Hello, everybody! I'm here!

Hollis is plugging in to the Universe.

He was twisted around in his seat the whole time we were at the store; talking to people, lights, and signs, chewing on frozen bags of peaches, recycled bags, whatever came within his reach. He was experiencing the old grocery store on every level possible!

Incredible baby powers!

Now if only my wallet could do that trick whereby my money stays in it...


Friends vs. Family

I was talking to my sister last night after the debate and I was struck with just how different our lives are these days. It wasn't that long ago that she and I had similar lives. We both had full-time jobs, offices, work numbers, salaries, sick-days, too few vacation days, boss issues, coworkers, and dozens of friends to keep in touch with and relationships to nurture. We may have also been in relationships or just having fun. There were also lots of parties, celebrations, weddings, and happy hours.

These days? Well, from my end of the telephone it certainly seems her life is very much the same, but with all the growing up you'd expect such as better job and relationships. She jets off frequently to spend time with various groups of close girlfriends (she was just in Boston this last weekend), goes over to friends' houses to make dinner and drink wine, and has coffee dates. Her boyfriend comes and stays with her a few days out of every week and they go out to dinner or spend time with friends.

She puts, what appears to me as, vast amounts of energy into her friends. She is a wonderful, giving, loving friend to all her friends all the time. No exceptions.

I barely see my best friend once a month... and she lives about a mile away.

I've set a goal to hand-write one letter a month to someone I care about. I set that two months ago and I did write my sister a note, but that's almost cheating because I talk to her weekly. She may actually be the person, besides Anthony and my mom, who I talk to the most regularly. The point of setting the goal was to keep in touch with those friends with whom I've lost touch.

I peruse my friends' MySpaces and Facebook profiles and they're all so connected to their friends. Even those friends with babies and kids. There is photo after photo of big friend gatherings and couple outtings. Anthony and I don't have any "couple-friends," nor do we run with a big crowd anymore.

I feel like we've moved into a weird twilight zone of adulthood. It's like we're all alone with millions of other parents with small children who can't hang with a disturbance in their routines, either. Hollis is easy, as I've said a hundred times already, but that's only if he gets his sleep. We can't drag him to dinner somewhere any time after 7 o'clock or he'll have a meltdown because he's so painfully tired. And who, besides senior citizens and parents of young children eat dinner before 7??

We've had to turn down countless invitations to do things in the past few months. I feel like a horrible friend, almost selfish because if I can't do it on "my" terms, then I can't go. It sucks and I don't mean to be such a pain in the ass or so damn unavailable, but there it is. I can't do a damn thing about it.

I think, too, that my feelings of isolation and guilt are exacerbated because I don't have any other friends with kids. Well, that's not true, my friend, Les, has twin girls 8 months older than Hollis, but she lives an hour away. And my other friends with babies live in California. The friends I have been able to see over the past year are, quite frankly, the sweetest people I've ever met. They never mind that I have weird socializing hours or always tell them, "Sorry, I can't make it because Hollis (fill in the blank)."

In any case, I'm sorry, everyone for being so invisible for the past year! I don't see it changing any time soon, either. - Yet another reason why people who get married and have kids, or just have kids together sans union, with a shitty base of a relationship so often split up at this time in their lives. This is not easy! Wondrous, soulful, fulfilling, ephemeral? Yes. Easy? No.

Now's the time to circle my wagons, so to speak, and focus on my marriage and my young son. This is when I feed my family (and that includes me) with love, commitment, and sensitivity so as to set up a successful pattern for years to come. I'm putting so much love and energy into my family (MY family) that I'm left with virtually nothing left give.

But I still miss my friends... a lot.



Yesterday, while at the mall, I was in line behind a young girl. She was tanned, toned, and looked like she'd just worked out. She had a stylish purple hobo bag and had a disheveled-and-I-don't-care-because-I-come-from-money look about her. She was applying for an Old Navy credit card.

The clerk was asking her all the usual questions: address, phone number, date of birth. I'm used to hearing 70-something, or even 80-something, but my ears clicked right over her year. It didn't have any sounds that resonated with me - she was born in a mystery year.

As I continued to stand there and rerun the conversation in my head the clerk asked for her birthday again. And this time I heard loud and clear. Something-something-NINETY. I was shocked. 90!! Oh my God!! Not only do I remember 1990, but I was a freshman/sophomore in high school!!! This wasn't a, "Oh, I remember 1984, cuz I was 9" sort of thing. I was a fully fledged teenager in 1990. Oh, shit, I felt so o l d ! ! !

This is what I was doing in 1990:Check out that scary-ass van in the background! Who buys that for their kid to drive?! I imagine the back is upholstered with shag carpeting or something.

I was going to lunch with Amy Santos (pictured) and Linda Hubbard (her convertible mustang is in the picture). We were probably on our way to Taco Bell where I would have ordered a Meximelt and nachos. Linda would have gotten a bean burrito, no onions, with a soda, and Amy would probably have ordered a Mexican Pizza and a coke. I would have begged for sips of their drinks since my $2 lunch allowance would have only just covered the nachos and the Meximelt. This is what I was doing in 1990.

And that girl was being born.

Fucking nutty. I know it's not an original thought, this whole growing old thing, but boy is it weird to feel it. Maybe it's because I just had a birthday or because Hollis is about to turn 1. I'm also feelin' the whole wrinkle thing. I love 'em and hate 'em. War scars, right? Be proud, blah blah blah. I just can't believe that babies born in 1990 are 18! Holy fucking shit! Where has the time gone? It's like I blinked and the past 10 years have happened.

I had another thought this morning as I was laying in bed while Anthony was waking up Hollis. The internet is to my generation as the television was to my grandparents. Hollis is a DFL (digital as a first language) baby. Everyone in my generation and older is DSL (digital as a second language). He'll never know a world without a cell phone, the internet, texting, flat-screen TVs. Oy! So damn crazy!

Do you realize that pretty soon we're going to stop saying "two-thousand-whatever"? We'll just switch to "twenty-whatever" finally. Twenty-ten, twenty-eleven. Amazing!

Anyway, that's all - I just feel ancient and, ironically, kinda wise all of a sudden. I'm feeling a little bit like a wise, old, badass today - woot! Not bad for a random Wednesday morning!


Rock steady

So we went to California and we conquered and now we're back home. Hollis was a supa champ - for real. He's a breeze on the plane and just generally a blast to be around. As for me, it's always a vacation when there are loving friends and relatives around fighting over who's gonna feed him, bathe him, hold him, comfort him, etc. Although, switching off the "high alert" signal took some doing. I'm so used to being the only one around him and having to constantly evaluate his environment, what's in his hands/mouth, his moods, and the like that I act like no other reasonable adult is in the room to intervene on his behalf.

This week's been all about getting back in the swing of things and boy have we! We've never had such routine before and I gotta say I'm loving it... and (true to my nature) hating it a little bit, too. Hollis is so wonderful (read: easy) that I'm feeling guilty. I know I've got to get over this. Anthony said to me last night, "Jess, if you got hit by a bus tomorrow, you'd have wasted all this time being unhappy when you really could be happy instead" (can you see why I married this guy??). That little statement has been whirring around in my head all day. I gotta buck up and quit being a weenie.

I should invest more energy in enjoying my wonderful baby and life instead of fretting that I'm not doing more (volunteering, reading, art, socializing, you name it). That's always the rub, isn't it? My little lizard brain ALWAYS has to have something to gnaw on. I need gristle between my teeth; something gnarly and tough that I can chomp on for days and never be able to swallow. Ugh. Deep breaths, deep breaths.

Get it together, girl!! Put one foot in front of the other and allow a little happiness to crack past that wall of intellectual understanding and seep into your heart! Rock. Steady.

Protecting our children

The map behind Oprah shows how quickly one pornographic image of a child being molested can spread. It starts with the large red dot from a computer in Washington, D.C. Within 24 hours, it has spread all across the United States—from coast to coast and north to south. “This is just an average day in America—24 hours,” Oprah says.

I just sent an email to everyone I know whose email I have. Here it is so I can reach everyone else:

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for the mass email, but this is serious.

Today at the opening of Oprah's show she put out another plea to contact your senator about Senate bill 1738.

She said she'd never gotten so much hate mail than she has since Monday's show and I thought, Oprah gets hate mail?? - well, yeah, she does... from pedophiles.

She read an email saying something to the extent that no matter what "there would still be 9000 penises raping children and no one could stop them."

These pedophiles are organized and pathological in their quest for child pornography and child victims.

Sickening, I know. Well since I missed this Monday's Oprah, I Googled a recap on it and was horror stricken with what I read. (Click here to read it for yourself.)

Please take the five minutes necessary to write to your senator about the bill so we can get this passed.

Here's a link to a good standard form letter on Oprah's site.

Thanks for your help and time.

I hope you're all doing well~


Who am I again??

So, it has been approximately 11 months since I went out as "Jessica" and not as "Jessica the Mommy." My best friend, Sheree, and I decided to get dressed up and have some wine downtown for my birthday. - So very big girl of me! - It was weird. As soon as I got in the car I felt like I was forgetting something (ostensibly Hollis back at home). Eventually, I began to feel more like myself, but I admit, sheepishly, that I had more wine than I normally do (3 glasses - up until then, the most I've had since having Hollis was a big 2) and that really dragged just plain old Jessica out of the box.

And you know what? No one died. Hollis didn't get drunk off my breastmilk like I feared. I didn't get crazy like I used to. Nor did I even touch (or want to touch) a cigarette! I didn't stray from who I have become today by insulting my marriage, my schooling, or my own intelligence by doing anything stupid or dangerous. - Seriously, people, it's a miracle I sit here today to even reminisce about the shit I used to do!

Instead, I sat and talked environment, relationships, aging, the past, schooling, sex, parents, friends, future, and various other topics with a very game and loving friend. Neither one of us had had a night like that in a loooong time and it felt good to know that I was still fluent in that kind of interaction. For so long my conversations have been about pooping and sleeping!

Then, the very next night, Anthony and I went out to a very swanky dinner (again to celebrate my birthday). I felt like a real, full blown person - independent of a little puddin' pop of baby love. We got there early and ordered drinks from the bar and sat and chatted like we were on a first date. It was fantastic. Anthony was so handsome and cute and I felt like the luckiest person alive.

Three hours later, stuffed to the brim and exhausted we drove home holding hands and talking about great our lives are. I couldn't wait to get home and snuggle into bed with my honey and be close to SBH in case he needed me. I hugged our babysitters goodnight (my mom and Terry) and went straight to bed ending a terrific couple of days.

I think one of the best gifts I got this birthday is a healthy reminder that I do exist outside of care-taking and "wifing" and that I am also a partner, a friend, and a woman all on her own.

(Oh, and the other awesome gift I got was Hollis crawling on all fours like a "real" crawler! He gave that to me on my birthday. How thoughtful of him!)