Sunday, January 7, 2018
she realized she was carrying more than a five pound fetus
one that would easily live outside the womb
she knew she was carrying a boy:
the blood test had said XY
and the pictures had shown testicles clearly
and she was carrying high
(if wives' tales are to be believed)
and because it was she carrying the boy
she carried a white boy
who would be born into privilege
(not every privilege, but enough)
because he was being born in america
to parents who would love him
to parents who had been to college
to parents who work hard
she carried Board meeting agendas
class passes to three studios
two swollen feet (one markedly moreso)
a parental leave/business continuity plan
what felt like a sobriety coin
water, vegan snack bars, Poise pantyliners
at 34 weeks pregnant
her husband got sick with the flu
so she carried her husband's daughter to a bed
she had made on the floor of a friend's house
(a quarantined inn)
she woke the child up to give her medicine
she took her own medicine
she carried herself to the bathtub
and less gracefully out of the bathtub
she carried groceries and more medicine
and clothes and toys and soup
she carried a phone that alerted her a faraway friend--
one she had chosen as her son's godmother--
had bought her
a spa gift certificate
she carried messages of
where are you registered
who is your doctor
when are you due
do you know the sex
you want to do it naturally?
a five pound fetus
a Masters degree
a yoga mat
(a lot of extra weight)
she was carrying a firstborn son
dreams and expectations
hopes and wishes and fervent prayers
(anywhere you go, a mother has already prayed for that journey)
she carried the future
(an heir, the class clown, someone's groom)
tried to focus on the present
(plenty of rest and fluids, all the nutrients, keep blood pressure low)
tried to let go of the past
(doubts, debts, unkindness)
and focused on the most important thing she'll ever carry, ever give, ever bestow or be bestowed:
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
But since I'd already written this post for the holiday season, I wanted to share it. I hope each of you are able to find warmth in some part of this season, regardless of how unconventional your season may be.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017
At the end of today's lecture, the Ignatian priest asked us, "When did you feel God today? Where have you seen God in your life today?"
Admittedly, I have not been much focused on today. I had a huge Board meeting yesterday, and tomorrow is my stepdaughter's birthday. I had 13 Board packets and a testimony to prepare yesterday; I have 29 people dining in my home tomorrow.
So I hadn't given much thought to today. I got through emails and text messages this morning. I made myself breakfast and drank lots of water. I got makeup on. I got to my lecture on time, walking by new construction in the Quarter to see how it was going.
I honestly didn't find much about the conversation today compelling until the priest posed those two questions. And then, suddenly, today started to mean something more than GiveNOLA Day. It meant more than a gateway from yesterday's challenges to tomorrow's celebration.
I have not felt God in this damn cold that won't quit me or Beau. I definitely don't see God when I look at our mountains of used Kleenex. And I'm not sure where God fits in to this scenario, but we haven't kissed on the mouth in days.
But I feel God every morning I get to wake up beside the person I love most in this world. I see Her in the sunshine and low humidity of early May. I feel Him in my ability to walk to my meetings.
I see God in the police officers I communicate with almost daily, as they try to protect our community... but I don't see Her when I hear about the rape of a mentally incapacitated woman.
I tried to help a friend see God in me by stealing her away for afternoon coffee and listening to her cry. I try to show God to others in the way that I laugh and forgive and connect... even if that means tracking down RSVPs at the last minute.
I did not feel God in the two giant spills/messes I made tonight or when I snapped at my husband for something really dumb or when I blew my nose for the 87th time today... but I think She was there for dinner on our back patio, surrounded by our garden at sunset.
I see God in my stepdaughter: her sheer joy, her solitude, her empathy.
And I will make a more conscientious effort to feel and see God in my every day, in the mundane, in the work and the blessings and the laughter, in the low grade fevers and the perspective of strangers, in the tears I've been entrusted to witness, and in the patience and grace my husband grants us.
The sun rises, and the sun sets. It's up to us to be honest with ourselves about how we can love our neighbors best, one day and one moment at a time.
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
My beau has a daughter. She doesn't remember a time in her life when I was not a part of it. She calls me her stepmom. Her friends and her friends' parents and my friends call me her stepmom. I could be. I should be.
I rationally know that I matter to my beau's daughter. I rationally know that she loves me and enjoys spending time with me and admires me and considers herself my daughter. I rationally know that the day will come--and, at this rate, soon!--when she tells me with so so so so so so much anger that I am not her mother. To which I will respond, "but I *am* your parent."
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
I have never wanted bridesmaids. Even as a child, it seemed like a not very nice thing to do to people who are supposedly your best friends.
And then I grew up and had it affirmed approximately 27 times that it is not a very nice thing to do to people who are supposedly your best friends. It's expensive and time consuming. It is often humiliating. [Cue the bridesmaids' luncheon I attended where the mother of the bride described my hair as a frizzy perm (because it was August!) and accused me of having collagen lip implants (false).] It requires you to get on stage in a costume you probably aren't comfortable with and recite lines you haven't memorized, wearing stage makeup that sometimes you've had to pay for yourself.
But, in one of our first compromises, Beau said I needed a bridesmaid. He said it would look dumb for us to stand up there by ourselves, and it made sense to have someone to hold our rings and the flowers... and he's right.
So then I had to choose a person. This gave me a lot of anxiety, because I have a lot of beautiful, talented, supportive women in my life who love me really, really well... and choosing one of them wouldn't be fair to any of them.
Case in point: I have 16 other females getting their hair and/or makeup done with me the morning of my wedding.
I don't have a sister. I don't have a best friend from third grade, although the two best friends I had in third grade are still my friends, and one of them will be present. My college roommate/sorority little sister is swamped with a career and family in another time zone; she's never met Beau.
But I do have a female cousin with whom I have always been close, so she was a natural choice. Carolyn lived in Austin while I did, and we saw each other frequently. I have traveled internationally with her. We have each spent time with every idiot the other has dated, going back 20 years. I gave a great toast at her wedding and then shared the honeymoon suite with her the night before her wedding. I have had more slumber parties with her than any other female.
When I called to tell her I was engaged, she was already happy crying when she answered the phone. When I asked if she'd be our best maid, she screamed "of course!!!!!"
One of the most commonly asked questions I get is, "How many girls do you have?"
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you about my girls, the day after several of them threw me a bridal shower.
Brooke is my oldest (longest) friend in the bunch. We both attended Wake Forest but didn't meet until after graduation, when we were both being 23-year-old idiots in Washington, DC. We were making no money and spent a lot of Friday nights consuming pizza and two buck chuck on her couch. This worked out really well, because both of us like mushroom pizza and cheap wine; we would rather have been with each other than the ridiculous men the greater DC area offered as dates. One night, she programmed herself into my phone as "hotilishous." That's what her contact name remains. Her husband described me as the person Brooke would call if she needed to hide a body. Totally accurate, and it goes both ways. She arrives in New Orleans on her birthday, four days in advance of the wedding to help out wherever she can. She's throwing a luncheon for me on the Friday before we get married (you know, what would be the traditional bridesmaids' luncheon) and has been an absolute joy to vent to, because we have essentially the same sense of humor/sarcasm.
Brittany is my newest (and youngest!) friend in the bunch. She is my current work wife, as we see each other nearly every day for work and, if not, then for coffee. She got married in the French Quarter in August 2015 and has been an invaluable asset to me as I navigate the logistics of getting married in New Orleans. She's also very fashionable and opinionated, which helps when making nearly any decision.
Joy is my previous work wife. She is the Executive Director of CASA New Orleans, and I was the Executive Director of CASA Jefferson. We didn't know each other before I started working there, but we immediately liked each other and had standing meetings every other Thursday afternoon. She helped me write our major funding grant not quite three months into my position while her husband literally nursed Beau, who had just gotten out of the hospital with six broken ribs and two broken bones in his hand. Yes: I had *just* met these people, and they were in my home helping me through one of the most difficult times in my career/life. And, afterwards, they took home a load of our laundry to clean! There has never been a time when I have needed Joy that she hasn't made time for me; she often shows up often before I even ask for her help, usually with booze or flowers or both.
Julia has seen it all. I thought about this yesterday as I stood at her kitchen island, where I have stood 100 times before celebrating 100 different things, big and small. One of the first times was when she was distracting me with cheese and wine while my ex-boyfriend moved his stuff out of my house. Then she kept making me come over, even though the last thing I wanted was food or company, for the next couple of months. Her parents have included me in their Thanksgivings and birthdays. When my mother asked me if I had put together a vetting committee for my next boyfriend, I nominated Julia as President. She is judgmental but fiercely loyal. I've visited three time zones with her; we've shared clothes and more bottles of wine than anyone need count. She told me she couldn't let me get married without a shower, so she galvanized my other New Orleans' girls and hosted 20 women, many of them strangers, in her home. That's who she is: a generous host, a rallying cry, a champion for the people she loves.
Maggie and I met in the all-girls dance troupe we were both members of. Both of us have chosen terrible men as partners (although *fingers crossed* that phase of our lives is over!); both of us have experienced similar professional challenges; both of us love to travel, learn, adventure; both of us practice yoga and spend a lot of time self-reflecting; both of us feel a lot of guilt for being so far from our families, but both of us have parents who visit often. When Beau and I talked about someone to read at our wedding, we wanted someone who believed in the same kind of God that we do. Maggie was the immediate choice. She loves her neighbors in ways the rest of us should strive towards.
Meredith was my grad assistant at Tulane, and then we learned we were both in the same sorority alumnae group, and then we learned that we were both in the Junior League, and then we learned that my best maid was her best friend in elementary school. Obviously, the universe meant for us to be friends. (She has also worked for me in two capacities since Tulane.) She is one of those people who says yes to everything and somehow manages to diminish none of it. She uses her talent to improve her community, of which I am blessed to be a small part. She excels in making everything feel like a celebration, proving that every day is a holiday. She defines commitment, and I am grateful to be one of hers.
They are all strong, smart, amazing women. They have all held integral behind the scenes roles in creating the woman I am today, supporting my relationship with Beau, and this wedding. I couldn't be more excited for them all to meet, to celebrate with them, to laugh too hard.
May they, and the world, always know how special they are to me.