from Zero to Writer

from Zero to Writer

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dear Son...

Dear Son,

It’s a week until I meet you. Ten days. Give or take.

Like your sisters, you’re going to be a surprise to see. Your hair, your cheeks, the bridge of your nose, your size (especially since you’ve been hiding from me in all those ultrasounds). You’ll be so many things I can’t control, but you’ll be perfect. You’ll keep us up most nights for a while, but we’ll live and you'll be worth it. I might pour orange juice in my coffee in the morning. I might let the house fall apart, but we’ll find a way. Give or take.

Son, you’ll stumble a lot. You’re going to cry the first time you try to support yourself on your tummy and land on your nose. Then I’ll cry because I will always feel your pains. But you won’t be stopped. You’ll lift that chin high and learn to crawl, and then to walk, and then to run. And you’ll run, Son. You’re going to run far and fast. Sometimes too far and fast. We’ll learn to reign it in together. Give or take.

You’ll grow into a blend of lessons developed and innate personalities traits. You’ll be you and me and your dad and the influence of others, all wrapped up in one. I promise to help guide you down the right paths and teach you to be kind (even when you don’t want to be) and helpful (even when you don’t want to be), and help you recognize when your temper is justified and when it’s time to breathe. Much of you will rely on how you are raised, but even more will rely on who you choose to be. So, I pray you will choose to be good where you find need to be good, and stand up for people and have a heart of gold. You won’t always make great decisions, but that’s what I’m here for. We’ll make the right choices together. Give or take.

And that’s what life is, Son. Life is a circle of give and take. So I pray you will give generously and take advantage of all of life’s joys. I pray that when things get tough, you will give it everything you’ve got and take every opportunity to be a blessing. I pray that you will give love even when it doesn’t seem to be earned and take the time to open yourself to others.

It’s not always going to be fair. It’s not always going to be easy. But, we’ll make it through life together. Give or take.

I love you, Son.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

I Have a Little Penis in Me! (and other raw observations of an unplanned pregnancy)

It was the middle of a steamy Texas summer, the AC was panting along like a loyal family dog, and our apartment was finally clear of back-to-back guests.

“It’s time,” my husband said to the receptionist on the phone. Though his words were as cool as the ice cream I was spooning into my mouth, there was panic in his eyes. With the corporate rug pulled out from under our financial legs, we figured that vasectomy we’d been putting off for months ought to be scheduled before our insurance ran out. Who can blame a guy for not leaping in line to get iodined and sliced down there?

Two days later—experiencing all the tired, aching, nauseated, late feelings one gets—I held a positive pregnancy test. Apparently, having a solid month of company didn’t dissuade us from being in the mood. 

I’ll be honest, when I saw those 2 pink lines, I said some swear words. I was knee-deep into a fabulous love affair with my evening summer cocktail, was this close to being done with diapers forever (so I thought), and was holding out hope of making it to the gut-curdling drop of Disney’s Tower of Terror before year’s end, despite our recent loss of income. What can I say? I was going through a selfish phase.

With each passing day of straddling the toilet yet craving nothing but burritos (literally, ask anyone, I ate so many burritos), I slowly crept out of denial. I bypassed the crappy first trimester and found out I was going to give my husband a son. I coolly eased into those magic-middle-months where I had a cute belly bump and basked in the assurance that I wouldn’t have to push said baby out for several months. It was glorious. My coworkers wouldn’t let me do any physical labor, I no longer looked like I just ate too many burritos, and the speculation of names and who the little miracle would look like commenced.


Until someone asked me when my “twins” were due.

Let’s be honest. Answering a stranger’s questions about my body is fun the first dozen times. And, by fun, I mean tolerable.

By now, in the 8th month, I might as well wear a bloody shirt.

(You guys have no idea how much I wanted to say, “Yeah. I know what ‘causes this.’ The same thing that causes herpes!” just so his shock at the intimacy of our two-second conversation would match my own.)

Instead of growing bitter (who me?) with the repetitive questions about my body that strangers have no business asking, I figured I’d publically air some of my own observations. Here are some answers… in case you were tempted to ask.

#1-   Yes. I wish I could make a dent into a bottle of wine. My love of the grape stuff hasn't gone away after 8 months. I’ve been tempted to buy full bottles just so I can have a sip, but the judgmental looks of store clerks are a total buzz kill.

#1A-   Yes. I’m counting down the days. Yes I have a cocktail recipe ready to go. I’m about to have THREE kids. It’s how I get through that 11th hour of the day. Wanna fight about it?

#2-   No, Random Lady who walked in on me flossing in the restroom of Applebees, I’m not an extra on the Walking Dead. Pregnancy = bleeding gums. It also equals tooth decay, so Imma keep doing this regardless of that look you’re giving me.

#3-   Yup. Having a boy means there’s a wee little winkie in me at all times. Good observation. And no, unless I ask you directly for an opinion, his circumcision-or-lack-thereof is nunya business.

#4-   Nope. Wasn’t planned. We’ve established this. BUT! Why is that a question I began hearing after 2 kids? Just because I didn’t plan it doesn’t mean anyone with more than 2 is a poor planner. Your ideal number might be 2 (mine once was), but that doesn’t mean others don’t plan to have 5 or 8 or 13. I mean, did you plan that extra 40lbs you’re carrying around? That’s none of my business? Imagine that.

#5-   Yes, that means we got rid of 99% of our baby stuff years ago. Please don’t remind me how expensive it is unless you plan to chip in. Cuz yeah, people stop throwing you baby showers after said 2nd “appropriately desired” child. (This is NOT a hint for anyone I personally know to run to Target for me. We’ve almost got it covered by now, but thanks!)

#6-   Yes, I will have my hands full. Most people with kids do, regardless of the number. That’s why I became a mother, because I wanted full hands and a full heart. A gynecologist doesn’t complain (out loud) about being paged into delivery at 3am—it’s what they signed up for. The literary agent doesn’t roll their eyes when a requested manuscript falls in their inbox—they requested it because they love reading and see promise, despite the long hours and pile that won't go down. 

I’m the type of person who chronically devotes myself to too many commitments. What’s better than devoting myself to another HUMAN BEING? Not much in this world is greater than that. But, if I’m about to drop an armful of groceries while my girls cry in the cart and my body tenses in a Braxton Hicks contraction, by all means, help me out. Don’t just tell me my hands are full.

#7-   Yes
#8-   No
#9-   Maybe
#10- Absolutely not, are you nuts?!

(I’ll let you play jeopardy and come up with your own questions for those last answers. Whatever makes you more comfortable about my body and leaves you feeling like we’re all on the same page here. Go ahead. Whatever you want. I won’t judge.)

Bottom line, if you don’t know at least one interesting fact about me (meaning if you aren’t a friend, family member, or at least a comfortable acquaintance), first ask yourself if your question is necessary. Most of the time, I don’t mind answering the basics to fill your need for small talk. I get it. But, don’t be rude, vulgar, invasive, or “funny.” 

I’m done with that.

P.S. To the one (ONE!) stranger at my girl’s gymnastics studio who only asked me how I was feeling and if there was anything I needed help with…bless you. Bless your life. Bless your kid’s lives and their kid’s lives. May riches rain on you forever because you’re a beautiful soul and I wish I could kiss your face.