If you’re not familiar with parental-speak, “turning three” is another way of saying “no longer a baby”. And while Benjamin will always be the baby of the family, his time as an actual baby is over in just four short days.
Which means that a major phase of my life that began on December 18, 2004 is drawing to a close. Much like turning thirteen, twenty, thirty, and graduating from high school, my youngest child turning three and leaving babyhood is a bittersweet experience.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like Benny’s snagged a briefcase and a spiffy suit and is taking off in the world. He’s still all about cuddling up on Mommy as often as he can. Hell, my oldest daughter is all about cuddling up on Mommy when she gets the chance. Nothing will change really, except for the fact he’s no longer a baby.
And I’m not even upset about there being no possibility for any more babies. For one thing, I no longer have the proper equipment to become pregnant. For another, I don’t have the energy, either physically or emotionally to go through another newborn period spiked with post-partum depression. Time’s just shot by way too fast.
And I watched, carefully. When 2 a.m. would find me rocking one of my kids to sleep, I’d remind myself that it was just a short blip on the radar of my life, and they’d no longer be able to fit comfortably against my chest in the circle of my arms. I’d remind myself that for only this short time, they’re mine, that the world would be pressing in on us sooner rather than later, and they’d have school, friends they’d make, boyfriends and girlfriends, colleges to go to, life partners they’ll pair with.
And I’m not making the mistake I made with Amethyst, which was the laughable experience of thinking that once she turned three, things would ease up in regards to tantrums. It’s like some sick joke, the idea of the terrible twos, when the reality is the twos are just the warm up party for the full throttle tantruming that’s on its way in year three.
But oh! The last three years just shot by. I blinked and Benjamin went from this pink cheeked newborn who wanted to be held all the time to a toddler who loves doing drive by kissings and hugs around your knees. Where once was a bottle of breast milk is now Benjamin sneak attacking your lunch when you step out into the garage to get a bottle of water.
So, this part of my life is coming to a close. And I’m on to bigger and better things. But oh my lord, these past three years? Graced with a gift I was afraid to even ask for? My heart skips a beat and my stomach clenches when I remember how not three months before I found out I was carrying Benny within my body, I asked my doctor to perform a partial hysterectomy. The idea of a life without Benny in it, if my doctor had gone ahead with the surgery? It’s a thought that causes tears to well up. Because a life without my son? There’s no way of imagining it. I often wonder how in the world I got through my life before he was born. He’s too necessary to my sanity and my joy for me to imagine any other type of life.
So a very happy birthday to my youngest, my son, my miracle, the greatest surprise I’ve ever been given. I hope you know just how much joy you bring to my life, just for the simple reason you were born.
May 23, 2013Posted by on
I recently came across the article A man’s top 5 reasons to grow up and get married when looking over my Facebook stream.
It takes little to offend me. This article did it in under five seconds. Bravo, Steven Crowder!
In October of 2012, I released The Allegory of Dusk, a short story fiction collection that focuses on what happens when the bottom drops out and life isn’t how we were told it would be. In the introduction, I speak very candidly about how our parents and society have done us a great disservice by touting the need to be married to find true happiness.
I have a theory that I shout quite loud and proud. And that theory is that the problem with marriage as an institution and why its failing is due to the bullshit ideals that Hollywood, as well as sitcoms and cheesy-assed romance novels project, and therefore give us a very skewed view on reality. You see, none of what we see on the big screen, our television screen and read in our books is reality. And yes, my mom and dad explained to me it’s just a made up story when I’d watch or read anything. I get that. But what those movies, shows and books do is give the world an idea that love is nothing but hearts and flowers. There’s no six months, six years, sixteen years down the road. They do not show the downs in relationships, only the ups. They don’t show what its like when a husband is faced with not only a screaming newborn, a pissed off eighteen-month-old, and a cranky kindergartner along with a Mom to those three kids in the thick of postpartum depression and anxiety. If they show the projectile vomiting and the explosive diapers of the newborn phase, it’s done humorously. Let me tell you, when you haven’t slept for three days due to your baby girl having colic and then she shits down the front of your body as you take her out of the bathtub? There are no hearts and flowers to be found.
I’m all for hearts and flowers. But I take issue with Mr. Crowder describing marriage as a 24/7 slumber party. And I’m a fan of slumber parties, so much so, I’m planning a week-long one with my podcast-partner-in-crime, Dionne Lister and several other Indie Authors this October. But that’s a week. And I’m not married to any of the people attending. I don’t live day-to-day with them, and while they are all there for me, supporting me when the bottom drops out of my life, they aren’t in the thick of the chaos of reality with me.
I’m going to guess that in a couple of years, Mr. Crowder will be handed a hefty reality check. Marriage is work. It’s hard work, and I truly believe that if people knew exactly what it was like, there would be less marriages taking place. And while I’m a fan of it, and am known for tearing up at family and friend’s weddings, and beam when I catch sight of a bride and groom and wish them all the best in love and joy, still, the true reality of marriage is that it’s filled with ups and downs. What is going to happen when Mr. Crowder and his wife hit the first rough patch of their marriage? When a parent is diagnosed with a terminal illness, if one of the Crowders gets ill, if there are fertility issues? What’s going to happen when Mr. Crowder’s new bride is in the thick of postpartum depression and no one has slept for several days?
Even more offensive is Mr. Crowder’s superficial focus on sex and money as real benefits of marriage. How’s that going to work out for him when the inevitable down cycle in sex takes place within his marriage or he or his wife gets laid off of their jobs and suffer a drop in income?
While marriage has it awesome side: Love, partnership, sex with someone you trust and has learned which buttons of yours to punch to make you need a cigarette after, still, it has it’s rough side. It’s the rough side, or the possibility of the rough side that few people look at. How often do people really sit down and think, “My partner is just gorgeous, has a rockin’ body! But yes, I’ll still love them when they’re fifty pounds heavier and they’ve accumulated lines on their face…” Not many.
And while the bulk of Mr. Crowder’s article was offensive to me due to his lack of looking at things realistically and giving a child’s view point on marriage, number five on his list of why you should get married really chapped my ass:
5. Don’t die sick, miserable and alone.
Really, Mr. Crowder? Care to explain to me what happens when your spouse is the one who passes on first? What about those people who were brave enough to say, “Hey, marriage isn’t for me.”? Not being married isn’t a guarantee you’ll be miserable, no more so than being married is a guarantee you’ll be happy. How happy are those people who got married for the sole reason of shutting up the peanut gallery or due to pressure from everyone else getting married?
There’s only one reason a person should get married, and it’s not because you don’t want to die alone (chicken shits!), it’s not for financial gain, and it’s most definitely not because you or your significant other got pregnant. It’s for the reason that you have found the one person who fits you, who you cannot imagine not seeing every day. It’s because you’ve met that person that just gets you. It’s because you’ve found that person that is the one person on the planet you’d rather have annoying the hell out of you (because no matter how awesome the person you fall in love with is, they’re gonna annoy the shit out of you from time to time). Because when everything else falls apart, when you’re facing the most god-awful and heart wrenching experiences of your life, you’d rather be going through it with that person, than not be going through it at all and not have them in your life.
Any other reason? Is bullshit. And I can only hope Mr. Crowder has a low-level of readers, because he’s done a lovely disservice to those who have already bought into the heart and flowers line of bullshit Hollywood crams down our throats.
April 16, 2013Posted by on
I am thrilled to tell you dear readers that Julie Frayn has a new book out: It Isn’t Cheating If He’s Dead. I was one of the lucky few who had the opportunity to ARC read this wonderful book, and it gets five stars from yours truly.
My review of this wonderful book: “Julie Frayn shows once again how to write a novel that plays more like a movie. It Isn’t Cheating if He’s Dead is an accurate portrait of life after the loss of a loved one. The simple facts that healing has no timeline, there is no expiration date on grief, and tragedy can result in a positive outcome when those left behind choose to learn from their loss, are beautifully portrayed.”
One of my favorite parts of this book is how Julie so beautifully shows that from a tragedy can come something beautiful. The main character Jem takes her grief and turns it into a positive by helping those less fortunate. As someone who’s had her ass kicked by life, this book very much spoke to me on several levels.
About the book: Jemima Stone is tortured by the disappearance of her schizophrenic fiancé, Gerald. She blames herself for not being able to keep him on his meds, for not seeing the signs before it was too late.
She seeks refuge from her pain by feeding the homeless, only to see Gerald’s face among them. But before she can reach him, he is gone again.
When he is found murdered in a city three thousand miles from home, she finds salvation in the arms of the detective who has obsessed over her case for four years. And she finds redemption by reuniting one of her homeless friends with the family he thought he’d lost.
About the Author: Julie Frayn is the author of Suicide City, a Love Story, as well as several short stories, and silly poetry for kids about smashed peas and birds with gastroenteritis. You can find her on her website and follow her on Twitter. Also, be sure to check her out on the TweepNation with Amber and Dionne Podcast right here.
Now quit reading my blog and go read Julie’s book. Like, yesterday. Go go go!!!!!
March 27, 2013Posted by on
Last week, my father-in-law was watching the news, and walking through our living room to get another cup of coffee before going back to the piece I was writing, I overheard the newscaster announce that the Pope made the faux paus of dialing a telephone in the Vatican without the aid of a secretary.
I might be wrong, since I was so furious my memory is tinged in red, but I think what came out of my mouth upon hearing that was, “Are you fucking kidding me?!”
We live in a world where there is a war going on at all times. We live in a world where people take a gun into an elementary school and kill children and teachers. We live in a world where people hatefully judge one another based on skin color, size, religious beliefs, and heritage. We live in a world where I have to explain to my eight-year-old daughter why the date September 11 is remembered.
Last week at my favorite coffee shop with a friend, I watched one of my favorite waitresses, Christine, interacting with a customer, and it was fairly obvious there was interest on both sides. After the customer left, I mentioned to Christine that her friend clearly found her attractive. “I think she likes you!” I said in a sing-song voice, and Christine laughed. “No seriously!” I said. “Chicks don’t do this,” and I lowered my lashes coquettishly in example, “unless they’re diggin’ on you. Trust me, I know.” Christine laughed, but the way her eyes sparkled totally made my day.
Because I had just witnessed joy, the possibility of love, and bliss in a split second in my friend’s eyes.
I’ve seen and experienced hurt and heartache more times than I care to admit. And I’ve seen and experienced it far too much that if seeing the first blushes of love is what stands out as a rarity in my day to day life as opposed to being the norm? That right there shows the problem.
With the recent bombardment of Marriage Equality, my back hair is up. I’m pissed off, I’m angry, I’m seeing red. Because the world we live in is filled with so much negative. Why is it that one of the last things in the world that is positive, love, being confined and boxed in with rules and what is and is not right?
In this world that is so filled with anger, hatred and loss, why does it matter if two men or two women want to marry? Why is it so necessary to state what’s right and what’s wrong?
I’m not going to do either. What I am going to do is state how I feel: the only two people who have a say in a relationship are the two people in it. And I hope like hell that in this world we live in where there is so much hurt and heartache, my children find the person that fits them and will love them unconditionally. And if my daughters give me daughters-in-laws and my son gives me a son-in-law? Thank you God for blessing my children with life partners who complete them and love them unconditionally.
March 21, 2013Posted by on
March 21, 2008 was a date I was dreading long before it came to be.
Had I not miscarried in the summer of 2007, it would have been the due date of a long wanted and wished for baby.
In my late teens, a doctor once told me that some women react to a miscarriage like nothing happened, while others grieve as if it was a child they had known. I was one of the latter. Twenty months of trying to conceive our second child involving surgeries, cycle charting, scheduled sex, and a three month round of the fertility drug Clomid brought nothing. Only when I threw up my hands and said, “No more!” did I get pregnant. And that intense joy, that overwhelming sense of pure bliss stayed for three weeks, only to be shattered by my body taking from me the greatest dream I ever had.
I’m not asking for comfort. In fact, I’d rather not have comfort from anyone for that loss. Because people have a tendency to say the worst things when they’re trying to be kind: You wouldn’t have miscarried had everything been alright with the baby and You weren’t that far along and You can try again, were among the many things I heard in the weeks following that devastating loss. No wonder I shut down and barely spoke to anyone by my husband and our almost three-year-old daughter. All I wanted was to have someone tell me, “Hurt as long as you need to.” But yet, no one bothered. Instead, once the wrong words were spoken, most everyone went into acting like I’d done little more than stub my toe. No one seemed to understand that to me, that six-week along pregnancy was a son or daughter I already loved more than my own life.
And then a short two weeks after that loss, my brother and his wife found out they were expecting their second child. They handled everything with grace and kindness, and understanding towards me and my loss. And I found out first hand what it was like to experience happiness and heartbreak at the same time in the idea I would be an aunt for the second time in my life. With each milestone my sister-in-law experienced, I’d celebrate the life of my new nephew, but would feel the heartache at knowing I would have just had the same experience myself.
Summer became fall, and fall become winter, and the second day of spring came about that year. My sister-in-law, hugely pregnant and nearing her own delivery date, called me that morning to see how I was. After chatting for a bit, I mentioned I hadn’t gotten my period yet, and while I was late for my cycle (on day 27 of a cycle that ran 21 to 24 days each month), my sister-in-law became adamant I take a pregnancy test. And if I had learned anything during my pregnancy with my oldest child, its that you do not ever argue with a pregnant woman in her third trimester. Not unless you want to find yourself in the fetal position sobbing hysterically, wanting a bankee for comfort.
So I bought the test, came home, and following her instructions, called my sister-in-law back. My husband and our daughter followed me into the bathroom, and our two cats, Jasmine and Butch, figured they might as well join in on the party. I took the test, placed it on the counter, and had just said the words, “It’s not going to be positive, it’s too soon,” to my sister-in-law when Brian shouted, “Yes!”
For a moment, I was honestly confused. And then I looked at the test. It was positive.
Everyone was shouting and excited, even Amethyst who I’m guessing at three just figured it was related to potty training since why else would anyone be that happy in the bathroom?
But all I could think about what how long until my heart would be shattered again.
Eight days later, I watched as my nephew Tyler was born. I stood, completely transfixed, and watched as this new life took his first gasp of breath. Rarely do moments in my life stand out so vividly, but five years later, I can still see him, covered in afterbirth, his umbilical cord still pulsating with the blood of his mother running through it, as his eyes opened and he took the first breath of his life. Do you know how beautiful that exact moment in a person’s life is, how filled with peace and joy and anticipation and love? There is no comparison.
Holding his son for the first time, my brother looked down into Tyler’s perfect face and said, “Just you wait. In eight months, you’re going to have a cousin, and boy, are you two going to raise some hell!”
And he was right.
Autumn was born November 25, 2008. My doctor had scheduled an induction, and I can remember thinking when I went to bed at 11:30 the night before, “Oh good, I’ll get one good night’s sleep before I have the baby.” At midnight, my labor began. I spent the next eight hours timing my contractions and walking around our apartment. And as they became more painful, I said a prayer of thanks with each one. Because that pain meant that the child I so desperately wanted was on her way finally.
Autumn is hope and joy and love and peace and miracles and everything beautiful in this world wrapped up in blonde hair with my eyes. She is determination and kindness and compassion. She charms everyone she meets within two minutes, even those who do not like children. She is generous and filled with joy and passion at the very fact that she is on this earth. She’s quick to comfort her siblings when they need it, and her beautiful soul shines through in everything she does.
I will always mourn the baby I lost. But I will always celebrate the daughter I was given after. With her birth, I healed from that loss, and I began to believe in hope once again.
March 15, 2013Posted by on
March 14, 2013Posted by on
So for that
That one indiscretion
That one moment lacking your better judgment
Despite all the good
brought to the world
by those beautiful hands
Despite all your kindness
For that mistake
I will not forgive
For that mistake
I will twist you
I will loathe you
Slap you with my words
I shall break you down
break your heart
rip your soul to shreds
I’ll never grant you forgiveness
though it’s mine to give
And I’ll do these things easily enough
Because I am my greatest enemy.
February 27, 2013Posted by on
Remind me to tell you,
how you have changed everything about my life.
How you came in,
out of nowhere, and there was no stopping you,
even though I threw up every defense to keep you out.
You broke through, you got in, and you entwined yourself within my soul.
I want the last thing I feel before I drift into sleep
to be the last exhale you make against my shoulder
before you yourself drift into sleep
I want to memorize every bit of your body,
every single bit of your soul.
I want to know what it feels like to awaken in your arms at two in the morning.
If I could find the words,
I would sing them to you, over and over again…
… and the way my heart feels when it sees your face would be the accompanying music.