Monthly Archives: August 2010

Summer Morning Coming Down

It’s August 23. First, Happy Anniversary to my Mom & Dad! 41 years, going strong. Amazing. Thank you for showing me how to hang in there for the long haul.

Again, it’s August 23. Where I live, August is the hottest of the hottest months in one of the hottest cities in one of the hottest states. So it’s hot. And humid. The temp gauge in my car read 102 but according to the very chipper weatherman this morning, it feels like about 110. Did I mention that it’s hot? And unlike most reasonable states, August is not the end of the heat. It starts cooling off in October. If you’re lucky. November and we might turn off the A/C and get out a sweater. Maybe not though, but for sure December. Last year we even got a white Christmas. Though the year before that it was 60 and sunny. And it’s like this every year, it is not a new occurrence and it is not due to global warming. It’s just Texas, ya’ll.

I write all of this to preface what I am about to say next. So you can understand the absurdity.

This morning on my walk, I felt a hint of fall. A slight breeze, a whiff of anticipation. Of fall colors and pumpkins and falling leaves. Of college football and rainy days and drinking tea in the late afternoon. Of the slight chill chasing off the lingering heat of the summer, of schedules and new beginnings and new plans and new ideas. Of cozy sweaters and tall leather boots and jackets. Of pumpkin spice lattes and chicken pot pie and soup. Oh lordy, I love soup.  And new television shows, and fall movies and Halloween and Thanksgiving. You get the drift.

Walking my dog (black, panting after one block), rolling the stroller along with O (white, pale, almost translucent, covered in sunscreen and lolling listlessly, dumping his entire sippy cup of cool water in his lap), the air seemed different, as if summer was starting to pack up, starting to take it’s last final lap around the lake before it began putting away its swimsuits and BBQ’s and hot dogs and late evenings watching fireflies and drinking Coronas, of pool splashing and early morning walks drenched in sweat, of the sound of kids playing all day, of ice cream and loose linen dresses and wavy hair you let dry in the summer sun. I felt it, the subtle shift. The neighborhood seemed quieter, the women on their morning walks seemed lighter and happier and more purposeful. I began to feel the urge to clean out my closet and start shopping for a fall jacket.

And then I realized it was because school started today. Now, this shouldn’t really affect me. O is way too young for school and none of my friends’ kids are old enough for school yet.  But there it was, that moment when summer begins its long and stubborn slide into fall. At least in Texas. In Texas, summer is quite reluctant to give up its turn at the diving board. Summer is very much a bully and something of a show-off. On the East Coast, Summer is easy and lies down at the first flirtatious wink from Fall. Fall is definitely in charge over there. California, well, they don’t even know what Fall is. They have Flip-Flop season and Not Flip-Flop Season.

And knowing how very far away true fall is, I couldn’t help but wonder about my inexplicable notion that I could “feel” Fall. Clearly I can’t. It couldn’t be hotter outside. Things are melting out there. So are we that susceptible to suggestions around us? Halloween decorations are already out at local stores. I have been getting catalogues full of adorable fireflies and turtles and ninja costumes that my clueless one year old can wear. TV is slinging its commercials for new fall television shows. And football, blessed football, is already back, though in its boring and toothless NFL pre-season form. Kiddos are going to school, the neighborhood pool is only open on weekends now, and the college kids are back in the coffee shops. Not to mention my 400 pound September Vogue preening on my coffee table, chock full of delicious fall fashion that I will never get to wear here.

But instead of dreaming of real seasons that happen when they are supposed to, I am trying something new. You see, every year that I’ve lived here (3 years now?), I get really angry come September.  I want a real fall. And I want it in September. Come October and I am downright pissed that I can’t wear a sweater and shiver. It’s still like 80 here in October. And in July? When I want to take walks and drink coffee outside and have happy hour on my back porch? It’s impossible because of the heat and mosquitoes. Really, the seasons apparently don’t give a shit so all that results is a grumpy lady.

So this year I am trying to just enjoy what I’ve got. So it’s not anywhere near fall weather yet. So I won’t be able to wear a sweater till November. But you know what? I can swim till October in a non-heated pool. And I won’t HAVE to wear a sweater till November. And when the rest of the country is freezing, I can take long walks and drink coffee outside and have happy hour on my back porch. In November. And sometimes even December. It’s all relative.

Though right now it’s gray outside and I’m sitting in Starbucks drinking tea and eating a pumpkin loaf. It’s so cold inside due to the A/C that I am wearing two sweaters. Can I just say that I’m starting to get really excited for Christmas?

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A Room of My Own

Virginia Woolf has been on my mind lately.  This past weekend I celebrated both my husband’s birthday and my son’s first birthday.  We had a small-ish party for my son and I spent last week dashing about, buying cupcakes, and napkins and birthday banners and dips and chips and food, ice and beer and juice boxes and bottles of real Coke and Pez-colored straws and galvanized tins. And presents and wrapping paper and cards.  Everytime I started an errand, I’d think, I simply must not forget to pick up the flowers! And everytime I thought about flowers, I’d giggle and feel like Mrs. Dalloway.

You see, I am not a skilled party-thrower or homemaker. Growing up, I wanted to be glamorous and fun and have a corner office and wear stilettos and have people cook for me. I was so bored by those simple tasks, such as cooking and sewing buttons and arranging flowers. I refused to learn, and was content to let my mother and grandmother do those things, taking comfort in the fact that my mom always knew just how to sew a button or boil an egg, so I didn’t have to.

But now. Now I regret not paying more attention. My grandmother was an old-fashioned cook, the kind that made both biscuits and cornbread (from scratch) for every dinner (or supper, as she called it).  The kind that never used a recipe or exact measurements. The kind that knew that a pinch of sugar in every dish was that unexplainable difference. I grew up in her kitchen, watching her make hotcakes and sausage, bacon and eggs, fresh sweet tea aged in the sun, meatloaf and ham and mashed potatoes and everything good you can think of. And yet I never learned to cook from her. She’s gone now, and I look back on those missed opportunities with regret. Why wasn’t I a little curious? Why didn’t I ever just stand up at the stove next to her and watch her do her thing? Usually because I was in the other room with my head stuck in a book.

Now I’m a mother. And it feels a bit silly to still be calling my mom to ask how to boil an egg. Or to have to ask my husband to sew a button on my shirt for me. Because that is what mothers do, they know how to do things. They make the world feel safe and sure, for as long as they can.

So for me to be rushing about, thinking of flowers and cakes and serving platters, was exhilarating. It was like getting to be someone else for a day, someone that is good at these kinds of things, someone that knows how to arrange flowers and already has the cupcake stand and the right serving platters. Who knows NOT to buy an ugly orange plastic tablecloth that looks like a trash bag meant to dispose of a dead body.

So besides pretending to be Mrs. Dalloway, Ms. Woolf has been on my mind for another reason. Since my project has started over a week ago, the simple question of where to write must be addressed. Our home office is not set up yet. Even if it was, our house is lovely but older, and there is no quiet room in the house, no where to be “away” from my son and his musical banging and all day long soundtrack of giggling, gurgling, babbling, whining, crying and screeching. Not to mention that it is near impossible for me to ignore him. And he would be standing outside the glass doors to my office, with his little hands pressed to the glass, his nose pressed to the window, grinning at me with his jack-o-lantern teeth, enticing me to cuddle and play. No writing would get done at home.

I keep thinking Virginia Woolf had it right. The two biggest obstacles to my writing life (besides the obvious procrastination and self-doubt) are money and place. I can’t write full time because I need a paycheck. And one truly needs a “room of one’s own” to get away from the ordinary, to let her thoughts percolate and burst, fizzle and soar. So. What to do?

For now, Starbucks is my room. And can I just say that today I love my room? To my left is a gentleman that has a phone plugged in to the jack and resting on the table. When I say phone, I don’t mean an I-phone, aBlackberry, or even a regular cell phone. I mean the smooth rounded plastic kind that used to hang on my parent’s kitchen wall. The base attached to the wall, a rectangular piece of plastic. The receiver is rectangular as well, but rounded so as to fit snugly between one’s shoulder and one’s cheek. Ours was cream, but the one next to me is black. And it rings. The man keeps answering the phone, conducting business as if it were perfectly normal to bring your own phone and phone cord into a coffee shop.

The man across from me is whispering furiously into his cell phone, but in French. I can only make out a few words, enough to know that he seems to be arguing with his wife about the car. This requires much sighing and blowing air out of his pursued lips, which shoots his uncombed hair straight up off his forehead. He then has to brush his hair back off his forehead, before dropping his head into his arms. His next move is to throw his head back and roll his eyes, dropping the phone in the process. Once he puts the phone to his ear, he starts his little routine all over again. I don’t know about you, but domestic squabbles with my husband do not contain this much theatre and are not accompanied by as many cheoregraphed hand movements. Even domestic fights in French are more fun.

There is a woman across the way, who is here everytime I am. She has a muddy-colored dog, is always wearing a different hat and seems to be attending her own bible study. She has a beautiful crimson-colored leather Bible, with pink and green and purple post-its stuck to every page, words circled and highlighted. But she mutters under her breath. I can’t hear what she is saying. Is she praying? Practicing? Preparing to lead a class? I got a glimpse of what was playing on her I-pod last time. Metallica. Not kidding.

And I’ve got good coffee, a little Grateful Dead and Radiohead playing softly in the background. Good coffee, good music, great people-watching. All of the elements I need to get to the writing.

So maybe V.Woolf had it wrong. I don’t need a room of my own. All I need is a computer of my own, and a Starbucks filled with enough people and stories to get me started.

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Letter to O On His 1st Birthday

Dear O,

I can’t believe you’ve been a part of our lives for a whole year.  Part of me can’t remember life before you, and part of me is still surprised when I look at you and realize that you are mine and that we made you. Crazy.  This has been the hardest, and best, year of my life.  Hardest because you totally disrupted our happy little life together, turning it upside down with your constant immediacy, your constant needs.  When you need something, there is no “wait one second”, you need me right then.  Happiest because I look at your face, so joyous and happy and content, so trusting and ready to explore the world, so sure that the world is there for your taking and I am so proud you are mine. Happiest because I have never been needed like this, because I have never ever loved anything more than I love you. And I never will.

You were always a good baby, even before you were born. I loved being pregnant with you, you didn’t make me feel sick or give me any weird pains. You just grew quietly, until you started kicking and flipping, and it was like we lived in our own world together, just you and me. Nobody else was needed. Then you were born. You were 10 days late, totally content to just hang out where you were.  The doctor finally forced you out and let’s just say that labor was the most intense, painful experience of my life so far.  Though in retrospect, you came out pretty fast and pretty easily.  It’s all a blur, but I do remember we listened to Willie Nelson over and over, with some Kings of Leon mixed in.  The song “Use Somebody” will always remind me of you, it seemed like it was constantly playing in the final few weeks when I was waiting around for you. You were born and they handed you over to me, and I gotta admit, you looked really weird.  You were gray and skinny, wrinkly and you had your arms and legs intertwined like you were praying.  I thought I would instantly recognize you, that I would take one look at you and think “of course that’s what he looks like”.  But I didn’t. You were a stranger, your own complete person, and though you needed me desperately for food and comfort, you were self-contained.

The first few days were a blur, but eventually we settled into a routine. You were such a good baby, only cried when you were hungry or tired, otherwise content to just hang out and look around. You never liked being held like a baby, and always insisted on trying to lift your head up and look around at the world, even when you were really too weak to hold your head up on your own.  You loved the swing and spent hours in it, just looking around and sleeping. You sat up and crawled pretty early, at six months and you’ve been on the move ever since. No looking back.

Now at a year, I look at you and think “Of course that’s my baby. Of course this what you look like.” You have your dad’s white blonde hair, full lips, and good disposition. You have my smile and fiery personality.  I’m afraid you have my teeth. You are feisty and bold, a born leader and explorer. You aren’t afraid of anything so far. You jump in, head first and decide if you like something later.  You laugh often and a lot. I hope you have his patience, his sense of humor, his sense of right and wrong, his organizational skills and his teeth. I hope you have my sense of adventure, my love for words and stories, my ability to see the gray.  I hope you have his quickness of mind, but my creative side.  I hope you have my great ideas, and his follow-through.  I hope you have your own thoughts, dreams and ideas.

I look at you, and you have your whole life ahead of you. No heartbreaks yet, you haven’t learned that there are limitations in life, that there are things you cannot do. You haven’t spoken a real word yet, your first words, first run, first time catching a ball, are all in front of you. We don’t know yet if you’re a lefty or a righty.

What I hope for you is this. That you live life fully. That you still throw yourself into everything you do, with your whole heart.  That you still don’t accept that there are limitations in life.  That you don’t take no for an answer. That you find something you love, and work harder at it than anyone else around you, that you find joy in your work.  That you love deeply and forgive others for their faults.  That you go away to college and travel the world and see things you only dreamed of.  I wish for you to be happy.

I am so grateful you have come into our lives.  You have taught me patience. You have shown me that there is something bigger than myself.  You have shown me pure love and pure laughter. You have reminded me that it’s the littlest things that are the biggest things in life. Love. Laughter. Family.

Happiest birthday wishes to my sweet baby boy.

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Happy Family Laundry Commercial Audition, Take 1

Note: This post was from a previous blog and was originally posted on April 29, 2010.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, my husband was out of town. Husband is actually a really amazing partner and father, despite what I may say or complain about occasionally. He rushed home from the airport to make sure he saw O before O went to bed. O and I were sitting on our front porch and when Husband drove up and got out of the car, O started bouncing and screeching excitedly. SO CUTE. Nevermind that he doesn’t really do that when I get home. The smile on Husband’s face was priceless. We must have looked like one of those families in a laundry commercial. Mom and baby sitting on steps in front of white house with black shutters, jasmine blooming, dogs barking. Husband pulls up in sleek European car and gets out with briefcase to greet the happy family. Baby bounces excitedly, and Husband swoops baby up, twirling him around as baby giggles/gurgles joyfully. Husband kisses wife and all go inside pretty white house.

Husband missed baby, so barely blinked when I told him I was too tired to do bedtime tonight and that I couldn’t even LOOK at the rocking chair. He did say “the WHOLE bedtime routine?” I said yep and went into the other room and LAY ON MY BED AND READ A BOOK. I have never done that. Even when Husband offers to take care of baby, I feel this guilt and need to help. Not this time. Husband put baby to bed. I took care of dinner (ordered a pizza). We watched DVR’d episodes of Community and 30 Rock and I went to bed at 9:30 pm. Ahhh, bliss.

It gets better! O sleeps all night! (Of course he does since Husband offered to get up with him at night). O wakes up a bit earlier than normal but is playing in his crib babbling to himself and turning off and on his aquariaum thing. DH bounds out of bed saying “Let me get him up.” I selflessly “let” him get the baby and close my eyes for a few extra minutes of quiet time. Big sigh, I love my husband and my happy morning baby. We SHOULD be in a laundry commercial.

“MY NAME YELLED LOUDLY”! “COME HERE, I NEED YOUR HELP!”. Drag myself upstairs. O is gurgling merrily on the changing table, a pair of socks in his mouth. (Hey, it used to be the medicine bottle until I realized that letting O “play” with medicine might lead to accidents and/or serious drug addiction as a teenager so who cares if he puts his dirty socks in his mouth?) Husband is holding O’s legs up. O has pooped so much and so hard it is CAKED onto him, all the way up his back to his neck and under his arms. It’s a two-man job. I’ll spare you the details, but it basically involves crazy yoga moves to get O out of the now-green jammies, multiple wipe-downs with an entire tub of wipes, and a bath because the SMELL doesn’t go away even when we manage to peel all of the poop off of him. All before 7 am.

As Husband and I are watching O happily kick and play in his whale tub, big blue eyes grinning contentedly at us, I think we REALLY should be in a laundry commerical. This is what it should look like. Not the easy homecoming, but the gross morning poops, the sleep interruption and the sweet aftermath. THIS is what laundry really looks like with a baby. Though I guess I should mention that we didn’t use some magic laundry detergent to clean the poop. We threw the nasty jammies away.

And Scene.

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But You Don’t Even Like Cupcakes

This is what my husband said to me when I suggested the name of this blog “Keep calm and have a cupcake”.  And he’s right. I am not really a cake person, and therefore not really a cupcake person.  He, on the other hand, LOVES cupcakes. There is one place in town that makes a cupcake that I like, a pumpkin one. But I scrape all of the icing off first and only eat half. And I eat it in the morning with a cup of coffee. So it’s basically a breakfast muffin by the time I get through with it.

Also the word “cupcake” brings to mind a certain type of girl. A bubbly girly-girl. A girl who likes pink. And sparkles. A girl who had no issues planning her wedding because there can never be too much pink and sparkles at a wedding. I am not this girl. I like these kind of girls, I have many friends who are girls like this and I envy the easy way they glide through life, because they want the things that girls are supposed to want.

Point being, I am not someone who you would expect to put the word “cupcake” in her blog title. But there it is. So to explain this, I should also explain that I am indecisive. Very indecisive. And I often put off making decisions because I can’t quite commit. And one of the biggest things that I have not been able to commit to is naming this blog. You see, I decided to write this in May of 2010. It’s now August. I have written many draft “posts”, but they all sit in my inbox of my gmail account. All because whenever I tried to name the blog, I panicked. That isn’t “me”, I would say. Or whine, depending on if you are listening to me or my husband. And I couldn’t possibly start a blog with a title that doesn’t work, that doesn’t immediately capture exactly who I am and what I believe in one catchy title.

I did my research. Being a lawyer has rubbed off on me in a few ways. And there are great blog titles out there. I got a journal. I started making lists. Lists of blog names I like. Lists of possible names. List of words I like. List of phrases I think are funny. Lists of anything that could possibly sum me up and define me. I’ve been carrying it around with me for months. And nothing is right. Or, if it is right, it’s already taken. Imagine that!

So I have been running some options by the husband. He hasn’t really liked any of them. And he does this annoying thing where he pulls apart the logic of things. It goes something like this.

Me: “How about DEFENESTRATION?”

Him: “Huh? What does that mean?”

Me: “Throwing things out the window.”

Him: “Why? What are you throwing out the window?”

Me: “I don’t know. Expectations? Being a lawyer? Does it matter?”

Him: “Yes, it matters. Why pick it if you don’t know why?”

Me: “I just like the way it sounds.”

Him: “Hmmm. I don’t know, it sounds a bit hostile.”

Back to the drawing board. So I am stuck treading water, wanting to write, wanting to make this blog part of my writing life, and yet, I can’t because I don’t have a name. Can I just tell you that it has taken me longer to come up with a blog title than it did for us to name our son? Seriously. There’s something wrong with that.

So last week I am at the bookstore. And I am standing in line about to pay. I am not paying much attention to anything around me, because this was the first free day I had since my new flex time started. This was the day I was to begin making writing a part of my everyday life. Start a blog, finish and submit my short stories, finish my screenplay and start a novel. Yet somehow I couldn’t do any of those things until I had a blog title. I am standing there, these thoughts egging each other on, so that by the time I get to the front of the line, they’ve pretty much started a riot, panic is rising, and I am about to admit defeat. Who am I kidding? I’m not really a writer. I can’t even write an anonymous blog. And then I notice the wall of books to my right, mostly suggestions by the store clerks. But there are a few gift items. And in the bottom right corner, below “Pillars of the Earth”  and beside “Eat Pray Love“, is this little journal. A hideous Pepto-Bismal pink cover. It had no business sitting besides the summer bestsellers. And yet, it sat there proudly. A little insouciantly. Like it knew it didn’t belong, and yet knew that it was secretly desired. And on the front, it said “Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake“.

And that was it. This silly pink journal made me laugh, and reminded me to get over myself. So I figured, why not? It’s not like I’m performing rocket surgery over here. And so what if it’s not “me”? If it was me, it would probably say something more like, “Shut up and drink your drink.” But that sounds a bit hostile and you don’t know me yet. And, you know, everybody likes cupcakes. Or at least normal people do, according to my husband. So here we go.

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My Son Is Trying To Kill Me (Or It’s a Good Thing Babies Are Cute)

Note:  This is a post from a previous blog originally posted on April 28, 2010.

 Today I am too tired to be clever.

My little smile monster woke me up at 3:12 am and I never went back to sleep. In the light of day, I realize the poor little guy is teething and all he wanted was his mom to comfort him. I get that, I really do. Often after a hard day, I wish my mom could come over and make me a chicken pot pie and comfort me. It’s a mom thing. But it’s hard to remember at 4:32 in the morning when not only will my son NOT go back to sleep alone in his crib, but he also won’t stay asleep if I lie down with him, which means he insists that I stay sitting upright. For hours. At that point, I really wonder if my son is trying to kill me. I often thought that in the first few weeks (ok months) of new motherhood. Sure he LOOKS sweet, but beneath that toothless gummy grin lies the masochistic brilliance of a totalitarian dictator.

I just forgot not only what I was going to write next, but my mind wandered into total blankness. I wasn’t thinking about anything else, it just went blank. And stayed there. It was comforting. See, his first plan of attack is already working. Wear her out, torture her with sleep deprivation to a state where she can’t fight back, in fact, doesn’t WANT to fight back, but is happy being mindless. Maybe O has read 1984 or A Wrinkle In Time while I am at work. Stewie on Family Guy is still just as funny to me, but now he makes me strangely nervous.

Oh yeah, I was going to tell you what a terrible mom I am. So there I am, sitting and rocking and singing the same stupid songs over and over that usually work (see Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, You Are My Sunshine, My Country Tis of Thee and This Land Is Your Land, sprinkled with On The Road Again and Crazy Eddie’s Last Hurrah when desperate). In between the singing and the rocking, there are multiple attempts to put him back in his crib (i.e., me standing up and holding my breath to see if his breathing pattern changes, checking for correct limpness, doing two more minutes of the shush and sway dance, just in case (yes,I count to 60 twice), then carefully laying him down so as to have negligent disruption of his position, and hold my breath as I tip-toe backwards and say the Lord’s Prayer). The end result is always the same- he pops up onto his knees like he is in an Usher video and lets out a hideous shriek that could signify torture or simple displeasure. When I pick him up for the who-knows-how-many-times, I have a talk with him. It went something like this:

Baby screaming. This scream is used for when he falls on his head OR when you dare to put him in his crib alone for a minute so you can go to the bathroom.
I pick him up. Screaming instantly stops. O squirms happily and makes cute mewing sounds.

First Time:
Me: Ok, baby, I know you don’t feel well, let’s rock a little bit longer. Sweet sweet thing. Mom misses you when I’m at work.

Second Time:
Me: Now, listen, Mommy NEEDS her sleep. This is ridiculous. Your crib is so comfy, remember, and you sleep there every night. Shhhh, sweetie, let’s go to sleep now.

Fifth Time:
Me: Baby Dictator’s Name, seriously dude, I CANNOT rock you for hours on end. Come on and go to sleep. Go to sleep. Stop smiling at me and GO TO SLEEP. No I am NOT playing.

Seventh time:
Me: This is fucking insane. Mom has to go to WORK in a few hours, I canNOT handle this, and WHERE is your father? Work trip my ass, he’s sleeping soundly somewhere. We should call and wake him up. You know this is why moms shake their kids, right? Are you just testing me?

Yes I really did say those terrible, awful things. In a sing-song whisper of course, because I didn’t want to upset him or wake him up more.

He tossed and turned and whimpered and cried and laughed in his sleep all night long (the laughing part is what convinces me he is plotting against me) but the instant it was time to “wake-up” (which was 6:30 am, mind you, still dark out), he sat up quite determinedly, popped open his eyes, grinned at me, placed his little hands on my cheeks and said “Bah!”. And my heart melted. In the saneness that is morning, (which means after I’ve had my large cup of coffee) of course I know he was just not feeling well. Who wouldn’t rather sleep all snuggled up against something warm and safe and unconditional? Poor thing has me for a mom. While he thinks he’s all safe, I’m up there whisper-yelling obscentities at my poor sweet innocent baby.

I also sing “Rude Boy” by Rihanna to him. So inappropriate, but he laughs when I sing the “Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up boy” part. And I will do anything to make my little precious laugh.

So totally off topic. I intended to post about my master cosmic “To Do” list that hopefully will be the driving force behind my attempt to change my life in mid-stride. But as I say often in momma land, tomorrow is another day. Unless it’s a night where your baby doesn’t let you sleep, in which case tomorrow is still today.

Please note: I did not and would not shake my child. Please don’t call protective services on me. It’s called sarcasm, I am teaching it to him early. Also, “bah” means good morning, oh look a cat/dog/squirrel, woo hoo a star puff/Blackberry device/ball of fuzz I can shove in my mouth, or pretty much anything exciting to an 8 month old. Bah is the highest form of praise from O.

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Crossing the Rubicon

“Crossing The Rubicon” is an old phrase which means “the point at which one becomes irrevocably committed”. During Roman times, the Rubicon was a river in Italy and to cross it with your army was to make a statement of war. The phrase came into being when Caesar led his army across the Rubicon in 49 B.C..

I recently came across this phrase and have been rolling it around in my brain for a few weeks. The phrase “irrevocably committed” struck me in the forehead like a Harry Potter lightning tattoo. It sounds so strong, so dangerous, so final. Being irrecovably committed. Point of no return. I wonder at which point when Caesar “crossed the Rubicon” that it was considered that he was making a declaration of war. When he dipped his toe in? When he was waist-deep? When he got to the middle of the river? When his troops began to follow him? When he arrived on the other side?

I like to think it was when he dipped his first toe in.  Becoming irrevocably committed is kind of a big deal. It’s something that one should think about, consider, mull over and discuss over lots and lots of wine first. To lead your men into battle, to declare your intentions to the world is a bold move. And you’d better be sure.

I am a lawyer and a mother. One was a happy accident and one was what happens when you let life lead you. One makes me deliriously happy and deliriously tired, and the other just makes me tired.  The writer in me stayed quiet for many years, content to let me go to happy hours and drink wine with my best friends and spend all my lawyer money on gorgeous shoes. When I had all the time in the world, the writer within was content to slumber. Now though. Now I have no time. And the writer in me is prancing and prattling and knocking on the door of my brain, demanding to be let out, demanding to finally be heard.

After the birth of my son, I had a bit of an identity earthquake. I am still struggling to put the pieces back together of who I am or will be. But the one thing that is very clear to me is that I can no longer think that “someday” I will realize my dreams, that I can no longer wait for my “someday” over the rainbow. I have to chase those dreams now, for him. I want to teach him to follow your passion, to dream big and to never settle for ordinary. And how can I do that when I am not following my own advice? If I do this right, I won’t even have to tell him all of those cliches. He will learn by example.

In this past year of juggling motherhood and work and writing, I have been given a gift. For the next 6 months, I am working a flex time schedule. Which means I only have to work like a normal person and not like a crazy person. Which means that I get to actually spend time with my son. Which also means that a time warp has suddenly opened in front of me. I have six months to try to become a Writer. To stop talking about writing, and start doing. To become Irrevocably Committed.

So, this blog is my declaration of war. On myself. On talking and dreaming and not doing. I am dipping my toe in the water.

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