Thursday, June 28, 2012

In the blink of an eye....

See that picture?  That's a small portion of the Boitano Mob.  That picture was taken October 7, 2006.  We went to a winery that day to celebrate Kori's birthday.  Nick's mom had died just 2 weeks before.  That had to be one of the most horrible times of my life.  Those smiles come from many, many bottles of wine.  I had no idea what the future was about to hold.  I love that I have this picture (thank you Kori).  Actually, it's quite funny.  I'm not pregnant in that picture....yet.  How many poor kids can be told the exact time of their conception?  Um...Ava can.  Yeah, you guessed it.  It was the wine!  That's the honest to God truth.  Ava, Ava, Ava.  I can't begin to imagine what my life would be without you sweet girl.  We can skip over the details, but I can very vividly remember the intro scene to Look Who's Talking playing in my mind.  23 days from the time this picture was taken I had 100% confirmation that a baby existed.  There was never supposed to be a second baby.  I had Lauren.  My world revolved around her and there was no way I could love another human as much as I loved her.  Time passed and as it did this little bun in the oven and I were getting well aquainted.  For the next 7 months (yes months) this baby made me as sick as a and night.  I remember laying in bed feeling like crap watching the Cardinals win the world series, falling asleep at 9:00 on New Years fun had come to a complete stop.  Lauren wasn't to fond of this baby either.  She was about to get knocked off her pedestal and she wasn't happy about it.  We tried to get her excited.  She was there for the ultrasound when we found out we were having a girl and she got to make the phone calls telling people the news.  That excitement faded....quickly.  Before I knew it July 3rd was quickly approaching.  Natalie, Layla, Elizabeth....this kid needed a name.  Oh yeah...Ava.  I liked that name.  I was once friends with a lady named Ava Lorraine who was a nurse at Children's Hospital.  She was so nice.  I have no clue whatever happened to her but that name wouldn't leave my head.  So Ava, Ava Jewel it is.   I begged and pleaded with my doctor to enduce labor.  I WAS DONE!  No deal.  She compromised and told me if I hadn't gone into labor by the end of June she would schedule and inductioin.  WooHoo!  A whole 3 days early.  Sign me up.  7:30am on June 30th, 2007 I checked myself into Missouri Baptist.  I was ready to get the show on the road.  The nurses came in, started the usual procedure...blah, blah, blah.  It was a slow go in the beginning and then Boom!  Epidural please.  Funny how you can be so eager for someone to shove a needle in your spine.  And then we were smooth sailing.  My parents arrived with Lauren mid afternoon.  She thought it was great.  All the nurses made over her and gave her like a million cups of chipped ice.  The clock kept ticking and no baby.  Nick took Lauren out of the room for a while and I remember laying in the bed half asleep and seeing my dad sitting next to me....just that man.  Well apparently action started and I became fully focused.  Holy broken epidural Batman!  I come from a family of hospital oriented people.  If there's one thing I know it's "Do not whine".  So I didn't.  I didn't say a word.  I could take it...kind of.  Nick and Lauren went down to get dinner.  My mom was in the room with me.  And as any good mother would know, she knew something was wrong.  She kept asking me if she should go and get a nurse.  I repeatedly told her no.  They would come check.  As big of a baby as I can be at times, I can suck up pain pretty well.  I wasn't crying...I swear, but I could feel a tear run down my cheek.  Next thing I knew my mother was gone and nurses came in.  She said "sweetheart, why didn't you call for me?  are you trying to have this baby on your own?"  It seemed like a matter of minutes....3 pushes and there she was.  All 7lbs, 4oz, 20-1/2" of perfection.  And my God this kid had a set of lungs on her.  And just like you see on tv, I was handed a baby (covered in all that funkyness) and kissed her sweet little face, told her I loved her and Happy Birthday.  They took her across the room where I watched the nicest nurse help Lauren give her baby sister a bath.  And then she was all mine, still screaming, but she was mine.  Instant love, unspeakable love.  There's nothing like holding your own baby.  I shared her for a bit with Nick, Lauren, my parents and my loyal best friend Kim that waited outside the door.  And all this time she was still screaming.  I gave her a bottle....the kid was starving!  I miss that screaming sometimes.  The sleepless nights, the diaperbag, the carseat that weighed a thousand pounds, washing bottles.  My baby's about to be 5 on Saturday.  Five years old....that's not a baby anymore.  I'm not handling this well.  This is going by way to fast.  The constant need for me is fading.  I wish I could freeze her at 4 years old.  She loves me, hell she adores me.  She runs to me when I come home from work and kisses me and tells me how much she misses me and just wants "tomorrow to be a mommy day".  Ugh... Ava I love you so much.  You make me laugh so hard.  I love that you quote every line from The Wizard of Oz, you are still in love with Michael Jackson, you have to take your baby doll with you every place you go, you only want to wear dresses and fancy shoes, you climb into my bed almost every night and wrap those little hands around my neck and just want to lay close to me.  But 5 already?  I love you every second of everyday.  You light up my life little lady.  I can't wait until next week when I show you the ocean for the first time and watch you play in the sand.  We'll have picnics and go for long walks on the beach.  I love you so much Ava Jewel.  Happy Happy Birthday my sweet doll.  "I love you to the moon (kiss, kiss) and back".

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and yes, some people are gay. Get over it.

OK so a while ago I posted a youtube video on my facebook page.  It was a clip of Anderson Cooper interviewing a lady named Stacey Pritchard.  She attends Providence Road Baptist Church in North Carolina.  The ass-clown leader of this "church" is Pastor Charles Worley.  He made several comments which lead to a protest.....and extremely pissed me off.  His sermon called for gays and lesbians to be locked behind electric fences so they would "die out".  If you haven't watched this I highly suggest you'll want her to get hit by a car just as much as I do.  Anderson Cooper called this chick out every single time she opened her mouth and shit came out of it.  I bet I watched it 15 times.  Each time I laughed harder than the time before.  Idiots like this really exist.  Now I might joke around a lot but you'll never see me blog or have a status update concerning serious, sensitive topics like politics or lifestyle choices.  Well that is until now.  I'm not a person who advocates a particular religion or gender choices etc.  Quite frankly it's not my business.  What is my business is to raise my children and teach them that you don't hate someone because of their sexual orientation, skin color or race.  (I'll also teach them to defend themselves...verbally of course...when necessary.  Rule #74626538....Don't take shit from people). 

When I watched that youtube video it struck a nerve.  You see I .... once upon a time .... was that teenage kid who thought that if you were gay, it was totally wrong.  Why?  I don't know.  Society's influence I suppose.  What I do know is that I'm eternally grateful for everyone who has been put in my path and for the lessons they've taught me.  I'm also thankful for the timing of these lessons. 

1994.  I was 16 years old.  Fun times, fun friends, learned how to drive and my first job.  I was a receptionist at Great Clips on Butler Hill.  (gravy job)  My first day on the scene was pretty typical.  You know...sweep the hair up, fold the towels, answer the phone, greet the people, blah blah blah.  Now here's where it gets interesting.  In walks this person/thing....I didn't know what the hell I was looking at.  This freakishly tall person who appeared to be a woman but at the same time was very much a man.  Red teased hair, huge hands, tall, awkward, the voice....squeaky, deep, then high pitched.  For real....what the hell??????  Freak.Of.Nature.  To my surprise he/she wasn't there for a haircut, it worked there.  Now what?  I guess I wandered around for a few hours trying to orientate myself with my new job and my new, ummmm co-worker.  Little did I know I was about to learn a huge life lesson, and so thankful I did.

It was break time.  I went to the back where we kept our things and was on my way to sneak a smoke (yes, a cigarette Ahhhh).  And then you know who strolled in the room by me.  He extended that very large hand to me and said "Hey, I'm Jeri...with an I".  Um ok.  I introduced myself to him.  I'm sure I had a perplexed look on my face.  He asked if I was going outside.  He said "Everyone deserves a break".  Guess this meant he was going with me.  I have no clue what we conversed about out there.  But I do know that the extension of his hand and the willingness to befriend a 16 year old girl started a lovely friendship.  Over the next 2 years we became good friends.  I learned a lot about his life and the changes that were going on in it.  I think it's disrespectful that I refer to Jeri as "him".  He is a "her" and her name is Alexis now.  I can't help it.  He was a boy we met.  Plus I don't talk to him anymore, nor have I seen him in 16 years, nor did I ever call him Alexis.  Whatever.  I'm losing my train of thought.  He was in the middle of gender transformation.  I know all about how a boy makes himself to appear to be a girl....I mean EVERYTHING.  More than my mother would have wanted me to know.  Lesson learned....don't judge a person from the outside. 

That was stage one of my lesson that gay people were just normal everyday people that didn't deserve to be judged.  This was just the tip of the iceberg.

I moved on from that hair sweeping job.  My next career move led me to local retail store.  I hung out at the jewelry counter.  This job was a blast.  I made a ton of friends and a lot of my good friends worked there.  We were the evening crew.  That meant lots of late nights hanging out at Steak N Shake, Dennys and that little hidden farm field by Lambert where we'd sit and watch planes take off and land.  Ahhhhhh....those were the days.  Some of the best times of my life.  No big responsibilities, blowing and entire paycheck on clothes : )  Loved it.  The electronics department was directly across from me.  I had a nice view....a nice view of a hot guy.  Ugh, he was beautiful.  We started hanging out, I developed a small crush on him, we were tight.  Time passed by and then a few random people told me he was gay.  Um yeah right!  My hot side kick was NOT gay.  Over time he'd drop a few clues here and there and then I realized he was in fact gay, even though he never came out and said it.  So there I was....19 and in love with a hot gay guy (by the way doll I know you're reading this).  I had myself a gay husband and I DIDN'T CARE.  Our friendship grew and grew.  We went to a wedding together a few months later.  After lots of drinking and dancing he and I went outside to catch some air.  He was standing right in front of me and suddenly it became crystal clear what was about to happen (in my fairytale he would have kissed me and turned straight, but noooooo).  I looked into his glassy eyes and I'll never forget the look on his face, the tone in his voice or what he said to me.  "I'm gay Nichole".  I was completely prepared for my response....and it was "Do you really think that would make me love you any less?".  Barrier broken, tension released, true friendship revealed.  I miss him.  (yes doll, I miss you....all the time.  can you imagine how much fun we'd have if we hung out?  I'd also remind you that you told me, and I quote, "Nichole if I wasn't gay I'd marry you".  Still makes me giggle).  He took my perception of gay people to the next level.  The next level would be changing that last sentence to "He took my perception of people to the next level".  No label needed. Thank you. 

All those little lessons led up to me knowing the exact words to say to my 3 year old daughter.  You immediate family member of mine is gay.  One night after dinner Lauren asked us "why does ____ and ____ come here together?  where's their wife?"  We cracked up.  This wasn't a conversation I thought I'd have with my young daughter, but the words easily rolled off my tongue.  "Sometimes a man loves a woman and sometimes a man loves a man.  It doesn't matter as long as they love each other".  And you know what....she never asked another question.  100% acceptance.  My child doesn't have a prejudice against gay people.  My child has learned to love a person for who they are, not what they are or who they love.  And if my daughters ever came to me and told me that they were gay my response to them would be "if that's the worse thing you have to tell me then we're going to be ok". 

So to you ass-clowns that call yourself "Christians", the ones that feel they have the right to judge people even though your bible tells you that you have no right to judge another human, I feel so very sorry for you.  I feel sorry for your children.  I feel sorry for your soul.  I'm sorry that you may have missed out on amazing friendships.  I feel sorry for you that someone has pulled the wool so tightly over your eyes that you can't see how wrong you are.  But then again you aren't my problem.  Someday you'll be the ones that have to meet face to face with the higher power and then you can tell Him how you judged people and wished harm upon people you didn't even know.  Boo hoo hoo....remember a sin is a sin in the eyes of God, right?  I guess that doesn't make you any better than anyone else.  Ironic. 

Jeri (with an I) and my Sweet Danny Boy....see what you did to me?  xoxo forever.