Monday, February 25, 2013

The picture, the decisions, the aftermath

This picture was taken exactly 34 years ago, on my birthday. The picture and the emotions captured in it, would shape my life and influence my decisions forever. See those tired, relieved eyes? See that messy hair? See those sweet dimples? Those arms wrapped easily around her new bundle? That is the look of relief and indescribable pride in her feat. That is a woman in beast mode. My Mom decided for me, baby #3, she wanted to truly “experience labor.” She had had an epidural on one of my siblings and didn’t like the way it made her feel. She didn’t feel she was truly able to embrace all the emotions involved. She had just had me naturally, no drugs, just a little sweat and tears and a whole lot of determination and “umph.” And how about this stat? I was 9 pounds, 8 ounces and 21 inches of “umph.” Yeah, beast mode. She would relive this story to me as soon as I was old enough to know about having babies. She would relive it and describe it being exactly what she wanted. She claims she had always wanted three, had always wanted me to be a girl (though she hadn’t found out before my birth), and had gone into this pregnancy wanting only a natural birth. As a child, I thought the story was akin to a fairy tale. I was so wanted. I was so thought out. I was so loved.

            When I got pregnant with my first, I never really considered an epidural. I also never considered finding out the gender. I was driven solely by my Mom’s experience with me. “If Mom can push out a 9 ½ pounder with no drugs, surely a 7-ish pounder will be easy.” While “easy” isn’t how I’d describe my son’s, or later my daughter’s, natural births, they certainly matched up with the fairy tale description. I tried to embrace every detail. If you know me at all, you have no fear that every detail and memory was captured by camera, any memorabilia given, and, of course, my words. They have scrap booked memories detailing everything from what my “last meal” included to the feeling I had as soon as I saw they’re bloody, writhing, little bodies for the first time. A natural birth is not something most choose, but it was the best decision for me. I would not change one detail about either of my children’s births.

            My Mom breastfed me. She breastfed me with fervor and determination. She breastfed me for months upon months, with none of the modern day conveniences. She had no pump, no boppy pillow, and a husband that traveled many weeks at a time. And have I mentioned that I was her third? She did that and recounted that to me when I was a child, as she headed off to La Leche meetings. She embraced breastfeeding when it was so not cool to breastfeed. She would spout off the benefits, matter-of-factly, to me, the ever inquisitive child. She never pushed any of her beliefs on me, she just provided me with information. I feel certain she never realized the impact she was making on me.

            I breastfed my son his entire first year of life. I am 7 months into making it a year with my daughter. Neither has had a sip of formula. It’s not something everyone chooses and I often feel like a freak with this decision. It is not the common thing in the South. I can’t figure out why other than, well, it’s just not the common thing. I hate that it makes me feel insecure and defensive when people ask me why I opted to breastfeed. I will not stop though, almost solely because of the support I continue to receive from my husband and my Mom. See how she’s sneaking back in again? She showers me with praise in regards to all of my decisions. “You are making the right decision for them,” she repeats. 
            I often whisper to my children, “You have no idea how much love I have for you.” When E tells me he loves me, I usually reply, “And I love you so much more.” Then, I think, "That’s how much my Mom loves me." After all these years, she wants nothing more than to be in my company. She is my best friend and my hero. On this birthday, I realize that this picture is that of pure love and dedication. So when you ask me why I didn't have an epidural or why I breastfeed for a year, just refer to this picture. While not popular decisions, both are internal accomplishments that I dreamt my entire life about achieving. I did it. I had natural births and was successful at breastfeeding. I realize this matters to no one else but me. However, to me, they were 30-some-odd years of thought and determination. When C is a year, I will likely stop breastfeeding. I will have made it. I have almost crossed the finish line in my "mothering marathon" and it feels damn good.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A not so typical love story...but it's ours.

My Valentine.

My husband and I met in a bar. Yep, a bar. We’ve agreed to tell our children it was a restaurant because I’m pretty sure they sold hamburgers or something after 10 pm. It was late August 2001. I had just broken up with a long-term boyfriend after having been cheated on. To say I was “anti-men” at the time would be a gross understatement. I was about to kick off my second, and final, year of nursing school and had just moved into my sister’s new house with her. It was to be a year of bachelorette pad living, studying, and partying with my friends. Lots of pizza would be consumed, drinks would flow, and I feel certain that on more than one occasion, my make-up didn’t get washed off before I went to bed.
            My sister and I had gone out with friends to eat Mexican and she and I decided to go out afterwards (read: best decision of my life, to date.) Anyway, we walked in this club and were immediately met by a fat, sweaty (picture late August in Mississippi), fraternity looking guy. He stopped me and shouted above the music, “Hey! Didn’t you go to Jackson Prep with me?!” All I could think was, “What kind of pick up line is that?” First off, Prep does not have big graduating classes. I graduated from Warren Central with upwards of 270 and I dare say I could point out each one of those. However, suddenly he doesn’t remember one of about 50? Anyway, I figured, “What the hell?” and humored him. “Heck yeah! Class of ’97 rocks!” and kept walking. Lindsay and I had to use the restroom so we scooted by the memory challenged sweat ball (note: lest you worry, this is not going to turn out to be my husband.) We walked in the bathroom and giggled about the immaturity of some men. I mean, “High school? Really? That was like forever ago”….(read: 4 years seemed like forever at the time.) We walked out to find the memory challenged sweaty beast standing there waiting for us. Whoops. We walked past like we didn’t notice him and headed to the bar for a beer. He followed. I had a stroke of genius stupidity and stated firmly, “Look, we’re lesbians. Not interested.” “SWEET!” he returned. Do not feed the animals, Sara. That just made it so much worse. Suddenly, I kid you not, I start feeling something wet on my back. Remember those “back-less shirts” that were all the rage in the early 2000’s? It had a few ties, but that was it? Yeah, I was skanking it up but that’s what I was wearing and that's not the point. Focus. I looked over at my sister with eyes as big as quarters and stated those 5 words that would be repeated and laughed at every single time we remember this night, “IS HE LICKING MY BACK????” Ever so cool, my sis leaned back, took one glance and  stated, “Yep.” Oh. shit. How do I get out of this one with my Southern grace intact??? I mean as much Southern grace as one can have while wearing a backless shirt, drinking a beer in a bar. Suddenly, a spot cleared to my left and up to the bar walked a cute knight in shining armor fella. I looked over desperately and noticed the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen. And, ya’ll, I’m not even an “eyes girl.” It’s not typically something I notice first. However, those baby blues were precious and I guess I had enough liquid courage to sputter, “Umm, see this fella licking my back behind me? Yeah. I don’t know him. Would you just pretend to be my boyfriend real quick?” “Sure,” he laughed easily. I spun around and stated firmly, “Excuse me, but I’d like you to meet my boyfriend……” (whispered, “Say your name!”) “Hey, man, my name’s Wade and I really don’t appreciate you doing that to my girlfriend.” He actually bought it and, apparently, had enough libations to forget that 5 minutes before this, I was a lesbian. He quickly wandered off to lick on some other unsuspecting lady and left me to stammer stupidly to the handsome man to my left. We had our first “official” date 6 weeks later and were married 4 years later. So, here's to you, whoever you are. You sweaty, memory challenged, lustful licker. On this Valentine's Day, 12 years later, your efforts did not go unrewarded.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lifetime Achievement Award

This seriously just 1407 in the afternoon, in the 100 block of Bristol Cove, 3/4 of the Watts family napped AT THE SAME TIME. Yep, that is 100% of the Watts that weren't working. Did it take massive amounts of rain and coldness? Yes. Did it take reading 9 books in "Mommy Daddy bed?" Yes. Did I let them stay in "MD bed" for the nap? Yes. Judge me if you may, but your tired eyes are judging one rested Momma so who's the winner now? I was so rested, I even got up to snap this for proof. And that, Friends, does indeed qualify me for today's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Grammys

Last night, while watching the Grammys with my Hom, it was glaringly obvious how old and unhip we are. Those clothes were the strangest and the songs....ugh, the music. I looked at Hom at one point and said, "I don't even know what they're saying. That music is too loud." And I wonder who thought it would be a good idea to have rain on stage. Or are Prince and Johnny Depp just too cool to be normal? If Prince actually is now blind and Johnny Depp is actually now homeless, I retract that last statement. I will be 34 this month. I thought I would be at least 84 before I even sputtered the words, "That music is too loud." Then, I woke this morning to find Hom getting ready for work with "Fun. Radio" playing on his Pandora. "Is this that band from last night?" I asked him. "Yeah, I hardly knew any of those nominees. I'm trying to stay up on my music." I absolutely love that man. After hearing a few songs, I realized that one of the band Fun. songs was on my labor playlist for Chaney. So now I ask, "Was I just hip before I realized and now I'm a peak-to-sooner?"

Dress, not so bad. Color? Not so much.

Bedazzler does not mix with ballerina. I mean, that's why we don't mix water with electricity. Some things just shouldn't.

Friday, February 8, 2013


 You know that feeling when you haven't spoken to a friend in a while and, as it gets longer and longer between conversations, it just gets more and more awkward? Well, Blog, that's you and I. Let's just both call out that little elephant in the room. I love to blog and have no reason why I haven't since DECEMBER 9 (hand slaps forehead.) I will say, and I apologize, your Blogness, but you fall pretty darn low on the totem pole of "to do's." May I say that my daughter's scrapbook is up to date, the toilets are clean, and her baby food is made. Do NOT look under my couch because you are liable to choke to death on dust. Don't say I didn't warn you. Mind if I just do a photo dump here to get us caught up??? I think that'll make things far less awkward.

It hasn't been THAT long. There are still only two "less than 4 footers" running around here.
 Went to Canton to see Christmas lights. Was much more challenging with a 3 year old than in previous years. Not fun. Not fun at all. Still deciding if this tradition is worth it...
 Met Santa. Check. Underwhelmed children ensued.
Christmas with a toddler boy. Clearing the way for the manger?
 Oh, the rain. The bane of my existence. This was Christmas morning in our backyard. Hom told me to look outside. He said, "Surprise! I got you an infinity pool for Christmas."

Angel face.
 First bow.

 Our veggie snowman. Resourcefulness at it's finest.

 C's first snow.

He's telling her who she is and isn't allowed to date when she turns 20 22.