Labor of Love

In January of 2012 I promised myself that I would get my shit together and finally get my poetry published.

So I wrote about it, started collecting everything I’ve written over the past two decades and began┬ácompiling them into a neat little folder on my computer to be published.

It’s been a year and a half since I made that goal and today I officially submitted my files and cover for my first book of poetry. Eeek!!

Am I going to be some world famous poet? Pfffffft, no way. Will I make millions of dollars and be able to finally have that dream kitchen I want? Hell no! But to see all my hard work culminate with a printed copy, bound all pretty with my name on the cover, is one of my biggest dreams and will be worth all the tears and sweat that went into it.

Now we wait. Wait to see if my files comply with the regulations and if my work is printable. I’ve got 24 hours to twiddle my thumbs and fret over whether or not I can handle the criticism I’m bound to hear because, while not everyone is a poet, everyone is a critic.

Here goes nothing…

Letter To My Son: The Adventure

Jacob,

Today I read back through some of the letters I’ve written to you over time. Letters about your strong-will and intelligence. Letters about my feelings on raising you alone. A letter about what your birthday means to us, especially to me.

I hope you’ve had the chance to read them. To know that in those moments, it was important for me to stop, write to you while my memories are still fresh and to share what was in my heart at that time. I hope these letters mean as much to you as they do to me, these little pieces of our past.

I thought about all our time together as mother and son. We’ve had 7 years, just us. 7 years of stories, heartache, lessons and lots of love. It’s been an incredible adventure.

The Two Of Us

We’ve run races together and dipped our toes in the Black Sea. I took you to your first symphony concert and introduced you to The Beatles. We’ve seen wild animals at the zoo and pretended we were on safari together and discovered some of our favorites books during our bedtime stories.

Together, we’ve learned how to love through the tough times and how strong we are when we are side by side. I watched you huddle against me, listening to my breathing and heartbeat as you slept peacefully, so close and so trusting.

Then, slowly, I watched you venture away from me with tentative steps. Your small feet would carry you away but after discovering something new, you always returned for comfort and to share.

Now you walk away from me with confidence and I couldn’t be more proud.

Being your mom has been an amazing adventure. One I will cherish and share with you over and over, even when you are grown and able to read these letters yourself.

In a few short weeks, you and I will begin a whole new adventure. We will become a bigger family. Our journey as mother and son will come to an end and we’ll cross over into unfamiliar territory. While change in general can be unnerving, this is an adventure we won’t go at alone. We’ll still be together, still mother and son.

But when we walk down our new path, you’ll no longer only have one hand to hold, there will be another. We won’t be just us but a family of three. You will have two parents to kiss you good night and two parents to hold you when you are scared. Two parents to teach you how to be a kind and strong human. Two parents to listen when you have concerns.

Us Three

Our first adventure together may be coming to an end, but just over the horizon is a whole new one.

Know this, my son, that this new adventure never diminished anything we went through on our own. When you read this, I hope you know that what we had was special and just ours. It was our foundation and our beginning. It was a chapter in our story. A long story for us, I hope, with many chapters and new characters along the way.

I loved you more everyday which to me seemed impossible. I thought the day they handed you to me, my heart would explode from the deep love I felt for you instantly. It didn’t and still to this day, I love you more and more. No matter how grown up you are reading this, you are still my little man.

Now we turn the page and start off fresh. Off to discover new things to share with each other and laugh together the whole way.

Together on our new adventure.

Your partner in crime,

Mom

How Planning A Wedding Can Make You Question Your Sanity

I consider myself a fairly sane person. I have a few emotional flaws, a few insecurities and a general lack in confidence that drives The Guy nuts. But my the overall scheme of mental health is pretty even-keeled.

I feel happy when I should be happy and I feel sad when I should be sad.

Until I started planning my wedding.

We are into the last stretch of planning now and I deal, on a daily basis, with a plethora of emotions ranging from sheer panic to overwhelming joy to unbridled rage.

It’s like I’m 16 all over again wondering if that boy I like likes me back and if I’ll ever get out of the house and be my own person. There was a reason we all grew out of the teenage years and don’t revisit them. They sucked.

So yes, planning my wedding is like being a moody, hormonal 16 year old all over again including the pimples that are cropping up due to stress and the random bouts of crying.

If we were to put me into a room and have no outside influence, I’d feel this range of emotions, but probably on a moderate level. I’d feel the stress of everything coming together and the excitement of all those firsts: first time we see each other, first time we kiss as husband and wife. But they wouldn’t be too extreme, they’d just be the normal, usual, ups and downs of a bride-to-be.

I think what kicks my responses into full throttle is all the outside influence of other people around me when they hear I’m getting married.

Now I’ve been pregnant and dealt with the flood of emotions from strangers and family members as they came and petted my stomach, asking me if I was excited or nervous and how I felt in general. That was hard to deal with because more often than not people come to you with their own projected feelings on the subject and instead of asking “How are you doing?” without any expectation, they come to you with descriptors in place which they project onto you and expect you to agree with.

And it’s the same with planning a wedding. People don’t ask me “How are you holding up?” and then sit back and allow me to express my true feelings. Instead they say “Aren’t you excited?” or “Are you getting nervous yet?” and even “I bet you can’t WAIT for the big day!”.

Without even trying, they’ve already filled in the blanks for me. My answer is no longer relevant because I’m either going to lie about how I feel to appease them OR I’m going to give them an answer that sounds like I’m being a bitch.

Let me give you an example of a common conversation. Now remember, I’m dealing with a wide variety of emotions all at one time so no single answer really captures how I’m actually feeling at any given moment.

Jane: Wow, the big day is almost here!!! I bet you are sooooo excited!!!!

Me: (stressed/anxious/frustrated/happy) Yeah, kinda.

Jane: Oh really? Why aren’t you super happy? A wedding is a beautiful thing! You should be really excited! There is nothing to stress about. You’ll be a beautiful bride…

Me:……

There is so much wrong with this that I can’t even find a starting point. Like coming to me with an emotion in place: excitement. But what if I’m not really excited? Do I lie and say “Yeah, I’m totally excited!” And then in comes the ‘should’ and the invalidation of what I really feel followed by the glossing over of a rather large event that costs an arm and a leg by claiming that all will be well because I’ll “make a beautiful bride”.

While this conversation is paraphrasing of a few different conversations all rolled into one, this is really what I’ve been told.

In real life…

So I’m bombarded regularly with the expectations that I’m happy, excited, joyful, thrilled, all these fluffy good feelings and it’s not as acceptable to gripe, be tired, frustrated, angry or in general unhappy at planning this wedding.

Sadly, I’m a little of everything. Just like a teenager. Moody.

I’m thrilled to be 26 days away. I’m overjoyed that we write our last big check this week. I’m happy that we are turning in our headcount and no longer have to worry about RSVPs (kinda).

So yes I have positive feelings. But they are underlined (thickly) with a bold stroke of negative because this is a big event. And it’s a big life change. I mean…I have been my maiden name for 32 years! And in one day, one fell swoop, I become someone else with a new name. I’m dealing with not only the stress of throwing a big party but the natural, NORMAL grieving process many brides go through but don’t really talk about because it’s not socially acceptable to feel negative emotions when the outside world considers a wedding to be only a good thing.

Getting married is a big deal. Planning a wedding is not necessary for you to have big emotions because getting married is enough. But if you choose to plan one, expect those feelings to become amplified by 1,000,000,000 times.

No…seriously.

If I wasn’t insane before, this whole planning situation has made me feel like I am. I’m questioning my sanity on a daily basis.

The only things that are keeping me sane when I get frustrated over vendors not responding to us or crying over an RSVP card that returns with a loving note are my two guys.

If it wasn’t for them and our day to day life, the laughs we shared and the long conservations we have each night, I’d probably fall apart right about now. But what we have built together, as a family, is keeping me grounded.

And that is why I keep going. This isn’t about the big emotions of getting married or the stress of planning a wedding that wasn’t necessarily wanted. It’s about my family and my love for them and their love for me.

It’s about us.
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Resting Wicked

Last night I slept lightly, with the wind from our ceiling fan gently grazing my skin as I tucked myself under my tattered quilt.

The days seemed longer and the nights, too short. My dreams were fleeting and my sleep, light as feathers.

I woke to the dim morning hues of grey-blue and soft white. The air was delicate and the silence thickly hung amidst our inhales and sweet exhales.

And there was the sea of sheets, ebbing and caressing my legs hung out to dry from beneath the squares of yesterday and forever quilted together.

I felt so far from you, yet there you were, an arm’s length away. The rise and fall of your sleeping form shuttered the wispy sheets that pooled between us.

Reaching across the space, snaking across time, my fingertips met with your warm skin hugged so tightly beneath your blankets and dreams.

Over the hills of your hips to the curves and valley of you stomach did my hand travel. And, resting there, I fell into slumber with your body against mine.

Together we rose and fell, our breath the only sign of life between us. You muttered. I hummed in response. We rested peacefully, embraced.

No longer existing between, the gap was replaced with my form pressing against yours. And together, entwined, we napped in blissful repose.