My puzzle

It's raining, Hollis is chattering at me, his belly full of hot, sweet porridge, and I am overcome by emotions. Love, mostly. Love for Anthony, love for Hollis, love for the planet and its miraculous goings on.

I feel like I need to map out exactly what happened yesterday, not because any one thing was particularly important, but because the sum of its parts definitely is. So, bear with me, I promise I have a point at the end of this.

Yesterday was really interesting for me. It was an unusually busy day, not only blog-wise, but also life-wise.

Hollis had a 9:30 appointment at the UT Children's Research Lab on campus to participate in a follow-up study and so we were racing out of the house by 9. A quick pit-stop at McDonald's for late-sleeping mommy and we were on our way. Two lovely and uber giggly co-eds and a three cheek swabs later we were on our way to the park near Mom and Terry's house after we got an S.O.S. call from Papa that the repaving work they were doing near his house had trapped him in and he needed a lifeline out.

At the park I ran into a woman I knew, barely an acquaintance, and she was icy and cool and I walked away shaking my head and thinking, "Wow, what a bitch," and laughed at the absurdity of it all. Obviously, she was having a bad day, but really? Did she have to be so obviously disgruntled that I'd crossed the playground to say hi and catch up? It was a big moment for me because I didn't think, "Wow, she must not like me. What did I do? Was it something I said??" I just walked away thinking it was her problem. Part of my improved outlook on myself was the fact that I was getting dozens, maybe hundreds, of emails from women saying, "Wow, I love your writing!" and supporting what I do here on this blog. The support from SITS weaved in and out of my entire day this way, seemingly lifting me along making my step lighter.

Once we had Terry with us I brought him to the house and gave him the key to the Jetta. The busted key to the Jetta is more accurate. The buttons don't work on it anymore so you have to just use the key like an old fashioned car key: put it in the door lock and turn. However, the car thinks you're an intruder and so once you put the key in the ignition, the alarm goes off. I warned Terry of this and told him there was some sort of magic combination including the locking mechanism in the car door that would stop the alarm and let the car know you weren't jacking it, but I couldn't remember it off hand, it just came to me instinctual whenever I drove it. Hahahaha. Makes me laugh even thinking about it. - hahahahaha - There he was in the driver's seat waving his hands, flipping switches, the windows going up and down and the alarm blaring away. - hahahah - Anyway, he parked in the pack of the parking lots he visited and even left the keys in it once when he ran into the bank.

Hollis had a short midday nap and then we hung out and watched Hulu (how crazy is Tracy from The Biggest Loser???) and then Terry came back over to drop off the Jetta and hitch a ride with me to meet Mom for dinner. I was video-chatting with Anthony at the time and Terry nearly passed out when he heard Anthony say, "Hey, Terry!" until he realized it was coming from the computer. Gotta love technology.

We head to the restaurant at 4:30 and I ask the restaurant people if they had an early bird/senior special when we walked in. I was half expecting to see a sea of blue hair and walkers. It was nice to have the restaurant all to ourselves, though.

After dinner, I called my best friend and asked if I could swing by to pick up the last Twilight book. She said, "Yes, of course!" and so we headed her way. It's so nice having the people I'm the closest to here in town, literally, minutes away (Sheree lives 5 minutes from me, Mom and Terry live 15). When we get to her house Hollis runs into her arms yelling, "ReeRee!" and she scoops him up and we walk inside. On her coffee table are beautiful sparkling starbursts and necklace-making tools. Sheree is never one to settle what she finds in a store. If it's not exactly what she's picturing in her mind, she's all over it to create her own look. There's a big wedding she's going to on Saturday and thus she's been combing the globe for the perfect dress, shoes and accessories for the last month.

We chat, we drool over Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson (her and my favorite, respectively) and Hollis chases her usually very aggressive, but now strangely passive Siamese, Benjamin around the house. Then, it's time to go home.

It's only 6:30, so I decide pull out my Ikea haul and start in on Hollis' room. Just paper lanterns today, but I'm beginning the transformation from androgynous baby's room to a room for a toddler whom I know inside and out. I've already washed and dried his new bedding and put it on his mattress. I'm trying to get him used to the idea of a blanket covering him at night for when we convert to his toddler bed.

Hollis is beyond excited at all the commotion in his room and is pulling every toy he owns out of every nook and cranny yelling, "Ball! Kick!" whenever he glimpses the paper lanterns. I think if he could stand on his head and kick the "balls" hanging over his crib, he would.

Then it's bath time with another Ikea item. This adorable rabbit towel, only it's not just a towel! It's more like a caftan! Hollis loves the ears and peeks out from under the lip of the hood. My heart melts, of course, and I carry him into his room to finish our our nighttime routine.

Sweet smelling, warm, and still damp from his bath he asks to sit in the rocker with me and read "Pop" (Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss, his favorite book). We read through it once then talk about our day, a ritual I started about a month ago.

I start in the morning and go step-by-step, much as I did here. I tell him about the long hallway we walked down with the bubbly co-eds and how the floor was shiny and red. I tell him about how he loved getting his cheeks swabbed and how the girls were amazed at his charm. I tell him about how he bounced up and down on the booth seat next to Mimi and how he and Papa washed their hands twice at the restaurant.

His belly swells in and out under my hand with each breath and I breathe deeply into his soft, wet hair. I think I can sit here for hours if I wanted to. This moment - no these moments with my son are pieces of me, of my puzzle. Each one completes the picture and without them I would be smiling a gap-toothed smile. And I know well enough that I will never get to have his small body mold to mine like this again. Soon enough he will be big and tall and hairy and cringe when I kiss him. Our lives together will be in mostly his adult form. There is nothing that can make me forget that and so I keep my arms wrapped tightly around him and he softens into my embrace.

The funny thing about all of this is that I don't know I need these puzzle pieces. Any moment I think about it I already feel complete. I don't need a baby to do that. Just like I didn't need a husband to do it, either, but I realize that as I move through each day collecting this time in my life each measurement is integral to the other. Not seeking them out is the beauty of it: they just are. I'm in a field of wildflowers with an endless bouquet at my disposal, yet the bouquet in my hand is already the most beautiful I could ever construct... and yet, I keep getting to add to it.

And thus, I'm sitting here feeling overwhelmingly loved and loving. I am swimming in a sea of emotion and compassion and luck and love. And I am complete.


  1. Wow girl, you really are a good writer/story teller. Ok, I am curious, what are you doing as far as steps to get him use to his blanket? We let Zoe use a blanket last night for the first time and I can tell you, mama didn't get any sleep. I bet I looked at her monitor a gazillion times and got out of bed to cover her up 4 times. I am on the hunt today for warmer sleepers so I won't worry as much about her getting cold. I am still worried she will be so sound asleep and get wrapped up or twisted in her blanket and not be able to breathe.....more like TERRIFIED.

  2. I must agree...you are a great writer! I have enjoyed reading your post! Dropping by from SITS!

  3. Wow, I'm impressed with how you were able to not internalize the rude acquaintance. Maybe when I grow up I will be as evolved as you.

  4. Yeah, you really do have a way with words. I always enjoy reading your stuff. And today's post was no different... so beautifully written.

    That last book was one of my favorites... can't wait to hear what you think about it. We're already buying tickets to see New Moon at Alamo (SLamar) on opening day. They have a 12:30-ish showing before all young girls get out of school. I also happen to be Pattinson-obsessed... :)


  5. I came by yesterday from SITS and loved your three chosen posts. For some reason my comments didn't "stick" and so I came by today to say "Hi" and am so glad I did. This post is so beautiful. I really appreciate your ability to put your thoughts out here on your blog in such an honest, eloquent way. I really enjoyed reading this post. Sending smiles. :)

  6. hi, i missed your big day, but congrats! cute blog.

  7. Hey from SITS... it's funny no matter where I turn, I see or hear something about'Twiglight' lol.

    I am trying so hard to curb my addiction, but it seems I am fighting the inevitable fight :)

  8. I'm here from SITS just to say "hello." I'm having the exact same key/alarm weirdness with my car! It started a couple of months ago. I have a Beetle, so maybe it's a VW thing?

    Anyway, nice blog that you have here and I'm enjoying the hungry fish. : )

  9. I loved this. In particular:

    "I walked away shaking my head and thinking, "Wow, what a bitch," and laughed at the absurdity of it all."

    Why do people have to be so nasty???

    Nice to meet you. Terrific blog.

  10. Visiting from SITS. Love your blog! I feel like I could sit and cuddle my computer all day reading your posts!

  11. Ha!! Love that T-shirt!!!

    Happy belated SITS day!

  12. You sound a bit more content. Can't help thinking how I would have a similar reaction to the rude lady - some days I would beat myself up thinking I am boring and annoying, but other days I just wouldn't care. But those thoughts are the kind of thing we don't often admit to.

  13. Hi Jessica. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I am astounded at your comment. I cannot express how much it meant to me. Particularly to feel so understood where my sister is concerned. I read your post about your father's death. So beautifully written. I am glad that the abuse happened at the hands of my stepfather. However, that doesn't mean that I don't have mixed feelings about him still. Because some days were good. Some advice he gave I still remember. It could have been so great - because there were aspects of his personality that were so intelligent. And it still gets me that I still wish it all could have been so different, that he could have been different and just the 'good' parts of himself rather than an alcoholic schizophrenic pyscho.

    Also love the fact that you love horses!! I went riding yesterday for the first time in 20 years and my inner thighs are burning today. Felt so great.

    Also love your son's name. Hollis. Wish I had thought of that myself. Beautiful.

    Much love xxx

  14. I love you Jessica! And I love this post too. I think you're an awesome writer, blogger and MOMMY! :) xo

  15. I must agree...you are a great writer! I have enjoyed reading your post! Work From Home