Posted in Crafts, Culture, Family, Home, Personal, Relationships, Work, writing

The Desk

After having 42 birthdays, the one that has always meant the most to me was when I turned 5. There wasn’t some extravagant Pinteresty party with fabulous decorations, a petting zoo, a professional photo shoot, and gift bags to rival the Academy Awards. No, it was a simple party with family only and a cake baked with love by my mother. My gift though, would change my life forever.
There was a gorgeous wooden desk fit for the President and with it were pens, pencils, highlighters, a stapler, tape dispenser, paper clips, folders, post-it notes, and several reams of blank paper. My brother and sister gifted me coloring books crayons, and map pencils. I can remember my mom helping rearrange my bedroom to make space for this regal desk. She gave my glasses from the kitchen that had Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar on them to organize my prizes in. I was so excited to get started!
Recently on a writers forum I belong to, we were asked if we remember the day we knew we wanted to write. I immediately recalled that birthday and images of my five year old self, sitting at my desk played in my head. That was the day I decided I would pen books and illustrate them. I was going to write poems and also be a journalist. I had big dreams!
As I looked back to the day, nearly 40 years ago, I realized something I never noticed before. That large, regal wooden desk fit for the President, wasn’t even that big. It wasn’t that regal, either. In fact, it was second-hand. It had nicks, discoloration, and old pen marks on it. It was just an average desk my parents picked up at a yard sale. And all those office and art supplies? They were the same exact ones you could find at my parents’ offices. We were by no means poor, but were definitely on a budget back then.
And you know what? Now that I’ve had this revelation, it doesn’t change a thing! I will still think of that as the best birthday I’ve ever had. I will still consider those the most thoughtful and meaningful gifts I’ve received. They were better than any Barbie doll, board game, or the hottest toy on the market. They meant everything to me. They sparked my imagination and fueled my creative desires. They sculpted me.
Maybe I didn’t grow up to have a New York Times Best Selling Novel. Barnes & Noble closed before I could do a book tour. Maybe I’ll never make a living with my writing and that’s okay. It doesn’t make me any less of an author.
I’m proud of my accomplishments. Thousands of people read my stories. I have work that has been published with millions of followers. When I’m gone, my stories will still be here, and that’s more than I could’ve hoped for, even when I was 5.

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Posted in Culture, Family, Home, Personal, Relationships, Work

Like I Always Have Been…

To my husband, children, friends, and co-workers…

I wake up tired. By the time I make the coffee, get dressed, pack my lunch, and get to work, I’m ready for a nap. I sit at my desk, shifting around trying to get comfortable, but I can’t. The phones start ringing as I try to listen to voicemails and answer e-mails. They’re still ringing as I clock out at 5 pm. In between, it can be chaotic. This fast-paced, high-stress job drains me mentally; therefore, it drains me physically. I’m sorry if I get frustrated, if I get short with you, and sometimes I get angry.
To my co-workers, I sincerely apologize. I promise one day I’ll come back to work and handle that shit like I always have, just like you’re used to.

Once I get home from work, I just want to lay down. I know a nap is out of the question, no matter how exhausted I feel. The thought of having to make dinner gives me anxiety. I need to go to the grocery store and still haven’t planned our meal. It’s not easy making sure everybody’s dietary needs are met and all I really want to eat is chocolate chip cookies. I don’t even know if I can survive standing that long in front of the hot stove. The kids want us to go on a bike ride or a walk to the park. They want attention that I don’t know I’m capable of giving.
To my children, I sincerely apologize. I promise one day I’ll come home and be the Mom I always have been, just like you’re used to.

After dinner, I struggle to find the energy to clean. Just clearing off the table seems an insurmountable task, but we’ve already promised our friends we would hang out and I’ve put them off too many times in the past. When we finally meet up, I sit there smiling, but not really participating in conversation. My mind is a million miles away and my body is on the verge of revolting.
To my friends, I sincerely apologize. I promise one day I’ll arrive at our gatherings being the same upbeat, positive friend I always have been, just like you’re used to.

By the time we get home and get in bed, my husband is ready for my undivided attention and I don’t mean just making love. We usually talk, cuddle, and watch a movie on the sofa until I fall asleep with my head on his lap. This is generally the best part of my day. But we don’t do this anymore. I immediately get under the covers because I’m so wiped out. I’ve been shirking my responsibilities lately and he’s had to bear the burden of picking up my slack. That means more grocery shopping, meal making, cleaning, and diapering than he’s used to.
To my husband, I sincerely apologize. I promise one day I’ll be the efficient, multi-tasking, caring and loving wife I always have been, just like you’re used to you.

My dears, I want you all to understand…
When I wake up in the morning, the baby boy I’m carrying is already awake. He moves around, trying to get comfortable as my rib cage spreads. He anticipates my one cup of coffee as much as I do. As I get dressed, desperately searching for clothes that fit, he grows even larger. I prepare my lunch, wondering if we will suffer together from heartburn later. I get to work and feel his flutters with every ring of the phone. As my tension rises, so does his. He swirls around in my belly as I shift in my seat, letting me know he’s just as uncomfortable as I am. He pushes down on my bladder, sending me to the bathroom twice an hour. Once I’m home, he feels the work stress leaving and wants us to nap, but I can’t. He squirms around asking for food because we are both famished. My appetite has been insatiable. Following dinner he urges for rest, but I prepare to meet up with friends. The entire time we hang out as our children play at the park, he punches and kicks. When we eventually get home, I rush to bed, dying to lay on my side to finally feel the relief that never comes. I’m bloated and gassy. My baby boy continues to struggle in my belly as his space gets tighter and tighter. I sleep in short intervals throughout the night, waking up every hour after having the oddest dreams. I roll out of bed exhausted and start it all over again.

My dears, I want you all to understand…
When you need a breath of fresh air, you can just walk outside. When you need to go to the bathroom, you go alone. When you need a break from everything, you have that option. Even if you’ve been working, shopping, cooking, cleaning, diapering, and parenting all day, you still have the choice to walk away for a few moments of solitude. I don’t. No matter where I go or what I do, I always have the baby with me. There isn’t a sitter in the world I can drop him off with.

Believe me, I know I’m blessed to be able to carry this child! There are thousands of women in the world that would kill to feel what I’ve described, the good and the bad. I’m emotional. I’m irritable. I don’t even know what it means to have patience anymore. I suffer from bouts of depression. I don’t much like myself right now on the inside or the outside. I’ve become an ugly person. I look in the mirror and am unhappy with the circles and bags under my eyes, the weight I’ve gained, and my lack of make-up or hairstyle. I miss being me.
To myself, but I promise one day I’ll be the same happy, confident person I always have been, just like I used to be.

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