Category Archives: Friends

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

Do You Have A Zombie Apocalypse Team?

You guys watch “The Walking Dead,” right? I mean, everyone does. (And if you don’t, you should start now.)

I have a group of friends who are more than enthusiastic about this show. Dinner parties with them often involve strategic meetings on how we will handle the apocalypse when it happens, and don’t be surprised when I tell you that we do, in fact, have a very specific plan for when the dead start walking. Each of us has a job to do, and each of us bring a different dynamic to the group. Brian, as a nurse, is our health care expert. Frank is undoubtedly the “moral compass” of the group, and has also taken on the mantle of team historian. His wife, Linda, is in charge of sniffing out decent bottles of wine to go with our food, prepared by yours truly. Our other pal, Lynda, who originally started our Zombie Apocalypse Team, is cunning and smart–a natural born leader. Her husband, Jimmy, is our “Beth.”

Except our campfire songs will be decidedly more rock-n-roll, since Jimmy is a drummer. Probably lots of Foo Fighters, with some Led Zeppelin thrown in for good measure.

Anywho, you get the drift. Amongst our friends, our game plan is as follows: when the infrastructure fails, and zombies start chasing after us for our very tasty brains, the entire crew will be coming to our house first.

Not because it’s safest or centrally located. Not because it’s zombie proof. But because it’s closest to Google.

Now, I don’t know if other Google facilities are as apocalypse-aware as ours. I don’t know if it’s part of their game plan, or if it’s just a lucky break in design. But this place is impenetrable–high fence with barbed wire, security locked gate, surrounded by hills and trees for cover. In fact, I haven’t the foggiest what the actual facility looks like because they have successfully blocked it from public view. But the one thing that solidified our plan most recently was Google’s addition of its very own water tower.

I’ve had dreams about one of our own climbing carefully to the top, a bag of spray paint on their back, to notify other survivors that we have found a safe haven.

Sanctuary

Once we’ve set up camp at Google Headquarters–I’m imagining there will be some walkers we’ll have to dispatch, probably some fence we’ll have to repair and some cleaning up to do–we can settle in to a life of survival, but in the utmost comfort that an apocalypse survivor can expect. I mean, we’ve all heard how great of a place Google is to work for, so I’m expecting cushy offices from which we can appropriate furniture, access to a state-of-the-art gym, a huge cafeteria we can make use of for food storage and prep, and maybe even a pool, if we’re lucky. We’ll be far enough out of the city center to avoid most giant herds of walkers, but close enough to facilities like Walmart, grocery stores, and pharmacies for supplies.

We would be gracious hosts, but reign with an iron fist. There would be Google Jail for those who acted inappropriately (or for any who stole from our wine stores.) We would set up a kind little community with gardens (for flowers AND vegetables), activities (like mini-marathons and creativity contests, in honor of our host site), and a workable government (Lynda for President!).

It would be a sustainable colony, at least for awhile. All in all, I think it’s a pretty solid plan. And if you’re interested in joining, you’ll have to let us know. We have some questions for you.

For the original meme, which only makes this one funnier, click HERE.

For the original meme, which only makes this one funnier, click HERE.

 

This post is dedicated to my Dinner Club friends–those we affectionately know as The Apocalypse Team.

dinner club

 

Always–A Special Guest Post

Jenna and I bonded over many things when we first met: our love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, the dream of living in a loft in NYC. One specific thing that my VBFFLSMSW and I shared was a love for the written word. We took creative writing classes together, wrote poetry and prose together, even took a one week writer’s course in NYC together.

(What? Oh. It stands for Very Best Friend For Life Soul Mate Sister Wife. I thought it was pretty clear.)

Jenna and me

After school, I continued writing, pursuing the career I’ve always dreamed of having. Jenna got married, started a family, and writing fell a little to the wayside for her. She has always supported me in my endeavors–she was the first to jump in line to read my novel, and she’s one of my biggest cheerleaders when it comes to the blog. But I know, deep down, she misses that creative part of herself. I’ve given her journals over the years, encouraged her to jot things down when they come to her. But as we all know, life sometimes gets in the way.

So when she sent me an email this morning with a word document attached, I couldn’t help but cheer. And then I read what she sent, and knew immediately it needed to be shared with the world. And so, in honor of my Soul Mate, and National Autism Awareness Month, I give you Jenna’s first guest post.
♥     ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥      ♥     ♥     ♥      ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥       ♥     ♥     ♥      ♥     ♥

My name is Jenna.  I have two beautiful, brilliant, sweet, hilarious children: a four-year-old boy and a two-year-old daughter.  My son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS when he was two.  I can’t believe how far we’ve come since then (especially as I look back over his assessments and old IEPs in preparation for his IEP review – the first since his original intake.  I feel very much like a general planning for war or like a poker player trying to decide how much of his hand to tip … somewhere in between those two … and maybe to the left a little.)  Like all good moms, I strive to give my children the best of everything, which is why I chose for them the perfect godmother.  Her name is Abby, and this, as you know, is her blog.

Here we are again.  We haven’t been here for a long time, so long that I’d almost forgotten.

But it all came crashing back when you fell apart.

The grocery store didn’t have any green race car shopping carts left.  We always get the green cart.

Always.

Every grocery store trip used to be like this.  Me pulling the cart behind us, at first pregnant, then very pregnant, and then, later, with Ellie in her carrier, sometimes sleeping, sometimes crying.

You, slung over my shoulder, thrashing, kicking, and screaming at the top of your lungs.

It wasn’t your fault.  You had just gotten overwhelmed; too many colors, sounds, lights, people, textures.  I know all that now.  I didn’t know it then.

Then, all I knew was that I somehow had to get all the groceries on my list from the shelves to the cart.

Just five more things.  Just five more things. Just five more things. Just five more things.

Just four more things.  Just four more things.  Just four more things.  Just four more things.

And the screaming.  Screaming.  Screaming.  Screaming.

The green carts are all being used, sweetie.  The carts are for everybody.

You were smaller then; people expect a one year old, a two year old, to have melt downs. Avoid eye contact, head down, get it done, just get through it.  But people were mostly supportive, “You go mom!” “You got your hands full!”  You were smaller then.

It’s different now.

We haven’t been here for such a long time, so long that I’d almost forgotten.

We have a system now.  We talk through transitions.  Routine.  Routine.  Routine.

We always get the green cart. Always.

Just four things. Just four things. Just four things. Just four things.  Just four things.

Just three more things.  Just three more things.  Just three more things.  Just three more things.

The screaming.  Screaming.  Screaming.  Screaming.

Now they’re the ones avoiding eye contact with me.

Studiously looking anywhere else.

Pretending they don’t hear.

Which is better, really.  One judgmental glare and a flood of rage would pour out from all the dark places where I keep it carefully, tightly packaged.

It’s better. I would attack – maybe physically, probably verbally; either would involve spittle.

We had to get the red race car cart.  We always get the green. Always.

Waiting in line.  Waiting and waiting.  Waiting and waiting and screaming.

Almost done.  Almost done. So carefully, tightly packaged.

We have a system.  Routine. Routine.  Routine.

Only Mommy can touch the cart.  Remember to use your words; remember what to say.

Please don’t touch the cart.  Please wait and let Mommy push the cart.

Please wait and let me push the cart; the kids get upset when anyone else touches the cart.

Almost done.  Almost out.  Almost over.

Ma’am, please don’t …

Not her fault; just force of habit.

You, slung over my shoulder, screaming and screaming and screaming.

Routine.  We always get the green cart.  Only Mommy can touch the cart.  We have a system.

You did a good job using your words, Buddy.  I’m sorry she didn’t hear you.

So carefully, tightly packaged.

I’d almost forgotten, but here we are again.

We have a system, but it all came crashing down and you fell apart.

So. Freakin’. Busy.

My life has been filled with adventure these last few weeks. Birthday parties and dinner parties and bridal showers and photographing my first ever wedding and redesigning my blog and redecorating my house and spending time with visiting family members…my social calendar has been filled to the brim. Every single second of it has been exhilarating and fun, while simultaneously being exhausting and stressful. When I complete a project or finish an engagement, I get that short-lived feeling of fulfillment as I check another item off of my To-Do list. But mostly, lately, I’ve been feeling a little like this:

Pulled

Cartoon courtesy of Bitstrips.

You would think that after nearly 6 weeks, I’d be ready to kick back in November and take a little break. But nay, dear readers. Why would I do that? Life is so much more fun when you’re an active participant. So here’s a little list of what the month of turkeys and pilgrims and pumpkin pie has in store for me.

NaNoWriMo 2013
This will be the third year running that I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month. In fact, between 2011 and 2013, I managed to actually complete an entire novel (which I’m still in the process of trying to get published.) Here’s the thing: both years that I’ve participated, I had a game plan going in. A story I wanted to tell. Characters that were as clear in my head as living, breathing people.

This year, I’ve got…<insert drum roll here>….

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zippo.

With one month to write 50,000 words looming over me, I’m feeling the pressure to come up with a brilliant idea, stat. I need a sedative, a 12-gallon cup of coffee, and a shot of creativity, please.

Pack My Pontiac Food & Toy Drive
Call me a sucker if you want, but the following video presented by Kid President got me all inspired and stuff.

*Abby wipes away a tear.* Seriously, that kid rocks my socks.

Anywhoo, by the time I saw this video, the month of ‘Soctober’ was already coming quickly to a close. So I decided to do some investigating and take the month of November to find a worthy cause to champion in the name of taking back the internet. And I have.

My friend Lynda and I are running a food drive for our local homeless shelter. It started out as a small idea and has since snowballed–I have a partner, we have a corporate sponsor, and we’re planning on doing some serious fundraising, yo.

Pack My Pontiac

So my days have been filled with sending emails and making phone calls, creating fliers and a FB page, and brainstorming with Lynda in the hopes that we’ll be able to pack the back of my car–and hers!–with a giant pile of items to donate.

It gets me all tingly and excited thinking about the possibilities.

And lastly (and potentially most importantly)…..

Pestering the Poo Out Of My Friends By Posting All The Christmasy Things I Can Find On Pinterest From Now Until New Years

christmas

Seriously. I’ve had to look at so many pictures of spiders in my FB feed for the last 31 days that I’m already my revenge, Rudolph style. (This isn’t really something that will take too much time or effort as I started pinning Christmas stuff in August.)

What’s on your calendar in November?

Our New Neighbors

One morning about two weeks ago, I was knee-deep in my daily morning routine: coffee in hand, I take my handy dandy little golfcart for a spin around the grounds to check all the units. (For those who might not remember, I work–and live–at a storage facility.) So there I was…minding my own business, when out of the corner of my eye, I notice the sun glinting ever-so-gently on something hanging from the building.

I slowed the cart, and my heart started racing before my brain even registered what it was that I was looking at.

There, spanning almost the entire width of unit 503’s door, was the biggest spider web I’ve ever seen in my life. And attached to it was, you guessed it, the “Big Foot” of the spider world.

I tried, for the sake of blog fodder, to take a picture with my cell phone. I really really did. And I’ve tried every single day since then, so I could prove to you that I’m not crazy and that Spiderman’s cousin, Merve, lives at my job now. But I just couldn’t do it. So, here’s a bad drawing instead.

Spider1

Damn. I couldn’t even bring myself to draw it. Forgive me, readers. Blame my raging case of arachnophobia.

Anyway, after this first Spider Sighting, I spent a lot of time thinking about just how to handle the situation. I was too chicken to deal with it myself, so I had two options: Tell my husband and make him go kill it, or leave it alone and hope it would get bored and move somewhere with a more swinging night life.

Brian didn’t go kill it. And it didn’t move to Vegas.

So for two weeks, I drove ever-so-slowly past the giant sleeping spider, hoping beyond hope that it wouldn’t leap from its perch and eat my face.

LET THE RECORD REFLECT THAT I HAVE NOT KILLED IT, ATTEMPTED TO KILL IT, OR REPORTED SAID SPIDER TO THE AUTHORITIES SO THAT THEY’D COME KILL IT!

It was with pride that the spider had lasted for so long that I mentioned it to longtime family friend and spider advocate, Charlene, on her recent visit. Interested, she asked to be escorted to see the eight-legged fiend. Ever the hostess, I took her back on the golf cart.

“Oh, that’s a writer spider,” she said with glee. “You know, like Charlotte’s Web!”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her my true opinion of the children’s opus…

Web copy

…and so I nodded politely instead.

“Oh, Abby, did you notice?” Charlene said with enthusiasm. “It looks like your spider friend has also laid her eggs! See the sack hanging there?”

It was at this point that the mild panic attack started: ears ringing, throat closing, skin itching. I allowed my gaze to follow Charlene’s pointing finger and saw, with horror, the tiny little egg sack hanging from the rain gutter above the web. “Oh, that’s nice,” I said, feigning normalcy.

“The cool thing is that when it hatches, the little babies will make little web parachutes and fly away on the breeze.”

Thanks for the science lesson, Charlene. Now, every day, when I drive my golf cart by the unit hosting the little Eight Legged Family, it goes a little something like this:

 

But at least I haven’t committed mass murder yet. That’s the definition of progress. Right?

The Infertility List Blog

Let’s set the record straight. I’m not a psychologist with years worth of research in my portfolio. I’m not a doctor who knows big words about specific sections of the brain and the hormones that they squirt into the body. I’m not a fertility specialist who can explain to you the complexities of coping with the emotional baggage that comes with having broken lady parts.

But I am an infertile woman living in the 21st century. And I’m also a blogger. So that gives me all the necessary tools to present you with a list of 10 things everyone (especially my friends and family) should know about infertility.

10 Things This Infertile Wants You (The Fertile Ones) To Know

1. Birth announcements don’t come in bouts of 3.
Nay. In fact, they come in groups of a hundred. Sometimes more. In fact, in less than a 2 week time span, practically everyone I knew–from best friends, to that child actor from the 80s, to the kid I used to babysit in the 8th grade–announced that they were expecting. Even the Prince of Friggin’ England was all like, “Heeey yoooou guuuuys….I’m gonna be a baby daddy!”

one

You should be forewarned that when this happens you will find me in holey pajama pants, lying on my bathroom floor, sobbing into the bathmat. Don’t worry–I’ll find my happy for you eventually. It’s just going to take some time to pick up the shrapnel from the baby bomb that just hit my house. (It’s not as cute as it sounds.)

2. Let’s just put it out there–Friends with Kids, We Are Jealous Of You.
It’s nothing personal. But when we come to your house to visit and accidentally step on a Lego, we’re jealous. When we meet you for dinner and you’re a few minutes late because you had a diaper blowout, we’re jealous. When we call you up and can’t really hear what you’re saying over the sound of baby giggles in the background, we’re jealous. When you post a picture of your darling child in over-sized sunglasses and a beer box on his head, we’re jealous. It doesn’t mean we love you or your pint-size mini me any less. It just means that we see what awesomeness you have in your life, and we want it for us, too.

3. We really don’t need to hear about the conventional methods anymore.
I know you mean well when you gently remind us that the best way to get pregnant is to stop thinking about it/take your temperature/get drunk/elevate your hips after sex. Believe me–I’m more flexible than I look.

See?

contortionist

The problem with us is mechanical, not creativity. (wink wink) So there’s really no need to reenact the Kama Sutra to show me just how you got knocked up. (Although, if you really want to, go ahead. Just be forewarned that I will take pictures. I’m always looking for good blog fodder.)

In this same vein, please don’t make weird suggestions about other, less traditional ways to procreate. I want to have Brian’s baby. Not his brother’s, not his uncle’s, and not his third-cousin-twice-removed’s. Sorry. That’s just weird and creepy.

4. At some point in our relationship, I will cry.
I’m a big ol’ fat cry baby about most things, anyway. But this particular thing? I have no control over my emotions. The truth is–I’m grieving. That’s really what infertility is–grieving the life of the child you always imagined but will never have. It sucks. It’s really hard. And I cope by crying.

A lot.

So inevitably, we will be cheerfully chatting about that catty thing someone said at the party, and something will trigger that “OMG I DON’T HAVE OFFSPRING” button in my brain, and I’ll be sobbing all over you before you can grab the stray tissue at the bottom of your purse. I apologize in advance.

5. I use humor as a defense mechanism.
If this blog isn’t proof of that, then let me explain.

Your adorable toddler will run up to me and give me a big kiss. I will make an inappropriate joke about my ovary exploding. Everyone will laugh.

You’ll ask me if I’m available to take photographs at your child’s birthday party. I’ll laugh too loudly and make a joke about always being free since I don’t have a child of my own to throw parties for. No one will laugh.

I’ll be writing a semi-serious blog post about the trauma of infertility, and I’ll throw up a stupid picture of myself Photoshopped to look like a clown.

Clown

With me now?

6. Please don’t say, “You should adopt!”
You’re totally right. A family IS about love, not blood. There ARE lots of kids in the world who need loving homes. We totally agree with you. That doesn’t mean we’re ready, yet. It also probably means we’ve still haven’t worked up the courage to rob a bank, yet. Cuz that’s shit’s expensive, yo.

7. We totally still want to be friends with you, even though you are fertile.
It’s ok. We don’t begrudge you your fully functional baby-making parts. Mostly. So don’t worry that bringing your kids over is an inconvenience. Don’t stop inviting us to birthday parties and baby showers (although sometimes I might not come.) Don’t apologize when your kid squeals loudly or chases my cat or accidentally scribbles on my kitchen table. We love you, and your screaming toddler. I’ve even been known to miss a football game or two just to hang out with you guys. Now THAT’S love.

8. Sometimes, we need to hang out with our “non-kid” friends, though.
It has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with our desire to drink copious amounts of alcohol, talk about grown-up type things, and say curse words often and loudly.

margarita ole
*Drool.*

I know you can carry on conversations about stuff other than your kids. (There’s a reason we’re friends. You are a super-cool cat with tons of interesting things to talk about. Am I right??) I also know that you want that giant margarita right there just as much as I do. But I also know it’s harder for you to leave the kids out of conversation, because they are your life, as they should be. No guilt trips here, lady.

It’s just this: sometimes it’s easier for us to be around people who don’t have that problem, and who aren’t so hyper-aware that something they say about their child could potentially send me into the ugly cry. It lets me get my drink on with the knowledge that I can be a happy drunk instead of the weird drunk who’s walking around the party blurting out random child-rearing facts that I probably shouldn’t know.

9. Imma spoil yo’ babies.
When they fall down at my house, I’m going to kiss their boo boo and give them a cookie. When it’s their birthday, I’m going to video myself singing to them and email it to you. When I come over to visit, don’t be surprised if I come bearing little gifts of my adoration for your progeny.

There are two parts to this: 1) I do it because I love your kid. He/She is adorable, and I just want to squish them regularly. Kudos, Mom and Dad, ya did good. And 2) I do it because it helps me fill a void. I don’t have my own child to sing to or bake for, so I’m gonna do it for your child.

Don’t worry, they’ll pay you back by pitching a fit at bedtime because they just want to go to Auntie Abby’s house and play.

cooler than you

You’re welcome.

10. We will be fine.
I know you’re concerned, especially because I’ve been in a constant state of funk since we got the official word in June that we won’t be able to join you in the land of Parenthood. (At least not without a crap load of cheddar and a miracle to rival the parting of the Red Sea.) If I’m honest with you, and with myself, I don’t know how long this part of the process takes. We’re sad, and we will probably always be sad. But even though I don’t have working ovaries, and even though Brian doesn’t have the Michael Phelps of sperm, we still have each other. And that, friends, is the really great news.

*It took me a really long time to publish this blog. Do you have any idea how hard it is to make something like infertility even remotely funny?? It’s really, really hard. So don’t feel like you need to send me an email or comment apologizing if you think you’ve possibly done or said one of the things above. Because you probably have. Because everyone has. And it’s totally OK. The important thing is that I know that you care. There’s not really anything anyone can say to make it better, but knowing I have friends in my corner who are cheering for me and who only want me to be happy makes bearing this cross a little easier. I love you–each and every one. And I love your stinkin’ babies, too.

Subconscious Awesomeness

I’m about to tell you two totally unrelated stories. You’ll probably be confused, but if you just stick with me to the end, it’ll all be worth it. I promise.

Story 1: Years ago, Jenna (college roommate, BFF, and most wonderful person, ever) taught me how to crochet. We would sit in her room, reruns of “Angel” playing in the background, and she would patiently explain the mechanics of single-stitch crochet.

The first thing I ever made, under her watchful eye, was a long, thin scarf that mimicked the colors of the Caribbean. And guess who still has said scarf?

scarf

It rarely gets cold enough for me to wear winter gear around here, but when it dips into the 40s, I always scramble to find my Jenna Scarf so I can don it before it’s seventy-five degrees again. And while I never mastered anything more difficult in the crochet world than plain ol’ single stitch, I still use that skill to this day. I’ve made countless afghans and scarves for friends and family over the years, and I can still hear Jenna’s voice in my ear, guiding me and my hook along.

Story 2: A few years ago, Brian’s Aunt Tina (fellow Broadway fan, Whovian, and all around coolest chick on the planet) came to visit, and she was wearing the loveliest pair of earrings I’d ever seen. I made that very comment to her, and she promptly removed them from her ears and handed them to me. I was speechless. They are still, to this day, my favorite pair of earrings. Pink, sparkly, dichroic glass–they make me happy every time I slide them into my ears.

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Brian and I were moving some furniture around in the bedroom about a month ago, and I clumsily knocked over my earring tree. As I carefully placed each pair back where they belonged, I realized with dismay that one of my pink Tina Earrings was missing.

I. Was. Devastated.

We searched the entirety of the bedroom, crawling around on our hands and knees, shining the flashlight into all the dark corners, and after a couple of hours, finally gave up. Still, every day I would peek behind the bookcase, or run my toes under the dresser, hoping beyond hope that I would find my lost earring.

Here’s where it all comes together. Last night, I had a vivid dream that I was searching for something–I don’t remember what, only that there was a sense of urgency involved. It was cold, and I wore my Jenna scarf tucked snugly around my neck. And in the dream, I opened a drawer to find a tarnished gold jewelry box. When I opened it, there were my Tina Earrings. I picked them up, put them on, and continued the search for the now-forgotten holy grail.

This morning, as I was getting dressed for work, I noticed that my Jenna Scarf had fallen from her hanger and was laying in a pool on my closet floor. Unwilling to leave it to yarn-gnawing cats, I picked it up. As I examined it for chewed edges or loose knots, I noticed a glimmer of something sparkly peeking out from the fringe. There, just as in the dream, was my missing earring.

I stood there holding it for a moment, memories of the dream flooding back to me. Then I whooped with excitement and dashed to the living room to tell Brian all about it. He looked at me with wide eyes and said, “Wow. You’re psychic.”

fortuneteller

I hope so. The outfits are bitchin’.

PINK Warriors

I don’t know if you guys have noticed or not, but I’ve been having a hard time readjusting to “Reality After Vacation.” You know that feeling, right? You just took an awesome vacation filled with the kind of memories you want to relive over and over again. And at some point, you wake up and realize you’ve been telling the same stories about those memories over and over again for the better part of a month and you’re like “Holy crapballs! Is it really halfway through August already?!?”

Yeah. I miss San Diego.

But, if anything is going to pull me back into my own warped version of reality, it’s inevitably going to involve Donnie Wahlberg. (I know, you’re shocked.)

Last year, I introduced you to the lovely Selena–fellow Blockhead and fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation. If you need a refresher course, here’s a little picture of our heroine with the always droolworthy ‘Berg himself:

Selena

Click on the image, and you’ll be whisked away to Selena’s personal page on the Komen website!

Selena and I have two things in common: our adoration for all things Donnie, as well as a passion for finding a cure for the disease that has so affected our lives. My readers know that my mom, aunt, and grandmother are all breast cancer survivors, and that I even got a pink ribbon tattoo in their honor. Selena, however, lost her sister last year to cancer, and so she fights the good fight in her memory.

Her ferocity to create awareness, and the desire to find a cure, is to be commended and applauded. And I’d like to do anything I can to help.

So, every year, Selena launches a charity raffle. All you have to do is click over to her page, donate at least $5, make sure to include the phrase “LoveEternal” after your name in the recognition field, and you are automatically entered to win some amazing prizes!! This year, Selena has paired with ThoseWahlbergMen.com, and let me tell ya, Donnie girls, the swag is pretty sweet!!

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With a $5 donation, you could win one Love Eternal Pink Ribbon shirt, one NKOTB “Five Brothers and a Million Sisters” hardcover book (great read, by the way),  and one $25 T-shirt gift card for ThoseWahlbergMen.com.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ll be entering the raffle post haste!

You have until August 20 to get your donation in for the contest, so make sure you click over and make a difference today! And it doesn’t matter if you live stateside or not–the contest includes free shipping to anywhere in the world!!

Last year, we helped Selena become the top grossing raffle on the site–she got an award, y’all!! Let’s make that happen again in 2013.

Good luck, Selena!! The AbbyGabs family is pulling for you to reach that $500 goal!!

ComicCon 2013: The List, Finale

In order for me to tell you the very best thing that happened at ComicCon, I need to rewind things a bit…to 1997.

Once upon a time, believe it or not, there was a 16-year-old version of me.

Xander 4And suddenly, as if from a granted wish, a brand new television network aimed at teeny boppers came crashing into my teenage life. With the introduction of the WB Network, a delightful new television program titled “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” became my new obsession.

Photos of David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar were pasted with due diligence onto the front of my Trapper Keeper, and conversations during homeroom centered around the Buffy/Angel romance.

By the time college rolled around, I was still in love with the show, and made absolutely certain to record all the episodes on an increasingly growing stack of VHS tapes. (There may have been hour-long training sessions with my mother just to learn how to set the VCR to record. I wasn’t messing around, y’all.)

One day, as the stars aligned and kismit did her duty, I met Jenna, a fellow college freshman who also spent her free time lost in the world of Sunnydale. And we became fast friends.

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A friendship born on a shared adoration of Joss Whedon is one that lasts a lifetime. And Jenna and I are, as you all know, still the best of friends. We still talk about Buffy, quote Buffy, and relive our favorite Buffy moments, each and every time we get together. It may not be the focus of our adult lives, but it still one of our most favorite things in life.

So when I found out that Nicholas Brendon (AKA Xander Harris) was signing autographs at ComicCon this year, I made it my life’s mission to meet him.

There was just one problem—Jenna wasn’t with me.

So Bri and I put our heads together and, combining the idea of Manny the Meerkat with Flat Stanley, and came up with the perfect way to take Jenna with us on this trip.

Meet Flat Jenna:

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I chose a few of my favorite shots (provided by Jenna and her mom, Deb), cut them out, pasted them to card stock, and packed them in our book bag every day, so that I’d have Jenna with me at ComicCon.

So, when the time came to find Nicholas Brendon’s booth, I pulled out Flat Jenna and waited, excitedly, for my turn to meet him.

As we approached his table, a huge grin spread over his face. “Hi guys!” he said brightly. And before I had the opportunity to answer, he pointed at Flat Jenna and said, “Who’s that? I get to hear the story, right?”

As he signed my comic book, I told Xander about my best friend. I told him how we used practically every moment of our spare time in college watching Buffy reruns with Brian, passing pints of Ben and Jerry’s back and forth. I told him how we still quoted the show, knew all the words to the musical episode, and how, years later, Buffy was still something we talked about on a regular basis.

Most importantly, I got to tell him how the show brought me together with the person who is not only my best friend, but also the mother of my godchildren, and the closest thing to a sister that I’ve ever had.

“That is too awesome,” he said, and pushed back from the table. “C’mere and give me a hug.”

My wonderful, amazing, quick-with-the-camera husband caught the moment on film.

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(Note the closed eyes, people. This was a serious hug.)

After he released me, we turned to the camera for the photo we’d actually paid for. I held the perfect version of Flat Jenna in my trembling hands, her tiny little thumb pointing in surprise at the celebrity we both never imagined we’d actually meet. And the photo turned out just brilliantly.

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(Kudos, hubby. You rock.)

Just as I thought the moment was coming to a close, Nicholas said, “Hold on a second, I get to hold her, right?”

He took Flat Jenna from my hands and, in a moment of Xander-worthy confusion, we shuffled around each other until Jenna was pointing at me.

Nicholas put his arm around me again and said, “That’s the way it should be, anyway–you guys are the stars here.”

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We thanked him profusely. The true definition of kindness, he made me feel as if we’d been chatting together for at least twenty minutes. (Brian swears it was less than five.) But the point is that he didn’t just listen as I went on and on about my experience of his stardom. He was attentive. He asked questions. And he seemed genuinely moved by our story. So thank you, Nicholas Brendon, for making this fan’s dream come true.

As we walked away, signed book tucked under my arm, Flat Jenna still in my hands, I started shaking. “I can’t believe I just met Xander. I can’t believe…I…just…met…XANDER!” I nearly dropped Flat Jenna as I pulled out my cell to call Real Life Jenna. “I have to tell her right now!”

We stepped out into the breezeway and I listened to the dial tone, nearly jumping out of my skin as I waited for my best friend to answer her phone.

“Hey, sweetie!” she said brightly.

“You’ll never believe what just happened!” I said, and promptly burst into tears. “I just met Xander!!!”

And that’s when the Squee Heard Round The World happened. Only it was Jenna, not me.

I told her the story and she was just as excited as I was about the whole encounter. I imagined her standing right in front of me, of us holding hands and jumping up and down and enjoying the moment together. As we hung up the phone, I wiped the tears away and smiled up at my husband.

“That was the most awesome thing at ComicCon, EVER,” I said. And he agreed.

I gave Jenna a frame this past weekend. In it was THE version of Flat Jenna held by Nicholas Brendon. So now, a tiny piece of that moment lives on from the top of the curio cabinet in her dining room.

My encounter with Nicholas Brendon takes the ComicCon cake, not only because I got to meet and touch and talk to a member of the Buffyverse, but because I got to make my best friend a part of the moment, too. It will go down in history as the most squeeworthy moment at ComicCon.

I’ll just have to try and top it next year. ;0)