Tag Archives: Wedding

There’s no place like home

“Home is not where you are from, it is where you belong.
Some of us travel the whole world to find it. Others, find it in a person.”
-Beau Taplin

 

As many of you know, I recently took a trip home. By home, I mean New York. The place where I was born and raised.

I want to start at the very beginning, as I find that is the best place to start;
Manhattan New York.

I saw June bug for the first time since the day after she was born, and it was more than I could have dreamt of. I arrived at Brooke and Joes home and was already in awe of the city. I lived in New York state for 16+ years and never once made it to the city. I always dreamt of this place. I don’t remember when I first learned about the city, but growing up, I talked about moving there, working there, running away from home and going there. It was all I’ve ever wanted. My feelings were so validated.

I had received my birth video from our birth photographer the day before I left and held out on watching it. I wanted to experience it with Brooke and June. It was worth the wait. Brooke and I sat with June in between us. We were laughing and pointing out funny things we were so glad that Eva had captured. I teared up a bit, I can’t speak for Brooke.

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Aunt Chelsea loves you  June Bug.

 

Seeing June was awesome, and I felt like she really recognized my voice. She is such a happy, loved baby. She laughed when I blew raspberries on her belly, she smiled almost every time I talked to her. It was amazing. Brooke took me around her neighborhood, we got coffee and ice cream and sat at a park to feed June.

 

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She may kill me for this action shot.

 

After walking around for a couple hours we went back to the apartment and got dressed to go meet Joe for dinner some where called “Dirty French”. It was so good to see Joe, and strange in my world to see him all dressed up (he came straight from work). The menu was in all French and I am embarrassed to say, that I only understood one word, thanks to ‘The Little Mermaid’. But J&B are experts, so I let them order for me. It’s refreshing to not be picky at all and trust someone else to order food for you. Check that off of my “experiences everyone should have” list. By the way, the food was Delicious!

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After dinner Brooke handed me a little bag (it was two days before my birthday). Inside was a BEAUTIFUL Alex & Ani tree of life bracelet. I’ve worn it pretty much everyday since then.

We walked back to the apartment to put Joe and June to bed (it was about 9:30, remember that) and Brooke and I went out to hit the town! Our first stop was a bar called Mace. It was all fresh drink with real herbs and fruit and it was totally our scene. We joked that in order to be a bartender there you had to have tattoos and a man bun. Then we hit a couple other bars that were.. “younger”. I think we both felt a little out of place. Bright lights, loud music, crowded, just not our scene anymore. But we had a drink at each one and talked and talked and talked. It’s funny how far our relationship has come over the past 18 months. I remember a lot of conversations with long lulls where we didn’t know what to talk about or how to respond to each other. When we were still trying to figure each other out. We talked about our lives and our husbands. Our children and the future. We talked about our journey to June bug and our future journey to have a little boy. When we walked back to the apartment, we sat outside for a good half hour because just weren’t ready to stop talking.

I slept in June bugs room and volunteered to wake up with her in the morning. I had to be up at 6am anyway to catch my flight to Syracuse. Most of the time when I stay at someone else’s house it’s weird. You’re not used to their surroundings, their noises, their bed. But I slept sound and felt so comfortable. June bug didn’t wake up until 5am!!! Such a great baby. I changed her and fed her and snuggled with her for an hour while I waited for Brooke to wake up. It was so nice to have that time with her.

When Brooke woke up it was time to say goodbye. Our visit was short but oh so sweet. I knew that I would miss my second “family” but I will see them again soon I’m sure. (p.s. check off ‘take an uber’ from my list too!)

My next stop was Syracuse to see my mother and be with her for her wedding. I don’t want to write too much about this visit as it was a long time coming, and it was also two weeks long, but I do want to talk about “home”.

For many, many years I lived in a city named “Fulton”. It’s not where my mother lives, or where I spent a lot of time during my visit, but I did go there a few times as it’s where my sister, sister in law and many friends live. It was strange going there. I haven’t been there in over two years. The last time I was there, it wasn’t good memories being made. I went and saw Will, went to my spot by the river, visited a few friends, and just drove around looking at how the city has changed, and it’s changed a lot. So many things that were once there are gone, the city looked dirty and I saw a few people who looked homeless walking around.

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My favorite spot in Fulton.

 

As I sat and thought about the city that I once called home, a city that I sometimes long for, a realization came over me.
This is not home.

I have found my home, my forever place. The place that I want to raise my kids,  where I have a career that I love. A place that I’m comfortable and miss when I’m gone. Fort Worth. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would some day come to love Texas as much as I do. So I enjoyed my visit to New York in so many ways. I loved seeing my friends and family and I so loved being able to spend time with my mother. It’s been a long time coming, but at the end, I was more than ready to come home. To my real home…..
But maybe, someday… NYC…

The Color of happiness is blue: And then there were two.

When Emma was four months old, Curtis turned 18, and joined the Army. He left just a few weeks later for basic training, and I was left to figure out motherhood on my own. I had some high points and some low points, but in the end we both survived. Curtis came home in December for two weeks before he was sent to his first duty station. And on December 21st 2007 I married my sweetheart.

aw! Look how young and cute we were!
aw! Look how young and cute we were!

Emma and I moved to Germany in May 2008. It was exciting and new and wonderful. A month later we found out that Curtis would be deploying by the end of the year, and that pretty much ended the “honeymoon phase”. We fought and fought, and pushed each other away. Until one day we realized that that was what we were doing. We were pushing each other away, so that the “good-byes” didn’t hurt so much, so that we might convince ourselves that we weren’t going to miss each other so much. It didn’t work. We made up (literally and figuratively) and the next day he was shipped out to train for a month. While he was away I tried to relax, to research “surviving deployment” and convince myself that Emma and I would survive deployment.

I had a regular OB appointment while Curtis was gone and it came up that I had a UTI. No big deal, I kinda ate like shit. So I was given a pregnancy test and when that came back negative I was sent home with anti-biotics. The next morning I went t take my first dose, and threw it up. “That’s no good. Maybe I’m sick, I’ll start them tomorrow.” And then the next day I threw up again, “What the hell?! Maybe tomorrow!?” And on the third day when I felt sick, before I even attempted to take the damn pill, I pulled a spare pregnancy test from under my sink (I always have extra JUST in-case) and peed on that little stick. I thought I was just being crazy,… until I saw two lines instead of one..

I grabbed my pills, my paperwork from earlier in the week saying I wasn’t pregnant and my fresh pee stick and grabbed the first cab to the Doctors office. When I got there I layed all of my things on the counter and demanded to see my Doctor and have a blood test done! An hour later I was sitting in a room with Emma, in a chair that spun, trying to keep her entertained. I COULDN’T be pregnant again! I didn’t even know if I wanted more kids! How was I going to take care of another baby when my husband was about to leave for Iraq?! When I lived in a foreign country!? When I didn’t have any friends, any family?!

The Doctor came in and smiled at me “I think you already know what I’m going to tell you. Congratulations mom and big sister!”

Curtis wasn’t even home for me to tell him. He was somewhere far away training to be even farther away. I was so distraught. At that time (2008) Myspace was the big social media. And i had put something on there about “freaking out” and “going straight to the hospital”. My mother-in-law had read these things and called everyone she could to get a hold of Curtis to find out if Emma and I were both okay. A couple hours later Curtis called me and asked me what was going on. I pretended to be excited and said “I’m pregnant! We’re going to have another baby!” to which he replied “I’m going to have a son.” It wasn’t a question, it was a statement. He came home two weeks later and he tried his best to put my mind at ease. He told me I could go home and be with family and friends. But the truth was that I didn’t really have a lot of support there either. At least in Germany I could be independent, have my own place, not have judging eyes on me at all times. No, I would stay in Germany alone and somehow survive being without my husband, raising a little girl, being pregnant for half the deployment and parenting two kids the other half.

Fast forward to December. I’m about 3 months pregnant and I’m saying good-bye to my best friend. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, and I feel like I won’t survive a week let alone a year.

Emma Curtis and I the day he deployed.
Emma Curtis and I the day he deployed.

At this point, I hate being pregnant. I can’t quit smoking because the anxiety attacks are to much to bear. I don’t feel attached to the child I am growing at all. My only concern is to keep myself and Emma alive and thriving. I feel horrible.

As time goes on I quit smoking and start eating healthy (and by healthy I mean no caffeine and subway like 4 or 5 times a week, but I totally lived on Twizzlers). At about 25 weeks I find out that I’m having a son, and it increases my anxiety tenfold.

I have NO clue what to do with a boy! No brothers or nephews or boy cousins. No idea what to do with a baby with a peep (what we later nicknamed boys private parts, I still have no idea where we came up with this)! Circumcisions? Do it or no? How do I clean it? Is he going to pee on me all the time? Daddy isn’t going to be here the first 6 months of his life! What if I make him too “feminine” with just me and his sister around? What if? How come? Whyyyyyyyyyyy!?
My attachment didn’t grow at all.

Now THAT is a belly you can't ignore!
Now THAT is a belly you can’t ignore!

Some of my anxiety was eased when Curtis came home on R&R a couple days before my due date. We spent every second together. Two days after he come home, we were informed that a friend of his had been killed by friendly fire in Iraq and I was brought down from my “high” yet again. I didn’t think I could handle him leaving me again. What if he never came home? I was far too young to be a widow with two children (by this time, I was 17 years old). We agreed to pretend that the rest of the world didn’t matter, at least for his short time home.

The three of us visiting a museum on my due date during Curtis' R&R.
The three of us visiting a museum on my due date during Curtis’ R&R.

My due date was May 2nd. It came and went, and we were worried that Curtis wouldn’t be able to meet his son before he went back to Iraq. I was in no hurry to get the baby out of his home in my belly, but I knew that my husband wanted to see his son. So I called my Doctor and scheduled yet another induction.

I hated myself. Why did I feel so little towards my son? I thought I must be the worst mom ever. I didn’t tell anyone. I had worked the whole pregnancy on a beautiful nursery, posted pictures of the belly and pretended I was happy like when I was pregnant with Emma, but, I just wasn’t. But the time had come to yet again go through the horrible experience of labor which only made me hate myself more! Why couldn’t I go into labor by myself? Why didn’t my body work right?!

So on May 6th 2009 I was induced. This time the Doctors didn’t want anything to do with an induction (oh the beautiful cultural differences) and they didn’t want me in the bed. But this time I was a little different too. I wasn’t calm an cool and collected like I was with Emma. I was pissed and anxious and I didn’t want to do it! So I yelled, and I cussed (oh I would have made a sailor blush) and it was so bad they cleared the maternity ward because I was disturbing other mothers who didn’t even speak English. But did I care?! HELL NO! That baby was on my sciatic nerve and I couldn’t feel my legs, I was in pain!

Curtis was playing with all of the equipment, I was screaming and the staff hated us! After 4-5 hours of labor, I felt like I had to push. They checked me, and to my surprise they looked worried. I was then told that my son was sunny side up (facing up) and that his face was stuck of a lip of cervix. I was told that they could do nothing, that I had to push him past it. Now let me just add that this nurse decided to leave her hand up my crouch the entire time and continued to ask me if I were in pain (which led to much more screaming and cussing).

I pushed for four hours. The longest four hours of my entire life. Finally I felt relief and Collin, was placed on my chest. I looked down at my very red newborn son and I sobbed. Why you might ask? Because he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. His whole body was red from getting stuck for so long, but he was beautiful. And you want to hear something else? Even though the Doctors told me that Emma was going to be too big for me, Collin was 8lbs 8oz 20 3/4″ long. Even bigger then Emma.

Love at first sight.
Love at first sight.

At that moment all of those scared and anxious feelings were gone. They were nothing. All that mattered was that he was there and that I loved him and I would figure out the rest no matter what. He was the other missing piece in my life. A mothers love for her son, it’s so unlike anything else in the entire world.

Emma came to meet her little brother and it was amazing. I couldn’t believe how much love my heart could hold for my children and my husband!

And then there were two.
And then there were two.

10 days later Curtis went back to Iraq and I was left alone for another 6 months to care for two children on my own. And you want to here something? It was fine. It was more then fine. We were wonderful. Of course we missed Curtis and couldn’t wait for him to come home to us, but we thrived together. Emma Claire and Collin Francis and mommy, we grew from our love and we learned together. I breastfed exclusively and Emma was the best big helped ever! Collin slept through the night from the first day  was born and it was bliss.

And just so you know, Curtis made it back home to us in one piece. And we were a whole family.

Welcome Home Soldier.
Welcome Home Soldier.

It’s been FIVE years now, and Collin has turned out to be such an amazing little man. He’s my cuddle bug, my sensitive boy. He can read (and he’s only in Kindergarten), and he loves to build everything he can with his legos. He’s a nerd and a rocker just like his mama.

Oh, and he'll probably be a model someday.
Oh, and he’ll probably be a model someday.

I wouldn’t change him for the world. And I know now that no matter how scared you, some things are just meant to be. I couldn’t imagine my life without him.