Thursday, September 28, 2006

If only I had known

Originally uploaded by jesslee23.
I remember the first time I met him. I was dropping my best friend's little brother off at a house party and he came outside. Sauntered up to my window and asked me if I was over 18. He was so sure of himself. I had a boyfriend at the time but, then again, I always had boyfriends. Nothing ever serious. I thought that I had been in love before but I hadn't. I changed boyfriends weekly. I got bored easily. He intrigued me with his opening line. I always liked the bad boy and here was this guy, fresh out of California, with a ponytail and tattoos. So incredibly confidant. He knew that he could have any girl there. So I went into his house. I saw the girls all lined up, waiting for him to choose who he would be with that night. And I decided that I wanted him. For a toy. He asked me if I had a boyfriend. I told him I did. He asked me if I wanted another one. I smiled and let him kiss me.

The next day I broke up with my boyfriend. We decided that we would just be friends. He had just gotten out of his marriage and had teenage boy to think about. I took him to my special spot on our first outing. The place I had always gone to think and write and just stare into the lake. We stayed up until 3 in the morning, just talking. I opened my heart to him and he shared his life with me. We decided not to be just friends. A week later I moved in.

I started to notice how much he drank. How he changed. How mean he could be. So possessive. So jealous. So sure of what I wasn't, he lost sight of what I was. But we stayed together. Teenage boy grew. He decided that I was going to be his mommy even though it was (and still is) a title I do not deserve. He asked me to marry him. I said yes, even though I was concerned. I made him sign a contract that he would not get too drunk to drive to our wedding night. I walked up the aisle thinking that I was making the biggest mistake of my life. But teenage boy was part of the equation. I wanted to have a legal right to him. The wedding happened. He continued to drink. Life started to fall down around my ears. But I was just as bad. I went out with him. I brought beer home. I didn't let him tell me his stories. I didn't want to hear about his demons anymore. Maybe if he had only been able to share...

One night we went out to the bar. He took off. I didn't know where he was and got very upset. He came back an hour later and I lit into him. He walked out to the car with me following him. We drove home. We fought. He hit me. I left.

That was the last time he touched alcohol. That was 7 years ago. He has fought with his demons and won. I have forgiven him. Teenage boy has forgiven him. My marriage has gone from bad to pretty good. We have our moments. I don't communicate. He doesn't apologize. I struggled watching my dad die from liver disease due to alcoholism because the support was not there. He is hard. He is stubborn. And yet. And yet he is so much of me. He is my light. He is my protector. With him I truly feel safe. He has held my attention for 12 years. I watch the lines start to etch in his face and I think of how we were. How young. How naive. Unaware of the hardships and heartaches we would have along the way. He is my love and I don't believe that there could be another.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The ties that bind.

Originally uploaded by jesslee23.
Sounds kinky, yes? Unfortunately, it's not. I have been doing a lot of thinking about parenting lately. And I am tired. I am tired of feeling the need to apologize for my children. Child, mostly. I am tired of the looks. The whispers. The disapproving body language that SCREAMS "if you would just control your child..."

Here's the deal. Little boy has celiac disease. Celiac is an affliction that leaves the body unable to process gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in grains like wheat, rye, oat and barley. People with celiac disease suffer from all sorts of maladies. Such as stomach cramps, failure to thrive, no immune system, intestinal distress, hyperactivity, manic behavior, etc etc etc. This list isn't even complete. This is just what we deal with with little boy on a daily basis. If he were to continue to ingest gluten on a regular basis we would deal with the possibility of him contracting bone disease, such as rickets, intestinal cancer and even schizophrenia. Celiac sucks. It is something that is doable. But it sucks.

We started thinking that little boy had "issues" when he was just a baby. He started getting sick. Put in the hospital, calling child protective services because mom obviously is making this baby sick, completely stop growing sick. It's sad when your child's file rivals yours in size. And you're the one that went through IF. He has been in and out of the hospital since he was 6 months old. They could not figure out what was wrong with him. They told us that they thought it was leukemia. Imagine our relief when we were told it was "just" a diet issue. But that does not give it enough weight.

He has been gluten free for 2 1/2 years. And he's doing well. He's growing. He's not sick ALL the time anymore. But life is not perfect and neither are people. He continues to have reactions because he continues to ingest gluten. His reactions have changed over the years. He has gone from throwing up immediately to being completely manic. Unable to sit still. Unable to focus his eyes on you. His eyes jump around more than a crack head talking to the po-po. He still has a distended belly and looks malnourished. He jumps. He is unable to process right from wrong. He cannot hear you tell him no. But he is sweet. He loves and feels SO much. He wants to please. I just wish people could see that.

I hate having the child that is labeled. You know...he's THAT kind of kid. The one that if I ask you to babysit, you have to think about it. The one that is challenging and high maintenance. And I hate hate hate hate hate that people assume that he's a bad kid or we are bad parents. I feel like I am forever trying to explain to people that he's reacting. That's not who he really is. He's only four years old. He doesn't have the verbal capability to sit and rationalize with you why he is pissed off and doesn't feel well, he just knows that he is. He tells you in the only way he knows how.

Woulda Coulda Shoulda has it exactly right. I am tired of apologizing for little boy. I want people to see his spirit. See what I see when I look at him. I want people to, if not love him, to accept him. Yes, he is flawed. Yes, he has issues. So do I. So do you. Get over it.

And when they don't...when they cluck their tongues and roll their eyes, I want to take a lesson from little boy. I want to run and yell. Because if I run fast enough and if I yell loud enough, their opinion will cease to matter.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It was cute the first time.

cuddle boy
Originally uploaded by jesslee23.
So the boys and I were watching Drake and Josh last night (shut it!) and there was a fake clip from a fake 70's show. This little girl's catch phrase was, That is not my job. Go back and read that again but get the head movement, arm motion and complete attitude in there. Done? Ok, now we can move on. All three of us laughed (which, ok, once again...Shut it!) but I didn't realize how affected little boy was until this morning.

There he was, my sweet little boy in the feety jammies. Sleep still nestled in the corners of his eyes. He asks me for milky. I put it in a cup for him and stretch it towards him, asking him to take it downstairs. Imagine my surprise when he got an evil glint in his eye, put his little hand on his hip and said, "Uh, Momma? That is not my job!"

And then I killed him.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The hangover lasted for 48 hours

Please, someone, anyone, remind me to never do that again. Best friend and I started drinking beer before the babysitter even arrived. We went and had another pitcher before the movie. By then? It sounded like an AWESOME idea to put a six pack in my purse and take it into the theatre with us. Which, ok, it was kind of awesome. But. The movie sucked. We left early. Of course, maybe we left early because I kicked one of my empty bottles over and it rolled all. the. way. down to the front of the theatre. That's not conspicuous (huh?) or anything.

Then we headed for food and more beer. I was making the bartender take pictures of us all night. Those turned out interesting! I actually ran into the bartender yesterday uptown and he looked at me and just started to laugh.

I felt like dog on Sunday and all day yesterday. But oh my gosh we had fun!

Anybody wanna go hang out?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

It's Saturday!

OK, I'm totally lame. There is nothing new in my life. No new drama. No new throw up to clean up. Just the weekend. I say that like it's no big deal. I love the weekend. I live for the weekend. Yeah, I know...unusual, right? Nobody else ever waits for those 2 elusive days to arrive.

Best friend and I got a babysitter for the kids tonight and are heading out. Dinner and a movie. Sounds like a perfect date to me. We're going to see Little M*ss Sunsh*ne. The men folk are out hunting and gathering (i sound so pioneer like when i say that)...hence the babysitter.

WOW. The quality of my writing boggles the mind.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My life is so exciting...seriously.

1 bowl of spaghetti for dinner
+1 4 year old with an upset tummy

Ewww ewww ewww ewww ewww ewww ewww

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Burned into my memory.

Sheila Hein & Peggy Neff
Originally uploaded by jesslee23.
I was living in a bubble on 9/11/01. I was newly pregnant after struggling to get that way. Absorbed in getting teenage boy to school on time every day, paying the bills, being with friends and loving my life. The leaves had just started to turn on the big mountain ash tree in my front yard. My favorite season, autumn, was almost upon me. I was happy.

September 11 started out as any other morning. The T.V. was off. Teenage boy (not a teenager then) and I chatted while he got ready for school and I got ready for work. The bus came and picked him up. I continued to get ready. And then the phone rang. My mom was on the other line asking me if T.B. was still there. When I told her that he was not, she told me to turn on the t.v. The Today show came on and I saw that Katie was holding back tears. Something major was happening. No one was sure what was going on yet. I sat on my couch, all alone in my house and stared in disbelief. I watched the towers come down. I saw the smoking Pentagon with the gaping hole. I saw the faces, heard the cries and could swear that I smelled the smoke from Montana. It was a day that changed me forever.

That night, my husband and I sat on the couch all night and watched the reports. We felt so shocked that this had happened. How had this happened? But I still had him. He still had me. We would wake up from the nightmare, we would go on. So many people did not have that opportunity. Their nightmare continues to this day. They have been deprived of someone that they love.

Let me tell you about Sheila Hein. Sheila was a native of Springfield, Mass who joined the Navy right out of high school and was sent to Virginia. She spent 10 years in the service, working as a photographer. After the service, she ventured into a career in computer graphics, working on government contracts.

Sheila and her partner, Peggy Neff were together for 17 years before that horrible day. They purchased a home together that had been labeled a true fixer upper. They transformed the back yard from a "tangle of overgrown bush" to their "own private sanctuary". They put in the flagstone patio themselves, Sheila designed the meticulously kept gardens and Peggy loved to point out the homey benches tucked in quiet corners. "She is what this yard is," Peggy said. "There's a whole lot of love here."

Sheila was a member of a steam train club and she loved to read. They had recently purchased bikes because Sheila had convinced Peggy that they should ride together. They rode 6 times. Why is that so poignant to me? Why is that the part that sprung tears to my eyes? These women, this couple, had plans. And they only got six rides.

Sheila had worked at the Pentagon for the five years previous to the attacks as a visual information specialist for the Army and had only recently changed jobs. She was at the Pentagon that day taking part in an Army internship, studying manpower analysis.

She has been remembered for having a wry, open wit and as being a pleasure to work with and know. Her bright smile and bouncy curls are still missed.

I feel like I know Sheila now after the research that I have done. But that is just a myth. I do not know her. I would have been honored to know her. She was passionate about her friends and her loves, that much is so apparent from the memorials I read.

Sheila Hein, you have made an impact on my life in a way that I did not anticipate. I did not expect to become emotionally involved in this project. But I did. Oh, I did. Your life was cut too short. Thank you for the legacy you left.


Go read other tributes here:

Friday, September 08, 2006

September 11 Memorial

I know that there are going to be a ton of memorials happening over the next week or so but this is my way to do my part. I will never ever forget that day. Sitting on the couch in disbelief...completely unable to comprehend what was really going on.

But for me, I was not directly affected. I did not have to wake up the next day without the love of my life. I did not have to look out my windows at rubble and smell the smoke. Because of this, I am taking part in a project that is taking each victim and assigning it to a single blogger who will in turn post a memorial on their blog about that person. Its amazing, and they still need bloggers to help!

The victim that I have been assigned is Sheila Hein. In the meantime, Go Sign Up to honor someone yourself!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

There goes the neighborhood.

*Post deleted due to heavy increase in traffic and just plain nasty*