Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Then and Now: Poetry an Mothering

Then and Now: Poetry and Mothering

We sit at the table, mother and daughter, markers spread out in no particular order. The paper is set out side by side, waiting for the colorful scribbles of lines and right angles and the occasional smiley-face drawn so precisely from a two-year-old mind. Looking at her, marker poised carefully with such concentration over the paper, I wonder how we, as artist and mother, merge the two separate selves so that they co-exist within ourselves?

No doubt, raising a young child is challenging. Everything, at one point or another, gets pushed aside for varying lengths of time. For me, it was my writing-all forms of it in the beginning-that got pushed aside to tend to the more pressing and urgent matters: changing that poopy diaper for the third time that day, feeding, bathing, reading the bedtime story, making sure nothing ended up in her mouth that shouldn’t have.

When my daughter was three months old, I wrote this:

Poetry and Mothering

I have been writing poetry since my early teens and journaling before that. It has saved my life, literally, in numerous ways, may times. It sounds clichéd (you know everybody says that), but so very true in my life. In struggling through and recovering from depression, writing was, and still is a way to regain my strength.

These days, I am lucky if I get the daily journal entry in. Being a new mom of a three-month-old daughter, I try specifically to make the time for this. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I truly miss writing poetry. I have not written anything poetic since a little before I found out I was pregnant in November 2003. I feel rather naked without it. There is comfort in words. I don’t think it is so much rage or anger I feel as much as the pure frustration at not having the time, or more importantly, the energy to write now. I do know, though, that there will be a time again for poetry-to really write again.

I try not to let the frustration take hold. I know this is temporary. Yet, in the moment, it is painfully raw. But then, I look at my beautiful daughter with her smiles and babbles and think how absolutely wonderful she is; what an amazing creation she is; that I created her.

In having a child, I do not want my writing to be forgotten or put aside for so long that I begin to regret not pursuing it as I should have. Or-worst of all-aim my resentment against myself or my daughter.

It is vital to me that the two selves-mother/writers- co-exist, grow, merge, to form a more complete being. I’m not quite sure how to go about this yet. But, that is one of life’s many challenges, is it not?

Originally printed in Mama Says Newsletter

It has been nearly two years since I last wrote those words. Much has changed, as life inevitably does so. The differences between a three month old baby and a toddler are immense. Now there is negotiation involved about going to the park and a muffin afterward. At three months, that wasn’t even a flicker of thought in my mind.

Indeed, it has been challenging for the two selves to co-exist. Not to mention the challenge alone of rearing a two year old, tantrums and all, as a single parent. There have also been many rewards. For the most part, the challenge has been met with open arms and a willing mind. Words have become unlocked from my near-stagnant mind and flow freely to the page. Almost as freely as my daughter’s need to scavenge for Cheerio’s.

I think this convergence comes mainly from the actual acceptance of motherhood into my life with all its twists and turns, joyous melodies and dark tunnels. I remember when writing had no time limits. Now it is naptimes and bedtimes, writing voraciously into the night. I am content with that-for now.

April 15, 2006

Friday, May 26, 2006

A Post-Mother's Day Post

A Post-Mother’s Day Post (May 19, 2006)

Mother’s Day has come and gone. The flowers that my brothers brought are still sitting on the table: petals of the red Tulip have been blown back, looking like some prehistoric creature-some insect maybe, or a dragon, even-beautiful, but deadly and the yellow daffodil-a papier-mâché star so delicate. I should probably throw them away, but they hold a beauty now, different from when they were fresh and waxy, that I find it hard to do so.

This year was only my second Mother’s Day to celebrate officially, but this particular day always seems to have had strange events floating around it. I don’t know if strange is the appropriate word. Perhaps, ‘highly charged emotional events that can be strange’ is a better fit.

This year, over the Mother’s Day weekend, the moon was full (on Saturday) and in Scorpio (my Sun Sign). Full Moon in Scorpio is intense, at its mildest; ferociously abrasive at the opposite end of the spectrum. The reverberations could be felt into Sunday. I pay attention to these things, you know. It’s hard not to when your mother, the astrologer, gives you these tidbits to mull over.

It had been dark and raining all weekend, not a spot of sunshine to lift our moods in the slightest.

The day started off with my daughter clawing at me to wake up, and then screamed all morning. There didn’t seem to anything terribly wrong with her: she’s just two. When I couldn’t take the screaming anymore-short bursts alternated with the whiney scream, continuously- I handed her over to the Grandparents for about an hour while I went on a calming walk. Of course, she was fine with them. No screaming. We apparently just needed a mama-daughter break. It helped. But, she still continued to fire off short bursts every so often when I came back.

By the time bedtime rolled around, I was mentally and physically drained. I was looking forward to a quiet, peaceful moment to myself-no noise-at least fifteen minutes worth, before I went to sleep. So what happens? The people upstairs just arrive home, making what seems to be an obscene amount of noise: stomping and others unidentifiable. Then comes the dog from upstairs: barking for about 20 minutes without any break. Forget about a quiet moment…

Last year (my first official Mother’s Day), was a mess: a court date was set to settle child support for my daughter with her father the day after Mother’s Day. Talk about highly charged emotional events!

Another year, I found out I was pregnant a few days before Mother’s Day but could not keep it. Another highly charged emotional event-to say the least.

I would much prefer flowers to the onslaught of chaotic emotional upheaval that seems to correlate with this day.

Who’s to say what will happen in future years, though? Mother’s Day is just a day, after all, just as Father’s Day is just a day used today as a huge marketing advantage. Perhaps that is part of the chaos: the collective stress of a holiday, the need to buy cards and gifts so there is not too much guilt to be felt towards mothers and fathers.

This Mother’s Day, though, I found real beauty in the fresh flowers, despite the darkness of the day. They radiated color and life on that day, more than what any other expensive gift or card could do, and do so even now taking on the appearances of stars and insects.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pieces of America: New Orleans

New Orleans Adventure

We headed into New Orleans after finally getting out of Alabama. L. is driving like a madman at night-around 11:30. He said he felt as if he were in NASCAR, navigating the treacherous I-10. We were going to stop as soon as we got to the LA state line, to rest, but we were so close to New Orleans!! We were determined. So, we pumped L. full of hot black coffee, driving 90. I began lighting cigarettes for him. Almost there! More coffee for L.

It should be noted here the reason why only L was driving. It’s quite simple, really: neither J nor I had our licenses. Even if we did, L wouldn’t have let anyone else drive anyway- “It’ll just be faster if I do it” as he claimed early on in the trip. It’s best not to argue with such stubbornness. It gets you nowhere.

Crossed the bridge over Lake Pontchartrain. The bayous, dark, mystical New Orleans!! I-10 is busy, even at this hour; L. drives at 90 just to avoid any accidents, ironically. We see the sign for the Business District. This is the first exit off the maniacal highway we needed to get off of fast. Excitement fills the air. WE ARE IN NEW ORLEANS!

Little do we know, our excitement is about to fade pretty quickly.

Our first mission: get to a casino and have some fun! Harrah’s loomed invitingly in the distance. Found a place to park, changed our clothes-surely we couldn’t go in with what we were wearing. I change into the ‘Valentine’s Day dress’, a little number that left both L. and J. breathless. I’ll admit, I took some satisfaction in that. In the midst of our excitement and miscommunication, the doors were slammed shut, about to take off, when the realization came: the keys are locked in the car. Ah, to hell with it, we’ll deal with that later. We had primo gambling at our fingertips!!

Off to the casino we go all smiles and feeling a bit euphoric. Flashing lights, valets- the air conditioning hit us like an arctic breeze. Step up to the security counter, the smile immediately fell from my face: I don’t have my I.D. I decided to try anyway. Put on my sweetest face, talked my sweetest talk. It didn’t work.

“You don’t look 21, darlin, ’” the security man says.


I was 22 at the time, but you would never have guessed it.

End up going back to the car with a collective sigh. First, we thought we’ll go to the cops and see what they can do for us. What a joke!! Cops? In New Orleans? Actually helping out? Not a chance. There were none to be found anyway. Although, just minutes ago, it seemed as if they were all over the place on the main drag. Must have been snack time. So, we had to deal with the locked car on our own. It was only a minor problem. A hanger should do the trick. Found one by some odd chance and the boys went to work as I looked on (again). Within seconds there was a pop and the door was open. Got everything we needed and made sure we had the keys this time before we locked it. Excitement is up again and feeling confidant, we step once more into the arctic breeze.

Security: “I.D.’s please.” A little soured in the voice.

Okay. Alright.

Basic procedure.

There is a woman sitting at her podium in a red shirt and black pants, the standard attire for the casino worker. She is on the more plump side and looks as if she has worked here too long: The disgruntled employee? J. walks up and hands her his ID.

“Mm-uh. I cain’t take this.” Lips pursed and shaking her head disgustedly. “Not U.S. issued.” She continues in a very deep southern accent mixed with something else-French-ghetto?

She hands it back without even cracking a smile, eyes flat and shiny as a snake’s.

“ ID, please.” She sticks her hand out for L’s id and runs it through the machine. It issues a little beep as she hands it back.

“Cain’t take this.”

I am already starting to get irritated at this woman’s attitude (not that mine is something to be praised) and the fact that she wasn’t even looking at the damn ID in her hand. I ask her to run it through again.

“Says it eckspyered.”

“It is not possible that his ID is expired,” I say. “He just got it last month.”

Again, she ran it through. What do you know, it went through. She actually looked at it this time, though dismissively. Hands it back to L. with a thoroughly disgusted look on her face, as if she had eaten maggots for breakfast. Finally, it is my turn. She just glances at the card and announces:

“I needs to get secur’ty for da bot o’ you.” her head bobbling back and forth with eyebrows raised just as her fingers did the accusations.

I’m about ready to go; I’ve had enough of this. I don’t know why we just didn’t leave in the first place.

It takes awhile to get security and all we can do is wait. I see this huge black man come waddling out of some doorway, chest puffed out, hitching up his pants as only an overweight man can do, one hand on his ‘secur’ty’ baton.

Obviously, a man who takes his job a bit too seriously.

“What’s tha prob’m heyar?” huffs and puffs, glasses, which are too big for his face, sliding down his nose.

The podium woman kind of waves her hand dismissively at J. and I: “I.D.s ain’t in tha book,” she says.

THE MAN takes my I.D. in hand first and just stares at it (seemingly with great importance, as if it were some great document) under a light for longer than necessary; examining it back and forth, his head tilted back to get a better view. Isn’t there a book of state ID’s that you could easily look at, I think to myself? Doesn’t just about every business have them? I suddenly wonder, judging from the experiences encountered in Alabama, could this whole dramatic episode be some sort of thinly disguised discriminatory act? Maybe so…

Me: Supremely irritated now, pacing back and forth, and not saying anything yet. I could see the others getting antsy, possibly ready to do something that could get us banned for life, or worse. There was one thing for certain: I did not want to end up in a New Orleans jail. So, I grab my ID away from this man bent so studiously underneath the light and said, “Thank you. Have a great day,” through gritted teeth, stormed out of the casino, bitching and letting out a stream of expletives only a sailor could envy.

Southern hospitality was nowhere to be found in this great city of New Orleans. As we left, THE MAN yells out to us: “Ya’ll come back now, hear?” This is what I heard. L, however, heard something completely different: “Ya’ll don’t come back now, hear?”

Whatever was said, it was unanimous: Ain’t never comin back here…

We were not deterred from finding another casino, however. The search went on. We wandered around the Business District a bit more, sure that there is another one in this part of town. This was New Orleans, after all. We had to ask four different people for directions to a casino and got four different responses; among them, a cop who wasn’t the friendliest.

We finally find Bally’s of our own accord (a billboard on the side of I-10), but this was a couple hours later-like 1 a.m. On our quest for Bally’s (we were determined), we got lost in the ghetto of New Orleans. Driving around on some street, we find we are going in circles. We pull up at a stoplight and a cabbie pulls directly next to us. We are tired and quite irritable by now. I roll down the window and ask where the hell the casino is. ‘Down by the airport.’ That’s what everyone seems to be telling us, but we never got there from their directions. So, we are sitting right in the heart of the ‘hood: drug corners, people selling crack (or whatever) on the streets, bars on the windows, everything. You definitely would not want to roll down your window and ask for directions here. Yet, we did. You see, that is what kind of trip this has been.

We finally see a way out: the exit for I-10. On the bend, there is a car burnt and shot out, completely, in the very literal sense. I, and the rest of the crew, was just glad to get out of there. A big sigh of relief throughout as we see the sign for Bally’s. All right!! We make it there, we know it’s late. Ooooh, it looks as if it’s closed. We walk in, doesn’t seem as if anyone is around, but they must be open: we are in. Ah, here comes someone: a security guard. It turns out this lobby was closed, but the riverboat is still open. He leads us there, one of the nicer people we have met so far. Even the ID process went off without any problems. The woman at the podium actually looked at the ID book this time. So, they were a bit smarter than the ones before. (Or was that something else, a slight racial hit?)

J had a small problem with his, however. Yeah-not U.S. issued. He just went though his wallet, pulling out everything: hospital card, Social Security, anything he had. The manager had to be called up-surprise!-he saw everything was actually cool, gave the usual: “Well, I don’t normally do this, but I’ll let you in this time.”

Oh, gee, thanks so much, I couldn’t help but think, sarcasm getting the best of me. I got the feeling The manager only did this because J put on such a show.

So. We are in!! On the riverboat. We sit down at the bar and immediately order drinks. We pay with a $50 bill. The bartender gave us extra change and a free roll of quarters (for the slot machines). Was this intentional? I don’t know. Didn’t really care. I saw this as our just right after all that bullshit of before. At the bar, there are electronic gambling games: card games such as poker and gin. I became seriously addicted to these. The best thing about it was in playing the games at the bar, the drinks were free!!! Yeah!!! Needless to say, I stayed at the bar most of the night. I was even amazed at how much I won. At my first try, I won $50.L wondered how I did it. Beginners luck? I don’t know, maybe. He’d come over to the bar periodically to see how I was doing-every time he did, I’d lose that game, then winning every other one that he didn’t oversee. Should I go so far as to say he was a bit of ‘bad luck’? J was over at the slot machines doing his own thing. He came over to the bar and told me to pick one for him. He won on nearly every one I picked out. I jokingly said: “You know I require a fee. I expect a percentage of that.” Actually, I wasn’t really joking…

After the initial excitement of winning so many, your luck tends to run out. I found I was immensely tired-it was something like three in the morning; time to round up the kiddies and head out. I came out with about 20 bucks. Not too sure about J, but I know he acquired a fair amount. It suddenly occurs to us: Where are we going to sleep tonight? We sure as hell were not going to push our way to Texas now. Wayyyy too tired. I knew L. couldn’t go anymore. We end up in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart down the road. I was nodding off, as well as everyone else in the car by this point. Out like a light, we were. I don’t even remember falling asleep. I do remember, however, being rudely awakened by some clerk yelling at us to ‘roll up and roll out!’ I know you’re not supposed to park in Wal-Mart parking lots overnight, but-well-it had to be done. Needless to say, I was not in a very good mood until I had some coffee flowing through these veins. This was probably about 6 a.m., if not earlier.

Out of the Wal-Mart parking lot. We decide to go back into the heart of New Orleans and scout it out some more. We get to the Business District again; find out that the French Quarter, which is where we wanted to go in the first place, was only a block away from where we were the other night (the ghetto, with the burnt out car, remember). We go check it out, but there isn’t anything going on because it is only 7 in the morning. It is eerily quiet. We head down to famed Bourbon Street: what a disappointment. It was just a glamorized strip club-the whole street-sex novelty shops in every other ancient building. Royal wasn’t very exciting either: antique road show. Everything is closed and the only people on the street are the clean up crew hosing down the streets.

We stop in Krystal (fast food at its finest!) to use the bathroom, and find out that you have to buy something just to use the bathroom. Ridiculous. I have never thought much of this style of thinking. J ended up quite sick to his stomach after eating that tasty burger.

Through the media, people have romanticized the city, made it into something so fantastic and mystical that you are either severely disappointed by it- having had the image built up to near idolatry, then seeing the absolute reality of it- or you aren’t and are living in that fantasy as well.

Jackson Square, Decatur, St. Anne, and Toulouse Streets, tourist shops on every corner, novelty shops wherever you turn; it was not as impressive as I thought it would be. You think: Ooo-New Orleans: home of the Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice, Voodoo, the completely beautiful architecture, the diverse cultures, intrigue, mystical, exotic, even. But, all of this can make for a very tightly knit, suspicious people wary of anyone who is ‘not from around here’ and ruled so fervently by Neptune who stands defiantly in the middle of the city, a guardian to this Crescent City.

Next Stop: TEXAS

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Pieces of America: Alabama

Pieces of America

In the summer of 2002 I had the opportunity, I guess you could call it, to go down South with my then boyfriend-L and a random Native American man, J, to help move L’s mother (the poet-comedienne) from Texas to Florida. I am not a South person, but I wanted to see the rest (or at least part of the United States) before I hit 25 and before any disaster (natural or political) would claim it. Besides, I didn’t have anything else to do at the time, so why not go. This was before hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast. We were actually on the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts during the peak of hurricane season, yet we never encountered a single one.

We first went to Texas then to Florida. This is what happened in between.


We took I-59 all the way through, running straight through the middle of Alabama-right through the heart. We stopped for gas somewhere along the way in a small town in the Deep South of Alabama. It was one of those get your gas and a bit to eat at a diner type of deal. At this point, we all had enough of Alabama already, and the South in general. We hadn’t even hit New Orleans yet. We are tired and hungry, L. has been driving for more than several hours straight, we just want to get our food, pay for some gas and get the fuck out. J. and I went in first, while L. filled the tank. The door whooshed open and the heavenly coolness of air-conditioning cooled our burning skulls. We just stood there, unable to move in this arctic breeze. L. comes in and stands next to us, surveying this almost comedic atmosphere. The diner was pretty crowded, lively. Suddenly, a deafening hush fell over the place. These people dropped their forks and spoons along with their mouths.

Every single one of them.

It must have been a sight, by god: a black man, a shifty-looking Native American man and a white girl, who didn’t look more than 20, all together. You know that’s what those people were thinking!! I’m sure there is a really bad racial joke in there somewhere. We paid for our food and gas and got out of there quickly.

The amount of hostility and blatant racism hovering in the air was incredible. Not to mention slightly, morbidly amusing.

From the middle of Virginia it began: the car was acting kind of funny. The steering wheel had started to shake every once in awhile. We didn’t think too much of it then. By the time we got to Tennessee, it became more frequent, with increasingly shrill rattling sounds. It is very pretty down here in southern Virginia; lots of trees and open land, amazing sunsets-the sky was on fire!

Tennessee was a straight shot into Alabama besides the traffic. The roads here were absolutely vicious, as if they hadn’t been tended to in a decade. It only got progressively worse as time went on all the way into New Orleans. L. was driving like a madman, on a mission. I looked at the speedometer: 110 miles per hour. It really didn’t seem that fast. Intense speed and nearly rutted roads do not mix well together: J. was in the back seat literally bouncing up and down, repeatedly hitting his head against the roof of the car. On one occasion, he smacked it so hard, he lost his retainer. It dislodged itself freely falling to the floor of the car.

We get into Alabama. Crossing the state line, it suddenly smells like burning rubber. “What’s that smell, Do you smell that?” we all wonder, not really realizing that it is our car.

The car starts to shake violently. Strange sounds from the front end, on the passenger’s side. The smell worsens. This is when the front tire blows out. Not even 20 minutes into Alabama. This is how we make our entrance. I am sitting in the passenger’s seat up front, clutching the ‘Oh Jesus’ bar with one hand, with the other the dashboard, screaming OH MY GOD!, over and over, thinking this may very well be the end. L. careens into the ditch, separating highways, ripping up dirt and overgrown grass as we are going along at almost a hundred miles an hour. Skid to a stop, finally, nearly missing a tree, the only tree in sight. Semi’s were whizzing by us, rocking the car, going as fast as we were, if not faster. I, meanwhile, am hoping we came out of this alive. Luckily, we did. I think if it wasn’t for the severely overgrown grass in the median, it would have taken a lot longer to stop, for sure, and maybe something far worse could have happened.

Alright. Everyone’s okay. A little shaken. Breathe.

There is a spare tire in the trunk, amazingly, a donut, only. It was better than being stuck on the side of the road in Alabama.

It is blazing hot now, near noon. I almost pass out from the sudden shock of the nice air-conditioned car into the death-heat and in my haze, almost get clipped by a semi. I was wearing a black tank and cutoff jeans. I absolutely had to get out of these clothes before I became a blob of goo on the side of the road. Changed into an airy blue skirt and kept the tank. So much better.

All I could do was just sit there, on the side of the highway, in the divide, in the blistering heat, as J. and L. changed this tire while trucks, cars and semi’s flew past dangerously close, rocking the car. I’m glad someone knew how to change a tire! Hate to admit it, but I don’t even know how to properly change a tire. This must be remedied.

Finally, the tire is on, and we are once again on our way, the air conditioner blasting. I have been to northern Alabama before, but I don’t remember having this bizarre of a time.

It was as if everything that could have gone wrong, did.

I slept through the rest of Alabama. I couldn’t take it anymore.

Next stop: New Orleans.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Sleep Issue

On the heels of the last post comes a sleep issue.

My mind has felt like a siv these past few months and I know it's not just 'mommy stuff'. It is directly correlated to something called sleep deprivation.

I find, lately, that I need to go to bed and actually sleep when my daughter does (usually around 7/8/9, depending). If I do not, I cannot seem to properly function during the day.
It irritates me that I have to do this. It is not just that I 'Have' to-it is just a fact of life these days. It all goes back to the health issue again:I need the extra sleep so certain aspects of my health don't get out of control.

But, you know-I don't want to go to sleep at 8 p.m. I got stuff to do, dammit!! Even when my body says sleep, my mind is still going: I need to write, write, write!! Last night, I went to sleep with my daughter around 8:30, and the whole time I'm laying there, waiting to go to sleep, I have words turning in my head. I'm thinking: PICK UP A PEN! WRITE WHAT IS IN YOUR HEAD! I just couldn't: My body was firmly planted within the bed, already going into sleep mode, twitching involuntarily and everything.

I lose things this way-tidbits of prose, poetry lines I thought were the greatest fucking thing I have ever thought of, thinkgs i thought of to put on the 'to do list'.

It pisses me off. It didn't used to be this way-I could get by with less sleep back then. Granted, I was younger then. I now have a young child clamoring for my attention at all times and-I am getting older. Still, it pisses me off to lose things like that, to not be able to have enough energy to write.

I thought about carrying around a tape recorder to make little reminders to myself of prose and poetry bits and whatever else pops in my mind for future reference. It is an idea.

Sleep deprivation is such a sneaky thing. It is something that affects Mothers to no end.

I promise myself I will LISTEN to my body( and get a portable tape recorder), even if my mind is telling me to GET UP!, so I can feel halfway decent when I am awakened in the morning (6 a.m. these days) by my very own alarm clock, clawing at my chest.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Thoughts On A Second Child

Thoughts On A Second Child

Nearly all first time moms think of it: What about another child? Wouldn't it be nice to have another one? I don't want her (him) to be the 'only child'.
It seems lately I have been asked variations of these questions by a variety of people.

I will be frank: None of these questions have crossed my mind. I have firmly made up my mind: I have one daughter and that is it. To be even more frank-I don't really want another one. This last statement shocked me at first in its bluntness, but I understand it, I can accept it within myself. I can respect myself enough to understand and accept it.

I have given this subject long and arduous thought. This past year, especially, as I watch my girl near two years. Remembering her as a wee babe (at days old, weeks old, months old) and missing that time, thinking time passes too quickly. Then, I think: no way. I could never do that again. I just don't think I could do it, first of all. I don't know if my body could handle it. I wasn't even sure if it could the first time around. Thankfully, I was blessed by something (Fate, the spirits that be, whatever) and had a most fantastic pregnancy, labor and birth.
As it is, sleep deprivation is a big problem these days for me. It is starting to really aggravate certain aspects of my own health, which I need to keep a close eye on. I couldn't imagine having a second child and dealing with the almost severe consequences sleep deprivation brings on me.
Secondly, who can really afford more than one child these days? Everything is just so expensive these days. Oil is at an all time high with prices at $78 a barrel, and will most likely go even higher in the coming months. Not to mention the price of food, clothing and housing- generally all of the basic needs for survival. There are more general, social reasons as well: overpopulation being one. Another: bigger families aren't needed in this day and age as they were when we were all 'tending the farm'. Although, at the rate the world is going, returning to the family farm might become our only choice.

To me, having a second one is not an option. I am satisfied and thankful with what, and who, I have and enjoy every minute of it (the good and the bad) even if the time does go by way too fast leaving all of us scrambling to catch up.

I just felt the incredible need to get this out.
Thank you for listening.