SlutsUnlimited

Just a dirty girl from the dirty south…co-parenting a baby boy in New Orleans.

Good Mourning

April 18, 2016

I am nearly 37 years old.

I dream a lot of more of my parents since Wilder’s birth. Maybe this is because they are on my mind much more than before. I dreamt a few weeks ago that I was ill in a big fluffy bed surrounded by down blankets and pillows. I was sinking uncomfortably into them, almost becoming smothered. My mother was there and I was calling out to her, but she couldn’t hear me. This dream was accompanied by sleep paralysis which is something I have experienced since a child. It was jarring and I woke sweaty and unhinged. I dreamt about my father that same night. I walked into Venezia Italian Restaurant where my father and I would always go for dinner when he was in town. He was standing at the bar talking to Mr. Tony. He was dressed finely in one of his suits, sporting his jewelry. I walked up and said, “Dadee, this must be a dream because you are dead.” He smiled, held out his glass of (cheap) tequila on the rocks and said, “Have a drink with an old friend, won’t you?” I obliged.

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I have always foolishly prided myself on my ability to remain calm and somewhat aloof in tragic situations. I have always equated vulnerability with weakness. I cannot stand to show sorrowful emotions in front of people that I don’t trust. I have a hard time showing sadness in front of those whom I do trust, and in the past it would come across as anger. I have always chosen anger as my go-to emotion and it wasn’t until my pregnancy that I began to really think about this character trait. My father could be hot-headed and growing up he yelled at us as a form of correction. My mother was unstable for most of my life and she also would yell, but often threatened to “make a Christian” out of me, which is something my cousin and I chuckle about today. Both my parents were stubborn and strong-willed. They stood up for what they believed in. They demanded respect. They were imperfect. I inherited a lot of their strength and stubbornness. I always thought that crying made me weak. I didn’t cry when I found out my brother died of an overdose in my house. I yelled. I didn’t cry when I discovered my mother and two of the most influential women in my life – dead in my mother’s home. I calmly called 911 and then alerted the rest of the family. I didn’t realize just how eerily calm I was until I later heard the taped 911 call played back on the news. People talked about my strength when I delivered the eulogy for my mother without crying. Therapist and counselors were shocked when I could tell the story in full detail with little emotion. As much as I knew these things had happened to me, I felt like they had happened to someone else whenever I had to tell the story. I felt removed from the situation. When my father died I almost declined having a wake because I didn’t want to have to comfort other people. I knew I would give the eulogy without crying and then be forced to hug people who would be visibly upset. Just being that close to others’ vulnerability made me uncomfortable, because I couldn’t allow myself to feel my own.

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You know what makes you face your vulnerability more efficiently than anything else? Becoming a parent. One day you wake up and you have this little creature staring up at you, and your heart bursts with love and fear. Fear you will somehow fuck up. And at some point, you surely will. By the time our son was born all my nuclear family was dead. My brother died in 1999, my mother in 2005 and my father just 9 months before Wilder’s arrival. I thought I had settled the score with the ghosts of my family. I believed I had worked through the majority of the trauma associated with my brother and mother’s deaths. I was wrong. My mother would always warn me, “Just wait until you have children of your own.” I hated that, and swore that I would never be like her. I would mentally remember all of her bad traits and if I ever did procreate I would NEVER be anything like her. Ha, fucking ha.

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My mother was bi-polar and had OCD. She was obsessed with cleanliness, to the point that as children my brother and I would often get sick from things being too sterile. She would bleach her walls once a week. She mopped the floors every other day and moved the refrigerator to mop underneath it. She stripped her floors once a month with ammonia. You could eat off her toilet seats. There were no shoes allowed in the house and there were no fingerprints allowed on anything, including the refrigerator door handle. You wouldn’t even consider leaving water spots in a sink. You had to wipe it completely dry after washing your hands – for the millionth time that day. She needed everything to appear perfectly put together, so people wouldn’t know how imperfect she was. She needed control.

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When I got home from the hospital after an emergency C-section, what was the first thing I did? Vacuumed the entire house – all three floors – carrying the vacuum up and down the stairs. Andy tried to stop me, as I was told not to lift anything other than our 6 pound son. I yelled at him. I told him that if I didn’t clean the house I couldn’t relax. That old apple wasn’t too far from the tree. I’ve worked hard to overcome my tendencies for unrealistic cleanliness. In the past when I would cook, I would have to plate all the food and then do all the dishes that were made preparing it before I could sit down to eat. These days I often go to bed with an empty cup or plate in the sink. Baby steps.

I have spent a lot of time analyzing my behavioral traits, and trying my hardest not to carry on the negative traits that I subconsciously learned from my parents. It has been a long time joke for people to tell women that one day they will become their mother. Anyone who tells me this is met with a stoic, “What, a murderer?” That usually changes the subject.  But there are times when my reaction to something comes out so quickly that I am taken aback of by how much of her resides in me. Sometimes down to the very same words. It’s powerful and frightening.

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I am also completely overcome with empathy for my mother now that I am a parent. She was never a malicious or evil person, although the final act of her life was for some rightly unforgivable. She was a human, with many flaws and insecurities. She was unfortunately set up for failure. She grew up in a Catholic home with an alcoholic father and a nervous mother. She was a lesbian, back before it was acceptable or “cool” but when the DSM considered homosexuality to be a mental disorder. She was afraid of being stigmatized and was never comfortable in her own skin. She didn’t have the tools that I have, or the social acceptance of depression and anxiety that we have today. She was constantly putting on heirs to such an extent that she never really made many true friends, and none that she could really count on. She was lonely and sad a lot. I remember as a child her lying on the floor in the living room listening to Whitney Houston by candlelight and sadly saying to me, “Please make sure there are a lot of candles at my funeral.”

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Her unwillingness for honesty made her unreachable for me. I have an inherent disgust for people who lie to me because of this. We had a very strained relationship. Aesthetics were paramount for her. If things could be perceived as perfect to outsiders then she was safe. I was always too fat or too thin. I was never classy enough and my intelligence threatened her. She would brag about me behind my back, but rarely would she ever tell me that she was proud of me. When my brother Davin died, a huge part of her did too. She told a person at the funeral, within my earshot, that she wished it had been me. She was so distraught that she lashed out. She couldn’t be vulnerable either, so she got angry. She couldn’t see that she was destroying everything around her with her anger – she felt she was in control of at least one thing. I think her unrealistic need for control is what finally drove her to murder.

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As difficult as she was as a mother, I was an equally difficult child. I was in my mid-twenties when she died. The pinnacle of when I knew everything. I am grateful that my mother taught me how to be a strong woman. She was the one of the first female roustabouts to work offshore, which is awesome considering she had also worked as a playboy bunny at the Playboy Club in the quarter. She was a petit, beautiful, hell-fire of a woman. She had a compassionate heart and was known as “mom” by hundreds of people when she died, due to her final job as a house mom at a few of the most successful gentleman’s clubs on Bourbon Street. She is still remembered fondly, which is simultaneously comforting and heartbreaking. It has taken me years to admit this, but I really do miss her.

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I know something inside of me has changed. Now if I talk honestly about my mother to people that I love, I will cry. If I try to talk about my love for my father, I will become a blubbering heap of tears and snot. My relationship with him was so special that it requires thought and time to put into words. He was by no means perfect, but he was my hero. I struggle with my sadness in knowing Wilder will never know my family first-hand. I see so much of my brother in Wilder’s expressions that it is bittersweet. I lament the fact that I can’t ring any of them up to brag about how sweet, intelligent and amazing our son is. I wonder how much I was like him as a child. I guess I’ll never know. I hope I can remember all the good stuff so I can share it with him one day. I hope he will want to know.

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Sometimes I find myself overcome with emotion. I’ll be playing racquetball at the gym and a sad song will come on my Pandora station and I’ll just cry. Sometimes people will see me, and honestly I don’t give a fuck. I am currently going through a bout of heart break and my dear friend Jackson said “Pain multiplied by resistance equals suffering.” She told me to simply BE with that pain and let it resonate with me, to essentially be vulnerable to it. So much grief is pouring out of me. I believe this relationship that ended allowed me to finally begin to feel and heal from some of the PTSD that I’ve been harboring for years. This shit isn’t easy, but I’m losing this pain by drops, one tear at a time.

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Welcome back, old friend.

April 11th 2016

Wilder is nearly 2 & ½ years old.

“I’m feelin’ rough, I’m feelin’ raw, I’m in the prime of my life.” – MGMT

It’s been awhile. I had every intention of being more diligent in my upkeep of this blog but life happens. Every damn day. Which I suppose is much better than the alternative. I am still writing in my journal, but so little of that makes it here, and I feel more so lately than ever that my online persona is farcical in comparison to the truth of my life. Especially my life as a mother, who struggles with a literal laundry basket full of crap. There is much debate in regards to women, especially mothers, “having it all” and I have been trying to figure out where I stand in the real-life version of this controversy. Am I selfish for believing that every person deserves to “have it all” when that simply means that they feel happy, loved and secure?

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On Health

My personal health for the last few years can best be described with two words: shit show. Every person is different, so there was no way to know that having a child would hormonally destroy me, but it sort of did. I knew that it was going to be a challenge to get back to my pre-baby self, but I was in no way prepared for the tumultuous journey that I’ve traversed. As some of you might remember, I went on anti-depressants not long after Wilder’s birth when I had to put my dog/best friend down (there is a post about that if you would like to emotionally destroy yourself). I was on them for about a year, in which time I felt lackadaisical about creating anything. My writing suffered and I still felt overwhelmed. I approached my doctor when Wilder was nearly a year old and she agreed that I should taper off of them, so I did. I had noticed a good deal of unsavory afflictions developing in my mind and body, but chalked these things up to the hard times that make up being a parent for the first year of a child’s life. When these problems continued and only got worse though, I addressed them with my doctor. When Wilder was just over a year and a half, I thought that I might lose my mind. I was afraid at first to address all the things that were going wrong. I was fearful that I would be labeled “crazy” or judged for my inability to pull my shit together. I went to my doctor with a list of things including the following: mood swings, anxiety, inability to lose weight, sugar cravings, no sex drive, arthritis, restlessness, exhaustion, acne, inability to concentrate. The day that I arrived at her office with this list, there was a student shadowing her. She made the mistake of having him go over the reasons for my visit. He asked me which was the most dramatic change on the list. I don’t know why I felt it necessary but I told him, “I have no sex drive, like zilch, zero. I once blew a guy at a funeral and now I don’t even want to think about sex. There is something wrong with me.” Yes, yes there is. He scribbled some frantic notes, took my nicely hand-written list and exited the room.

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My doctor, who is a gynecologist, suggested that I see some other specialists, as she admitted that she could only offer me birth control or anti-depressants, neither of which appealed to either of us as a solution. She referred me to a nutritionist, psychiatrist and also suggested an endocrinologist. I could write for hours describing these appointments – the nutritionist who was very knowledgeable but may have also had a slight eating disorder, the psychiatrist who was a woman younger than me who had no kids, the endocrinologist that I never got to see because the waiting list for an appointment was over 5 months. In the end I was given the recommendation for a hefty amount of supplements, to stop attempting to eat vegetarian and eat more flesh based protein, and to go on a new anti-depressant that was supposed to have zero sexual side effect. I ate a hamburger, took some vitamin C and cried. I called the therapist that we had used for family sessions and made an appointment to see her. She immediately recognized that I was suffering from adrenal fatigue. She, along with a friend of mine, helped me to find a functional medicine doctor. Over the next few months, I completed several medical tests, which included avoiding alcohol and coffee and spitting into test tubes. I was diagnosed with stage two adrenal fatigue and also perimenopause levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Hormonal state: fucked. My reaction was “Are you serious?” Before I became pregnant with Wilder I was in the best shape of my life. This year started with me sitting at my kitchen table looking at a basket full of vitamins, supplement s and tinctures that I would be taking until at least 2017. While it has given me some relief to have an actual diagnosis, it has also been frustrating. I spent a lot of money, time and cried a lot of tears trying to solve the riddle of my health, and I refused the recommendation of simply taking an anti-depressant (which would have done nothing to help my hormonal afflictions). I have so much empathy for other people who find themselves in the same position of having to advocate for a correct diagnosis and treatment. I am thankfully feeling better, but I know I have a long way to go. I am appreciative of my knowledge because without it, I would not have been able to finally get the care I needed and deserved.

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When I was in college at Tulane getting my bachelors in psychology, I specialized in biological psychology because they didn’t have a neuroscience program at the time. I was drawn to this because I was fascinated by the elasticity of the brain and the intricacies of neurotransmitters and receptors. I often remind myself that when I’m having a particularly bad day, it’s just a shitty cocktail of these things in my brain, and thankfully the menu changes daily. That being said I have a very dysfunctional relationship with my body. It often surprises people to hear this, but I am my harshest critic. I know it may be hard to believe between the FB updates and Instagram pictures of my tits that I often feel disappointed and disgusted, but it’s true. The weight loss and physical strength that I have always struggled with seem to have become insurmountable these last few years. I want so badly to be healthy, not just for myself, but for my family. I know from my many years of yoga and life experience, that the first step is accepting and appreciating my body for what it is and what it has done…but fuck it all if I don’t wish there was a goddamn pill to banish my cellulite. I’m a work in progress. I’ll get there eventually. I write about this not as a cry for help but because I know I’m not alone in this feeling. If you are struggling too with your body, your mind or your spirit, I can empathize. I see you. I got you.

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On Family

Having compromised health surely affects all of your relationships and mine are no exception. Time, introspection and therapy have been key in navigating this new family that we’ve created. I believe co-parenting has been a boon for all of us and I simply cannot imagine trying to raise a child in a traditional relationship or as a single mother. My perception of women, especially mothers has changed so dramatically since Wilder’s arrival. I am beyond grateful for our team and while we have certainly faced growing pains, our individual and collective love for Wilder is something that has never been questioned. I would be dishonest if I didn’t admit that I had a different vision for how our family would operate, but I have found that what has developed is a beautiful thing in its own right. As much as I have unconsciously desired for our family to fill the void created by the loss of my own, I know that is an impossible feat. I never realized how much I missed my family until now. Becoming a mother has permanently changed my perception.

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My father passed away on January 25th 2013 and exactly one month and a day later I began trying to get pregnant. As most of you know Lee Kyle and my attempts worked the first time and in October of 2013 Wilder was born. To say I didn’t give myself time to grieve is an understatement. I have found though that these things have a tendency to catch up with you. I feel that there is never a convenient time to lament death, but while caring for a newborn would probably make the list of “worst-ever”. I myself am the master of distraction. I will do practically anything to avoid feeling vulnerable and sad, which I have done for the last two years. But the loneliness has always found a way to catch up with me. There is something so profoundly alien in becoming the last living member of your birth family. First my brother died leaving me as an only child, which was difficult to embrace, but I still had my mother and father to remind me of how I fit in this world. After my mother killed two people and herself, I found a huge reluctance to talk about her. I struggled with my anger for years, but I found solace in my relationship with my father to whom I was always the closest. When he became ill and finally succumbed to dementia, I prayed for him to die. I knew he never wanted to live that way. It is an odd thing to want death so badly for someone whom you don’t want to live without. When he did pass, I felt as if I had already been grieving him for years. I thought foolishly that I was passed it. I find myself now feeling alone and melancholy more than I would like to admit. I worry that I will forget my family history as I have no one to remind me. I have already forgotten simple things, like my mother’s favorite color or my father’s silly nicknames for me. I feel frustration with my extended family (which exists only on my mother’s side) for their inactivity in mine and Wilder’s life. I find that when I do talk about my parents I get overwhelmed with emotion. Simply writing this has caused tears to fall.

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I am grateful for Lee Kyle, Andy and Clint. I wanted Wilder to have a diverse, loving extended family and he has one. Lee’s family is amazing. They are very involved in Wilder’s life and show genuine concern for all of us. Lee Kyle is a truly exceptional father. He is devoted to Wilder and continually expands his horizons with travels and adventures. His artistic abilities never cease to amaze me. His partner Clint is also a devoted father. In the beginning he was unsure of his relationship with Wilder but now he is often the “favorite.” His care and concern are authentic and enthusiastically returned by our son. Andy is phenomenal in every way. He is patient, kind and fun. Wilder asks for Poppa to put him to bed every night at our house and if he wakes in the middle of the night, guess who he wants. I couldn’t do it without these fantastic men. We are a team.

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Wilder had to get surgery in February to have tubes placed in his ears. Thankfully everything went well. At the follow up appointment Andy and I were in the waiting room with several other parents and their children. There was another mother there with a child Wilder’s age and as we waited for quite a long time, her son became upset. Like most mothers she tried to calm him but as his cries persisted I could see her getting frustrated with him. At one point she grabbed him roughly and said “shut up” in the threatening mom voice that all mothers have. Wilder climbed into my lap, visually shocked by her reaction. We don’t tell Wilder to “shut up.” Honestly we don’t even talk to the dogs that way. I wanted to be mad at her, but all I could feel was empathy. I distracted her son and gave her an understanding gaze. She understood that I understood. She looked exhausted and overwhelmed. She was in her work clothes. She was waiting for the bus when we left. Why does it have to be so hard for mothers to provide for their families? I held Andy and Wilder stronger that night and gave so much thanks for the support I have. Be kind, it doesn’t cost you any extra.

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I have to also mention that I am in awe of my friends that have become my family. My dearest friend Akrum, who has made my son laugh while talking me off of several ledges. My life partner Cody who always texts me back, even if I just need someone to tell me I’m pretty. My west bank partner in crime Dori, who will always honestly tell me if my son is acting like an asshole. My saving grace Daphne, who should collect my tears for her next art project since she seems to see them the most. Jackson, the closest thing I’ve ever had to a sister, who gives me life advice with laughter. Trixie, who is a constant inspiration and “gave” me her mother who is a true gift.  My creative team of men: Chris, Todd & Andy, who have read my plays and helped me to hone my craft. And the many, many others who are loving, kind and genuine with their concern for me and my family.

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On Love

Andy is a remarkable partner. I love him so much that after 12 years I finally asked him to marry me on February 29th and he said “yeah.” Things haven’t been the easiest for us (see above: no sex drive, anxiety, depression) but they have drastically improved with time. Andy is incredibly understanding and patient with me which makes up for the fact that he isn’t the neatest and devours his food like a wild animal. We have grown together in our relationship and have more trust and honesty than anyone I know. I consider myself lucky to share this life with him. He’s really happy that I am feeling more like myself. When I ask, “Why do you love me?” It’s always the same answer, “Your ass.”

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We have a fluid relationship. We understand that no one person can be everything to another. We have interests outside of our relationship. We have our own friendships. We can have great times together and great times apart. We trust one another. Andy is a much less jealous person than I am, and I try to learn from him. I am a much more empathetic person than he is, which means that sometimes my friendships can become unhealthy, as I often seek people that I can “help” or “fix.” Andy has comforted me many times when I have been heartbroken over someone else’s actions. That is true love. I never take it for granted.

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I have had some great and some not-so-great relationships over the last few years. I have learned from all of them. I have a love who helped me find my lost confidence by assuring me that my post-baby body was still beautiful to him. I have another love who I shared some of my most vulnerable thoughts of anxiety and depression with who didn’t judge me. I fell in love with someone who is an alcoholic and am still struggling with the despair that accompanies the acknowledgement that I can’t change him. I learned about myself, my grief, my love for Andy and my family through all my relationships. Most importantly I learned that the main source of my unhappiness is my desire to control situations and people. I’m working on that too.

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The greatest love of my life is no doubt our son Wilder. He is one of a kind. It would be total bullshit if I pretended that everything was lollipops and rainbows. It isn’t. Some days are very challenging. One particular morning when Wilder woke with a disdain for life and everything in it, Andy met my exhausted gaze in the kitchen and I said, “Well we can’t give him back.” He understood. We made it through. Being a parent is 49% thinking “Jesus fucking Christ this is the most intense, amazing love that I couldn’t have even imagined existed.” And 51% thinking “What the fuck did I decide to do with my life?” The percentages aren’t set in stone. They fluctuate by the minute. While he can be a pill at times, for the most part Wilder is quite the character. He laughs a lot, which warms my heart. He is exceptionally intelligent. At this time he knows all 50 states and their capitals (which I have had to learn to keep up with him). He loves to sing and dance. He loves to be outside. He shows compassion for others. He has the ability to make me go from frustrated to elated faster than anyone I’ve ever known. He has taught me to let go of expectations. He has shown me that the world can be beautiful or shitty depending on my perception. He is my heart. He is currently being potty trained, so pray for us.

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More to come on my new job and my creative projects, but for now, sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy 2nd Birthday Wilder

October 27, 2015

To my amazing son Wilder for his 2nd birthday:

It’s hard for me to relate how quickly time seems to pass, now that you are the star of our lives. I don’t think anything has the capacity to speed time quite like parenting. It feels like just yesterday I was gazing upon you in the hospital with a sense of determination, love and fear. Now I am lucky if I can get you to stay still long enough for me to catch a quick glimpse of how much you change with every day that passes. You are a dynamic force of wonder and I continue to learn from you. I never knew that my heart had the capacity to love the way it loves you.

This past year has not been without its struggles. I feel as if I mirrored your growing pains in many ways. As you learned to walk, run, communicate and understand, I also had to re-learn many of these things in my post-pregnancy body. I thought, perhaps foolishly, that by the end of your first year of life, I would be “back to normal.” I now know that “normal” is ambiguous and the introspection that has accompanied your arrival has proven that it will no doubt equal a lifetime of learning for both of us. I feel honored to be not only your teacher but also your student.

You have made so many accomplishments over the past year. You went from speaking about 4 words your first year of life to having a vocabulary that rivals many of the day-drinkers at your Poppa’s bar. At 14 months you would say the phrase “tick-tock” so often that it prompted me to get a tattoo of a clock on my arm. You were a little late to walking, but you caught up quickly. When you were 17 months, your Daddy took you on a trip to New York, and you returned walking like a pro. I guess the saying is true that everybody has to walk in New York. Also around this time you began singing little nonsensical songs, which we all encouraged as much as possible. By the time you hit 18 months old, you knew all of your letters. My mother used to tell me that I had memorized the spelling of simple words by this age, and I never believed her until you came along. It was also at this time that you began clapping for yourself whenever you accomplished a task. I hope that you will always have a strong sense of self-accomplishment.  At 19 months you traveled to Texas with your Daddy, Clint and me to visit your Maw Maw and Aunts, and you also took a trip to Florida with your Daddy & Poppa. That month we started working with flashcards of words and shapes and you learned all of them within weeks. Your vocabulary grew tremendously as we introduced you to new words. One of my favorites was “alligator” which at 20 months you would pronounce as “alli-na-na-nah”. By the time you were 22 months old, you arranged blocks to spell the word “dog” which you proudly exclaimed to me. That same month you started school at the Jewish Community Center uptown, where you promptly began referring to all the other kids in your class as “babies.”  I will never forget you waving from the car window saying “Bye, bye babies.”

Most of the time you and I share is spent reading, drawing, dancing and playing with toys. You are especially fond of your blocks and small plastic animals. While you will play alone, you prefer interaction. Poppa and I enjoy the way you will come and get me, taking me by the hand to join you in whatever activity you are engaged in. Poppa likes to play outside with you. He has you in the yard with him as much as possible, and loves taking you to the park. He encourages you to get dirty and jump in muddy puddles. He also will take you with him on errands throughout the French Quarter. You have developed a hefty fan base. You have some very sweet friends including: Arthur Douglas, Franui, Ellis, Baby Henry and Baby Lucian. You are still a huge fan of Peppa Pig, but we have also introduced Sesame Street, Little Einstein’s and classic Scooby Doo into your repertoire.

As you grew over the past year, it seems the world did as well. Your Poppa closed the bar he co-owned for 10 years and moved the business to a new location, which was both heartbreaking and exhilarating. The city of New Orleans finally passed a smoking ban for Orleans parish which was met with much controversy, but doesn’t seem to have changed much of the bar business. Your Daddy & Clint purchased the lot next door to their house meaning that you are going to have even more amazing outdoor space to explore. I left my job at Lucky Pierre’s after determining that I wanted more time with you. The biggest and most exciting change of the outside world though was the Supreme Court legalization of gay marriage nationwide. It is my hope that you will never remember a time when people questioned gay marriage. This decision of the court was an enormous victory to people of all sexual orientations and a step toward improving human rights.

This past year has been a rough one for me. My psychical health dipped to an all-time low and because of that I spent a lot of time worrying that I wasn’t able to be the “perfect” parent. While I will always strive to put your needs and desires first and foremost, I have accepted that there are times that I will make mistakes. I have missed my mother, father and brother in ways that I never knew possible. I am saddened that they will never feel the sheer elation of getting to know you. I have felt incredibly alone in ways that I would never wish upon anyone. I have felt profound sadness at this feeling of loneliness, knowing that I have so many people who love me, yet not being able to let that love pierce the darkness of my sadness. I have swallowed my pride and reached out for help and have found an amazing support system. I have learned that it is better to embrace these challenges and allow you to see me struggle and work through those struggles, than to pretend that everything is perfectly fine. I have learned that things may not go exactly as planned but as long as there is love and honest communication, nothing is impossible. I have learned the bittersweet lesson that a family is not something that can be easily made.

I have also felt love and happiness at its zenith. I have never laughed as whole-heartedly as I have laughed with you. One of my favorite memories of this past year is when you began purposefully clasping my hands around your waist when you are seated in my lap. I know this may sound trivial but this minutiae action melts my heart every time. You have inspired me in so many ways. I found the courage to once again change my career because of you. I have made the time to write seven new one-act plays and two short stories. I have made my health a priority and sought out the best doctors to address my adrenal dysfunction. I have learned to be more receptive to help from others. I have recognized and embraced the immense love that I have for your Poppa. I have been brave in talking about my fears, and have learned that I am rarely alone in the way I feel. I have found patience that I never knew I had and I continue to practice being a good listener. At the heart of all of these accomplishments is my love for you.

Thank you, Wilder, for an extraordinary 2nd year of parenting. You continue to make every day a new adventure. I think I speak for your entire family when I say that none of us could have ever imagined the astounding changes you would ignite. I am so thankful to get to share this life with you, and I cannot wait to see what this next year brings.

Xoxo

Mommy

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Happy 1st Birthday Wilder

October 27, 2014

To my amazing son Wilder on his 1st birthday:

It’s been quite a year. It feels to me as if it has flown by and I think I truly understand what people mean when they say that children grow in the blink of an eye. As I sit here at our dining room table on Pauline Street, it is hard for me to believe that one year ago I was in labor with you (although I had no idea when it first started). You came into our lives a month early and you were born with your eyes open and a strong cry coming from your lungs. When the doctor raised you from me, you locked eyes with your Papa Andy and I think that bond has blossomed into something even more beautiful than any of us could have imagined.

This first year hasn’t been without its challenges. I think the toughest part for me was understanding and relenting to the changes that would happen to my body and mind once you were here with us. I have always been a very independent woman, to a fault at times. I was frightened even during my pregnancy that I would somehow lose my personal identity once you arrived. Although I was completely enamored by you the moment I first saw you, I know that part of me remained guarded as if your mere presence would rob me of my complete individuality. That’s not to say that I didn’t feel that strong, nearly unnatural, maternal bond, but it is important for you to know that I didn’t want motherhood to rob me of my personal ambition. It hasn’t. It has propelled me into new and exciting decisions, such as buying a house while pregnant, and taking a new job shortly after your birth.

You are perfect in a way I never would have imagined. I have done some amazing things in my life- crazy, wonderful, exhilarating things that have filled me with joy and wonder. But none of it, and I mean this with all my heart, will ever compare to the absolute elation I feel every time I hear you laugh. It is such a beautiful sound that I have no doubt it could shatter the windows of heaven. I live to hear you happy and to know you are content. I can’t explain it, but I can only hope that in your lifetime you experience something as fulfilling.

As a family we have all struggled with our own issues this first year. It isn’t easy to make a family, especially one that you want and hope will last. We have each embarked on personal journeys with the decided goal that we don’t burden you with our bullshit. We have talked with our friends and families and sought out family therapy. Your existence alone has made us better people. We have been forced to confront the things that make us uncomfortable and work through them. We have gained a deeper and more honest respect for each other and the past events that have shaped our respective characters. You have become an intricate piece in the puzzle that connects us all to each other. Our love for you has made the journey to self-discovery one worth embarking on.

You have developed quite a fan club in this first year. Luckily you have some pretty amazing parents (if I do say so myself) that have exposed you to many eclectic, beautiful people. Your Daddy Lee and his partner Clint have welcomed you into their world of art and film. Lee has taken you to his art studio countless days where he has created some remarkable works of fabric art, along with making you a custom wardrobe. Clint has opened your eyes to the world of film, as at barely a few months old you went to your first movie at The Prytania as part of a film fest he helped procure. They have introduced you to many wonderful friends who have hugged, kissed and loved you. Oh, and your Daddy’s family has been over the moon since you arrived. They live in Texas, but that hasn’t stopped them from visiting many times, to celebrate all major holidays and events with you. Your Maw Maw loves you endlessly, and always laughs at the videos your Daddy sends. You have traveled to visit them a few times, and always had a fun trip. Your Daddy always wanted a baby and he has been the most amazing father. He is very dedicated to providing you with a healthy, happy life. He and Clint have completely remodeled their home and you have been a huge motivator. He loves you endlessly and the two of you are like peas in a pod. Sometimes when you look at me, especially when you smile, I see your Daddy’s face as clear as day. His heart is complete with you in his life.

Your Papa Andy has owned Flanagan’s Pub since you were born. You have spent more time in that bar than most alcoholics have. In the bar you have had the opportunity to meet a myriad of interesting folks, locals and tourists alike. You have always loved the bar – the lights, the people, and the energy. In fact, many a night when you were a bit fussy Papa would take you to the bar and you would be happy nearly right away. You and Papa have a special bond. I think this is because he has spent the most time with you. A little secret is that Papa never wanted kids. He even originally thought that I shouldn’t have any. The minute we knew I was pregnant, all of that changed. He has been your biggest fan. When you wake in the middle of the night, your Papa is the one who calms you. He loves you more than any of us ever thought possible. His family loves you too. His sister has visited you and has given you endless hugs and kisses, just like your Daddy’s family. You are the apple of your Papa’s eye and that will never change.

I never expected that a man would hold such sway over my heart, but you certainly do. I wanted you even before you existed, and I feel absolutely blessed to your mother. You are constantly changing and evolving to your new senses and the world around you and it has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of that. In this first year you have overcome some stomach issues, which plagued you in your first few months of life (perhaps your first struggle). You have developed unique and interesting relationships with all your parents as well as your pets (Kara is your dog- she has made that clear). You love taking a bath and swimming in a pool. You tend to prefer savory over sweet. You talk a lot (not many clear words, although “duck” was your first one) and use your right hand to elaborate on what you are saying. Your schedule consists of generally an 8:30 am wake time and an 11:00 pm bedtime. You are adaptable and not easily frightened or aggravated. You only had one cold during your first year of life. You are well liked and very social. Your favorite toys are a red stuffed monkey that your Papa received from his father and a stuffed rat named Rodney. Your favorite color appears to be pink. You aren’t walking quite yet, but you are trying very hard. Your crawl is mesmerizing and you are quick as hell. Your favorite thing to watch (yes- we are awful and let you have screen time) is Baby Einstein. You absolutely love it and crack up at the puppets, especially the zebras. You like to have a pacifier, which we call a “bink.”

I have been fortunate enough to have an amazing support system made up mostly of friends who love and adore you. Of special mention are the following women who have loved not only you (you are adorable) but also me (not as cute) and supported us this first year. Your Aunts –Amanda, Catherine, Christine, Crystal, Daphne, Dawn, Delsie, Dori, Ellen, Jackie, Jessica,  Jo, Keith, Laura, Liza, Marcella and Melissa. Your Uncles – Misty,  Dan and Henry. Your god-parents – Cathy and Cody. The list could go on much further, as I’m sure your other parents have people to add too. You are one well-loved little boy.

Thank you Wilder, for making us all better people. Thank you for teaching us lessons we never knew existed. Thank you for renewing my sense of wonder and excitement. Thank you for making every day an adventure. I love you so much and feel honored to have been able to share this last year with you. You are my heart, my soul and my true inspiration ( I may have stolen that from an old song – but you’re too young to call me on it.)

Xoxo

Mommy

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Sick Days.

October 5th, 2014

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Wilder is 49 weeks old.

There are people that I have encountered in my life that I want to help. I don’t know if part of me seeks out this type of relationship because it satisfies me on some level to feel like I am a savior, or because I am just a glutton for punishment. Either way I often find myself in the predicament where I want to “fix” someone I love by taking away their pain or suffering, whether it is physical or emotional. One of the beautiful things that has developed since the birth of our son has been that I invest so much less of my time and energy into these futile exercises. I’m not saying that I don’t still deeply care about the people in my life, nor do I turn a blind eye when they ask for help, but I have become guarded about recklessly dolling out emotional support. As the catch phrase goes – “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” It is utterly exhausting to attempt to help someone who has no interest in helping themselves.

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That being said, I have continued my quest for a healthier self. I have been sticking to a more structured schedule which has allowed me to make it to the gym more frequently (which is so important to my mental health) and I have become more aware of the foods I am choosing. It is often hard to make the best nutritional choices when I feel like I am always in a rush. The good thing is that we don’t really buy what I would consider “shitty” food – not many processed items, and we never eat any type of fast food. I worry about Wilder’s eating habits and don’t want to set him up for failure by feeding him crap. He loves vegetables and eats a wide variety of new things. His new trick, which he discovered this past Tuesday, is feeding the dogs from his highchair. He holds food out to get their attention, then drops it and giggles. Sometimes he will hand feed Kara, who has asserted herself as his dog. It’s hard not to laugh at his antics.

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Wilder is at an adorable age. It is very exciting to spend time with him in a way that is very dynamic. He is truly like a little sponge, soaking up the world and all its experiences. Andy was bringing me to work one morning this week and we passed Lee getting Wilder out of the car at Saint Coffee. Part of me felt so sullen, feeling frustrated that I had to go into work instead of being able to spend the day with them. I am extremely grateful for my current job, but part of me still wishes that it wasn’t a 40+ hour a week gig. I completely understand the old adage; there are not enough hours in the day. Andy has been under a lot of stress with the opening of Voodoo Lounge. He often falls ill when he extremely stressed and that was the case this past week. He was very sick and confined to his bed for nearly 24 hours. Wilder and I hung out and had a fun time, but he missed Andy cuddling with him. Thankfully the illness only lasted about two days and then things were back to normal. I truly hope that in the future we are in different financial situation so that monetary issues don’t hold such sway over our lives.

Wilder began making a new sound this week. He has been babbling along and does this thing with his right hand, almost like a preacher at a pulpit. But the new sound is a high pitched whine that he makes when he wants water. At first I thought it was really cute but soon it became likened to that sound in Dumb and Dumber and much less entertaining. Regardless, I am glad to see his communication skills expanding. I look forward to a time when he can talk. We read books together every night and he has definitely become more interested in them, actually staying still to listen to what I am reading. Those moments with him on my lap with a book are some of my most precious.

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I love having Fridays and Saturdays off because having a week day off means that I can get a lot of 9 to 5 business errands taken care of. What I don’t like about it is that Andy is remarkable busy on these two days so we have very little time together. While I try very hard to be reasonable and understand that our schedules are even more hectic than normal because of the bar situation, I still find my frustration getting the best of me at times. I say it all the time, and I really mean it, I am grateful that Andy is so opposite of me in his reaction to things. I am the hot-headed aggressive one and he is the indifferent passive one. A match made in heaven? Only time continues to tell. Because Andy had to go to work, Wilder and I took a ride to visit my cousin Lisa who is expecting her first child. I like to bring Wilder around so she can see just what she is in for. We had a fun visit, although the unemployment of her child’s father has me a bit uneasy. Lisa is significantly younger than me, and a resilient girl. She actually reminds me a lot of myself. I wish her the absolute best in her relationship but having gone through nearly a whole year of being a parent, I can attest to the struggles and difficulty that no words can really prepare you for. I know whatever happens, she’ll make it through.

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Wilder developed some red dots on him that were rather startling. Of course I did what no parent should ever do – I consulted google image. That resulted in an immediate appointment with the pediatrician who was nice enough to see Wilder on a Saturday. Andy took him to the doctor because I had fallen very ill late Thursday night. Dr. Capone asserted that they were most probably flea bites. Nothing too serious. Lee and Clint made sure their cats were up to date on their flea meds and the problem took care of itself. I, on the other hand, was having a rough time.  I had woken on Thursday night feeling very sick to my stomach. I made it to the second floor bathroom and noticed that I was pale as a ghost. I tried to get back upstairs but fainted in the hall, luckily I had called out to Andy so he found me and helped me come around. I crawled back up my stairs and got into bed. I didn’t get out of bed nearly all day Saturday and Sunday. The control freak in me absolutely hates being sick but I had no choice but to take it easy. I did however clean the entire house. Puke bucket not far from reach.

I made an appointment on Sunday to get Wilder’s hair trimmed by his Aunt Jo. I figured it would be nice to get his little bangs trimmed at the very least. I coordinated with both Andy and then Lee to make sure the time would work. Just as I felt everything had been scheduled properly, Andy confessed that he didn’t want to take him in for a haircut. He got very emotional about it. I found it to be incredibly sweet. Needless to say Aunt Jo got a visit the next day but no hairs were trimmed.

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Repass.

September 28th 2014

Wilder is 48 weeks old.

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I’m back, and glad to be here. I want to begin with an apology for not posting for the last six months. It has been a turbulent time with some really fantastic high points and a few dark, low points. I am grateful for all the women who have approached me over the last few months with positive comments about this blog and gently encouraged me to come back to it. I have every intention of eventually completing entries for the past weeks. Thankfully, although I have slacked on the blog, I have written in my own journal every day. The perfectionist in me did not want to post anything current without chronicling the past, but the realist in me knows there are only 24 hours to each day. I think the break from posting here was equal parts lack of time, and desire for privacy. Our family, like most new families, has had its struggles and victories. I wanted to give us all space before I put things out there on the internet. I feel like we have grown together in a beautiful way, and while I do not assume we will go effortlessly into the future, we now are better prepared for the turbulence that is parenthood.

It is nearly impossible to fill in the last six months quickly so I beg you, dear reader, to have some patience with me. Several things have changed. I am now a manager at Lucky Pierre’s in the French Quarter. I’m still working 40+ hours a week, but at least now I truly care for my job. Lee is back in school studying interior design and doing quite well, which we are all proud of. Andy had to face the sad news that Flanagan’s will be closing its doors forever on November 9th, as the owner of the building refused to renew the lease. He has been there 10 years, so this was quite a blow. Luckily his business partner purchased the Voodoo Lounge on Rampart Street, so he is working at both bars until November. This has made things much more hectic for our households. Wilder has continued to grow and become lovelier by the day. In late June Wilder started spending two nights a week at Lee’s house and that has been truly wonderful for the relationship of Lee, Wilder and Clint. We sought the help of family therapy in early summer and it has been immensely helpful for all of us. I highly recommend it.  Wilder has traveled to New York, Texas and Florida – all trips without me, and he did great. This summer has taught me to be immensely thankful for good health and to love those around me. I think for now that is a sufficient, albeit brief, catch-up.

On Sunday the 21st I attended a memorial for my dear friend Veronica Russell. I had known Veronica for 8 years and I, like all who knew her, was shocked by her passing. She was a mere 44 years old when she passed away leaving behind a legacy of accomplishments in the New Orleans art community and beyond. I had first met Vee through roller derby. But it was her enthusiasm on the stage that drew us close through the years. When I wrote my first play, I envisioned her and Chris Lane as the lead characters. I knew they were the only two who could pull it off. By some stroke of luck, they agreed to be in my play and those rehearsals have become some of my fondest memories. I had never before written a play, let alone produced or directed one, but with the help of Chris and Vee, we somehow made that play sell out for every performance after opening night. I learned so much about theater and myself during that time. I credit Veronica with helping me to become the playwright that I am today. Our relationship was so fruitful and although I am terribly saddened by our community’s loss, I am beyond grateful that she chose New Orleans as her home and influenced so many of us here.

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Photo by Sally Asher

Wilder went with me to the memorial, and stayed for the beginning of it. I went on stage with the roller derby girls and we sang “You Are My Sunshine” which was devastatingly beautiful. I wanted to stay all night to support Sally, Trixie and Chris who poured their hearts into making the memorial perfect, but I had to slip out early. I’m not comfortable with public displays of grief, as they make me feel entirely too vulnerable. I also know that my tendency would have been to drink to numb those feelings, and I didn’t want to travel down that road. I came home with Andy and Wilder instead and looked through some old photos of Veronica and myself and cried softly in my bedroom. She will no doubt be missed by us all.

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Photo by Shadow Angelina

Having had a three day weekend one would think I would be in a good mood returning to work. That was not the case. While I do love my job, it doesn’t come without its drama. One of our mangers- in- training made a small mistake that became blown out of proportion by one of the drag queens. Drama with drag queens, you don’t say?!? The original incident was less important than the bullshit that followed. It was cleared up, but not without listening to 5 different versions of what was supposed to be the same story. At least things aren’t boring there. Thankfully the day went by rather quickly. Lee and I had plans to attend Vinsanto’s New Orleans Drag Workshop Dragulation. It was a fun night and the performances were amazing. I think several of the queens will make a nice addition to our club. But more important than the actual show was that Clint watched Wilder for us while we went and was able to get him to bed all on his own. This is a BIG step. I’d say it was a spectacular evening.

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On Tuesday Wilder had his fist tumble out of the bed. He was napping with Lee on the futon at the studio. Lee got up to switch the fan off and in those few seconds Wilder climbed right off the bed smacking his head on the ground. He had a little goose egg on his forehead. Lee felt so terrible, which is exactly how I had felt a few weeks back when Wilder fell on the bookcase catching his mouth on a shelf and busting his gums. Of course we all strive to watch him every second and be aware of the dangers that tend to be present everywhere, but it goes to show you how quickly things can happen and how resilient little kids are. I called Dori and told her about it and she said she wrote Paul’s first tumble out of bed in his baby book. Guess it happens to nearly all parents at some point.

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Wednesday brought a new addition to our crew at Lucky’s. A previous neighbor of mine started working with me in the morning helping to get the club set up. She has a four year old son who has had his share of health problems which has kept her from being able to commit to full time employment since his birth. It was great to reconnect with her, and I am happy that the hours work for her schedule. Talking with her made me think about the challenges that stay-at-home mothers must face when trying to re-enter the work force. There is little recognition for the hard work that it takes to be a stay-at-home mom. I don’t think I could happily do it all the time. I’m glad that her coming to work with us has opened my eyes to this issue.

Thursday mornings are always busy because Lee keeps Wilder on Monday and Wednesday nights. I was able to fit in not only gym time, but a pedicure before work. For me, pedicures are less about relaxing and more about simple maintenance. My toes were beginning to look like talons. Work was a blast because we had group rehearsals today. The girls (I always call them girls, even if they are biologically men) were working on Lady Marmalade, and it was awesome to watch it come together. My cousin Crystal even stopped by and we had a really nice visit. She is training for a half-marathon in November and is doing so well. I can’t express how proud of her I am. She seems to be happier and have a better outlook on life. I think having a goal is good for all of us, even when it is something that makes us uncomfortable at times. I was excited to pick Wilder up after work because I had missed him. Although I am very grateful that he spends time with Lee and Clint, I have to admit that I miss him a lot when he isn’t home with us. I suppose that is a good thing.

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I woke on Friday to the strangest dream about Cody. (Cody moved back to Oregon in June). In this dream he was essentially “breaking up” with me as a friend. We were at a prom or some type of formal function and he was walking out with me when he produced a list of all the reasons he could no longer be my friend. The list was very thorough and quite shocking. I woke up and immediately texted him. He laughed about it and we had a phone call which brought a smile to my face. I thought for sure that after a few months of Cody being gone, I wouldn’t miss him as much, but that hasn’t proven to be true. I hold on to the hope that one day he will move back. Andy had graciously let me sleep in so I returned the nicety by purchasing him a purse on the internet. A chrome bag actually, but he calls it a purse nonetheless. Andy spent the day working so Wilder and I got to hang out. We went shopping then went to Flanagan’s to visit Andy. We also went to Taylor’s gallery and hung out for a while. Taylor loves Wilder and the feeling is reciprocated. Wilder loves the gallery and is quite the conversation piece for people perusing the art.  We dropped back into the bar before heading home and I immediately handed Wilder to Andy over the bar so I could use the Ladies room. I heard a customer say “I love this place” and it made me sorrowful to think of Flanagan’s closing. There is smoking and video poker at the new bar, so Wilder isn’t allowed to be in there. As much as I know change is inevitable, some things I’d like to make last just a little longer.

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On Saturday Wilder made 11 months old! We celebrated this by taking a three hour afternoon nap together. Growing is tough business. When I woke from our lovely nap, I had a text message that my cousin Lisa is expecting a baby girl. This is fantastic news, and I’m excited that Wilder is going to have a female cousin to play with. Also, perhaps the presence of another baby will spark my family’s interest in mine. They haven’t been much involved in Wilder’s life and while I understand their reasons, it still is something that has bothered me. Lee’s family lives in Texas and they have spent more time with Wilder in his first year than my own.

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Andy, Wilder and I went to a Project Lazarus fundraiser at Catherine’s house that night. It was a lovely party and Wilder was a hit. We saw many people we knew and ran into a couple that had been in our birth class with us. Their daughter had just made a year old. They questioned us as to whether or not we would be having any more children. It seems as though Wilder is at the age where this has become a common inquiry. As much as I love the idea of another child, I don’t love the reality of one. I think that Wilder will be our only child. They agreed that their daughter would probably be their only child as well. I hear this from a lot of parents and it’s something that both surprises and encourages me. Perhaps Wilder won’t be a weirdo if he’s an only child. Only time will tell.

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Photo by Catherine Cauley

I got frustrated with Andy late Saturday because he went out after the fundraiser and then didn’t answer his phone several times when I tried to reach him. When this happens I do not fear he is doing something scandalous, I fear he is hurt or dead. New Orleans is a dangerous city and crime is never far from ones front door. I think the combination of the wine I had at the fundraiser and my own fears made me react strongly but I truly hate to worry about someone. I made my point, even if it wasn’t the best delivery.

The week ended with a pleasant day at work followed by quality time with Wilder. I have gotten in the habit of trying to put my phone in a different room when we are playing so that I can be present in our interactions. I remember when I was younger, desperately trying to get my mother’s attention when she would be on the phone and how angry it made me that I felt ignored. I don’t want Wilder to feel this way especially if I am doing something trivial like checking Facebook. It’s an interesting time in history to be a new parent. There is so much technology that can be both good and bad. I finished the week feeling very inspired about future writing projects. Now if I can just find the time to make them come to life.

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Picture perfect.

March 23rd 2014

Wilder is 21 weeks old.

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The week began with what is usually a big party day for me – St. Patrick’s Day. This year though it consisted of a quick Guinness and a small shot of Jameson, then home to my dumpling of a son. Part of me was glad that the holiday fell on a Monday so I didn’t suffer too badly from feeling like I was missing out on all the fun. Andy worked because as one can imagine, a place named Flanagans gets busy on St. Patrick’s Day. I had a wonderful night at home with Wilder, as he was in a happy mood and we took a few pictures to memorialize his first Irish holiday. I have this tradition of having a drink with my former employer, Jason, on St. Patrick’s Day if he is in town. I knew that he wasn’t in New Orleans, but I texted him anyway to keep up with traditions. I also decided to inquire how his new club was going. He had recently opened up Lucky Pierre’s at 735 Bourbon Street after a long period of the location being completely closed. We had hung out briefly on Mardi Gras day during the adventure that Cody and I shared. I mentioned to him in my text that if he ever needed a day manger I would be interested in the position. He was responsive to that suggestion and told me that he would be in touch. I immediately felt a sense of excitement and fear. I know that I need to find a new job, but change always brings up anxiety in me, even if I know if it is change for the better. I want to be a better parent to my son and a better partner to Andy and I know that this begins with finding a job that makes me hate life a lot less.

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On Tuesday I told Cody about my text conversation with Jason. He responded in the way I expected, with depressed indifference. I know that I will really miss seeing Cody every day if I do find another job and while I’d like to imagine that he would come with me, I know he doesn’t have the financial bravery to do so. He does understand my absolute need to find a new path of employment though and I can only hope that if a new opportunity comes to fruition that he would be happy for me. I find myself so frustrated with the negativity at my work. I know that I will always have to deal with unhappy people, I just hope my next job isn’t a company full of them.

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Cathy returned from her travels and will be with us for a limited time before she goes home to Texas for a bit. It was so good to see her and I am glad that she is part of our extended family. We moved to our new office suite in the building which was time consuming and annoying. It just goes to show, we  moved to a much nicer office with a lot more space and amenities and everyone was still miserable about the whole thing. I know part of the misery is because it will no doubt be a limited time before we move again. Being a consultant pays well, but the lack of certainty in your financial future is annoying. I was at work on Wednesday night until nearly 10 pm and my cousin stayed until 11 pm. All of that for an employer who doesn’t honor overtime pay. Just another obvious reason I will not be making myself at home in the new office.

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Wilder had a revelation this week when he discovered his penis on Thursday. He has obviously touched it before, but not with the intent and interest he exhibited this past week. Now every time I take his diaper off, he immediately reaches for his penis, as if to check to be sure it is still there. I think it’s awesome that he is gaining body awareness. If he is anything like his parents he will have no qualms about nudity.

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Amanda helped to ease the pains of moving to a new office by dressing up as the King Cake Baby mascot. It was equal parts terrifying and hilarious. On Friday, Cody, Patrick and I went to lunch at Flanagans. It turned out to be the one day that the cook didn’t show up for his shift and so Andy was kind enough to go in the kitchen and make us food. We had a quick meal and a few beers then headed back to the office for an unproductive Friday afternoon. When we got off work, Amanda and I went to R Bar because our friend Jo was guest bartending there. What was supposed to be one drink turned into quite a few. We had a great time and I felt like it had been forever since Amanda and I went out for a post-work drink. Luckily Andy didn’t have any pressing plans and he was okay with me staying out after work and not coming right home. Later that evening Cathy watched the baby while Andy and I had a dinner date. We went to Slice. We were having a good time until Andy said something that pissed me off, but instead of letting it ruin our evening. I just let it go. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting a little better at this whole relationship thing. It’s only taken ten years.

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Wilder must have been really happy to have Cathy watch him because he was apparently exhausted and slept nine hours straight for the first time ever. Andy and I both woke up several times to check on him. That’s something I didn’t realize, but even on nights when he sleeps long hours, I still wake to check on him. We had the photo shoot for our Easter picture on Saturday. I had scheduled it so that everyone would be available. I was a little frustrated because I was told that Clint had somewhere to be, so I rushed through the group picnic shot without feeding a cranky baby. Everyone looked quite dapper, and it was an affair to get Lee, Clint, Andy Cody and Cathy all together. Amanda was nice enough to come and snap the group photo. I was able to capture some really great images of us but I didn’t quite get the one shot I wanted. Clint ended up staying the entire time and I was kicking myself in the ass for rushing the picnic shot when I didn’t need to. I was grateful though for the pictures we managed to get.

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That night we went to Pauly and Louis’s art-show in the Bywater. Andy, Lee Kyle, Wilder and I had an excellent time looking at the beautiful works of both boys and mingling with our friends. Cody met me there and then Andy dropped him & me off at the R Bar. Daphne was guest bartending on Saturday night so we began drinking there. We left R Bar and went to Lucky Pierre’s so that I could show Cody the place that I was hoping to work at. We caught part of a burlesque show which was entertaining, but it was apparent that the place needed some direction. We left there and headed to good old Flanagans where we had more drinks and some really delicious fried oysters. We probably could have called it a night there, but I wanted to make an appearance at a friend’s wedding reception in the Bywater. We caught a cab and went to Bacchanals where the timing turned out to be perfect. We caught the beautiful bride outside and were able to wish her and her new husband congratulations. Andy happened to be heading out to meet us so he picked Cody and I up and gave us a ride to Allways Lounge. The three of us watched The Dirty Dime Peep Show, which Cody had never seen. It was a filthy, fun time. After that show, Andy went home and Cody & I went to Mimi’s for the final round of drinks of the night. When I got home, I sent Cody a bunch of texts that thoroughly embarrassed me the following day when I looked through them. Sending drunken pictures is my hobby.

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As one can imagine I had a horrible hangover today. I attended Ellen’s birthday brunch at Coquette. The food was delicious and the company was phenomenal but the place was absolutely freezing. I had to leave before dessert because I wanted to die and I was a few degrees away from vomiting. Ellen understood. She’s been in my shoes before. I spent the rest of the day lying around feeling awful. Veronica came over this evening so that we could do some preparing for Chris Lane’s birthday roast which happens this coming week. I think we have some really good material. It was lovely to spend an evening with Veronica, even if I was feeling the pains of my private bar crawl last night. Wilder was in a happy mood and he enjoyed having some lovely company as well.

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