Sunday, July 20, 2014


I keep writing other things besides talking about Nantucket, a woman who exclaimed, "Oh, it's you! It's her!", a hippie widow friend in the spellbound town of Salem.

I am too exhausted to even recount the details I enjoyed the most within the last month. I am mustering the effort though to write at least a little bit of something, and remember the time where I would choose to write before I would eat or sleep. I loved that part of me, a small constant in the various selves I have been over the past decade (give or take).

I have been mulling over why I feel I have adjusted to parenthood so well. I mean, I think I've adjusted well. Emotionally, I have welcomed this new self. It's about the only new version of myself I have not fought. Why is it different this time?

Obviously, our Squish is very wanted and loved. We are able to provide for her and ourselves, so I don't have a lot of common external stress getting in the way of me enjoying this. If we didn't have any money or a safe place to live, if we couldn't afford formula or breastfeeding was an emotional drain, I might be struggling more.

That brings us to the very real and obvious stresses of our daily lives and disability. I mean- it's so there. My frustration comes out in horrible ways; unintelligible rage and confusion pouring from me. We were married a year before he deployed. Inside of that year, I went from my happy life in Roswell, Georgia to a happy but strained newlywed period in Mannheim, Germany to being completely shocked that I landed in Watertown, New York with my new husband. It had been a very tumultuous year for us both. Six months into a very rough deployment he was injured, so literally we have not had any peace our entire marriage. Every half year or so brings about another major life change. I desperately need some peace, but this feeling would exist even if Squish hadn't come along. As a result, I consider this part of my life as factual as our existence. It just is, so it's easy to remove it from the equation since I know it'll be there when I bring it back in. Or something.

So the reason this has worked and I haven't cried too many tears over who I am now is because I am a professional at this. I have stared at a few strangers in the mirror but this is the first welcomed stranger. Becoming a parent has been the most delightful surprise of my life. And let me tell you, most surprises aren't delightful.

But this? And her? Man, I got this. Even though I am so tired I can't sleep, I love it. Even when Aaron and I are struggling, I know how to listen to my Squish. It's not that she's saved me or anything like that. It's just... I've been through a few evolutions of self. This one feels like an old friend.

For the first time.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Where are we?

I have this post about the Nantucket Film Festival and the documentary still incomplete, even though it's been over two weeks since I returned. We've been in Alabama for weeks now as it is and yet, I can't find or make the time to just write about this cool trip I took with my Squish, where I met an online friend's family, went to the most privileged island in our country, and topped it off with a trip to Salem.

I am so drained. We are desperately trying to find land to build a house to make a home. We tried to buy a house but that fell through, as those things tend to do. Everything, as always, cost thousands more than we thought it would. Everyone has something to say about what we should be doing. Patience. Waiting. Faith.

And I'm just kind of at the point where blind, unfounded faith is all I have left because I can not possibly care anymore. This has been nearly three years of never being where we thought we would be at a point in time. Recovery. What goals would be met. Success. Failure. So many setbacks. It's not all been awful.

Of course not.

But it's not even close to what I thought we'd have going for ourselves. Hell, I thought DC would be home. We'd get careers, not jobs, build that kind of future. Now I don't even know if I'll finish my degree. No clue for either of us.

And yeah, yeah. God laughs at the plans we make for ourselves. Have faith. Just pray. Look at how far you've come! Well, if the standard is simply not being dead-then folks, you are setting the bar too low. We have further aspirations for ourselves than that. We can even have normal goals and dreams and try not to consider disability as a determining factor.

But I'll be damned if disability doesn't get more votes than the actual people involved. More say. More concern.

I'm bleeding out here and lately my only joy has been my utter surprise in the delight motherhood has been. I almost feel a disconnect with those who struggle with their new selves. I suppose I had to get to know a new caregiver self, a new kind of wife inside me, so getting to know myself as a mother is old hat, at least in the sense of finding a new side to my existence. I am no longer surprised at how surprised I can be with whoever I am these days. Squish is a happy, happy baby who does new things every day. Each morning she gives me or her dad smiles that could end war. Everything about her is sweet and sound and genuine hope that will not kill. Hope in your child doesn't hurt like the other hopes you can lose in your life. Literally everything else can and will take from you without giving back. All Squish has to do is let out a rare rolling giggle and my whole day is made.

Happiness is a choice but some days it's just easier to get lost in my daughter's smile than paint one on of my own for others.