When I woke up, he was gone.

The first time I saw Wesley I was a little girl playing outside at my Nonna and Papa’s home on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. His grandmother lived across the street from mine.

Wesley was a year older than me.

I thought he was so cute and instantly had one of my first ever crushes.

From then on, I’d find any reason to go over to his grandmother’s house.

“Nonna, do you need me to bring anything across the street to Dee’s house today?” In hopes that he would just happen to be visiting her.

A few years later I would be attending middle school with Wesley. Being in the grade ahead of me, I hardly ever saw him but when I did, my heart stopped.

He had a longer haircut back then and I thought he was the coolest person I had ever seen.

I remember seeing him at a high school football game one night. We were still in middle school but were there anyway and I remember watching him with his girlfriend at the time. I remember comparing myself to her. As a 7th grader, I looked even younger than my 12 year old self and she, being an 8th grader looked sophisticated and confident. She was wearing overalls and knitted mittens and no coat. I remember Wesley putting his hands in the pockets of her overalls to keep his hands warm and sitting behind her with her in between his legs.

I felt so much younger.

Never in a million years did I think I would get to be his girlfriend one day.

After 7th grade, my mom and I moved about an hour and a half away to a town called Wayland where I attended 8th grade through high school. After I graduated,  my mom remarried and moved back to Cape Cod.

I lived with my mom on the Cape in between college and then one night at my boyfriend’s house party when I was 23 years old, I saw Wesley.

I instantly knew who he was.

I felt my heart in my throat.

He recognized me right away and started talking to me.

I couldn’t believe he knew who I was, but I wasn’t a shy little 12 year old girl anymore. I was a very confident 23 year old with no qualms and a current boyfriend on his way out.

Wes and I talked and flirted for what seemed like forever but he knew I was in a relationship and I told him nothing would happen as long as I was still involved (he later told me that’s why he wanted to date me even more).

When that relationship finally did end, I really was heartbroken but I had Wesley in the back of my mind.

As most 23 year-olds do when they’re newly single, I started dating right away and had a few different people I was talking to. I bumped into Wesley at a bar one night and exchanged numbers and we got together pretty soon after that.

I remember partying a lot in those days. Way too much.

One night we went back to one of Wesley’s friend’s houses and he pulled me aside and said “I know you’ve got about 3 other guys in the running, but I’m going to win.”

That was it for me.

This was my childhood crush, afterall, I couldn’t believe he wanted to date me.

What breaks my heart is looking back and remembering all of the carelessness and partying we did together but Wesley would look at me and say “You’re better than this”.

I didn’t really understand because I was just doing what we were all doing at the time, but Wesley always held me on a pedestal and thought I was better than everyone else.

I remember driving in his friends car with him and they had to run into a bar to pick someone up. It was a sketchy bar and Wesley told his friend to stay in the car and watch over me. “I don’t want Kristal going in that place, you make sure she’s safe until I get back”.

I’ll never forget that.

He always made me feel protected and precious.

We didn’t have the perfect relationship. We were young and were acting foolishly and Wesley and I broke up a couple times.

But I loved him.

We both came from Italian families and I would make him my Nonna’s homemade sauce and meatballs on a Sunday and we would share a bottle of wine and he’d sneak a bottle of his parent’s homemade dressing that he called “The Pure!” It was delicious. He lived in the cottage behind his parent’s house, so he could walk into their kitchen if we were missing something we needed.

He always smelled really good and I would keep one of his hoodies with me when we weren’t together so I could smell him.

His cottage had a staircase leading up to a loft bedroom and you’d have to duck your head at the top.

He put up his own Christmas tree in the cottage that year and let me decorate it. I made it all gold and I remember him saying “But my mom’s is always so full of color!”

He worked for his friend’s construction company at the time and his friend would come pick him up in the morning. We could see the truck pull into the driveway through the little window in his bedroom. He’d kiss my head and tell me to go back to sleep before he left.

I had invited him as my date to a wedding I was in before we broke up and when we started talking again I asked him if he’d still like to come with me. He agreed.

The wedding was off-Cape and I had to be there the night before with the bridal party and we were all going to get ready at the bride’s salon the next morning.

We decided Wesley would drive to the wedding with my mom the day of. He and I had rented a hotel near the venue for after the wedding so we could stay and then drive home together the following morning.

The day of the wedding was so much fun with all the girls. It was the first real wedding I was in as an adult. We all got ready at the salon and had our hair and makeup done while drinking mimosas.

At one point, my friend (the bride) realized it was colder than we anticipated and she needed something to cover her shoulders over her gown, so I drove to the local mall and found her the most adorable soft, white, faux fur shawl.

I remember talking to Wesley on the phone while I drove in the limo with the girls. I was so excited to see him and for him to see me dressed up, standing at the altar with the other bridesmaids. I felt beautiful and special.

During the ceremony, I remember crying and looking back over my shoulder to find Wesley in the crowd. I did and he gave me the biggest smile.

I remember my mom taking a picture of us together and he planted the biggest, silliest kiss on my cheek.

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I remember a moment with him on the dancefloor. I knew I was being foolish by not being with him. I loved him and once we were away from all the other meaningless distractions and it was just he and I dancing in that moment I knew I wanted to be with him. I always knew. I looked at him and said “Will you be my boyfriend again?” He hugged me and said “Let’s talk about it when we get home.”

And that’s the last thing I remember.

When I woke up, my body felt like it weighed a million pounds. Everything was blurry and foggy. My throat hurt and I couldn’t speak.

I started to look around and fuzzy blobs started to take form into people.

My mom was standing over me rubbing my head.

Someone who I didn’t recognize was next to her and started talking to me.

I was so confused and couldn’t really understand what she was saying or where I was.

Finally the words started registering. “Kristal, you were in an accident. You’re ok but don’t try to talk.” I didn’t know I had been in a drug-induced coma for 2 days and had tubes down my throat.

The first thing I did was try to ask a question but my throat was hoarse and my mom acted like she couldn’t understand what I was asking so I made a gesture with my hand to write.

Someone got me a piece of paper and a pen.

“Where is Wes?” I wrote.

My mom acted like she couldn’t read what I wrote, which only made me angry and frustrated. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t talk, but I could write. I knew what I had written was scribbled but legible.

My mom handed the paper to the nurse and walked out of the room. She didn’t want to tell me.

The nurse came over to me.

“Wesley was killed in the accident.” She said.

I started to panic.

“Don’t move Kristal, don’t move!”

That’s all I remember for the next couple of days.

I guess she gave me something to sleep again because I had lacerated my liver and if I made any sudden movements it could tear more and I could have internal bleeding.

What I later learned was a snowstorm had moved it’s way in and Wesley and I decided to bail on our hotel and make the hour and a half drive back to the Cape because I had work the next day.

We made it all the way back over the bridge, just 3 exits short or our destination when we lost control of the car and it flipped. We were both ejected. Wesley landed in the fast line of the highway and I landed on or near the guard rale.

During this snowstorm, 2 cars hit and ran over Wesley.

A car pulled up to the accident and the woman gave me CPR. She didn’t see Wes.

When the ambulance and fire fighters arrived on the scene a med flight was called in for Wesley to be taken into Boston but they called it off due to the weather. He was declared dead before they reached the hospital.

I was in a drug induced coma for 2 days, ICU for a week and spend another week in a regular hospital room. I had major surgery on my femur, which had been torn to shreds and almost amputated. There is now titanium screws and plate holding it together.

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The fire fighters and EMT’s who were on the scene that night came to visit me in the hospital because they couldn’t believe I had survived and needed to see me for themselves.

Wesley’s wake and funeral were held while I was in ICU.

I screamed and threw a tantrum in the hospital when I learned that I couldn’t leave to say Goodbye.

All I wanted was to close my eyes and be back on that dancefloor again.

How did this happen?

Because I had no recollection of anything after that moment at the wedding and we had both been ejected, no one could determine how it all happened.

I was dancing one minute and woke up in a hospital being told that Wesley was gone the next.

I can’t tell you what that did to me or still does to me to this day and probably for the rest of my life.

I can’t tell you what it’s like living my life knowing I was the last person Wesley was with before he died and I can’t tell you what it’s like having children of your own after having gone through something like that.

Every friendship and relationship has been and will be effected by my accident.

I’m a different wife now than I would have been had this not happened. Thankfully I married a wonderful man who holds me and lets me cry some days over another man I once loved.

I’m a different parent because of our accident. I have fears and anxieties that another mother might not have. Some completely irrational and seemingly unrelated but I know where it stems from.

It’s crazy how the mind and body are connected. Some time will go by without my thinking about Wesley or the accident and then all of a sudden it will hit me out of nowhere.

I was getting horrendous stomach aches for years that would come and go and no doctor could figure it out. I would curl into a ball on the floor because of the pain. I had an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy and several blood tests done. Nothing came back with any real answer. I went gluten-free for a while and eliminated other foods from my diet thinking this was somehow allergy-related or some kind of sensitivity. It was just a couple years ago that one doctor took the time to go over my medical history and finally figured out that I was getting these awful pains right around the anniversary. They always completely subside as the anniversary passes. I had never put the two together before.

I was living in Boston at one point a few years after the accident and having a horrible day. I couldn’t stop crying or thinking about Wes. I would hold on to any item I had of his or any picture of him and couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t figure out why I was having such a tough day, it was the middle of the summer afterall, nowhere near the February date of the accident. Finally I went outside for a walk to clear my head and as I was walking back to my apartment it hit me. It was August 2nd. Wesley’s birthday.

Your body will remind you of things you might want to forget.

Wesley was an amazing person. He was an awesome big brother, a great son, a good friend and a wonderful boyfriend.

I’ll never forget watching him from across the street at his grandmother’s house and losing my breath when I walked past him in the hallway in middle school. I’ll never forget the way he looked at me, how he used to call me “Poops” for no reason other than he thought it was funny, his voice when he was trying to make me laugh, his hugs or how much he loved my grandparents and would always tell my Nonna she looked beautiful.

I’ll never forget holding his hand as we walked to get dinner at a nice restaurant that we couldn’t afford at the time but that he insisted on taking me to or watching movies in his cottage. I’ll never forget how he used to laugh and correct me when I tried to sing along to music and got the words wrong “It’s Even flow, not Even though” and kissed me.

I’ll try to do what my therapist suggested and hold on to that moment on the dancefloor when I asked him to be my boyfriend again.

Some people don’t get to have a great last moment with the person they lost.

I’m lucky that I have that to keep.

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Here’s why no one told you!

Looking back over my experience with postpartum anxiety, I started to wonder why the hell no one warned me about it.

As first time moms, we’re given loads of advice (some unsolicited), and all kinds of warnings about the new baby AND ourselves. We’re told about the signs and symptoms of the “baby blues” and postpartum depression.

We get the questionnaires at our OB-GYN’s checkups and even at the baby’s well-check visits: “On a scale of 0-3, over the past 2 weeks have you thought about harming yourself or someone else? On a scale of 0-3 have you found the joy in every day life?”

We even see the ads in the magazines they leave in the waiting rooms: “Are you feeling hopeless or empty? Are you experiencing rage? Are you having trouble bonding with your new baby? You may be suffering from Postpartum Depression!”

As with many other women I have talked to, these weren’t the feelings I was experiencing and I didn’t understand what was happening to me.

Because postpartum anxiety is more common if you have a history (or family history) of anxiety or depression, I should have seen it coming but NOBODY TOLD ME!

I’m an anxious person and pretty much everybody in my family has a history of anxiety and/or depression, so I just assumed I’d be an anxious mom BUT I had no clue there was anything other than postpartum depression to worry about.

The anxiety hit me like a Mack truck on steroids.

I felt like I had an itchy, wool sweater on in the middle of summer, and no one could see it but me. I couldn’t get this overwhelmingly uncomfortable feeling to go away.

There was a soundtrack to a Stephen King movie playing everywhere I went and no one could hear it but me. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was going to happen to my baby that I couldn’t control.

So I was recently talking to my therapist who I still see from time to time (not enough) and we were discussing the way I was feeling a couple years ago after having my son. After going through a list of the crazies, she looked at me and asked: “Do you know why you weren’t warned about postpartum anxiety?”

“No, why??”

“BECAUSE SOCIETY TELLS YOU BEING AN ANXIOUS MOM IS BEING A GOOD MOM!!”

Holy lightbulb.

She went on with examples of the way I behaved during my most anxious time with my new baby: holding him constantly, never letting him cry, worrying about every little move he made, checking on him 85,000 times to see if he’s comfortable, breathing ok, and on and on. Then as they get older, anxious moms will hover (“helicopter moms”), and thus instill fear and anxiety in their children by never letting them explore or gain any independence.

Shit.

She’s right.

It’s not our fault that we’re anxious or nervous, but we’re praised for being excessively protective as parents. No wonder there’s no caution tape up warning us about the dangers that lie ahead.

Anxiety is a problem when your decisions are based off of irrational fears.

Checking the temperature in the bathtub before you put the baby in is a rational concern. Avoiding giving the baby a bath because you’re afraid he’ll die (even though you’re standing right there) is irrational. But that’s how I felt.

We need to speak up when we’re feeling unlike ourselves and ask for help. It sounds so cliché but it’s true. Think of it this way: You’re helping your baby (or child/children) by getting yourself help.

I know I can’t be a good mom to my babies if I’m not ok myself.

You don’t have to feel like you’re alone. Your doctor will understand (they’ve heard this once or twice before) and refer you to a mental health professional (if you don’t already have one) who specializes in postpartum care.

Or maybe you have older children and you’re just now understanding that you may need some help. That’s great!

You deserve to feel better.

Sincerely,

The Mom friend you never knew you had.

But I’M the one who rocked you for 8 1/2 months!!

Okay, so we carry our babies in our bodies for 9 months or so. We decide where they go and what they do because they’re with us. Then we give birth to them (some of us for 26 hours, but who’s counting) and get to hold them, feed them, change their diapers and take care of them.

I was my son’s everything for the 1st 8 1/2 months of his life.

Maybe it was the postpartum anxiety or maybe he was just a fussy baby. Whatever the case, I held my baby constantly. People would joke all the time “Do you ever put him down?” No. The answer was “no”.

Because I held Chase so much and let him nap on me the majority of the time, he would scream when I put him in his crib to nap (even when I put him down completely asleep, he would instantly wake up and cry: even faking gagging on one special occasion), so I inevitably rocked him for the duration of his naps (even twice a day for sometimes 2 hours at a time) leaving virtually no time for myself, whatsoever.

I’m sure this is all my fault, but it was all well worth it because I hung the moon, in Chase’s eyes. I lit up a room. I was his sunshine on a cloudy day.

Until one day.

One day, when I was pregnant with our daughter and waddling around, after my husband had instilled in me that I needed to back off and allow him more time with our son so they could bond the way I had gotten to with him, Chase saw a lightbulb go off. His daddy was way cooler than his mommy.

His daddy was the one throwing him footballs and tackling him to the ground, setting up hockey nets and “body-checking” him while he wailed with laughter. Teaching him how to swing a bat and throw a cornhole bag. Watching Tom Brady on our flat screen wearing their matching Patriots jerseys and going out to use their leaf blowers together.

His daddy gets to actually WATCH a movie snuggled up to Chase while I might get a few minutes here and there in between laundry changes, diapers changes, bottle-washing and food prep.

When I try to snuggle up to Chase while he’s watching something, he gives me a second and then nudges me off!! Excuse me, kid?! I pushed you out of my body after carrying you inside of me for the better part of a year! I didn’t let your feet touch the ground until I finally put you down, like, yesterday! What the shit? I take you to the children’s museum and the playground, we go wild strawberry picking and collect shells from the beach (some of which I kept for you in a little box, by the way)!

I knew this day was coming. I knew I wouldn’t be the only person who lit up Chase’s life forever, but I thought it would last a little longer than 2 years! He’s still a baby!! Isn’t he supposed to love only ME for a little while longer??

Aren’t I supposed to be the one who makes him laugh all the time and gives the best hugs? Shouldn’t I be the one he comes running to for everything??

Sure, I’m still the one he prefers at bed-time and naps, and I’m still the one he comes to for cookie-making, when he’s hurt or sick or when he wants to do something like get up on his stool and use the sprayer to wash away glitter in the sink (something I do to keep him occupied while I get dinner ready) but I’m not the only ruler of this castle anymore. All of a sudden there’s a king by my side! With an even bigger throne!

Alas, I walked around with a smug look on my face and a false sense of security for too long. This little blue-eyed angel wouldn’t have me up on a pedestal forever.

Damn leaf blower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t poop on your floor so don’t wear your shoes in my house.

Being an anxious person, I get to be all kinds of crazy, annoying and insistent.

I’m not laid back, I’m not a go-with-the-flow type of person.

I overpack. I leave the house with a backpack full of diapers, baby wipes, antibacterial wipes, snacks for children, babies and adults. Water bottles. First Aid kits and changes of clothes for everyone. (You never know when spit up and blow outs will make a visit).

I have a list of things I need to sleep including sound machines, a glass of water in arms reach, a fan (that has to be near my face), my “L” shaped pillow in between my legs, a big comforter and my bunny to snuggle.

I’m also very aware of germs and dirt. If you’re going to hold my children, I appreciate you washing your hands because I have no clue what (or who) you’ve been touching between your house and mine.

You won’t be surprised now when I tell you we (I say “we” because I’ve broken my husband down) have a No-Shoe rule in the house.

I understand how I am. I have been a pain in the ass all of my life. I seek no pitty, no need to argue with me, I know who I am. I can certainly be difficult and I know I like things the way I like them.

That being said, DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT IS ON THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SHOES?!???

If not, let me shed a little light:

66 Million Organisms!!! Live bacteria, live viruses, FECES, E. Coli, and do I need to go on?

Think about where you’ve been in your shoes. Been to Target lately? Been to a public bathroom? A restaurant? Possibly someone’s lawn?

Chemicals dangerous to children, especially under the age of 2 from people’s lawn treatments, human (and other) feces from bathrooms and even just the isles of grocery stores where thousands of other people have tracked their feet, live viruses like the flu, and so on.

When people walk in our home, I ask them to remove their shoes before walking past the front hall because not only do I not want to clean my floors all the live-long day but the mere THOUGHT of everything people are tracking on their shoes makes me cringe.

Now take a look around your home. Do you have children? Likely they play on the floor, sit on the floor, learn to crawl on the floor. Do you want them crawling around on a floor with millions of bacteria and viruses, and well, POOP?!?

Is your body cringing yet?

Good, I did my job:)

Here’s a couple quick links to learn more:

https://clark.com/health-health-care/this-is-why-you-shouldnt-wear-shoes-in-your-house/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.today.com/today/amp/tdna129820

I know I cussed you out last year, but are you accepting preschool applicants?

Anyone who knows me as a parent knows I’m a little crazy. I blame it on a combination of postpartum anxiety, my very Italian family and a short list of childhood disappointments.

After my son was born, my postpartum anxiety subsided, and I began venturing out of the confinements of our home, I found myself feeling a need to get back to the gym. Most of my other mom friends had made that leap much sooner than I had and I felt ready.

The problem wasn’t just leaving my baby for an hour or two (something I had extreme trouble with) it was leaving him in the gym daycare with people he (and I) didn’t know.

Sure, they had windows for me to peak through, the staff all had background checks and a good reputation, and it was a good opportunity for both he and I to be around other people. Apparently other human beings existed, it wasn’t just the two of us, although it seemed that way for a really long time.

I tried dropping him off, I really did. A few times. But he screamed and cried and was so confused. I just knew he thought I was gone forever. Even when the woman holding him tried to shield me from his view and another woman shooed me towards the actually workout area to let me know all was going to be ok, I just couldn’t.

I went back twice after less than 10 minutes and went home. Trying to focus on the stair master or elliptical was impossible when my heart was racing and swear I could hear him cry. I couldn’t get his little face out of my mind and really, who needed to get rid of the mom-gut anyway?

So I waited another couple months and decided to try another branch, the same branch my friend was bringing her twin girls to (who were a few months younger than Chase).

I gave the very friendly (and patient) staff a long list of instructions including not to let him cry and to please come get me or call me if he did. They agreed and were really excited to see me finally walk out.

I left, reluctantly, and tried not to cringe when one of the staff took his teether from me, holding the part he chewed on with her fingers.

I got on the stair master, put my Pandora station on DMX radio (“X Gon Give it to Ya” really gets me going) and made sure I was facing the entrance in case one of them came to get me.

They never did.

After 30 minutes, I decided enough was enough and I had to go see my baby.

As I walked out of the cardio room and down the hall towards the daycare I heard a baby screaming and just knew it was my son. It’s one of those things only a mom can tell from far away. A man would never pick up on that, not any man I know, anyway.

I picked up the pace and ran into the room and sure enough, there was my son, being held by one of the male staff members at the front desk, away from all the other children. He was crying so hard and had been for so long that he couldn’t catch his breath and had that quick, panicky, puffy breathing thing going on. You know the one.

When I grabbed him and held him, I started tearing up, too.

“Dammit. I knew I shouldn’t have done this. Mother _ _ _ _ #$%. Son of…”

Well, you get it. I was pissed.

I looked around and a few staff members were standing close by and I asked why the hell no one had come to get me? Why had no one called? I was stepping away like an idiot thinking my baby was happy and I came back to this. I was infuriated, actually. They had reassured me they would never let him cry more than a few minutes to get adjusted and would absolutely come get me if he didn’t.

Chase had to be removed from the actual play area because he was causing the other children to worry! Maybe I’m overreacting but my blood was boiling, I was so upset, I yelled at everyone, told them how unacceptable this was and stormed out.

They explained that they were LITERALLY about to come get me and he hadn’t been crying like that for very long. I wasn’t buying it.

I demanded to speak to the manager. Not the manager of the daycare, the manager of the whole building.

This woman was going to remember me.

I made such a fuss, was crying, grasping my son and made sure everyone around me heard about it.

I made such a scene that other parents walking in with strollers stopped to listen. I think they thought something catastrophic had happened in the baby room.

I cancelled my membership right then and there and if all of that wasn’t enough, came home and wrote a pretty lengthy email to the CEO. She wrote me back almost immediately and was really understanding and apologetic. Girl was good. You don’t climb the ladder without calming a few bitches down.

Jump to a year and a half later. I’ve had my second baby and my first is getting ready to start thinking about preschool possibilities and I still haven’t worked out more than the 15 squats I did in December and that one Yoga video on YouTube

They have forgotten about the crazy lady (although I’m still pissed) and I hear they have a wonderful facility!

I’m going to take a tour of the preschool next week. I just have a pretty important decision to make before then.

Red Sox hat or the cute blue and white one with the anchor? I think the one with the anchor hides my face a little better.

I licked garlic mayonnaise off of my microwave (and other embarrassing admissions)

I’d like to say it’s not as bad as it sounds…but it is. I licked garlic mayonnaise off of my microwave.

My dad gives the best gifts. He’s usually at least 6 months late, but they’re always worth it. The latest birthday present was 5 weeks of meals from HelloFresh (if you’re unfamiliar, they send pre-packaged, pre-measured ingredients with a recipe for each and you make the meals yourself).

It was that time of night: I was attempting to make dinner (jalapeño cheddar burgers that my toddler would not touch and my 6 month old might not let me sit to eat). I had read only pieces of the recipe (I have never been good at following direction) and I skipped steps and somehow added others, yet everything came out delicious (or was I just starving?)

With a cranky baby on my hip that wouldn’t let me put her down and my toddler running around the kitchen island asking me to play “shake your bum song” (aka Time Of Our Lives by Pitbul, featuring Neo) for the 16th consecutive time, I grabbed a sweet potato wedge and dunked it into the homemade garlic mayo. I stuffed it in my mouth and went back for more only this time trying to start the microwave to 5 minutes to sterilize the baby bottles. As I hit “start” with my pinky, a glob of garlic mayo smeared across the “cancel” button. I instinctively put the remaining wedge in my mouth and without hesitation, LICKED THE MAYO OFF OF THE MICROWAVE!

My toddler stopped running and even the baby shook her head at me. It needed it!! The potato was SO much better with the sauce and I didn’t want to waste it! Sigh.

I get my son to come downstairs with me to switch the laundry with a promise of skittles. I keep a jar downstairs in my spa (my home business) for clients. I always give him 2 and tell him that that’s all there is, but it’s enough to keep him happy. I usually hide the rest behind a picture or somewhere nearby.

I went to do laundry by myself recently and found one of the “hidden” opened bags under some clothes on the counter. Were they clean clothes? Questionable. Was there lint on the skittles? Yes. Did I eat them? Yes. Do I remember when I hid them there? No.

More often than not there is a piece of cereal (or some other stale snack) on the living room rug or playroom mat. Sometimes they get vacuumed, sometimes they are hand-picked up and thrown away and sometimes….they get eaten…by me. The trash is too far and my mouth is too convenient. My husband witnessed one of these events, looked at me and said “you’ve really just given up, huh?” Yes. Yes I have.

I left an opened bag of my favorite Trader Joe’s tail mix in my coat pocket and forgot about it months ago. The mix inevitably spilled out and my pocket was filled with loose cashews, almonds and craisins. I knew it was there but instead of throwing it away, I thought: “yay, a healthy future snack!” And it was. A month later, healthy, future snack. I wonder what I looked like picking nuts out of my pocket and throwing them in my mouth as I walked through Target toting 2 small children?

I have to hand it to the moms I see with actual clothes on (i.e. not yoga pants and a hoodie) and makeup! Are my babies just that demanding or do you put them in front of the tv so you can apply foundation and concealer? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, Lord knows I do it too but it’s just so I don’t go a 2nd day without a shower).

Have you seen the remake of the Stepford Wives? The one with Nicole Kidman? I’m Bette Midler’s character

I might never be put together again. Once a decade when we actually get a date night, I’ll remind my husband that he isn’t married to a Neanderthal and I can be sexy (the sexiest version of myself I can be at this point) but I don’t foresee myself dusting off these hot nursing bras anytime soon! (I stopped breastfeeding 2 months ago).

I think I have been dethroned, and could someone peel these tattoos off?

I thought I wanted to be the only female in my household. I thought I wanted only boys so I could keep my title as the princess of the house.

Every year on my birthday for as long as I can remember I have been wearing a tiara or crown. It was obnoxious, but I owned it. I took pride in the fact that everyone would notice me and have to acknowledge that it was my birthday.

During my bachelorette party, I took the opportunity to rock the crown as well. Any celebration would do, really.

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Yes. This is me, and yes, apparently I make this face.

However, on August 24th, 2018, I was dethroned. My very own princess, Noelle Joanne.

I thought I wanted another boy. I could keep being loved and adored by all the boys in my house and I’d be the only girl. I didn’t think I wanted to raise a girl. I was afraid of all the things I would do wrong as a parent. Why didn’t this worry me with my son? I just knew he’d always be Mommy’s boy and it was my husband’s responsibility to do all the “manly” teachings, but this was a GIRL. It would be MY responsibility to teach her about being a female, a girl, a teenager and a woman! How the heck do I do that?!?

I had my ears pinned back when I was 12 years old. They stuck out and I came home crying one day because a boy in my class called me “Dumbo”. My mom asked me if my ears really bothered me and took me to a plastic surgeon. We decided to go ahead and get them pinned back, a simple procedure, but a painful one.

My mother thought she was doing the right thing and helping me feel more comfortable in my own skin.

I wish I never had that surgery.

Noelle’s ears stick out a bit just like mine and I wish we still had that in common.

All of a sudden I don’t want to highlight my hair anymore!

I want to peel these freakin’ tattoos off!

I wish I never had a breast augmentation when I was 25 or got a belly button ring (who decided that was cute?!) because now I have this tiny hole that will never completely close!

When Noelle was born, I instantly knew she was perfect, just the way she was, and the older she gets, day by day, she proves that to me.

She is absolutely perfect.

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I want to match her in every way! I want to be the picture of perfection in her mind, not because I am perfect, but because God made me just right and he did the same for her.

How scary it is being the mother of a daughter!!

I don’t want to be a cautionary tale. I don’t want to be the version of what “not to do”.

If I wish my mom did one thing differently, it would be to insist that I was perfect just the way I was.

She told me not to get a tattoo, but I did, I got several.

What I hope to do differently is EXPLAIN why Noelle should or shouldn’t do something. The generation of “because I sad so” is so old fashioned and really inconsiderate.

I’m not saying tattoos are bad (please don’t let me offend you) or that getting a piercing is marring your body, but I want my daughter to know that her body is sacred and perfect. I want her to have the utmost respect for herself (and her body) and know that she has no flaws. She is exactly as she should be.

I know my children will one day tell someone who will listen that their mother did X, Y and Z wrong. They’ll inevitably have their own complaints and opinions about how we raised them. I just hope and pray they do it without any tattoos! 😉

So, not only have I been blessed (and humbled) to become the mother of a daughter, but I get to have NOELLE as my daughter!

I certainly don’t have all the answers to raising a little girl, but I hope she’s patient with me as I try to figure it out. I think she will be, she seems pretty nice.

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