So, the past few months have been stressful. So stressful that a 60″ LED television died an untimely death. I may or may not get to the details of that later.

Losing a salary sucks, and losing it unexpectedly sucks even worse. But I’m incredibly lucky because I don’t actually have to go back to work. If I don’t, that means I become a stay-at-home-mother, which is a much more difficult job I can assure you. But still, I don’t actually need to go work in the traditional sense.

I really have no idea how to move forward and it’s causing me so much anguish. I have a big picture plan in mind, one that I think makes sense for me and my family and my emotional well-being, but I have no idea what to do in the interim. And I’m so damaged by my professional past, any step forward right now makes me spiral into a fit of anxiety.

On the plus side, with the holidays in full swing, I am more aware than ever of what’s important in life. And I can say without a trace of sarcasm that all I want for Christmas is five lazy days with my husband and daughter.

(Ok. The television. Stress in life makes for more stress in marriage, right fellow married folks? The stress increased and increased and I reached my limit. I threw my phone on the floor… and it bounced up, hit the screen of my tv and broke it. That is the honest-to-God-truth. My phone BOUNCED OFF OF THE FLOOR AND HIT THE TELEVISION SCREEN. Bounced. Fucking bounced. Only me, I swear.)

Turns out I haven’t written in here for a long time.

I’m trying to keep my distance from computers these days. I’ll do the things I need to do, or occasionally the things I want to do, like edit photos or read every single article on Daily Mail. But otherwise, I try to keep myself busy offline.

It’s kind of nice, actually. It’s liberating to not be tethered to a machine for the bulk of my waking hours.

But I’ve had a tough couple of weeks lately. There’s nothing in particular that’s bothering me, but rather an avalanche of little things.

Surprise divorces. My mom and dad’s marital strife. My own marital strife. Feelings of betrayal and confusion and worthlessness.  You know… typical stuff.

And as much as I love Christmastime, it’s also hard to be away from my family this time of year. I moved away from Pittsburgh a lifetime ago, so you’d think it would be easier at some point, but it’s not. In a way, it’s even harder now that I have Charlotte. I want her to know my family the way I knew my parents’ families. But she won’t.

We spent Thanksgiving in Connecticut with Jason and his crew, and we had the best time. A snowstorm prevented my parents from making the trip, and in a way that made things nicer. There’s a ton of tension where my mother’s concerned, but that’s another blog post for another day.

We ate turkey on the couch in our sweats while watching football. There was a ton of laughter, toddler squeals and alcohol.

I cried like a baby when I left. I told Logan that even though I wouldn’t see him again until the summer, I would be thinking of him and loving him from a distance.

I hate that.

I hate loving my family from a distance.

This morning, I sat on the floor with Charlotte in my lap, putting her shoes on before she and Allan left for the day.

She stood up and I asked if I could kiss her goodbye. She blew me a kiss as she walked toward the door.

Then she came back to me, bent down, and kissed me on my lips.

I had to hold back tears. It was one of the sweetest moments of my life.

And those sweet moments are what I knew nothing about when I was terrified and pregnant.

I also thought I was going to lose Allan when we became parents, but I didn’t. Instead, I got to watch him grow as a man and as a father, and got more of him to love. We’re such a team now in ways we weren’t before.

Last night we commiserated about Charlotte’s new phase – she screams when she’s displeased about something. Screams and squawks and it’s awful. But it’s just a phase, one with an ending (I hope). So last night, Allan and I laid in bed laughing because she sounds like some sort of deranged dinosaur. The annoyance at her screams brought us together, made us stronger in a weird way.

Just so you don’t think we’re awful parents, we also often lay in bed and marvel about her sweet face and intelligence.

(But we laugh at her a lot, too.)


Happy birthday to me.

When I look at the big picture – a happy, healthy marriage, a spectacular kid, good health – life couldn’t be any better.

But when I look at the details, it starts to look a little rough.

I’m, once again, without a job and I’m listless about everything, but especially my “career.” I use quotations because there is no career of which to speak.

I’m not entirely sure what happened with my last job, and I suspect I’ll never know the full story. What they’re telling me doesn’t add up. Regardless, though, I’m not there anymore and I’m still terribly sad about it. I would have stayed there forever if I could have because I liked the company and my coworkers THAT MUCH. The pay was crap, but everything else – at least in my mind – made up for it.

But the reality is, if we have another kid and then have two of them in daycare, I’d be clearing maybe $300 a month when all was said and done. At which point, Allan would have preferred that I stay home for a few years. It would have been the best thing for my family.

Staying home is still an option. Going back to work is an option. Going back to school to get out of this death spiral of a “career” is a possibility.

I feel like I’m at a fork in the road and it has 15 tongs, none of which are ideal. And remember how I said it was my birthday? I’m old now. So I’m running out of time to make major changes.

I haven’t written in here since July because work and home were both SO BUSY. An upside to all of this is that for the past three weeks, I’ve been able to breathe. I’ve organized closets, I’ve vacuumed, I’ve selected paint samples and made dinners. I’m writing.

So, we’ll see what happens. At some point my life will go in some sort of direction, and in the meantime, I’ll try to enjoy the journey.

Have I mentioned that C is allergic to peanuts? And that teenage babysitters charge $10/hour? And that my nanny unexpectedly took two additional weeks of vacation? And that my job isn’t being supportive of my need for a little extra time at home during that two week nanny vacation? And that I finally caved and took two mental health days away from work, and now they have to be spent with my mother-in-law? And my own mother is self-absorbed?

Happy days, happy days, 100 happy days. FOCUS ON THE HAPPY DAYS.

I’ve decided to do the #100happydays thing on Instagram. I thought it’d be a good way to put things in perspective when my worldview is out of whack.

I know I live a charmed life. No doubt, I do. But when I say I have a warped worldview, I’m not talking about material things. I’m talking about life in general.

I think I mentioned this in here, but when I returned to work after having Charlotte, my responsibilities increased by a lot (my pay, however, increased not at all), and my responsibilities at home also increased by a lot. A whole, whole lot.

And then my kid became mobile, and that’s when shit got real. It’s a whole different ballgown when you’ve got a moving baby who must touch/pull/eat everything not nailed to the ground (and sometimes even the carpet). The amount of vigilance required is more than I could have ever imagined.

When Charlotte is awake and in the house with me, there is NO FREE TIME NO MORE EVER.

I’m exhausted from foiling Charlotte’s daily, unintentional suicide missions, I’m tired from work, and I’m tired from normal life stuff. All the tiredness leads to stress, and the culmination of it all can be depressing.

Oh!  OH!

And my husband feels the same way. Exhaustion, exhaustion, stress, depression.

I once read that having a baby is like detonating a bomb in a marriage.

YES. Yes, that’s exactly what it is.

So, #100happydays. I’m trying to get happy, guys. Or at least be more aware of the steady stream of wonderful that flows throw my life, even though I’m generally too tired to recognize it.

When I was younger, I was desperate for blue eyes. They would be so much better than the dark brown I was born with. I used to dream of what my eyes should look like. They’d have a dark blue rim, with light blue in the middle. Those, I thought, would be perfect.

Those, I now see, are my daughter’s eyes. A dark blue rim, with pale blue in the center. I think I dreamed them up.

We recently celebrated her first birthday. Go ahead an insert every cliche about parenthood and the passage of time HERE. It’s all true. Every bit of it. Time flies at incomprehensible speeds, love is deeper than you ever knew possible.

Thanks to Charlotte, I’m living an amplified life.

We didn’t get her anything for her birthday. No gifts or anything. We threw her a 30+ person party, got her a special onesie (that says ONE!) and I made her a tutu, but no new toys or treats.

Three days after I learned I was pregnant, I started writing letters to my unborn child. In the letters I confess my fear, my hopes, and Allan’s euphoria. When I learn I’m carrying a girl, I tell her where her name came from and what color paint we selected for her room.

I tell her about feeling her kick. I continued writing throughout her first year, telling her about the day she was born. I told her about her fascination with lights, about her love of bananas, and her obsession with the dog.

I told her the story of her, and the story of us. It’s a love story, the likes of which I never thought I’d write.

I will print it, bind it, and that will be her first birthday present. And maybe someday when she’s older, she’ll read it and have an idea of just how much I love her.