Because He Loves Me

It’s early. The rest of the house sleeps soundly as I drag myself into the bathroom to prepare for the day. The lights are harsh when I flick them on, and I close my eyes to the intrusion, giving myself a moment to adjust to the idea of being awake.

Coffee would be nice. So would two (or six) more hours of sleep.

But the day will continue on without me, so I yawn, scrub my hands over my face, and turn on the shower. Ten minutes later, I swipe my hand over the mirror, erasing what’s left of the steam. It’s the first time I’ve noticed my own reflection today, and I immediately begin the silent, inner criticisms that have become so ingrained, they’re involuntary. It’s a daily thing, this taking stock of my own flaws.

Hair, frizzled from constant tiny hands, and greying at the temples. Eyebrows in desperate need of plucking. Dark circles like caverns under my eyes. Skin splotchy, with ruddy cheeks from lack of nutrition and sunlight. The extra twenty pounds I’ve packed on, heavy at my chin, my middle, my backside; a constant reminder that I need to stop living on Poptarts and coffee and start getting back to the gym regularly. Chipped nail polish on my toes. So many things I need to fix about my appearance.

I sigh, knowing there isn’t time to deal with most of these issues right now. I pull my hair up in a haphazard “mom bun,” brush my teeth, and add a little lip gloss and some mascara as a confidence booster.

At that moment, I hear my son begin to stir from his crib. I tug on some jeans and a loose-fitting tee, slide my feet quickly into my trusty ballet flats, and make it into the nursery just as he comes fully awake.

“Well, good morning, my gorgeous boy,” I coo at him, a giant smile plastered on my tired, puffy face.

The baby sees me for the first time, as I lean over the bars of his crib to greet him, and that’s when it happens.

His eyes light up, and a giant smile spreads across his face. With sleep still in his eyes, he begins waving his chubby little arms at me, wiggling in anticipation of the hug that he knows is coming. I scoop him up and he wraps his arms around me, burying his face into my neck.

“I’m so glad to see you, too,” I murmur, and he pulls back to look at me. Still smiling, he pats my cheek with his hand, his crystal blue eyes twinkling with happiness.

And in those moments, I forget about the dark circles, and the extra pounds, and the fact that I haven’t had a haircut since last year. In those moments, it doesn’t matter that my front teeth are a little crooked or that I need to repaint my toenails.

In those moments, I’m the most beautiful woman in the world, because he loves me.

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Photo credit to Erin Rose Photography.

Happy Birthday, Abby Gabs!!

Five years ago today, I launched my brand new, shiny blog, filled with all the possibilities that an aspiring writer can hope for. I had a million ideas. And for nearly 3 years, I blogged practically every single day.

Seriously. Between February of 2011 and December of 2013, I’d published almost 450 blogs.

(I was pretty impressed with myself, especially since I had to bust out my calculator to do math.)

I’ve become a little less prolific since the heyday of Abby Gabs, but I’m still determined to keep this little site going. It’s not just given me a place to put down my thoughts, or to stretch my creative muscles, but it’s brought me so much joy. The Gabs isn’t just a blog for me. With it, I’m a creator, a writer, an artist, a comedian. I am clever, and funny, and relevant. Abby Gabs makes me a better me.

And so, in celebration of my fifth birthday as a blogger, I’d like to present to you my favorite blog from each of the years I’ve been writing for Abby Gabs. (This is my version of a clip show—you know, the one where they inundate you with scenes from episodes past? Slightly annoying, super-endearing, but always worth the watch.)

An Announcement of Epic Proportions (Published October 16, 2015)

I don’t think it will surprise anyone that my absolute favorite post from last year is the one where I announce to the world that we are finally, FINALLY parents. While it may not be my best piece of writing ever, the beautiful comments we received will forever remain in my heart. Bringing Kal home was the best day of my life, and I was thrilled to finally get to share it with my readers.

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Enthusiastically Eating My Veggies Today (Published December 11, 2014)

A dream blog involving salad, Justin Timberlake, and back-up dancers. There’s really not much else I can say. This post is quintessentially Abby Gabs.

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The Infertility List Blog (Published September 24, 2013)

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This one may be a bit of a controversial pick. Here’s why it’s my favorite from 2013: it is INCREDIBLY difficult to find humor in life’s hardest moments, and I feel like I really managed to do it with the topic of infertility here. Sure, it may be uncomfortable for some people to read, but I dove into the depths of my comedic soul to find a way to write about something very important and very personal. To me, that equals epic blog fodder. And it’s why this post isn’t just one of my favorites from 2013, but one of my top 5 favorite Abby Gabs, ever.

How a Weekend Sale At the Mall Made Me Feel Like a Granny (Published Dec. 29, 2012)

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By this time in my blogging career, I’d become much more comfortable publishing my cartoonish illustrations. Why? Because they make the funny story even funnier. This is one of those moments when my story-telling skills merged happily with my artistic-skills, creating the perfect blog of funny, which is why it made the list.

 

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I Finally Know I’m Not Alone (Published April 4, 2011)

This blog introduced the world to my arachnophobia. It also introduced the world to my ability to pull my face like a Muppet for the sake of comedy. It also introduced to the world the fact that I have no shame, and will do anything for a laugh. In short, it gave me permission to be as silly as I wanted to be on a public forum…and I never looked back.

(The only bad part about this blog is that it gave the world permission to tease me regarding my fear, because I’d teased myself. That resulted in endless spider posts to my Facebook page, in hopes that they would receive an animated and Oscar-worthy response. So…it sort of back-fired. But it was worth it.) (Mostly.)

Do you have a favorite Abby Gabs moment that wasn’t included in this list? I’d love to know which ones you love best, because it was incredibly hard to make these choices.

Except for the J.T. blog. That one makes me laugh every. Single. Time.

Look, Y’all! I Wrote A Blog! (One-Handed)

The last six (almost seven?!) months have passed by in an absolute whirlwind, with a million tiny spectacular moments suspended in time, like so many dragonflies in amber, waiting to be reexamined and  treasured in the months to come.

And the fact that it took me thirty minutes to think out and type that sentence with my left thumb, on an app from my phone, with a squirmy baby taking up four-fifths of my attention, is just one of those shiny moments I’ll remember in my old age. “Remember when I used to type one-handed?” I’ll say to no one in particular from the confines of my rocking chair, which probably won’t rock as much as levitate, and will come equipped with its own hologram television, WiFi internet connection (password protected), and locator beacon for my more widespread adventures.

I’m getting distracted. Let me start again.

I’m a mom. A fully-entrenched, pureed sweet potatoes in my hair, dark circles under my eyes, laughing till my sides hurt, worrying till my brain aches, honest to goodness, bonefide mom. I spend my days adoring this child, and my life couldn’t be more perfect.

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I have become well-versed in all things teething, submersed myself into the world of baby sign language and environment enrichment, and know way more about poop than any medical professional on the planet. (Pretty sure a doctor has to take a course called “Baby Poop: It’s Many Forms and Functions” in order to get their license. And yours truly could teach it.) But the one skill that has become the most valuable, and the one I use most frequently on a day to day basis, is the ability that moms across the globe have been perfecting for generations: that of being able to thrive with the limited use of only one hand.

In true Abby Gabs fashion, I leave you with a list of things I’ve managed to accomplish (nay — master) in my short time as a mother. Enjoy.

Things I’ve Done With One Hand (and Occasionally, My Toes)

* Picked up a dropped pacy/toy/blanket (most impressive when performed with my toes)
* Updated my Facebook status
* Perfected the “Mommy and Me” selfie

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* Made (multiple) daily cups of coffee
* In that same vein, made hundreds of perfectly toasted PopTarts (that covers the two main Mommyhood food groups)
* Cooked dinner (because warming up leftovers totally constitutes cooking)
* Pet a purring, sleeping kitty
* Loaded and unloaded the dishwasher
* Answered my phone (or, more likely, frantically smashed buttons or swiped the screen in order to silence my phone before it woke a sleeping baby.
* Rocked a restless kiddo in his car seat while blow drying my hair (this is another toes thing)
* Cheered maniacally (and relatively quietly) as my Carolina Panthers smashed their way into the upcoming Super Bowl!!
* Sorted, washed, dried, folded, and put away laundry.
* Caught an epic baby vomit with a burp cloth, singlehandedly avoiding a giant mess and therefore, more loads of laundry.
* Vacuumed. My whole apartment. Like a boss.
* Carefully maintained precious friendships with those I used to see far more regularly than I do now. (I’m a text messaging, Facebooking, digital-corresponding expert.)
* Blown my nose. (Not kidding. That’s Yoda-level parenting, people.)
* Surfed for a better television program. Not so impressive one handed. Circus-level impressive when done with toes.
* Written a blog.

While I’ve mastered the art of surviving with one hand (and sometimes toes,) the most important part of it all is finishing those tasks so I can finally, happily get back to the important stuff: playing tickle monster, steadying a wobbly baby who’s learning to crawl, snuggling him close when he wants to nap. Those things require both hands…and five-fifths of my attention. So til next time readers, stay tuned for the next installment of Abby Gabs: “Funny Things I Did With Only Four Hours of Sleep.”

Days to Remember

On the day I found out about you…
Daddy was at work, and so was I. The day was slow, and uneventful, with only the long Memorial Day weekend ahead to look forward to. We’d tried so hard to remain positive, and to hold each other up, as we made our way along this emotional, bumpy path toward you. But it seemed, on that day, that you would never come.

Until the phone rang.

When I heard the words, “She picked you and Brian,” you could have knocked me over with a feather. We had applied for you over two months previous to that phone call, and had given up hope that we would be chosen. We’d tried to forget about you, to move on with our lives. And then…this. I never even saw you coming, Baby Boy. Until that moment, you were a lovely dream; one that seemed far away and hazy around the edges.

And then I heard those words, and you came into sharp, gorgeous focus. And our hearts soared.

On the day I met you…
It was hot and sticky and unbearably humid outside. Once again, your Daddy was at work, and we’d planned to just get through the weekend so we could finally, FINALLY start packing our bags and getting organized for your big arrival. Your nursery was mostly done, your crib had been assembled. We’d stocked up the shelves with diapers and wipes and even a few onesies. We’d done almost everything we needed to, except get ourselves ready for the big day. We had three whole weeks, and were convinced we had the time.

Until the phone rang.

When I heard the words, “He’s coming! The baby is coming!” my heart nearly fell at my feet. You were coming 3 weeks early, and we were 3 hours away, and I was desperate to get to you before you made your debut into the world. I scrambled to pack while I called your Daddy, and your Grammy, and our lawyer, and our social worker, and everyone else I could think of. When your Daddy got home from work, we hugged, we cried, and we marveled at the miracle of you. And then we made the three hour trek to finally, finally meet you.

You were born while we were stuck in rush hour traffic. But two long, frustrating, heart-fluttering hours later, I saw your face for the first time.

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And my whole world changed.

On the day that we brought you home…
We’d spent ten days hovering over you, worrying about every feeding, every med, and every hiccup. Yearning to touch you when we couldn’t, wanting to cuddle you when you needed rest more than snuggles, made those days a mixture of grief and gratitude. We gazed in wonder at your tiny perfect fingers, the shape of your chin, the sound of your cries. We loved you before we ever even knew about you, but in those ten days, you made a permanent home for yourselves in the hearts of two people who wanted you more than you can ever know.

And when we finally heard the words, “He’s cleared for discharge,” we hugged, and we laughed, and we whispered in your ear.

“It’s time to go home.”

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As we pulled away from the hospital that had been starting to feel like home, your Daddy looked up into the rear view mirror and caught my eyes. There were tears shining there, and even though I couldn’t see his face, I could hear the smile in his voice when he said, “They actually let us leave with a BABY! Can you believe it??!”

And we laughed.

On the day you became official…
My heels clicked on the marble floor as we entered the court house. The reverence of the day settled over me like a warm sweater, and I felt the emotions well up in my chest as we passed by the giant statue of Lady Justice in the foyer. Your Gram pushed you in the stroller through the corridors, bustling with activity, and your Daddy and I followed in her wake. When the elevator doors opened, we met up with our lawyer–the woman who is solely responsible for bringing you into our lives. She quietly walked us through what to expect during the court proceedings, reminding us to be calm, telling us it was okay to be emotional. She went over the questions she would ask each of us on the stand, and your Daddy and I exchanged a glance of worry when we were told we would be asked to explain to the court why we wanted to adopt you.

“I’m going to cry,” I said.

“And that’s okay,” our lawyer said.

And so, in we went. I held you snuggled to my chest, and you slept as Daddy was sworn in, and gave his testimony. When asked “The Question,” he paused, gathered his thoughts, and said, “It’s just what we’ve always wanted–to be a family. We have so much love to give. And I know we’ll be awesome parents.”

I heard your grandparents sniffling behind me, and knew if I turned around, I would join them. So instead, I kissed your head, passed you to Daddy, and made my way up to the stand.

I had a whole speech planned, Kal. You would have been so proud of me–flowery words that would weave the tale of our journey to you in such a way that everyone would understand exactly what you mean to us. But when she asked me to explain why I wanted you, all of that went out the window. I simply shrugged, a single tear trickling down my cheek. I leaned forward to the microphone, took a deep breath, and answered the only way I knew how.

“Because he is everything.”

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And you are.

There have been so many days to remember in the three months you’ve been in our lives. Moments that left me breathless, that have solidified our bond. Quiet moments in the middle of the night when you wrap your fingers around mine and fall asleep. Laughter and giggles and moments of sheer joy that fill my heart with so much gladness. Those days will only continue, my love, my heart. My son. Welcome to the family.

An Announcement of Epic Proportions

If you’ve had a hankering for some Abby Gabs in recent months, you’ve been sadly disappointed. In fact, if you’ve visited my little website any time since mid-July, you’ve found yourself faced with the dreaded message “Site Not Found.”

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I’ve had many excuses for not writing before: vacation, writer’s block, lack of creativity. But never before have I left my precious site in “construction” mode. There’s never been a reason to do that before…until very recently. And believe me when I say that this time, I’ve had a really, really good reason for being MIA from the blogosphere.

Readers, meet ‘Kal.’

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This precious baby boy came into our lives over the summer, and I can honestly say that we have NEVER been happier. *Cue angelic harmonies of a full choir, along with 100 white doves.*

Kal is sweet-natured, happy as a clam, and is obviously the most gorgeous child on the face of the planet in all of time and history.

Obviously.

When you are finally given everything you’ve ever wanted, after years of hoping and dreaming…well, readers, I can only describe it as that joyful feeling you got in the center of your chest as a child on Christmas morning. It’s that fluttery, happy, excited, slightly dizzying feeling, when the possibility of the day lies ahead of you, and you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it’s going to be good. Like, really, really good. The only difference? It’s a perpetual state of being. Even in my most exhausted state–when I’ve had less than 3 hours of sleep, and my nerves are frazzled, and I haven’t eaten since Tuesday, and my hair looks like a furry animal has nested there–when I finally place this sweet, sleeping angel into his bed, and I look down on his cherubic face, I feel like I could fly.

I have learned a few important things about myself since finally joining the sorority known as “Motherhood.”

  1. I can function on about 4 hours of sleep, and 6 hours straight feels like I’ve been on vacation in Jamaica for a week.
  2. If I thought I was capable of pulling funny faces for the sake of getting a laugh on this blog, it’s nothing compared to the faces, sounds, and silly things I will do to make my son laugh.
  3. There are fewer things in this world that will make me swoon like a gummy baby grin. Seriously. Kittens are cute, but NOTHING is cuter than a toothless grin. Especially because they’re ALWAYS 100% genuine.
  4. Coffee and Pop-Tarts aren’t just a way of life, they are necessary for the survival of mankind.
  5. I’ve finally found my true calling in life. No, not just motherhood. But Baby Stylist. I’m a onesie guru.

The one thing that hasn’t been entirely surprising to me is the brand new love and respect I feel for Brian. Y’all know how much I adore this man—I make no bones about it here on this space, or anywhere else in the universe, for that matter. But seeing him with Kal, watching him shower this kid with absolute adoration, overhearing the conversations about all the fun they’re going to have in the coming years…well. I love Brian more now than I ever have before. Seeing him finally become the father he was meant to be is more than a simple, happy thing.  It is my greatest pleasure. The song in my soul. It’s…everything.

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That little popping sound you just heard? It was my heart exploding into a million little pieces. Holy crap, y’all. I adore them so.

To all of you who prayed for us, who donated money and stuff to sell, who gave us your precious time to help us raise the funds we’d need, to those who sent out positive vibes and energy into the universe in the hopes that we would finally, FINALLY find our baby—-from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. The universe heard your pleas, and as of today, October 16, at 11 AM, our little family has OFFICIALLY grown by one set of adorable feet.

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Cutest toes on earth.

Stay tuned for the changes coming to Abby Gabs in the coming weeks and months. Actually, it won’t be that much different than what you’re used to. You can still expect funny, heartfelt posts from me about the goings-on in our lives, maybe the occasional tear-jerker post about all the many emotions that being a new mother can bring. Some of my posts will make sense; most of them probably won’t, at least until we’re sleeping through the night again. The only difference? We’re now a party of 3.

We Are Charleston Strong

Charleston. My beautiful home. The place I’ve written love letters to a thousand times over, the beaches I seek for mental clarity, the city I adore.

Photo credit: Abby Chamberlain

Photo credit: Abby Chamberlain

When the news broke last week about the brutal murders at Mother Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston, my heart shattered. “Not here,” I thought to myself. “Not our people. There has been enough blood spilled here—please let it not be true.” But the news kept coming–nine lives lost, for no other reason than blatant hatred and racism. A grandmother, a recent college grad, a senator, a beloved librarian, more. Their faces graced my news feed and my television screen, and I mourned their loss with the rest of the country.

The Charleston Nine. Photo credit to Live 5 News

The Charleston Nine. Photo credit to Live 5 News

And then, in an outpouring of love and unity, in the wake of tragedy, my city came together. We walked together into the sunset, holding hands and waving signs, hugging each other and singing hymns. Black and white. Young and old. Man and woman and child. We, Charleston, took the hatred that had been poured through the barrel of a .45, turned it into LOVE, and multiplied it by thousands.

Photo Credit to Buzzfeed

Photo Credit to Buzzfeed

Photo Credit to Live 5 News, Charleston

Photo Credit to Live 5 News, Charleston

Through tears and with sad hearts, we spoke their names from our lips. We flew our South Carolina flags, and we donned our blue and white in honor of those we lost. And we made a vow to push for true social change.

Strides are already being made to remove the Confederate flag from the capital grounds in Columbia. That led to other states re-examining their own laws in regards to that symbol that reflects hatred as much as heritage. When rumors came about that notorious protesters from Westboro Baptist Church were on the way to Charleston to picket outside of the funerals of the dead, our local governments stepped up and banned their rallies, sending them packing. Charlestonians showed up to the events in droves anyway, standing shoulder to shoulder, refusing to let hate leech into the love we as a city have worked to hard to display over the last several days.

We cannot change our history; we can only learn from it. We cannot affect change by remaining silent; so we raise our voices to the sky. We cannot learn to love our fellow man from the pages of a history book; we must look at one another as humans, and embrace one another regardless of religious affiliations, belief systems, and the color of our skin.

And we continue to teach future generations that love will always win.

*****

Addendum: As I was working on this post–one I started days ago and have been tweaking and editing ever since–it seemed remarkable to me that EVEN MORE love came across my news feed. The Supreme Court ruled today that gay marriage is now to be legal across the nation. As I sat on my couch and watched the President deliver his eulogy at Senator Pinckney’s funeral, as I listened to him sing the first verse of ‘Amazing Grace,’ I felt that same love Charleston displayed being felt across the country. And so I came back to this post, so I could finally publish it. All in the name of love.

Graphic credited to the GLAAD Facebook page

Graphic credited to the GLAAD Facebook page

 

A Celebration of the Stupid Crap We Did In The 80s

A dear friend of mine shared the funniest article about parenting with me the other day. If you’d like to read it, just click on the picture below:

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This happy little dude is sitting in a 1970s car seat. Cute how that was considered safe, huh?

You’ll be shocked to learn that I wasn’t a parent in the 80s. But let me tell you what I was, readers. I was a KID. And some of the awesome stuff highlighted in this very article were projects my brother and I made up in order to keep ourselves occupied on those long, school-less summer days.

For instance…my little brother had a Little Tykes Cozy Coupe:

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Every kid in the neighborhood did. Am I right?

It didn’t take us long to figure out that not-so-difficult math equation between his car, my bike, and my trusty old jump rope.

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We didn’t have to be a geniuses to figure out that if we tethered the car to the bicycle with a few solid knots, that we’d just created the world’s most basic roller coaster.

Thankfully (for my parents’ peace of mind, and their insurance bills) we only had one small hill in our front yard. It wasn’t like we lived in the mountains or anything. However, that small little hill gave us just enough momentum to make us feel like we were REALLY flying. I can still vividly remember the anticipation of that moment—the count down, the squeals of delight from my brother behind me, the feel of the wind in my mullet. Every single time my front tire sloped down the first few inches of grassy hill, my heart would skip a beat. It was, in a word, awesome.

And totally worth the ten sweaty minutes it would take us to untie the car, push it and the bike back to the top of the hill, re-secure our roller coaster of awesomeness, and do it all over again.

But don’t worry, friends–I was a responsible 10-year old. My 4-year-old little brother was instructed to keep his feet up and over the dashboard. And on the days when we were REALLY feeling like dare devils, I always made him borrow the helmet from his My Pet Monster.

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He never got a concussion. Not once.

When Blogs Go Silent

As a blogger, at some point you realize it’s been a few days since your last post. Maybe you’re strapped for time, or your creativity is on vacation. Either way, that need to publish something worthwhile sits on your shoulder like a tiny little troll, reminding you on a daily basis that you’re not writing.

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(Extra points to anyone who recognizes the font in this graphic.)

Yes, blog troll. I’ve noticed. Thanks for rubbing salt into a gaping, open, “Trauma in the ER” type wound. Ow.

Eventually a week goes by. Two. Maybe even three. You’re out living your life, spending time with friends, paying bills, going to the gym, doing whatever it is that you do that keeps you away from your keyboard. But every time you have a free minute to yourself, that troll starts speaking up again.

“You’re losing readers!”

“You haven’t had any page views since May!”

“C’mon, there’s bound to be SOMETHING you can write about! Sit down and do it!”

And then, inevitably, at some point in your blogging career, you will look at your last “recent” post and realize it was published almost two months ago. You’ll realize it’s been a few weeks since that troll grumbled something in your ear about “practicing your craft.”

That’s when you realize that if writing is like exercising a muscle, then you must be this guy:

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(Awwww…he’s a-DORK-able!)

Now look here, readers. (Or should I say, crickets?) I don’t mean to make light of a bad situation. I’ve had creative droughts before—some of them disguising themselves as writer’s block, others just blatant distractions like beach time and ‘Friends’ marathons–but I’ve never had one like this before.

It’s not that I don’t have ideas. I have tons of them. I’m jotting them down on my phone every single day.

It’s not that I don’t have the spare time to write. I do, I’m just using it to watch reruns of Parks and Rec instead.

My drive has put itself in park. My gumption has dumped me. My ambitions went on vacation then forgot to come home. I used to be driven, and now I’m just stationary.

Somebody stop me.

Or, don’t stop me, but cheer for me to continue rambling in a disconnected fashion until I have a blog I can publish!

In all seriousness, I feel the call to get back to that part of myself that feels most complete when I’m writing. It’s time for me to carve out that time every day to dip my toes into the creative pool inside of my brain. (No, it’s a sparkling pool of creativity, not a gross pool of brain goo.)

I’ll find my way back to it, with posts like this one. It may not deserve the Pulitzer Prize of Bloggy Awesomeness, but it’s a start. And everybody has to start somewhere.

Even glasses-wearing weight lifter guy.

A Letter To My Mopey Self

Dear Self,

Life has been tough lately. For whatever reason, you’re sitting around in your cookie pants, watching re-runs of Friends and wondering if things are ever going to get any easier. You’re not getting what you want in the time that you wanted it in, and you keep stumbling over road blocks or speed bumps, and that’s frustrating. I know it’s frustrating. I know that you sometimes sit in the shower, with the water cascading over your shoulders, your hair hanging in your face, and you cry your eyes out because no one can hear you over the sound of the spray. I know that sometimes, you sit in traffic and suddenly feel the overwhelming need to scream, and so you do, never sparing a thought for what the driver in the car next to you must be thinking. I know that sometimes, when the alarm clock sounds in the morning, that your first thought is “I don’t wanna.”

Well, friend, I think what you need is a little perspective. Sure, things are hard right now. It’s probably not going to get any easier in the next week, or month. You probably won’t have that thing you want more than anything else in the world by then. But here is what you DO have:

You have a husband that would move heaven and earth to make you happy. And he has done, on multiple occasions. And now here you are–you and that beautiful man you married almost 11 years ago–sitting on this same island of despair together, holding each other up when you both want to fall over. There are a lot of people in this life that would wish for a love like the one you have. So embrace it. Revel in it. Remember it in the darkest of times when you feel like your dreams will never come true.

You have a family that loves you, and supports you, no matter what. They are unshakable, unwavering, and unquestioning. They will give you advice–some that you’ll use, some that you won’t. They will make you laugh when you thought laughter was impossible. They will hold you up, and give you strength. They will love you, even if you don’t reach your dream. Enjoy every moment that you have with them–they are priceless.

You have friends who are with you in the trenches, the same mud on their faces that’s smeared on yours. They will amaze you in a million little ways, and even more huge ways. They will sit by your side in the blazing heat, selling lamps and rugs and hand-me-down clothing, just so you can add a few bucks to your savings account. They will rally around you when you get news, be it good, bad, or somewhere in the middle. They will send you little cards and messages of support, just so you know that, even though it’s been awhile, they’re still thinking of you every single day. They will shed tears for you, ones that you’ll never know about, and they will feel every divot in the road that you feel, sometimes tenfold (since you tend to remove yourself from heavy feelings as much as you can.) These people are more than just friends–they are your family. And you are SO beyond lucky to have them.

Last, but never least, you have a DREAM. A dream of becoming a parent when biology wouldn’t let you before. A dream of holding a little one, so dear, in your arms and kissing their tiny baby cheeks, and knowing that they are yours. Of little giggles, and sleepless nights, and future Mother’s Days filled with flowers and handmade cards and slightly-chewy pancakes served in bed. Never let go of that dream, self. It is pure, and shiny, and filled with so much joy that no matter how many times you fall on your face in pursuit of that dream, it will, without doubt, be totally worth it.

So I’m just going to leave this letter here. That way, you can find it when you need it. Let it serve as a reminder as to why you should never even dare to give up hope. How dare you give up hope, when you have so many people on your side, fighting the same fight, wishing the same wish, and hoping the same hope that you do?

So get up. Knock the dirt off, sister. Put on some real clothes.  And get back to your life. You’ve got work to do.

Sincerely,

Abby

rainbows

A Dream Within A Dream

Laughter and quiet conversation surrounds us. I straighten your blue-and-white gingham dress and pass you to my closest neighbor, all smiles, with my heart in my throat. Your tiny hands curl into fists, your yellow floral headband slightly askew, as kisses are planted on your adorably bald head.

Sunlight pours into the room from behind us, filling the room with more joy than we can handle. A box of tissues makes its way around the room, but these are happy tears we cry, little one. Tears we shed because you are finally here, and we waited so long, and we are so blessed.

My mother walks into the room, her eyes red, her cheeks pink, but with a big, beautiful smile on her face. My father’s bold chuckle rebounds from the kitchen, where I know he’s taken charge of refreshments for the rest of our guests. A small child, all blonde hair and blue eyes, puppy dog tails and muddy puddles, sits near my feet, running a matchbox car up and down my leg. The sounds of a camera shutter click from across the room, with only you in the frame, my little love. My heart.

My arms already itch to hold you again, though you’ve only been with someone else for less than a minute. I watch you like a hawk, studying your body language, your face, the shape of your delicious little thighs and pointed toes. A familiar thought, one I’ve had before: “She’ll be a dancer someday.”

I see your face turning red, your eyes squinting in preparation for one of your spine-tingling wails, before anyone else even realizes it’s coming. With that first cry, I start to reach for you. But your Daddy is there before I can even stand up. He cuddles you close, giving you his thumb to cling to, and he coos at you in a soft voice, calming your sobbing to only a slight whimper. The love on his face, in his eyes, for you leaves me feeling a little weak. I love him more fiercely in that moment than ever before.

When you begin to nuzzle at his chest, he looks up at me with a knowing smile. “I don’t think I have what she wants, Mama,” he says and proudly hands you over to me. I kiss your cheeks and breathe you in, and we wave bye bye to our loved ones as we make our way back to the privacy of the bedroom.

It’s darker in here, the shades pulled tight, but a lone sunbeam sneaks through, leaving a small pool of light on the patchwork quilt. I close the door behind me–but not so tight that a certain orange cat can’t push his way in. He settles at the foot of the bed, eyes on us, as I settle back against the pillows and lift my shirt. This is still brand new for us, little one, and Mama’s still learning.

You nuzzle and search, then latch on, and the pulling sensation still startles me. You close your eyes, shuttering the bright green from me, your long eyelashes brushing your rounded cheeks. The hand I’d been holding curls up in a fist, and you lay it against my skin, your body relaxing as you feed. I run my hand over your back in lazy circles, and we both drift for a moment. The muffled sounds of laughter come from the other room, and I am washed over with a love so deep, I could drown.

The brash sound of my alarm clock steals me away from you. My arms still ache from the weight of you as I turn it off and climb from my bed. You aren’t here, yet. But you will be. I believe that to the very center of my soul. My cheeks are dry today, little one, though I yearn for you so.

I only wish I’d dreamt your name.

 

pooh