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When You Were Born

Addilyn's First Day 006

Addilyn's First Day 075Addilyn's First Day 123

When you were born, the doctor’s told us that you were smaller than they expected you to be at 39 weeks so it was time for you to come out and meet your family. We didn’t sleep that night – you or me or Daddy. At 6AM, we started getting ready. The sun rose beautifully that morning and streaked the sky with beautiful color and awe. In the delivery room, the contractions started – easy at first, but quickly gaining in intensity. My body shook and grew and expanded and started making room to do what should be impossible. What is unimaginable and against logic and physics, but completely in synch with nature. My ability to cope through the pain was waning. I needed help coping which is unlike me and was hard to accept. The room was filled with light and love and people you never met and your beautiful Daddy was there coping for me when I couldn’t. When I doubted, he reassured me. When a contraction came, he applied pressure or had me breath with him. He told me I was strong and I could do this when I told him I just wanted a C-section so that it would be over. I was so afraid for you and afraid for me. After all, you were so small the doctor’s said. As I screamed in pain and cried in anguish, your Daddy held me and I knew that pain like that could only mean that we were close and soon I would meet my daughter and my entire life, my whole perspective would change and I would feel like a new person. I would feel like I was the one being born.
At 9:32pm on Wednesday, November 3, 2010 you were born weighing 5 pounds, 10 ounces and measuring 19 inches long.
When you were born, I couldn’t sing lullabies to you without crying for the first three months. My heart would grow and swell and fill with more love than exists in the whole world would somehow fit into the cavernous space of my heart when I rocked you and tried to sing. The stars in the sky, the grass on the ground and every sunset I’d ever seen suddenly made sense. I could see now that they were created just so that I could watch you marvel at them someday. So that I could marvel at them with you as I tried to find words to explain things like magic and beauty and belief and faith and upon running out of words and never explaining it very well anyway, we would just sit and marvel together and feel big and small and together and blessed and loved and know that sometimes, together is all you need. When you were born I knew peace and completion and contentment and “good enough” for the first time in my life and if I did nothing else for the rest of my life, I knew I had done enough and done all that I could do.
When you were born, you screamed so loud and I cried the happiest tears of my life knowing you were alive and here and healthy. And, as I look back now, I understand that this is the way of life. If you are ever in pain and screaming – you are ALIVE and that is something! Really something! And, it’s a great start because for all of us, those are the moments in life when it hurts most, when we just want to give up, when we scream our loudest from pain…sometimes physical, sometimes emotional, but pain nonetheless and our perspective changes, the world tilts on its axis and these are precisely the moments when… we are born.

We Were Girls

We were girls.
We were girls that could become statistics.
In many ways, we did.
In many ways, we still can’t be defined or described by any number or way to measure ‘people like us.’
We were poor, fatherless girls with parents that couldn’t work hard enough or often enough to pay the bills and keep us out of trouble.
Each of us had a story about alcoholism, abuse, beatings, drugs long before these were part of our own stories.
Each of us had a need for fun, friendship, acceptance, encouragement, time, attention, love.
None of us had a family providing anything like that.
Naturally, we found each other. On a bedroom floor listening to Lite 96’s Pillow Talk at someone’s 15th birthday party, a room full of junior high girls told secrets they hadn’t told anyone else before and cried about the injustice that we’d already seen, the cards we were dealt or the boys that had already hurt us. From that night on, we were girls.
To the music of TLC and Aaliyah we danced, we sang, we roller skated, we did our hair, we met boys, we learned how to smoke cigarettes, how to steal cigarettes, how to sneak out, how to make out, how to get drunk, how to get high, how to give a hand job, how to fight, how to talk shit. We debated and discussed and decided our value systems. We were naïve and cheesy and stupid, but we thought we were so cool and for that moment in time it didn’t matter what anyone else in the world thought just as long as we were girls. We could (and did) talk about absolutely anything. Things that only young girls don’t know and want to know. Does my hair look better up or down? Are these jeans too tight? Is it okay that my boyfriend pushed me? Does it hurt to have sex? How do you get a guy you like to ask you out? Have you ever masterbated? Do you believe in reincarnation? Do you believe in God? The list was endless and we talked about it all. We learned how to be a friend. We learned that nobody has your back quite like your friends. We also learned that nobody can hurt you quite like your friends.
Just like it always does with teenagers, our friendships ended or went separate directions as we each found our way in life. Almost 20 years later, I find us all connected again on Facebook. For the first time in 20 years it feels like we’re in the same room again and I realize that I love these girls. For who they are and for how they changed me and how they made my life worthwhile when everything else sucked!
I can picture the past just like its right in front of me. I remember dancing around Jenny’s house to “What about your friends.” I remember dressing up like TLC for Halloween. I remember Jenny getting in to club Elite because the bouncer liked her ass. I remember eating an entire batch of chocolate chip cookie dough with Nikki. I remember Tara coaching me on keeping my hand relaxed when I smoke. I remember all of us trying to be quiet in Nikki’s kitchen late at night and knocking over every damn bowl and jar in the refrigerator until somebody pissed their pants. I remember Tara getting an 8-ball jacket that she liked so much for at least two weeks she strutted wearing that thing! I remember having a sock wrapped around my bun and having it fall out at the club. I pretended it wasn’t mine. (By the way, who the fuck wraps a sock around their bun? One of you bitches convinced me it was normal. LOL!)
I cannot believe those times were almost 20 years ago and in many ways we probably could have predicted some of what has happened in our life. We have all had babies with men we weren’t married to. We have all had enough failed relationships to be sick of all of them. We have all had to work our asses off to get ahead in life or just to put food on the table at times. What I could not have predicted is just how much our friendships changed me or how much those times would mean to me still at 32 years old. We were just kids, but we were girls.

The Journey

The weight of this diamond is fractions of an ounce.
Yet, heavy with gravity it sits on my left ring finger, it hangs from my heart.
This tiny little ring, sits heavier on my hand, than the baby in my belly
Lifetime Commitment, Forever, Till Death Do Us Part
These words fill my head in all CAPS, in italics, in bold face type, underlined.
I’ve been asked this question before.
I said yes. I meant, “Yes, if you change.” He didn’t. I did.
So now my mind is turning over a thousand questions in my head this time – not my heart.
To be sure, I’m sure.
To be sure you’re really Him.
To be sure you’re perfect just the way you are.
To be sure you think I’m perfect just the way I am
Because I’m not 24 this time. I’m 31 and I’ve learned a little if nothing else.
You won’t change. Neither will I. And in some ways we’ll both change and grow and become older and wiser and want different things and want the same things.
Some days we will love each other.
Some days we will hate each other.
Some days we will be ambivalent about one another.
Some days the dishes will have the potential to start world war three.
Some days a dandelion will melt my heart.
Some days someone else might look tempting.
Some days the grass might appear greener.
I’m asking myself if in the depths of despair, at our lowest points could I convince myself that the grass couldn’t possibly be greener. Could you convince yourself of the same?
Could forever with you mean…
Well, Forever.
Your face enters my mind, your soul enters my heart
Your calmness speaks to me.
Your rational way of approaching love has rubbed off on me it seems.
You are good for me.
You are good to me.
You never hurt me on purpose or try to manipulate me.
You are honest.
You are kind.
You are stubborn.
You are a good listener.
You are funny.
You are fun.
You are introspective.
You are thoughtful.
You are everything I have ever needed in a man.
And you have asked me the one question I never thought you’d ask.
To spend my life with you, to be your wifey, to have you next to me through it all, my best friend, someone I can love and hate and grow with and deal with and evolve with and enjoy life with and share smiles and tears and hopes and fears and as I turn it over in my head, as I put the word on my lips – Married. Your Wife. My Husband.
To wear this ring, to hold your hand through it all is actually no weight at all.
It is a feather. It is air. And it would be my life’s honor.
To share with you, the journey.

Picking Berries

There is a fork in the road up ahead
The road is dirt, my feet are bare, the sky is big and blue and you
Are standing there picking berries
On the left side of the highway with stained hands and lips
I am blinded by beautiful, bared shoulders and mesmorized by slender, dangerous hips
Your eyes cast my way and a smile spreads your face and contagiously catches mine
As a web of smoke and mirrors wraps itself like vines
around my neck and heart
There is a small part
of me that can see the forest for the trees
But the larger part of me
Is being sucked in
And the love story slash tragedy begins….
As I choose left
My pysche twists right
My palms are lifted to the light
And I am powerless to the fight
Powerless to stop my feet from moving forward
I’ve already been fore warned
About where this leads
But it seems like my feet
Have a wicked mind of their own
Toward the unknown
I am dreading it just as much as I’m anticipating it
And you are unintentionally facilitating it
Satan or Angel
Adam or snake
Who you are to me is up for debate
But you offer me berries
Brush the hair from my cheek while I slowly eat
Lift the juice off my chin with your thumb
The path of your finger tips leaves a trail of skin numb
And tingling
On fire and sizzling
Left empty and cold once your hand is back in the folds of your pocket
I will carry this moment, these feelings in a heart shaped locket
On a chain on my neck, never to forget
You are beauty and fire and ice
And what can be and what could never happen
You are infinite possibility and earthly limitations
You are a single invitation
To a party for two
That we should not be at together
But tell that to the feather light feeling in my knees
And the breeze that just brushed the back of my neck
Tell that to my pulse
As it races to RSVP
Just try and
Tell that to me.

At Last

After 39 weeks, you would think it would have sunk in
You would think it would be real
You would think I would be ready
You would think I would be prepared
But, nothing could have prepared me for the love I would feel when you cried
When you joined out lives
When you were healthy
When you were living
When you were breathing
When your heart was still beating on the outside of me
Nothing could have warned me that I was about to meet the one person that I would do absolutely anything for.
No limits, no restrictions, no ‘if you do this, I will do that,’ no exceptions, exclusions or fine print
If you are sad, I am hurting
If you are happy, I am at ease
If you are crying, I am filled with anxiety until I can comfort you
My little Addie James
You have put music in my heart, in my life in ways that I never knew possible.
It is complete because of you, I am changed because of you
My life is at once less important and of monumental significance
I can’t believe God would bless me with something as perfect and beautiful as you and trust me to raise you
To do right by you
To be a good example, a good Mom, a good friend.
The blessings in my life are now so big I am simply dwarfed by the size of them
The meaning of them
The importance of them.
My heart soars and sinks on a wave of emotion as it comes to terms with the ways in which you’ve changed my life.
My soul is forever connected to yours and to your Daddy’s and those ties are stronger than any steel
Those ties are forever and beyond.
As I surrender to love like nothing I’ve ever known my heart grows bigger as my ego shrinks inside of me
To do right by you is all I live for, from here forward
And I love every second of it, every small and large change is wonderful and beautiful and you little Addilyn are here.
At last.

And the Violins Played

To be exact, November 12th was the day.
The day the violins began to play, Etta James was queued up, the record spun and my heart soared…
At last…my love has come along
A plus sign on an EPT stick
I found out I was pregnant with my first child
Not exactly the way I had planned it
But we are in love and we’re going to be parents
And the song continued
My lonely days are over…and life is like a song.
And at 8am I came into the bedroom holding that test.
Heart pounding, look of shock on my face
A smile tugging at the corners of my mouth and a song playing in the depths of my heart
With bated breath I waited for his reaction. What? He said at first and then smiled the biggest smile I’ve ever seen and
We held onto each other in silence that morning
The weight of the air heavy with a million thoughts, dreams, fears, hopes.
And the violins played on.
At last…the skies above are blue. My heart was wrapped up in clover. The night I looked at you.
For the next few weeks everything in our lives changed.
I gave up all my vices, really thought about what I was eating for the first time in my life, dealt with daily nausea, and I began to see the woman I would be as a mother and the man he would become as a father.
And, he was amazing.
And caring
And patient
And loving
And involved
And helpful
And protective
And all the things I’d ever hoped for and all the things a father needs to be.
He held my hand, made sure I had enough to eat, came to every doctor’s appointment, shoveled snow through the brutal winter and dealt with at least three episodes of unexpected tears just like a professional.
And the song played on…
I found a dream that I could speak to, a dream that I can call my own.
As I started to prepare for July 19th and the child we pictured to be a boy
I started to picture his face, and we picked out names
A baby at first with no real personality, just needs that I am more than happy to fulfill.
Then, I imagined him at 6 months, next winter bundled up in the back of the car
Snug in his carseat giggling as I try to focus on the road instead of his sweet little laugh.
And the melody and my heart began to beat as one.
I found a thrill to press my cheek to. A thrill I have never known.
I imagined him then at 16 months and with him secured on my hip we are dancing in the living room
And Mommy is making him laugh as she sings Etta James to him.
Oh, yeah…And you smiled, you smiled. Oh, and then the spell was cast.
I am at 12 weeks and on cloud 9 as we head to the doctor to hear his tiny heartbeat for the first time.
As they press the machine to my womb we are giddy with excitement.
And, I am sure his heart is going to beat to the tune in my heart.
And here we are in heaven. For you are mine at last.
We do not hear his heart beat.
Instead, we hear deafening silence and somehow through disbelieving ears and tear stained cheeks, that something went wrong at 8 weeks, 2 days.
And the violins played.
A different song this time.

You have Stayed for Too Long

On the wings of butterflies and angels
You were sent to save me
From myself
From being grounded in concrete shoes
From the complete crushing of my spirit
You lift it
Repeatedly
Even when I beg you not to
Even when I silently scream
For you to leave
For you to let this go
You stay
You hold my hand
You touch my cheek
You place your palm to my back and guide me
You lead the way from behind me
You push me onward
You pull me upward
You show me beauty in myself that I forgot was there
Beauty that is easier to ignore than to embrace
And now here I am
Committed to you
On accident
By happenstance
By crazy circumstance
Tied to you by a thread made of Kevlar
I think maybe it’s indestructible.
Or maybe it’s just that you are.
This kind of strength I have only seen once before
And I thought I would never see it again
But your eyes pull me in
And hold me
There
And I am under your spell of strength
Security and safety
A child wrapped in her Father’s arms
Next to you I am invincible
And protected
And yours
And I find myself needing forever
Like I need water, like bread
A necessity and a dream
Combine and make fantasy out of reality
And I’m pinching myself
Through the day
I’m doubting the day through my cynicism
I want you to go
Before I believe that you’ll stay
Before I don’t know what to do without you
Before the ground I am standing on is the base you provide
Before I forget how to stand on my own
Before you become a part of me as important as my right arm
As central as poetry
As vital as air
I’m pretty sure you have already stayed too long.

Claro Que Si’

Between relationships and office politics
basketball and alcohol
he started moving me
and making me dinner
I was getting thinner
by the minute as I lost the weight of unhappiness and anger
and gravity got the best of me
and pulled me toward him
pushed me forward
one reluctant foot in front of the other
until I was standing just under his chin
his eyes burning into mine
telling me things I didn’t want to know.
Like how strong he is and his depth of thought
and though he doesn’t quite know his own heart
I do
and looking in his eyes I can see how bright his soul shines
and his smile and laugh
and helping me forget the past
what was I to do?
but lean on him
and lean I did
and he lead me to places
I had forgotten about
like respect and kindness and space and ready apologies and the girl I used to know as me
And how love should never be dropping you to your knees
and requiring that you beg for mercy
and the juxtaposed position of new romance while attending funeral services for what I once thought was real love
rips my heart out and puts it back together with a few missing pieces
and ugly stitches and scars
but he’s been careful to match the thread with my favorite color at least
and he’s been kind to share his peace with me
while I break and fight and avoid and face up and deal and drink and leave and come back and get lost and found and give up and drown
And he unknowingly resuscitates me with a phone call, a smile, a well timed joke, a Spanish phrase, proper grammar, good spelling, or a cribbage game until I am swimming again. I am breathing again.
His voice dries my tears
His shoulders carry my fears
and he doesn’t even know it
if he does, he doesn’t even show it
Like the load is light, like he’s just that strong
like maybe there is place that I can belong
For now at least
While I look for the shelter of trees
As the rain pours down endlessly
and when I ask if I can just stay for awhile he says with a crooked grin, “Claro Que Si.’”
And he moves me.

Your Daddy

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Five weeks along, you are barely a tadpole right now.
You still have a tail and you can’t hear me singing to you yet.
It’s only March and November seems so far away
But I continue to think about the day
When you join our life
And create a family
Where before
There were just two people slowly, undeniably
Falling in love
So, before life gets too busy and distracted
And before my belly gets big and I get too tired to write
I want to tell you about your Daddy.

He is full of energy and love
Wisdom and strength
He is vibrant and contained
Powerful and charming
He is restrained and over the top
Remarkable and non-descript
He is quiet and the life of a party
Thoughtful and a little arrogant
He is self aware and a little lost
Moody and steady
He is giving and demanding
Responsible and childish
He is hysterically funny and overly serious
Introspective and oblivious
He is intuitive and intellectual
Easy to understand and impossible to figure out
He is romantic and a ‘guy’s guy’
Highly sensitive and a little bit of a jerk
He likes reading and hockey
Music and Golf
Tennis and Baseball
Writing short stories and playing Fantasy Football
He likes to sing (but doesn’t like to admit it).
He likes hard work, as long as it’s not for too long.
He likes to be challenged and he likes to be lazy.
He likes waking up early and sleeping in late.
He likes yard work, but doesn’t like being dirty.
He likes to cook and he likes to work out.
He has high blood pressure and a calm demeanor.
He likes politics and poetry
He likes beautiful women and intelligent conversation
Bookstores and Game Day
Hot Tea and Cold Beer
His Family and his buddies
Name brand clothes and old T-shirts with the sleeves ripped off
Word association and math
He is indecisive and deliberate
Passionate and subdued
He is curious and uninterested
Jealous and trusting
He likes people and being alone
He is concrete and an enigma
He is the Sun and the Moon
Gravity and freedom
The voice of reason and my inspiration
Some days, he’s like my brother
Others, my father
Always, my friend
He is kind to me
He holds my hand
And kisses my cheek
He is calm when I am angry
He is angry when he is quiet
He is my polar opposite and my identical twin
He is the moment where pain ends and joy begins
He is my muse and my best friend
He is the man I could let my world revolve around
But also the man who won’t let me do that
He makes me stronger, softer, safer and better
Because of him I will be a better Mother
He is everything exciting in my life and all things that are old news
He reminds me of the best things in me
And you are truly lucky because he is the best part of you.

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Today, is the Day

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Somtimes God has something else in mind
other than the life you are planning
Sometimes,
forever
begins on a dime
on a whim
on a chance
on a wing and a prayer
a light in the distance
the wind in your hair
shivers down your spine
you know that this time
it’s serious.
it’s happening
and there is no turning back
one foot in front of the other
a father and mother
you will become
what’s done is done.
long, uncomfortable nights
the gravity of new life
the joy of new beginnings
a lotto ticket and you’re cashing in your winnings
November 22nd
She is finally here
and your heart changes
forever.
Your eyes cry new tears.
His eyes more beautiful than they have ever been
when he sees this baby girl for the first time
she grins
Momma smiles and he sees something he won’t ever let go
He sees something that nobody else will ever know.
On bated breath
the rest of us watched
and waited
and prayed
for love and faith
to find their hearts
and lead the way
to the promised land
where those eyes blue as the ocean
and that hair the color of the softest sand
would know the peace and safety and comfort and family
of forever.
and we stand here beside you
as you quietly share your secrets
you pinky swear
and make your own private fort
where there is no trespassing allowed
Today, is a day
we couldn’t be more proud
of the private bond
you’ve built and shared
even through times when you weren’t sure
times when you were scared
Today, is the day
where three become one
Today, is the day
where childishness is done
Today, is the day
we have anticipated
the family we have celebrated
Today, is the day
that we realize
The plan that God had while we waited.