SlutsUnlimited

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

To Let It Go.

Recently I was pondering the triviality of our actions and how sometimes when we are engaged in the most mundane aspects of our day, somewhere else, something life-changing is also happening. The day that my brother died of an accidental overdose, I had left him sleeping in the spare room of my current home while I traversed the city to take a mid-term at Tulane University. When the coroner’s office estimated his time of death, I knew that it matched the same time that I would have been reaching the Claiborne Avenue Bridge. I would have been singing along to the radio and probably surveying the traffic in front of me. I did not have a pang of heartache, or hear an odd song, or have anything memorable happen. I didn’t know that my brother was taking his last breath. I took my mid-term and only found out afterwards when my boyfriend called me that something had happened. I drove home numb. I later received an A on that test.

New Orleans is a violent city and this past weekend was no exception. The newspaper reported 15 violent crimes in a span of 10 hours. Two 18 year old young men were shot to death around 11:30 am on Memorial Day in Broadmoor. One of them was Faisal Puckett Jr. whom I worked with at Ace Hotel.  At 18 years of age, what did you know about yourself? I didn’t know much. Faisal was a cheerful and kind kid. While I didn’t know him well, he was someone that I was accustomed to seeing, someone I said “hello” to, someone that I never thought would die the way he did. He is a statistic, he was robbed of his future, he deserved so much better.

While these crimes were happening across the city, while lives were being lost, I was gallivanting through the French Quarter sipping cocktails, posting pictures to Instagram and enjoying the day.  I had gotten a room at the Monteleone for Andy and I to enjoy. Andy had improv rehearsal, so I met a friend for a drink and enjoyed his company. When Andy returned we went to dinner then headed over to the Voodoo Lounge. It was nearly 11 pm at this point but I had an agenda. Some friends met me at the bar and we planned to be at Bar Tonique at midnight for the Ramos Gin Fizz competition. One of my dearest friends from Ace Hotel, Melissa Knott was supposed to be competing. She never made it.

When I started at Ace Hotel I was a bit intimidated. I had bartending and bar managing experience but not craft cocktail experience. I would come home from orientation and exclaim to Andy, “What if I’m not good enough?” He would laugh at me, and assure me that things were going to be fine. I felt like the new kid in school. Melissa was one of the first people to truly include me. During our training she had a small get-together at her house where I met her sweet husband Jeff and adorable dogs. Some of the other bartenders came as well and we sat around and shot the shit in a way that immediately made me feel comfortable. Melissa and Jeff had an amazing home bar, and while they were incredibly knowledgeable and talented, they were also extremely down to earth. There was a lot of laughter and no bravado. I felt better because of her.

There is a wise rule at the hotel that you cannot sit and have a drink at the bar you just finished your shift at. That was never a problem for me because I would simply walk across the lobby after clocking out and sit at the bar in Josephine Estelle. While I can honestly say that I enjoy all of the staff there, Melissa was my favorite. She would often make me an Aperol Spritz and it was in my opinion the best in the city. We would chat about life. If she was having a rough day she would tell me,  “I need a Lori hug.” Together we coined the phrase Caturday, in which we would always wear something cat related on Saturday. Her locker was right by mine, so many times we would cross paths, always stopping to ask how the other was. Always caring about the answer to that question.

The people you work with often become a second family. If you are lucky, you are able to love and appreciate them. I spend more of my waking hours with my co-workers than I do with my son or any of his fathers. While the majority of that time is spent behind the bar being “on” there are countless moments behind the scenes- pre and post shift, during breaks, and sometimes actually out at other places. I have gotten to know many of my co-workers. I’ve been lucky enough to share in their joys and attempt to comfort them in their sorrows. I can’t tell you how many times a day someone asks me about Wilder, or gives a hug or makes me laugh. But I know these things far outweigh the times I feel frustrated or upset. In the small time that Ace Hotel has been open (a little over two months) a family has been created, for better or worse, and that has been very evident over the past week.

Last Thursday I was in the break room with Melissa when she excitedly told me the news that she and Jeff were going to be parents. She asked me about doctors and hospitals and told me that we needed to make a dinner date so she could have some one on one time for all her inquiries. She was beaming with happiness and I was thrilled for her. I imagined that she would probably be serving cocktails until the day she went into labor. I went home and wrote about her pregnancy in my journal. I envisioned themes for her baby shower which would include Star Wars and whiskey. I was happy to have another friend join the parenthood club, which comes with unbelievable joys and challenges. I saw Melissa again on Saturday as my shift was ending and hers was beginning. I gave her a hug in the locker room and she told me that she was feeling very tired. I joked and told her that would be the new normal for a very long time. She smiled and we parted ways. That would be the last time that I saw her.

I didn’t think too much when she didn’t show up to Bar Tonique because I figured she was too exhausted to be out.  I almost sent her a playful text, goading her about not making it to the competition which I ended up being one of the judges for. But I didn’t want to disturb her if she was resting.  The next afternoon one of my managers called me and first broke the news about Faisal. I was reeling from that when he told me that Melissa had passed away as well. I honestly couldn’t believe it. I kept saying, “But I was supposed to see her last night.” I was crying and probably sounded like a broken record. I felt so much heartache for Jeff and her family. I had so much empathy for my managers who were trying to call everyone personally to break the news. I hung up the phone and fell apart.

That day Jeff posted the following on social media “I don’t really know how to start this or what to say, but it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. This morning my loving and beautiful wife, Melissa passed away. We hadn’t widely broadcast anything yet, but she was pregnant. Yesterday afternoon, there were complications and she had to go to the emergency room. The doctors did everything they could but after two surgeries could not get the bleeding to stop. They described it as a one in a million situation which is very fitting since she was in fact, one in a million. My family is here with me and hers is coming in tonight. We will try to get everything planned as soon as possible so you will all know what can be done. As for now I just ask for your respect for us and for her most of all.”

Grief is different once you become a parent. It’s harder in ways that cannot be adequately described in a few words. I can’t begin to imagine the anguish that her loved ones must be feeling.The finality of death has the potential to destroy those left behind. Thankfully the community that Melissa and Jeff have built is a strong one. The outpouring of love, support accompanied by beautiful photographs on social media is a reminder of how loving and kind Melissa was. She touched so many people’s lives in such a short time. I feel honored to have been able to cross paths with her in this lifetime.

The family at Ace Hotel has been mourning all week. A few of the staff members created a beautiful altar for Faisal and Melissa where friends could leave notes and tokens of their love. Today they had a moment of silence followed by a time for people to gather and care for one another. It was touching and teeming with love and vulnerability. As I have mentioned in other posts, I often struggle with the ability to show emotional fragility, but this week I have proven on more than one occasion that my mascara is not actually waterproof.

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Thank you to those who move through this life with grace and compassion. May we all be so lucky to leave a legacy of joy and love.

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Photo by Jordan Burch Photography

“Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
everything
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.”
― Mary Oliver

Add it to the list.

On Monday my therapist told me that I am a high-functioning depressive. My response was, “Jesus Christ, what isn’t wrong with me.” This diagnosis came after I explained to her all the happy things that were happening in my life, and my inability to fully enjoy them. I feel like I’ve just entered a grand hall with the most delicious buffet of every delicacy placed before my eyes (cue up images of the Ghost of Christmas Present’s table) and I’ve burnt my motherfucking tongue. Or I’m looking at the most stunning works of art, and I’ve gone colorblind. All the wonderful things are there, I’m just unable to appreciate them fully. I tried texting Jackie daily with something that I was grateful for, but I kept forgetting. Failure, but not for lack of gratitude. I am so grateful for all the goodness in my life. I truly mean that. Not in the bullshit I-read-it-on-a-tea-bag-sleeve sort of way, but in a very contemplative way. I think this recent struggle is exacerbated by the bookends of Mother’s Day and my father’s birthday. I’m trying to get myself out of this fog. Let’s focus on some of the good things.

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Photo by Marcianne Marks

Our son is a happy, healthy, brilliant child who is at a somewhat challenging, but also very inquisitive age. I am able to explain the world to him. It has re-awakened my own sense of curiosity and my appreciation for the mundane (journal entry – today Wilder learned about road rage…j/k).Wilder’s other parents are amazing. In fact, Lee has been the champion of potty training and without his help and encouragement, I have no doubt that Wilder would still be in diapers. While we are all busy, we have managed to consistently honor each other’s schedules. Our unique family was even the focus of a recent article, which was an honor to be a part of. https://talesofthecocktail.com/culture/motherhood-bartender-how-industry-becomes-your-village

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I finally had a one-act on stage as part of Southern Rep’s 6×6 program. I have been courting them for nearly a year with over a half-dozen submissions, so needless to say I was ecstatic when I received the email that my play was chosen. I wrote and edited the piece Room 512 in less than two hours the night that it was due. I had told Andy that evening after getting home from work, “I’m so tired but I won’t be able to sleep well if I don’t at least try to submit something.”  It helped that I didn’t need to add much stage direction as 6×6 is more of an enhanced staged reading than a full on production. People will ask me “How do you do it?” Simple. I don’t do fun things like fuck my partner at every chance, or have drinks on most of my nights without Wilder, or watch anything on television in real time because I write. Alone and usually with too many snacks at my disposal, I sit at my desk and focus. It’s not always fun but it makes me feel more alive than most other things do. And sometimes it pays off.  It was replenishing to see my work on a stage again. Also one of my favorite local actresses Dorian Rush was cast in my play, and she along with the other two actors, were phenomenal. The audience gasped and laughed in all the right places and I felt accomplished and proud to be a part of something that entertained. Quite a few of my friends came to support me and they all complimented the work, which I was grateful for. The biggest compliment though was when I was told someone heard a stranger say, “Who is Lori Tipton, her play was my favorite.” I look forward to the day when I am a known playwright. I believe it is a possibility.

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Photo by Gabrielle Geiselman

I’ve been working a lot lately at my new(ish) job at Ace Hotel. Just like Southern Rep, my courtship with the hotel was also a long one. I was originally introduced to the company through a friend last summer. I sent off my resume in August of 2015 and started my first day of training in February of 2016. For the first time in my life, I honestly can’t say enough good things about my job. Part of me has been reluctant to talk much about it because there are times when things feel too good to be true. A company in New Orleans that treats service industry workers with respect and compassion? Blasphemy!  Co-workers who are diverse in every way yet come together as a team? Insanity! A job where I actually look forward to returning to work after my days off? Impossible! But yet, I’m living it. It feels like it’s been a long time coming.

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Andy is my best friend and the funniest person I know. He’s also brutally honest with me. The other day when I was lying in bed listening to the new Radiohead album and feeling morose he came up to my room. I told him that I was frustrated with my emotional struggles and he told me that I was living life “filled with fear.” At first I was angered by his assessment (surprise!). How dare he say that to me? Especially with the personal violence I have lived through, not to mention the violence that is so rampant in our city. I did my best to not react, and to realize that he wasn’t saying this as a judgement, but more as a plea. I know I will struggle with PTSD for the rest of my life, but it’s disheartening to go from being described as “unstoppably brave” to “filled with fear.” As much as it makes me uncomfortable I need him to be that mirror though, so that I can be the best parent and partner possible. I value his honesty more than nearly all other aspect of our relationship.

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Mother’s Day went really well this year. I didn’t find myself dwelling on the absence of my own mother because my family and friends made the day very special for me. Earlier in the week Andy had stopped by Ace Hotel with a beautiful flower arrangement for me. He also made a card with Wilder, which was adorable. Lee made a card with Wilder as well (complete with a volcano and proclaiming “I Lava You”) and he also presented me with one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received. He had a painting done of Brando, my first “baby”. Wilder was watching me open my gift with anticipation and he was confused when I immediately burst into tears upon unwrapping it. I had to explain to him that I was indeed alright, even if I was a weeping mess. I worked at the Voodoo that evening and many of my co-workers came in to see me, which I deeply appreciated. I thoroughly enjoyed their company. Andy dropped by a little after 10 pm with Wilder and I asked him to finish my shift so that I could put Wilder to bed. Hugging our son and reading to him are two of my favorite things in the world. No bullshit, its pure bliss.

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So this is where things get a little weird. On Tuesday I went to a medium. You know, so I could communicate with my dead family. Let me start by saying that overall it was a positive experience. Do I believe that the woman I spoke with was absolutely communicating with each of my relatives ? No. Did she know some freaky stuff that she shouldn’t have known?  Absolutely.  I didn’t go to her looking for closure, to be honest. I didn’t want to yell at my ghost mom and ask my ghost father for a hug. I was very curious. I wondered if any of my relatives would bitch at me for choosing to cremate them and keeping all their ashes in my closet (in my defense, it’s a beautiful walk-in closet). The medium whom I will call M claimed to communicate with my father, my brother, my mother and her partner Julie. The person I am most inclined to believe she truly communicated with was my brother, Davin.  She said that he was very angry because everyone believed that he had killed himself but he hadn’t. He claims (or his ghost claims) that he was sold some bad drugs that ended up taking him out but that he didn’t intend to die. It had been debated amongst my family whether or not he had committed suicide, as he was the first to die. The general consensus was that he had taken his own life, but now I feel I must believe otherwise. He (his ghost) also interjected when my ghost father was saying that my son is a good kid that I will probably “fuck him up.” Which I had to laugh at, because it is something that non-ghost Davin, alive Davin, would have said to me for sure. While I would have loved to believe that she had truly communicated with my father – it didn’t feel as genuine. For one, he didn’t use the word “motherfucker” and that is completely unlike him. Our saying always was, “If they took the word ‘motherfucker’ out of the dictionary, we wouldn’t have anything to say to one another.” I did cry though when M told me that of all things my father was most proud that I was his daughter. I’m sure that’s a generalization for most families, but something that felt good. She did know however that I had moved my father to New Orleans at the end of his life, and stated that he was very grateful I had done that. I think if she had thrown in one simple “motherfucker” I would have been able to believe. M claimed that my mother’s energy was all over the place. She gave me some disturbing details about the murder-suicide that I don’t see how she could have known. Ghost Julie had a lot to say to me, and while I am grateful for it, I don’t feel it is appropriate to write about on this blog. My ghost mother did apologize for her actions, but I felt like that was something to be expected. I honestly think most people seeking a medium are also seeking an apology of some sort. M kept asking me if I had any questions or messages but honestly I hadn’t really prepared for that. I just wanted to see what they had to say, which apparently was a lot. I recorded the session and want to see how much I told M when I listen to it. All in all I was impressed. I feel that mediums are kin to therapists and I think there can be therapeutic benefits for some.  Would I recommend this to a friend? Absolutely.

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I must admit that my ghost relatives all seemed to be doing the same shit dead, as they did alive. Being angry, being crazy, feeling guilty. This has bummed me the fuck out. I figured that death would be a freeing experience and that once you left this body , some state of enlightenment would be attained. It’s terrifying to think that when we die we just hang around dwelling on shit that didn’t go our way. If I died tonight, would ghost Lori be worried about her cellulite and inability to correctly pronounce French words forever? Would I be stuck in my current emotional state (high-functioning depressive – thank you very much) for eternity? Sheesh. How does reincarnation factor into this situation? My brother died in 1999, so his ghost has been fucking pissed for over 15 years! How long is a human year to a ghost? God only knows.

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Needless to say, the experience has left me with a lot to ponder. The last two nights I have awoken at exactly 3 am. Coincidence? Probably. I suppose that the fear of spending eternity focused on my mistakes is motivation enough to focus on the positive. I’m going to make a gratitude list for Jackie very soon. Thank you for reading this. I’ll add that to the list.

 

 

 

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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