Let's do this bitch

I've been feeling a lot better later.  Lighter.  More focused.  I'm still jobless, but at least I don't feel like I'm slogging through waist-high mud anymore.

People have suggested meds for this bullshit, but it's situational, not quite yet chemically based.  I know the difference.  Not that I'm against meds -- oh, definitely not -- but a job-a-day will definitely get these blues to go away.  That and signed paperwork and a big step f.o.r.w.a.r.d.  So, yeah.  No meds required... just yet.

Basically, I'd be a really bad lottery winner.  I need shit to do and I'm rather bad at finding things when I'm paralyzed with fear and sadness.  Funny how that works.  But I'm managing.  Applying to jobs as I find them; dreaming up an Etsy storefront (anyone want small paintings of random flowers by an amateur artist??); watching marathons of Murder, She Wrote; crying and laughing (way more laughing, by the way -- I'm too dead inside to cry); spending lots of time with Rooster and Hawk on off-weeks, savoring every second of my on-weeks.

Season 3, ep. 8: "Magnum on Ice." 

Speaking of Rooster, we went to Hawk's first-ever parent-teacher conference the other day.  Here are some highlights as told by Hawk himself (well, not really himself, but you get the gist):

  • I eat at just about any opportunity (both snack times and lunch) and I eat each piece of my lunch separately (chips, then sandwich, then fruit, but never a little of each all at once)
  • I have forgone the pre-nap hug-n-kiss instead preferring to just go to my mat with a book
  • I get along with all the kids and have begun sticking up for myself when someone snags a toy (“Hey!  That’s mine!  I was playing that!) whereas I used to just stand there bewildered
  • Fleur and I will often have to be separated at nap time because we like to just stare at each other while holding hands instead of sleeping
  • I frequently compliment the female teachers on their outfits to great appreciation of my observations
  • I always like to help a teacher out and answer, “Of course!” when asked
  • I usually nap, but Hannah can’t figure out what the combination is that makes it so
  • I love the “Jump Up!” song
  • I am particularly good at the “Guess What Animal This Is” game and it’s also my favorite
  • If Hannah can’t find me, I’m usually in the sand pile
  • Once, when Keenan kept hitting me and I finally hit him back, I got upset and Hannah had to reassure me that I wasn’t in trouble (though, hitting is never encouraged)
  • I don’t share my food (as a rule), but I will occasionally ask someone else to share and then I’ll give something back in exchange
  • I really take eating seriously: no funny business.  Just sitting and eating.  No playing and running around
  • Hannah can always count on me to be mellow and stable.  I’m sometimes the only kid in Dungeon room who goes quietly to his mat before nap time. 
  • I also just use the baƱo.  I don’t play in it
I totally cried.  But happy tears this time.

We also went to the Houston Space Station (or whatever it's called). Oh. my. god.  I don't even care about space except that it's beautiful and fun to look at and imagine about, but I was still awed by some shit.  Especially that Saturn V rocket thing.  Wow.  I mean, as a kid I liked the planets mostly because they were pretty -- not because of the science -- but building something that massive that flies to outer space??  Pretty fucking cool.  Even for this artsy, loved-English-assignments kid.

Did you know they put Model Ts on the moon? Either that or this is just a bad Grapes of Wrath re-enactment.

Space shuttle landing, natch.

Really.  Who looks more excited to be here?  He might have said something about how he's been "waiting my whole life for this moment!"

Saturn V engines.
Yesterday my sister told me she thinks I should start "hustling."  I wish it meant getting dates, because that'd be awesome.  But alas, she meant jobs. However, I've decided that I'm somewhat reliving my 20s, but in a much smarter way.  I mean, just look at this picture of me and my BFF.  Don't I look super smart?  The cigarette really proves it.  Can I get a job from being colossally cool on a Saturday night?

So, my next big project is to update this site.  It needs a new look and definitely a new tag line (I came up with that one during a crying jag - so lame).  Man, I gotta update my BlogHer profile and my FB one, too, now that I think of it.

Also, this blog is going to see more of me.  As in ME.   Not Mommy Jessica or Feminist Jessica or Natural Parent Jessica.  I mean, they're all in there, but I've decided to let more of the ribald, crass, grown-up in me come out, too.  It'll be like a French braid of feminism, parenting, pscyhotherapeutic rhetoric, and cussing.   I hope you'll like it.  I wish I could somehow make this site into a sex column and answer everyone's sex and relationship questions, though.  Non-sequitur you say?  Nah, not really.  I'm surprisingly good at that kind of stuff and I think it goes with everything else seamlessly. 

Ok!  Coffee's kicking in.  Time to dress and tackle the day, my couch, my life, and the world!


The loss of a pregnancy never had

Ever since Hawk went to daycare I've felt like something was missing.

These days, the strangest things trigger my sense of loss: a trip to my old grocery store, walking by the fish tank in the mall on a late mid-week morning, meeting a friend for a coffee downtown.

I tell myself that all of this would be happening regardless of my marital status, but it just somehow adds insult to injury.

I see mothers with their children cooing at them and carrying on conversations in that lilting singsong that mothers have.  I see them piling into their cars with arms laden with groceries or shopping bags seemingly content with their position in life and I think, "That was me."

What paralyzes me the most, though, are pregnant mothers.  Their bellies swelling with a sibling, their little ones expectant big brothers and sisters, their families growing.

Before Rooster and I admitted that we were falling apart we tried to get pregnant.  For roughly 18 months we tried.  I never said anything on this blog because I didn't want to jinx it. 

The first time we tried to get pregnant it worked in the first week and I naively I figured it'd be just as easy for round two.  After 3 months and no pregnancy, I started charting my ovulation.  After 10 I went to a fertility specialist who wanted to immediately put me on clomid.  I balked since I checked out 100% and didn't want to generate twins just because I was desperate to have a baby.  Instead, Rooster got checked out and we discovered things were a bit amiss.  We tried IUI, but that didn't work, either.

Meanwhile, I was raising Hawk, spending afternoons in the park and planning weekly meals; trying valiantly to deny the state of things between me and my kind, loving partner.

Eventually, Rooster and I had to look at each other and be real.  There were times when I hoped I'd get pregnant just so I could give Hawk a sibling, marriage crumbling be damned, I'd make it work!  It was that important to me. 

I myself am a big sister and Larry (my sister - and no, that's not her real name!) is an inspiration, a support, and a friend I can't imagine my life without.  I used to joke with Rooster that I didn't want Hawk to have to deal with our crazy asses alone for his entire life.  I wasn't really joking.  We're going to be a motherfucking handful.

And now my sister is trying for her second baby.  I have blogging friends who are on their second pregnancies, too, and with each joyful sharing of news I feel punched in the gut.  Chances are extremely slim that I will ever feel a life growing inside of me again, a babe at my breast, Hawk as a big brother.

I don't agree that "It could happen," because I won't let it.  I don't want to argue my rationale, but suffice it to say, I'm 35 years old and I'm trying to reboot my career; I don't want a huge age gap between my children; I don't want two daddies, two schedules, two disjointed lives.

I realized I was holding my breath for months in hopes that no one I knew would get pregnant again just so I wouldn't feel my own loss.  Selfish, I know, and I'm ashamed to admit it, but there it is.

I feel nothing but love and joy for all my pregnant blogging friends (Dionna, Lauren, Allison, and Arwyn), those women whom I know in real life (at least 4 I can think of off the top of my head), and those who are trying, but it also shines a spotlight on my own void -- something I need to just work through, I know, but it's there nonetheless.

For months, before I told anyone about my relationship, I couldn't speak about a second pregnancy without tearing up.  It was the one topic I tried to avoid with all my friends and family as I told them what was happening to me and Rooster.  I can talk about it now without feeling overly emotional about it, but if I think on it long enough, the tears will come - oh, they most definitely will!

I feel like I've let Hawk down.  Robbed him of the bond only a sibling can provide.  I grill any only-child I come across, "Did you wish you had siblings?" "How do you feel about your parents' aging?" "Were you lonely growing up?"  For the most part, you only-children out there are pretty well adjusted folks with an air of sophistication about you I've always admired and coveted.  You're not spoiled, weird, reclusive assholes!! Well done! haha

I know that a sibling doesn't guarantee happiness - lots of siblings are freakin' jackasses - but based on my own experience it's been a breathtaking journey of love and life to have a baby sister.  I feel things for her I don't for anyone else on the planet and I wanted that for Hawk like I want air to breathe.

But it's over. 

That window is closed and I'm walking past it with as sure a stride as I can muster.  I tell myself I'll love my bright, Star-Wars-obsessed little guy all the more for it; try not to think about horrendous what-ifs and I'll not laugh at "The dingo ate my baby!" jokes, because, really, it's not that fucking funny to have a dingo eat your baby.  Come on! 

I've said before that I never thought my life would be linear, so I need to embrace that belief and be happy with what I've been given which is one little boy who is sunshine and rainbows, and a few years spent with his wonderful father.  It's really not all that bad.  Maybe, if I'm lucky, my future holds step-children, or even just another's children, and I can grow my family in a different direction.  I'm down with that.  Definitely.



parle pas.

When you're someone who likes to share it's more than just imparting information that makes you tick.  It's a sense of connection, of vitality, of life.  When I share I get to feel how I make others feel, how my stories might resonate with them or make them laugh.  I love to see people bowled over from my ridiculous (true) stories or to feel their support in warm smiles and tight hugs.

But I can't share anymore.

I'm cut off from my heart, my emotions, my will to pretty much do anything other than put one foot in front of the other. 

But I like to think you'd be shocked to know it. 

I make a good show of it; the whole "fake it till you make it" thing really does work.  I'm feeling better this week than I have in months and I have been socializing with new and old friends regularly, giving myself a break, all while doing the hard ass work of sledging through divorce terms such as "custody," "community property," and naming the fucking cats in the divorce decree.  -- Yeah, Digby and Lola will be in ink on my divorce papers.  Lovely.  --

I know I don't hide it all all the time, but I try.  A select few have called me out for not being myself and I've asked to be allowed to go through my process my way and promised to do my best to stay connected to them.  They've agreed; they love me and are worried I may never return to my old self.  The truth is there is no way on earth I could come out of this the same person I went in, but I don't want anyone to worry unduly.  I'll be a new and improved version of Jessica on the other side of this.  I'm convinced of it.

Hawk and I have rounded the corner of Mommy-Hating that we were swirling around in like an eddy in an angry river.  When he's with me he's 100% Team Mommy, when he's with Rooster, it's Team Daddy.  I'm beginning to understand that he has no recollection of the two of us together, and when Rooster and I mix company on off weeks Hawk's whole equilibrium gets shoved out of whack. 

We've stopped so much mixing and things have stabilized and my heart doesn't break each time I hear, "No, Mommy, go!  I don't want you here!"  Well, that's a goddamned lie, it does break, but not with quite same vigor as it did before I figured it out. 

I've been holding so much back I imagine this is what it feels like to be male (sorry, dudes).  I never cracked when Hawk hurled toddler slurs at me, I never cry when my friends ask me how I'm doing.  I talk about the divorce, its proceedings and status, like it's my taxes. --  I stubbornly admit that I cried when I saw I had to name the cats in the divorce decree.  It was salt in my wound, the last straw.  I was a broken-backed camel, with a salty wound. -- I am in more control of myself now than I ever have been and not sharing is the key... well, that and being dead inside.

Bears hibernate and so do I.

But I'm luckier than those hairy bastards because spring comes each time I look into Hawk's eyes and when he tells me how very much he loves me.  Any disagreement, slight, or complication that's been on my mind ghosts away the second I am brought back to real life: to my son.  The one and only creature on this planet that matters.  The one for whom I'm working so hard for.

There's no accounting for the path of a life, but we can count on love.  For me, it's the love of my baby, my sweetest little one, and his for me.   This much I can share.  I can shout it from the rooftops and feel more human for it and not at all vulnerable or sad.  It's invigorating and life-affirming. 

Being with him is like coming up for air.