Self Image

May 26, 2010

I've been feeling a little self-conscious about my body lately. (I'll admit, it's easy to talk about celebrating one's body when you're normally a size 6.) Pregnancy definitely did a number on me. Despite rubbing lotion on my belly nearly every day, I still ended up with a crazy amount of stretch marks. I've got love handles for miles. And I'm avoiding form-fitting shirts like the plague for fear that my mushy muffin top will be unleashed upon an unsuspecting public. Most of the time I can still feel good about myself, but lately I've felt deeply frustrated at my altered appearance.

But there's at least one person who doesn't see all those flaws: my son. He looks at me like I'm the most beautiful person he's ever seen. When I walk by, his admiring gaze follows me wherever I go. When I go to his crib every morning, his eyes light up. He has a special smile just for me. And my singing voice, far from refined or beautiful, always calms him when he cries. I've never known a human love that was so unconditional--or an adoration so pure and free from bias.

I once told another blogger that children make us face the worst in ourselves. But they also reveal the best in us, too. They show us what we can be, and what we should aspire to. I hope to always be the beautiful woman my son sees, both inside and out. I know it's too much to hope that he'll always look at me this way, so I will treasure the moment while I can.

And do some sit-ups.

Driven to Distraction

May 16, 2010

Well, I finally did it. I found a car I love! It's a silver 2007 Ford Fusion with black leather seats. It is SWEET beyond belief. Every time I climb in, I feel like a queen. Now if I could just figure out how to mount the baby mirror in the back seat....

I haven't been blogging much because, aside from car shopping, I'm making some much-needed changes to my first manuscript. So far, I've added about four pages of material, and I'm only up to page 70 or so in the tweaking process. After this, I'll print off two copies or so and begin querying literary agents again. I just about have my query perfected, too. The problem with this process is that it takes FOR-EV-ER!

Seriously, there are much better uses for one's time than writing books--not for J. K. Rowling, obviously, but for everybody else, absolutely. Getting published is like winning the lottery after busting your brains for 2+ years to buy the ticket--and then you must collect the money from the Italian Mafia. I'm not joking. It's THAT difficult. I could get near the end of this process only to discover that I've written a story no one wants to buy or read. My 260-page manuscript could end up on a shelf, unpublished, collecting dust for the next two decades. But for now, I can't think those kinds of thoughts. I've only queried 10 agents. Some writers wallpaper their bedrooms with rejection letters before they find someone who is interested in representing their work. That's the kind of effort I need to give.

The baby? Well, he's fine. He's been a bit fussy since getting his first vaccine shots. I think, though, that he's getting bored with playing on the floor all day. If I take him out for a walk in the stroller or bring him along in the car to run errands, he's a perfect angel. If I put him on his activity mat, he's fussing after an hour--not great for writing and studying. But I guess I didn't have him to help me with my writing, now did I?

Really, I can't remember why I had him...but I'm glad I did. His smiles make my days a little brighter. And now I'm thinking, maybe I should have another?


Speaking of babies, I'd like to say congratulations to my friends, Jessica and William, on the birth of their first child, a beautiful little girl. My husband and I met Jess and Will in South Carolina nearly two years ago, and Jess became my first follower on this blog. I know they are thrilled to be new parents!

Learning to Laugh

May 7, 2010

Sorry if it seems I've abandoned my post lately. The past ten days have been unreal. First, my husband sold his truck--which is kind of a good thing because I now get to choose a mid-sized car to haul William around in. I've spent all week test driving cars WITH LEATHER SEATS! However, the day my husband cleaned out his truck for the sale, he dragged into the apartment two large saws and three Rubbermaid storage bins full of stuff he had been storing in his truck. I flipped out, especially when he suggested using the nursery closet to store the tools.

I've got news for you, buddy. I just organized the nursery closet, and it's packed to the ceiling. Good luck.

Fortunately, he managed to fit it all into his closet instead. I'm just frustrated that this place is about to burst at the seams.

Next, the TV went out. Yes, the beautiful 42" HD 1080p TV that we shelled out a thousand bucks for 18 months ago DIED. Also, the warranty has expired, and to fix the problem will cost the same amount as buying a new one. I'm not happy about missing new episodes of The Biggest Loser. I'm also not happy about spending another small fortune to replace a TV that should have lasted for years.

Know what else died this week? The childhood pet my brother and I shared: a giant tabby cat appropriately named Mr. Big. He had been a part of our family for 14 years. Two days ago, our mother accidentally ran him over in the driveway. This occurred on the same day I took William to the pediatrician, where he received his first vaccine shots. My heart broke when I heard him scream from the pain. I think I would have hurt less had the nurse instead jabbed the needle straight into my breastbone, Pulp Fiction style.

When my husband arrived home the afternoon of the flat cat/poked baby fiasco, I recounted to him William's painful day, then tearfully filled him in on the details of Mr. Big's demise. He snorted, then started laughing. Which, of course, made me laugh, too. Call it the absurdity of death.

My husband's thought was that Mr. Big had had enough of being old and living with my parents, and had decided to hasten his journey to the big litter box in the sky. We joked about the cat lying in wait for the car to back down the driveway, looking for the right opportunity to throw himself under the tires. Granted, it wasn't a bad way to go for the old fellow. Animals don't die gracefully from old age; it's a horrific process that can take days or even weeks. Mr. Big shuffled off this mortal coil in five minutes.

My depression has been bad recently, so learning to laugh at these little situations helps. I'm also teaching William to laugh. Babies can't laugh at birth; the ability is a developmental milestone that comes around the time they learn to coo. I've been on pins and needles for weeks waiting to hear Will's first real laugh. It finally came about two weeks ago when I bounced him on my knee. If I could bottle up the feeling that sound evokes within me and sell it, I swear I'd be a millionaire within a week. It's more healing than Prozac and more addictive than crack. But while Will smiles in spades, his laugh is still rare. Every day when I see his eyes shine a little brighter, I hope for the connections in his brain that will allow him to laugh long and loud, and thus shed a ray of light into my darker days.

In the meantime, I've started a second novel. This one is a fantasy. But don't fret; I haven't given up on getting the first one published. I'm taking a short "time out" to perfect my query and make some small corrections on the manuscript. Trust me: when I finally snag a publishing contract, laughing won't be hard to do at this house.