September 28th 2014
Wilder is 48 weeks old.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.