The Election: Fallout, Reactions, and Hopes For The Future

This year’s election was particularly rough on me. I’ve been Bernie or Bust since he came on the scene like a wrecking ball, and when he was screwed by the DNC I got angry. In fact, I was so angry that I did not know who I was going to vote for until that day. I knew I had three choices. I could write in Bernie’s name as a protest vote, find a third party that somewhat matched my views, or I could vote against Donald Trump. Now, I live in Texas, so my vote doesn’t matter to a certain extent. However, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain so there I was at the polls the first day of early voting. I cast my vote for Hillary even though I felt an awful taste in my mouth. I can only imagine others felt the same no matter how they voted. In fact, I feel like there were more people voting against another candidate than they were for their own.

I was out of town when the election happened, visiting friends and family back home in Tennessee. I didn’t do much that evening, in fact I sort of sat in my hotel room watching with disbelief as numbers nobody could have anticipated started to roll in. I was confused, a little upset, and a lot sad. I didn’t even stay up until the end because it was very apparent what the outcome was going to be, and I needed to rest since we started our drive home the next day. I went to bed feeling down about Trump, but I’m not going to lie. Deep down inside it felt a little good to see the DNC get exactly what it deserved after it screwed Bernie Sanders. He would’ve crushed Donald Trump in every scenario possible. This is not 3rd party voters fault, even though 15 thousand idiots voted for Harambe. It’s the DNC’s fault. They killed themselves here.

I then woke up and we headed out. For the last two days I’ve been in a car for most of the day, which gives you a chance to think (and scour facebook and news sites thoroughly). I was not amused anymore. While yes the DNC did this to themselves, it didn’t really matter anymore. Trump’s New America was becoming a reality. I was seeing people harrassed for being gay, trans, muslim, latino, black, female even. People saying this was their America and people that were different than them weren’t welcome. People committing violent and heinous acts against people just because since Trump was their president now, that gave them permission. Swastikas. Making America white again. Strange men walking up to females they don’t even know and grabbing them by the crotch. The more I read, the sadder I got. What in the actual hell?

Many Trump supporters are telling people that they need to get over it and just accept it. Well, are we supposed to accept all of that? Are we supposed to accept that just because someone is a female they can be sexually assaulted because Trump said it was ok? Should people of color accept that they’re being told to get to the back of the bus, being called n****r or worse? Should a trans person accept that someone set their truck on fire, but it now won’t be ruled as a hate crime? what is wrong with you people?

We are not afraid of President Trump. We are afraid of what the general public thinks is ok now that he’s President. I can’t remember when I was gripped with the crippling fear that one of my friends would be on the news, a subject of a hate crime, hurt or worse even dead. I fear the day I’m out with my child and see it happening. I won’t turn away, but what will happen to me? And I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes right now thinking we’re just being dramatic but no.. I have friends this has already happened to. Someone telling one that they “won’t be paying for healthcare” for her “monkey kids” anymore. This is why people are scared and worried. Mike Pence has tried to pass the most stringent laws against the LGBTQ community, ones that had they passed would have driven up suicide rates so much. Conversion therapy is disgusting. It doesn’t work. But then again that’s someone who thinks condoms are “too modern” and “too liberal” and offer a poor defense against STI’s. (source)

I know some of the people that I personally know who voted Trump did so for a few reasons. Some of you voted one issue only, and while I don’t agree, I respect your priorities. Some people voted against Hillary. I understand that, because that’s the only reason Hillary got my vote – it was a vote against Trump. I know in my heart of hearts that a lot of the conservative folks I know and love aren’t racist. They don’t hate women and don’t hate people in general. But the general public, these backwoods racists, the KKK who endorsed Trump, now they are all coming out of the woodwork and Donald used them for his campaign. It was a smart move on his part, but he’s started something that he’s not going to be able to shut down before a lot of people get hurt. So while you are telling people to get over it, please understand people are fearing for their lives. And it’s not in a fake omg they’re coming for our guns paranoia. Eight years of Obama, and you still have your guns. Nothing happened. It’s real here, though. People are already getting hurt and worse. So just please.. Please, if you are a Trump supporter, if you voted for him or whatever … just don’t tell other people to get over it. Instead tell them you understand their fear, you love them, and you will do what you can to make sure they feel safe. If you see harassment going on, don’t be silent. Please help.

Recipe: Hot Corn Dip

So, being a WAHM (work at home mom) I get the chance to watch a lot of tv, especially since I discovered I can watch it on one of my computer monitors while I work!

1 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
2 cups shredded pepper jack
4 Cups Corn (if you use canned, drain) (for a fun variation, use fiesta or mexican corn!)
1 brick cream cheese, softened
8 oz sour cream
6 slices bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon cajun seasoning

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Over medium-high heat, cook the bacon pieces until they are nice and crispy. Remove them from the skillet with a slotted spoon, leaving as much rendered bacon fat as possible. This is important because you’re cooking veggies with it! If it’s not left much fat at all, you can add a tablespoon of olive oil or butter to help the next step along.

corn dip recipe

The rest of the veggies will be cooked now. Add the onions, garlic and peppers into the fat and cook for about 5 minutes, or until onions get translucent. If you use fresh corn you will need to add it as well, and amp the cooking time up to about 8 minutes. If you use canned or cooked corn, then all it needs to do is warm after the 5 minutes. I’ve done it both ways. Last time I made this I actually added some left over homemade creamed corn.

corn dip recipe

In a bowl combine the sour cream, cream cheese and cajun seasoning. Mix it well, as it needs to be smooth and creamy to blend with the vegs!

corn dip recipe

Now it’s time to combine everything! Leave about 1/2 cup cheese to go on the top, and mix everything else together. Bacon, veggies, cheese and cream mixture. Once it’s all incorporated spread it into a casserole dish. After that, top with the remaining cheese.

corn dip recipe

Bake this gem for about a half hour, until the cheese is bubbly and ooey gooey. Serve with either corn chips or wavy potato chips, something that can handle some weight on it. I served this at a birthday party the other day and everyone raved. I did a variation that time though, and used ground beef instead of bacon. I look forward to seeing how you make it yours!

corn dip recipe

Introducing Missy!

Hi my friends! I am Missy. I was born and raised in California, right about where Google and Apple have set up shop. When I was a teenager we had to pick up and relocate all the way across the country to the frozen tundra that is the Northeast. It was either that or get a passport and learn to speak Taiwanese. It actually turns out that I enjoy the snow. The move also led me to my husband and two beautiful children, for which I am constantly incredibly grateful.

When I’m not harassing my eldest about homework and tooth-brushing or babbling with and feeding my squishball, I love to make crafts. Some of which I half-ass in the interest of keeping my hands busy, others I agonize over to perfection.

In all honesty, I like to get things *just right*. I like to try new endeavors and see what happens. I am also lazy if I can get away with it. So my specialty is doing really neat things, really well, with minimal effort because let’s be real, here; if you want to do something cool and have it work in real life, you need to be able to do it quick and painlessly. Probably also with at least one child begging for attention.

I can’t wait to get this project started with all my dearly loved fellow Mama Weasels here on A Dash of Mama. I just know this is going to be great!

Fried Ravioil with Crawfish Cream Sauce

I admit it – I have OCD. Obsessive Crawfish Disorder. I start dreaming about those little red mudbugs at the first of the year, and I try to have them as many times as possible before the end of the season (which is around May or June usually). The start of crawfish season has all of my favorite things really. It usually coincides with Mardi Gras, so there are king cakes everywhere to be had. Next season you will get to see me making a gorgeous king cake too, since I had practice making a few by scratch this time. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be, but I learned some things too. Anyway, obviously the best way to enjoy these delicious crustaceans is to have a crawfish boil with your friends. You all get together, boil crawfish and the fixings (usually potatoes, corn, and sausage) and everyone eats in a really communal way. This year the weather’s been so warm that the little buggers have been enormous! We have had a lot left over even after everyone’s had their fill. The first boil I used the leftovers to make gumbo. This time, I decided to alter a recipe I’d seen online.

This was originally served at Copeland’s, I believe. I’ve made fried ravioli on its own before so I knew I could do that. I just altered it a bit and added a few things I thought would be good. This is a really quick recipe if you are using already cooked crawfish (or shrimp) but if you’re using frozen tails or raw shrimp, it only adds a few more minutes onto it. I cooked the ravioli first and then the sauce, and the ravioli were still piping hot when I put the sauce on. Here you go, and enjoy!

crawfish recipe

Fried Ravioli with Crawfish (or Shrimp) Cream Sauce
Ingredients
1 package refrigerated cheese ravioli
1c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs, well beaten
Oil for cooking
1 tbsp + 1 tbsp Tony Chachere’s or other cajun seasoning
1 onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 lb crawfish tails with fat (can substitute shrimp)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded parmesan

crawfish recipe

I will show you first the crawfish product I am working with. I took the tails from the boil the previous day and shelled them all to get that glorious tail meat. You can use frozen if you aren’t blessed with fresh delicious crawfish, or you can use shrimp either pre-cooked or raw and peeled/de-veined.

crawfish recipe

First thing to do is to set up your dredging station and heat your oil. Put about an inch of oil into a deep skillet or dutch oven and heat it to 350. IF you have a deep fryer you could also use this. My deep fryer is ginormous and bulky so I opted to pan fry. in a small bowl put your two eggs (and beat well), then in another bowl put your bread crumbs and 1 tbsp of the tony’s seasoning. Mix it well! Now you’re ready to dredge.

crawfish recipe

Coat the ravioli piece in the egg, shake it off, then press both sides down into the crumbs and set somewhere until you are ready to fry. Make sure you get all the excess off or it’ll break off in the oil and get nasty. I also try to only use one hand for dredging as it makes your fingers pretty grody too.

crawfish recipe

Time for frying! When your oil is hot enough, drop them in batches into it, flipping after a minute or two. It doesn’t take long at all for these babies to get done and they will plump up a bit when they are ready. If you are using a deep fryer, they will float to the top. Put them on some paper towel to draw

crawfish recipe
When you are done, you will have these beautiful pillows.

crawfish recipe

Now it’s time to build this sauce. It really takes no time at all. Melt the butter in a frying pan on medium high heat and add the garlic and onion, cooking for 3 minutes.

crawfish recipe

Add the crawfish and the tony’s. If you are using raw product, you might want to add another tsp or so of seasoning since the meat will be unseasoned. Mine was seasoned from the boil and I used a bit more than this and it was a tad too much. If your meat is cooked already, you just want to warm it up and mingle with the rest. IF it’s uncooked, then make sure it gets done but it’ll only take a couple minutes. Add the cream and simmer for a minute or two, then add the cheese and let it melt and thicken the sauce. Plate the ravioli and drop that down on top, and prepare for a mind blowing experience!

The Status Quo

It’s official: I have the most perfect baby ever.

I know a lot of people say that, but hear me out. he’s three months today and already sleeping well. He’ll do a 6-8 hour stretch and then at least one more 2 or so hour stretch after that. I’m getting enough rest – well, except for the last few nights but he just had his shots so part of that is my anxiety and paranoia keeping myself up to watch him. Last night he had trouble falling asleep, but once he did he slept good so we just slept in today. But his sleep habits that rival his daddy is not the reason why we have the most perfect baby ever. Well, not the only reason anyway.

He’s so chill. He doesn’t cry unless there is something wrong. Sometimes he fusses when he’s a bit bored or wants to move, but the Mamaroo we got just clears that right up. By the way? I know it’s a bit of an investment (we took advantage of the Babies R’ Us trade in event that allowed us to trade in an old used bouncer I’d picked up at a consignment sale for like $10 to get 25% off of a new purchase, so it was about 70 dollars cheaper than it actually would’ve been purchasing outright) but it is worth its weight in gold. While Kristopher would sit in the bouncer and rest sometimes, he got bored easily and would fuss until someone picked him up and walked him around. The roo has 5 different motions and 5 different speeds, and even has a bluetooth hookup and you can play mp3s or playlists through it. (Note: I have a Galaxy Note5 and it is incompatible because it’s the newest phone and the software version is too advanced or something. I could still plug it in via the jack and play music if I wanted to, though) He will sit in it quietly and talk to me, watch Little Einsteins, Curious George, or Daniel Tiger (our three favorites! I personally love Little Einsteins) and he will nap for long stretches as well.

I am one lucky mama. He is advancing well enough (except for things like rolling and tummy time because he still pretty much hates that). He loves to talk, coo, laugh and smile at mama and he’s already sleeping well through the night. He hasn’t gone to his own bed because we’re going on a trip next month and he’ll be in the pack and play for that. Plus, he hasn’t hit that 4 month mark yet. To be honest, we’ll probably start the crib transition when Clayton is home in April. I kind of like having him close by when it’s just the two of us at home.

Coming soon: A pic dump of special photos from month-birthdays and holidays so far!

Recipe: Barbecue Chicken Braid

Being a new mother means I spend a lot of time holding a baby and leaning on my phone (and subsequently, Facebook) to communicate with the outside world. An ongoing trend has been people sharing how-to recipe videos by places like Tasty and BuzzFeed, and boy do I love those. Not only do I love them, I love experimenting and making them my own. One day I saw a video for a pizza braid. It was pizza crust, pepperoni, cheese and sauce. I decided to use sausage instead of pepperoni and it turned out great. Then I decided to try a taco braid, with taco seasoned ground beef, salsa and cheese. It was just as delicious.

I am here today to tell you about neither of these. It will be easy enough for you to figure out how to alter it to your liking if you want to try them later. The one I’m making today is one I could only try when my dearest husband was in Canada, because he doesn’t like chicken. I love chicken. Even more, I love taking a rotisserie chicken that I pick up from Kroger and turning it into something special. That’s just what I did today.

barbecue chicken recipe

This is easy, fun, and you can even get kids to help you. If, you know, they’re mobile. As for me, I got help in the form of a baby who talked and chattered to me the whole time. I win.

BARBECUE CHICKEN BRAID
difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS
1 roll pizza crust dough
1 rotisserie chicken meat without skin, shredded and/or chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
barbecue sauce to taste
3 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
1 1/2 cups + 1/2 cup shredded cheese

First things first. Preheat your oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the dough as thin as you can get it until it covers most of the sheet. You don’t want it to be too thick or it won’t get very done on the inside and that’s kind of gross.

barbecue chicken recipe

Mix the chicken with the spices and as much barbecue sauce as you want. More will obviously make it saucier, so it depends on whether you want it dry or what. Then spread all but about 1/2 cup of the mixture on the middle third (lengthwise) of the pizza crust. Sprinkle the green onions on top of there, then cover with 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese. You can use whatever you like. I opted for cheddar, though a cheddar jack or pepper jack would be good too.

barbecue chicken recipe

Once it’s all piled on, slice small lines on one side of the pizza dough, like the picture below. Then turn it around and you will start to do the other side. I actually do the second side as I braid so I have the same amount of ribbons to braid, but I suppose you could count too.

barbecue chicken recipe

Now it’s time to braid. You will cut the end ribbons off of the end, leaving only the middle piece that will be folded over and start the braid. Then just fold the ribbons over each other from each side like so:

barbecue chicken recipe

Once you get to the end, you won’t use the last two ribbons but will cut them and fold the end piece over, and it will look like this:

barbecue chicken recipe

Bake for fifteen minutes or until it’s golden brown and bubbly. You won’t regret this. Slice it up with a pizza cutter and serve nice and warm!

barbecue chicken recipe

He’s Here! Welcome To the World, Kristopher!

While it wasn’t in the way that we’d anticipated, Kristopher Donovan Estepp made his way into our family – and deep into our hearts – a few weeks early. My blood pressure had been on the rise for a little while, and while pre-eclamsia was a real threat, the protein had managed to stay out of the pees until the very end. Then my MFM decided she was just ready to give the go-ahead to avoid any further complications. I was admitted to the hospital Thursday afternoon, November 19. We prepared for a c section the next morning.

It was frightening. Since we were just at the hospital for observation, I didn’t really have anything with me. Clayton went back to the house to take care of the dogs, get our things, and stop by to bring me my last pregnancy meal (if you’re wondering it was Culver’s – chicken tenders and cheese curds) and my dad and stepmom came to visit for a bit. That night it was just keeping me comfortable and waiting for the morning to come.

I was pretty uncomfortable most of the night and the baby was extremely active. I only got a few hours sleep before 6 am hit and we were prepping me for surgery. First thing was me washing up with special soap and slipping into the hospital gown, then the nurse came in for my IV and shave and everything else. The anesthesiologist followed and explained to me what he’d be doing and I started taking medicine, including the gross citrus acid stuff that helps me not die while being under anesthesia. Clayton changed into his disposable daddy scrubs and after a quick visit from his mom we were off!

They had Clayton wait outside while they got me ready for surgery. I sat on the table and bent over and the skilled doctor started to do his thing with the spinal tap. It took a long time and there was one oopsie that almost had me jerking off the table but we got it done just in the nick of time. He’d said that if it took any more he would’ve just put me to sleep, so I’m glad that didn’t have to happen. I of course got sick and woozy as soon as it started hitting and they had to compensate for that but before I knew it I was stable, not feeling anything, curtain up and they were already carving into me apparently when they led Clayton in. He sat next to me and held my hand like a boss, which was just what I needed because I was suffering from some panicky anxiety. It didn’t seem like any time had passed until my doctor was talking about how he was breech again (he’d been head down on the ultrasound two days before) and well, that explained all the uncomfortable movements from the night before. He was flipping into the best c-section position for us! And then he was out, I heard him cry, and a big sigh of relief was had. And I cried a little bit.

Kristopher was 7 lb 10 ounces (he’d been estimated at 7 lb 14 oz the week before) and 21 inches long. He passed his APGAR with a 9/9 but his sugar was a bit low and was having a few breathing issues. Clayton went to be with little man and once I was stitched up we were all in recovery together for a bit. I was finally able to hold him! The first bit of skin to skin was awesome and I did not want to put my baby down. Unfortunately I had to, because we were going to separate places. He needed to be watched in the nursery and I had to be wheeled to my room (eventually). That’s when things started to not go as planned.

His breathing was not improving – he was having rapid bouts and super high respiration levels so they decided he needed to be sent to the NICU. The grandparents all got to see him before he was carried off, and Clayton got to spend a little more time with him. And that started my crusade to be able to go. Unfortunately, because I was on a magnesium drip, I had to stay in bed with a catheter in for 24 hours after delivery. It was the hardest time because I wanted to be there with him but couldn’t even go in a wheelchair. You better believe that once those 24 hours were up I was rabid about getting someone to wheel me down to the NICU to see my guy. It was hard holding him with so many wires and sensors connected to him, but it was 100% worth it.

We were both there for four days. He progressively got better (though there was a bit of jaundice scare at the end) and I recovered like a champ. By day 2 I wasn’t even using a wheelchair to go to the NICU at all. I was impressing every nurse that came in contact with me over how much I was doing so fast. To be honest, it’s why I feel like I’m doing so well now. The motivation to be near my boy and be recovered for him was all that I needed.

We’re all home now, obviously, and he just had his three week birthday. In the past three weeks we’ve moved 2 hours from our home, celebrated Thanksgiving, been through some struggles and some triumphs and it’s all been worth it. I love this little guy and so does his daddy. He makes our little family 100% complete and he really is the sweetest baby with the best disposition ever. I’ve never been happier, even when I’m drag-butt tired.

Childbirth After Adoption

18 years ago, I made a very painful decision: After having a baby completely too young and struggling with many things, including providing, I decided to give my baby girl up for adoption. She was almost a year old and it was a family situation with a relative who, along with her husband, was having fertility issues. I won’t go too much into that because that part is not my story to tell, but mentioning it is relevant. The adoption process was pretty quick and (on the surface) painless, and she got a new life being the only child of a very devoted mother and solid father, something I wouldn’t have been able to give her for a very long time. While I quite frequently wonder what if, I do not regret the action in and of itself.

Flash forward to now: Stable marriage, stable home. Our decision to start a family was honestly not an easy one, mostly because of my past. There was a part of me that didn’t think that I deserved happiness with a family because I “squandered” away my chances when I was younger. Throughout this entire gestation and family planning process I’ve had so many doubts and fears because of the way things went before. In my head I know I’m older, wiser, and overall more stable and things won’t be the same. It’s hard to rationalize that though when you’re worrying about everything from so many different angles. It’s a struggle.

With every day that passes I wonder what life could’ve been like had I actually gotten my stuff together years ago .. but I wouldn’t be where I am now, so I suppose there’d be a trade off. And right now I’m happy. I guess there’s no real point to any of this except musing. And lamenting that I always second guess myself now. I have faith that it’ll be ok though!

31 weeks down … Almost there!

Again it’s been ages since I posted. It’s for better reasons this time than my previous absence though. I’ve just been so busy preparing and living life that sometimes (read: all the time) I’m too tired to update this thing. I spend a lot of time on my Babycenter birth board too so that’s where I usually write things. I’m going to go through a lot of stuff though since it’s been almost a month.

We are now fully adjusted to life with Clayton doing 3 week Canadian rotations. We’ve worked out his leave and vacation from work for when the baby comes and have coincided it perfectly with the move. He comes home next Thursday, which will actually end up being Friday by the time he travels (10/16) and then he’ll be home for three weeks. He’ll go back out for two then come home with one week unpaid time off and 4 weeks of paternity leave / vacation time. Our plan is to move Thanksgiving weekend and have everything ready to go. My c-section has been scheduled for the 11th of December but I don’t think I’ll last that long and neither does the doctor. Still, that’s the time frame as we have it now.

My baby shower was September 19. My friend flew in from Vegas and it was a great bash. My friend Crystal worked sooo hard on it and everything was perfect. It was small but I got so many awesome presents and loved celebrating with everyone. There were minions everywhere and omg the cake was so good. All I can say is that Kristopher is a lucky little boy to have as many people who love and care about him as he does. I think everything’s gonna be all right. I had an amazing weekend and everyone that helped do things for it will have my eternal gratitude.

I’m having bi-weekly doctor appointments for both my regular OB and my MFM at this point. We keep having to increase my dosage of insulin at night because the placenta keeps raising my fasting blood sugars. This is something she told me would happen but it still is hard not to be frustrated sometimes. Blood pressure is steady which is good because pre-eclamsia has always been a risk factor. Baby is a little big but not alarmingly so, and overall I’m pleased with the health part of the pregnancy. I have had some pretty crazy itching on my hands and feet at night so today my doc ran a liver panel and bile test just to be sure that there was no cholestasis. I expect it to be normal though.

Next week we are taking maternity photos at a pumpkin patch. It’s sort of maternity/family and I’m doing pics for my friends too. It’s hard to feel good when I’m as big as a house – especially in the tummy – but I feel like I’d hate not having this part of my life documented, especially considering how hard I worked and planned to get here. Next time I post will be with new pictures!

Where My Head’s At

I didn’t know my mother.

Let me clarify. I knew her – I knew who she was, what her name was, even had a cursory relationship with her but I didn’t know her. Truth be told, it didn’t really even bother me that much until my mother’s funeral this summer. The preacher who was doing mother’s eulogy came up to me and my two siblings and asked us to tell him more about her. I felt bad for a fleeting moment that the only thing I could contribute was “she loved animals.” This was true. My mother bred dogs and horses for as long as I can remember and even worked managing a petsmart type store for many years. However besides that superficial fact? I couldn’t tell him anything. Nothing positive, anyway. It just didn’t seem like it would be a fitting place for “Brick House was her self proclaimed theme song. Can we have that at the funeral?”

I made jokes. I kept it light-hearted and it was for my own protection. I couldn’t really let myself get involved at this near-stranger’s funeral. I was there for my siblings, I was there for my grandfather. I was not there for my mother. The reality of that setting in has unsettled me in a lot of ways. I think being pregnant and so aware of the tiny life I’m about to have to mold in my own hands made it even worse to think of.

I was raised by my grandparents. Both of my parents were too young to have children – my father, the traveling touring musician and my mother, just irresponsible – so the responsibility fell upon her parents. I was loved fiercely and completely and never wanted for anything. My mother remarried not too long after she left my father and had two more children, my half brother and sister. My stepfather was a total monster and I barely had any interaction with any of them because of it. When I was nine years old, my grandmother was feeling poorly with back issues and just being too old to chase after a child my age. My mother promised to come get me by the end of Christmas break to move in with her. I didn’t see her for years and I might not ever have seen her again if she hadn’t run into my aunt at a horse sale my freshman year of high school.

So here I am, a young adult in my own right, forced to have a relationship with someone who obviously didn’t want to have one with me. It was awkward and honestly I felt like I had absolutely no choice in the matter. I enjoyed getting to know my brother and sister again. I lived with them for a semester in high school. It was both good and bad. It was great to have siblings and be around them on a daily basis, but it was tough with the parental guidance. In order to better pursue academic and musical interests, I found myself back with my grandparents.

My grandmother died when I was 19 and it was the hardest thing I had ever experienced. That was my mother, the woman who raised me and taught me things. And she was gone. And my mother couldn’t bother to be there for me. She wasn’t there for anyone. Even after that and on into adulthood I kept in touch with my mother, usually by email or quick message here and there though the years. I saw her once in my adult life (I say adult as in over 21) until she fell ill. She moved back to our hometown and my aunt became her main caretaker. Then she started to cling to her children, wanting us to come visit (I lived 13+ hours away at that time) and when I did come home just putting so much guilt on me to spend as much time there as possible that I just didn’t even want to spend any time at home at all.

My mother and I never resolved our issues. I never sat her down and asked why she felt it was ok to abandon her child at a young age. I never sat down with her and demanded explanations of how she can love my siblings so much more. I couldn’t even share happy times with her. I remember the months and days leading up to mine and Clayton’s wedding she kept telling me I still had time – I could call it all off. I would never be happy, etc. I let it blow into one ear and out the other. After all, she wasn’t coming and she had no plans to. Just earlier this year when I told her about our wishes to try to conceive, she thought I was crazy. Told me that having kids was the worst thing that could happen to a woman and why would I want to disrupt my life? (that’s a great thing to say to your oldest child, by the way). When we were pregnant I told her, overjoyed. I didn’t even remember really what she’d said until she acted so in shock. “Why would you do that? I thought you were kidding. Why would you ruin your life?” And more lamentations that my life was over and mourning something that I wasn’t going to miss. It was at that point that I had decided contact with my mother was toxic and needed to be limited. And of course, I never saw her again because she suddenly passed this summer.

I didn’t make it home before she passed. There was a day and a half of notice before it happened. My sister was there, but my brother hadn’t made it either. We were all expected to pay for my mother’s final expenses in thirds even though she was hardly a mother to me. I was expected to be a great daughter and handle everything because I was the oldest. I was expected to smile and go along with whatever when all I really wanted to do was be anywhere else. It wasn’t fair. Not to me, not to my siblings, not to anyone. My mother was not a great person. I will not pretend she was just because she passed.

A couple months have passed (and this is really the reason I’ve not felt like writing much. I’ve been in my own head, concerned with this, the baby, my husband’s new Canada assignment, our upcoming move and other things sapping my energy and my creativity) but a post I was reading on babycenter the other night really just kind of brought this issue to the forefront and I felt like I needed to talk about it. I feel better now, and I will try to write with more frequency. The next post will be a baby update, I promise.