Mom Today, Graduate Tomorrow

Today is Mother’s Day. I wanted to spend today doing fun things with Holden to celebrate what a joy it is being his mom. I couldn’t though. I have a final exam tomorrow and I needed alone time to study. These are the sacrifices I make as a college student and mother.

This Mother’s Day, I want to share a secret feeling many mothers have, but never share. I thought I was the only one until I saw an episode of How I Met Your Mother in which Lily admits, “Sometimes I wish I wasn’t a mom. Sometimes I want to pack a bag and leave in the middle of the night and not come back.”

Wow. You probably weren’t expecting that. Don’t all moms love being covered in food and throw up and snot? Don’t they live for having blocks thrown at their face? How dare you tarnish the sanctity of motherhood with statements like that!

That is a hard thing for me to admit to myself, let alone everyone on the internet that may read this, but I believe in being honest and the honest truth is that motherhood is hard. Being a mom is beautiful. I love it and I truly wouldn’t give it up for the world. It is my favorite job and it fills my life with more happiness than I ever knew before. But it is so hard. And some days I want to quit. I want to crawl into bed and quit. But I can’t and I know this.

The reason I am so drained is because I am doing two of the most important jobs in the world. I am raising a tiny human and crossing my fingers he turns out to be a successful and happy contributing member of society while I try to be a successful and happy contributing member of society myself.

Sometimes I feel like I live a double life. I am a twenty-two year old and I want to go to a bar and watch my cousin’s band play. (Rellen is awesome! I love you guys.) I want to feel like I have a reason to dress up, do my make-up, and go out with other people my age every once in a while. I want to have normal friendships and relationships. It is just hard when I feel like we live in two separate worlds.

The other side of me is this thirty-five year old soccer mom. I pack lunches. I do school events. We go to tee-ball games and the children’s museum. I fall asleep at 9 p.m. most nights.  I don’t have the time or energy to look like a normal functioning member of society. I have to choose Holden over things I would normally love to do. (Yes, Aari, I would have loved to go to Vegas for your 21st, but I just couldn’t. I’m sorry, Becca, I’m trying to make it up to New York to see you, but I have Holden and I just can’t make it happen as easily as I wish I could.)

I mentioned before that Holden is a continuous sacrifice. It wasn’t a one time choice. It is an every day choice. I wake up and I am faced with choices throughout my day, and with each I must remember my commitment to Holden. Many times this means sacrificing precious time with him or missing school events in order to do what will benefit us in the long run. Too many nights I am so drained I can’t even give Holden the play time he deserves. I even have days when I am so frustrated with school I put off studying or important assignments just to spend time playing cars in the floor with him. I want to be able to be both a good student and a mom, but it feels impossible at times.

I can’t clock out of my job as Holden’s mom. I’m at work when I open my eyes and even when I shut them, I am still on call. Sick, stressed, bad mood, whatever the case may be, I have to suck it up and be his mom. This means many times I have to give up an “A” for a lesser grade because Holden always comes first. I wish I could say I do both jobs successfully, but the truth is I struggle on both ends. I struggle as a mom and I struggle as a student. Many days I struggle to keep myself happy, balanced and afloat amidst the chaos of trying to do everything.

Sometimes it is hard not to be mad at myself for putting us in our current situation. I reflect on my choices every day and wish I didn’t have to leave George Mason University behind. My family will sometimes bring up how disappointed they are that I left college to have a baby, and while we all agree Holden was better than any degree could ever be, it still hurts. They constantly tell me I was “smarter than that,” and I agree, I have never in my life lived up to my potential. I hate myself for that.

I knew when I left GMU that May 2016 would hurt the worst. I was supposed to graduate with a Bachelor’s in Film and Video Studies this month. I should be putting on on a cap I spent too many hours decorating and a green gown. I want to join my peers as they walk on stage to receive a very expensive piece of paper that symbolizes all of the blood, sweat, tears, and tequila that went into their transition to adulthood.

I will get a piece of paper eventually with different words on it than I had originally planned, from a different school, wearing different colored robes. I have to accept that as life changes, people change, and as a result, sometimes plans have to change too. I may not be graduating with the class I began with, but I will graduate and that is what will matter at the end of the day.

I plan on using my shortcomings as a lesson for Holden. I want him to watch me struggle studying for tests. I want him to see that I don’t let myself settle for lower grades when I know I can do better. I want him to witness my dedication and perseverance and to know how seriously I take my education. I don’t want him to take his own education for granted or settle for less. I hope that by growing up watching me desperately chase after a higher education he will one day do the same.

I dream of the day Holden says to me, “Mom, I watched you set an example of what a student in love with learning does. I did my homework side by side with you. I saw the ups and the downs and I recognize how hard you worked to be both my mother and a student. When I grow up I want to be a student like you.” That would be the most beautiful Mother’s Day gift to me. Every sacrifice would be worth it knowing Holden appreciates the education I am working so hard to give him.

I started Holden at a Montessori school as soon as he turned 2. He loves it and I love knowing he is learning so much there. Every day he comes home and talks about something new. I put in the time and work with him too as much as I can. He proudly hands me each alphabet flashcard and gives me a description and moves on to the next. If it is an animal he tells me what sound it makes. If it is food he pretends to eat it or says, “Mmm! Dericious.” My favorite though is X. Holden quickly mumbles, “Dat’s x-ray. Letter X, Mama. Dat’s Mama does school.” (We also have an anatomically correct skeleton floor puzzle I use to teach him the bones.) I want so badly for Holden to seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

Seeing everyone post about graduation has made me come to terms with my reality. I realize that it isn’t a race and I will be there sooner than I think, but I can’t help feeling disappointed with myself. I want to rip open an acceptance letter to grad school. I want my family to be proud and take a million photos of me in my cap and gown. I want to feel accomplished, like I have done something great with my life. I want much more for my son  and myself than I have done so far.

I know I will get there. I’m on my way. Every day may feel like a struggle to get nowhere, but I have already come so far since having Holden and I need to take the time to praise myself for it. I am making better grades now than I ever have. I am the secretary of the Radiography club and the treasurer of my class. I take extra classes every semester with my radiography program to get ahead on my bachelor’s. I have a 3.7 GPA, something I  am actually upset about because I know I could do better. Holden has made me a better student because I try so hard to be the type of student I want him to be someday.

I realize that by having Holden I am not settling for less by any means. I will still continue my education and work hard for all the degrees I want. I know I am fully capable of accomplishing all that I dream of, but I also acknowledge it will take me a little longer to get there than my peers and that’s okay. It is okay for me to take my time getting there. It is okay that I did things a little out of order. As long as I have Holden and know that I am trying my hardest to do better for us, that is all that matters at the end of the day.

Happy Mother’s Day, Alexa.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are doing your best.

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Are You Sick? You Look Sleepy

 

“You’re so tired,” your mind grumbles to your reflection as you grab the keys, head out the door, and twist your hand at the ignition. You summon a metal box to life and it purrs and hums against the still gray atmosphere surrounding you. With the clouds comes a slow drizzle of heavy droplets and you turn the radio on to something cheap. The static sings to you as the blades of your windshield wipers rhythmically streak across the glass, pulling apart the rain it collected. You press down with your foot and turn out of your driveway to a destination you have committed to in your subconscious. You aren’t thinking of where you’re going and you aren’t focused on why. The last thing on your mind is what or who will be at the final destination where you’re headed. You’re just driving. The radio is just playing. It’s just background noise. It isn’t even music and the sky is both empty and full and you’re wondering how that could be. So you drive mindlessly from red light to green, to green and to another red. And when you stop for a minute and look around you see the colors reflected by the wet, smeared world. Then a light flashes and it’s green and you’re supposed to go and you start to, but then you stop. And you don’t know why and it doesn’t make sense, but you push against the resistance of the brake pedal and you hold your place in the little toy car out on the damp black asphalt as the light goes from green to red again. And you look at the empty streets and the empty sidewalk and the empty sky and the empty world and then up into the little mirror dangling down from the ceiling into a pair of empty tired eyes and you know you’re supposed to keep moving, keep driving, keep going, but you can’t. Not now. Not in this moment. Not like this. So you wait for something. A streak of lightning ripping through the air. A person to walk by with a dog on a leash and wave at you. An earthquake. A hurricane. A meteor shower. Another car to come barreling down the road from the opposite end, aimed right at you. It will decide to stop once it sees you there, but it didn’t take into account that in the rain it will continue to slide right on into home and all that will be left are two hunks of entangled metal and the squealing of the wiper blades and two radios streaming off background noise to fill the heavy silence left behind. It will be almost as if the universe were a small child, noisily smacking two tin cars into one another during one of its childish games. Off in the distance someone will dismiss it as thunder as they look up and the rain drops into their eyes. You sit there with an empty gaze off into the distance waiting to catch the first sight of it coming at you. You don’t want to look it in the eye so maybe it’ll hurt a little less, like a shot at the doctor’s. One quick sting and it’s over. Here’s your Band-Aid. And the rain steadily falls from the sky and the wipers keep pushing and pulling it and the radio is still crooning and the light is still flashing and you’re still sitting there in the metal box staring out into the nothingness and waiting.

 

Then boom.

Just like that.

No car ever comes.

And you silently drive away.

And you arrive at your destination safely.

And you never speak of it again.

The Stranger

 

“Thus, I always began by assuming the worst; my appeal was dismissed. That meant, of course, I was to die. Sooner than others, obviously. ‘But,’ I reminded myself, ‘it’s common knowledge that life isn’t worth living, anyhow.’ And, on a wide view, I could see that it makes little difference whether one dies at the age of thirty or threescore and ten– since, in either case, other men will continue living, the world will go on as before. Also, whether I died now or forty years hence, this business of dying had to be got through, inevitably.”
― Albert CamusThe Stranger

 

I peeked my eyes open and saw a shadow hovering at the end of the bed. I rolled back over and awoke a few seconds later to a scream. She told me later that I screamed too. I don’t remember.

“THERE’S A MAN! THERE’S A MAN IN OUR ROOM!” Caitlin sputtered pulling herself closer to me in the bed. The shadow didn’t move. Its long body swayed in the dark.

“What do you want?” she stammered at him.

His voice was cool. It was calm. It sounded calculated, premeditated, and in control.

“Can we turn on a light?”

My best friend and I both quickly turned to the side table nearest to us and searched for light switches. Only one came on, but I don’t remember which. Things like light switches don’t matter when there is a stranger in your hotel room.

The dim light from a bedside lamp wasn’t much, but it was all we had. It was enough to cast a soft yellow glow across the room onto the lanky figure towering over us. He stood there, slightly bent back at the pelvis as if he were leaning on air. His left hand held his right forearm close to his torso and his face was high and stern, as if he stood there judging us. A printed cap sat backwards atop his head and a white towel from our resort draped around his neck and off of his shoulders. His skin was as dark as the room had been before. His body blended in with his black baggy t-shirt and dark wash denim. He clutched a small metal box with a piece sticking out of it in his right hand, which he held close to his belt buckle.

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The stranger’s eyes shifted back and forth between us as mine gazed blankly forward unable to focus on anything. Now that we were able to see this man, and he was able to see us, we felt exposed and defenseless. We pulled the white hotel comforter up closer to our chests as if a blanket made of feathers would be enough to shield us against him.

“Why are you here? You need to leave. You’re not supposed to be here. Get out,” Caitlin yelled beginning to get angry.

No muscle in him moved. His head was still slightly tilted back. His mouth was emotionless and flat. But his eyes cast off sinister glares at each of us.

“You need to leave. I’m going to call the police.”

“Don’t call the police,” the stranger warned us in his unemotional voice.

“Why are you here? What do you want? You need to get out,” she continued as I sat there unresponsive.

“Can you just leave? Can you please leave?” I begged him.

“Listen. Listen. I didn’t come here to cause trouble,” the stranger tried to alleviate our fears as he sat down at Caitlin’s bottom corner of the bed.

“What do you want?” Caitlin shouted again.

“Do you want money? We can give you money,” I offered.

“We’ll give it to you if you just get out,” Caitlin pushed on.

“Listen,” he hushed us. “No. No, I don’t want your money.”

“What do you want?”

“Can you please leave?”

“Listen. Listen,” he continued as he stood back up. “ I’m not here to hurt you. I just need some help. I need a few things and I need you guys to help me out. You never know when God is watching. You never know who might be an angel. I need a few things. Now I ain’t here to hurt you guys. I need you two to help me out. I trust you guys. I need you guys to keep calm. You never know who might be an angel. Angels come in all shapes and sizes. You never know who might be God.”

I didn’t know much about God or angels. I had been an atheist before I even knew what the word meant, but somehow I seriously doubted that the stranger in my hotel room was either of those things. I wanted him to leave though. I wanted a light bulb in his head to go off, for him to realize that he had drunkenly wobbled into the wrong room by mistake, and to apologize as he hurried out the sliding glass door from which he came. The stranger wouldn’t leave though. He was here to stay for now.

I stared into nothing. I imagined this all going wrong. I thought about what might happen if the stranger grew angry with us or what he might do if he didn’t get his way. I imagined the police showing up to a crime scene that had once been just an ordinary hotel room at a resort in San Diego. I could see the white down comforter I was hiding behind covered in our blood. I pictured the bedside lamp and phone strewn across the floor indicating to the cops that we struggled to fight off the stranger.

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“I need food. I’m very hungry.”

“We don’t have any food.” Caitlin informed him.

“Can we just give you some money for food and you can go get it?” I begged him.

“No, no. I don’t want your money. Look, you can have my wallet,” he said throwing his wallet to us across the bed. “My ID is in there. You can take my money and go get some breakfast.”

“We don’t want your stuff,” Caitlin told him. We didn’t touch his tattered wallet and eventually he took it back after urging us to go through it a few more times.

I wanted so badly to throw open the glass door and bolt out of that room. I wondered whether the stranger would catch me and if he did, then what? Would he drag me by the ankle back into the room making sure to block off all the exits better next time? Could he tie us up with phone cord and shower curtains? Was he here to rape us? Would the pillow I had just woken up on be used to suffocate the life from me? My family was 3,000 miles away on the other side of the country. Would they be getting a call that I had been murdered? Would my one-year-old son spend the rest of his life without his mother? I didn’t know. Each minute felt like it went on and on forever. Every second felt as if I were being lowered further and further into the ground. I lost more and more hope of making it out of that room alive as time went on. I mentally came to terms with the fact that I might die in that hotel room before the sun rose above the Pacific.

sandiego4            “Why are you getting so upset for?” he asked when he noticed tears welling in my eyes.

“You’re scaring her!” Caitlin scolded him. “I don’t like you. You’re scaring my best friend.”

Caitlin’s sassy attitude made me nervous. I didn’t want to anger the stranger. I didn’t want to give him a reason to make us stars on the 6 o’clock news.

“We thought you were a ghost,” I tried to pacify him. I couldn’t even bring myself to look anywhere except forward into nothing.

“At least a ghost would leave,” Caitlin muttered.

“Are you scared of ghosts?”

“I’m really scared of ghosts,” I admitted.

“Why?”

“Aren’t you?”

“I’m not scared of nothin’ but God,” the stranger declared as he pointed towards our lightless ceiling.

I wondered why a God fearing man would break into the hotel room of two young college girls. This man spoke of God, but I saw the absence of God in his emotionless eyes and in the dark of our hotel room.

“Why don’t you go to a church? They help people. If you need help, they’ll probably help you, right? That’s what churches do.” He shook his head no disapprovingly.

“They can’t help me. They don’t help me.”

“What do you need help with?”

“I need some food because I’m very hungry. I need to take a shower. I need a change of clothes and I need a plane ticket to New York.”

Caitlin laughed at the stranger’s absurd requests.

“What do you need a ticket to New York for?”

The stranger smiled again.

“You see, you guys don’t know this yet, but I’m a star. I’m a star and I need to get to New York and I need you guys to help me. So I need some food because I’m very hungry. I need new clothes. I need you guys to buy me some new clothes.”

“If you want to be a musician you should go to L.A.,” I tried to advise him. I naively hoped that he would decide I was right and voluntarily walk out of the sliding glass door in search of LA, as if it were that easy. “My cousin has a band and a record company flew them all the way to L.A. all expenses paid. Got them the penthouse at some hotel and helped them write songs and make a website and they did a photo shoot and everything. You should go to L.A. That’s where all the musicians go.”

The stranger shook his head again so I gave up on selling him the dream of L.A.

“Can I at least have my phone?” Caitlin demanded. She sounded like a middle school student fighting with her mom. I admired her for being able to ask for exactly what she wanted from the stranger. I wasn’t brave enough. I thought that anything I say might push him over the edge or trigger him to lash out at us. I flinched waiting for the stranger to tell her no.

“Your phone is over there,” the stranger pointed towards my corner of the room behind a chair.

Caitlin and I were both shocked that the stranger knew exactly where Caitlin’s phone was, but relieved that he gave us permission to have it. My phone was on the table by the TV across from the bed. I had left it there to charge by the outlet beside the sliding glass door from which the stranger entered. If he were to see a phone upon entering our room, it would have been mine. Caitlin’s phone was charging too, but at the only other available outlet, which was behind the chair next to my bedside table. The stranger not only knew that there was a phone hiding on the floor in back of the chair, but he knew which of us it belonged to. After some discussion later in the day, we decided that he must have pushed the buttons and seen the backgrounds to figure out whose was whose.

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Caitlin crawled across my side of the bed to get her phone and then got back in next to me. I saw her texting someone and I tensed up again in anticipation as I waited for the stranger to monitor her actions or take the phone back. I was also afraid she might call the police against the strangers warning and anger him.

“What time is it?” I asked her. I could see out the glass door that the sun had still not risen. Caitlin showed me her phone screen, which displayed that it was only a little past 4 in the morning. To us though, and our families, it was more like 8.

“I’m going to go to the bathroom,” Caitlin scoffed, no longer fearing the stranger now that she had her phone. She got up and walked past him into our bathroom. She seemed more annoyed by his presence than anything.

A phone didn’t make me any less afraid of the stranger. Sure, we could call the police, but he was there in the room and he would know. We’d both be dead long before the police would show up.

My stomach sank when I realized that Caitlin was about to leave me alone in the room with the stranger. I looked out of the glass doors longingly as the red glow of dawn began to shine down on the dewy grass. The stranger grew unsettled at my constant quiet staring. He spoke more about God and angels in disguise and needing things from us. I looked around for the presence of God in my hotel room, but all I saw was a stranger standing there. He stared me down with cold black eyes and I sat there waiting for his next move.

“Do you believe in God?” the stranger asked me.

I didn’t move for a minute. My eyes frozenly locked onto the empty air. He asked again. This time I half-heartedly nodded. I don’t know why I didn’t tell the stranger the truth. I guess I just didn’t know what the stranger might say back if he found out I didn’t.

“Do you really?” the stranger asked again accusingly. When I absently nodded again he went on another rant about how God was the only thing in the world he had to fear.

I thought about how absurd this was. This man had waltzed into our hotel room unafraid. He wasn’t afraid that he might bust into the room of a family. He wasn’t afraid that someone might call the cops. He wasn’t afraid that a man with a weapon might shoot him down in defense. He wasn’t afraid of being caught by a twenty-one year old and her twenty-year-old friend on their weekend vacation. He wasn’t afraid of the consequences of his actions. The only thing this man claimed to fear was an imaginary man in the sky whom there was no definite proof even existed. He had never spoken to God, never seen God, and never heard God and yet God was the only thing in the world this man feared. I thought of all the things a person might fear. Snakes, spiders, serial killers. Drowning, heights, death. Public speaking and strangers in your hotel room. All of them, real threats that could be seen and felt and dangerous, none of them God.

I wondered how long the stranger had been in our room while we slept and what he had been doing during that time. We know he had given himself a tour of our room by the way he knew where our phones were. Caitlin finally came out of the bathroom.

“What’s you guyses names?”

We stayed silent. We didn’t want him to know our names. He asked again in a less patient tone.

“Caitlin,” she gave in.

“And what’s yours?” he looked at me. I hesitated still trying to come up with a new name. Again the stranger asked in his new pushy tone.

“Alexa,” I lowly mumbled. I realized we weren’t quick enough to think of fake names and we probably wouldn’t be able to keep up with our story later. I didn’t want the stranger to catch us in a lie.

“Caitlin, why don’t we just go get him some food?” I asked knowing it might be the only way we could lure the stranger from the room.

“No! I’m not buying him breakfast!” Caitlin said not picking up on my subtle hint to her.

“Let’s go to breakfast. He said he’s really hungry,” I urged her. The stranger protested the idea of leaving again, so I tried to reassure him that we were all good friends and that the buffet we had been to yesterday would be well worth it. I named out things we had piled on our plates yesterday. Caitlin finally understood why I cared so much that the stranger get a lavish resort style breakfast and agreed to come with us.

“Okay, but if gon’ leave here we gotta act cool. I don’t want to make a scene. So no crying or anything. You gotta keep calm,” he warned.

“Ok. Got it,” Caitlin sharply replied. She finally knew that we would soon be out of this room with the stranger so she didn’t bother playing nice or acting like she cared. I, on the other hand, made him believe we were friends.

I remembered an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where a shooter came into the hospital. He pointed his gun at a young doctor who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but he didn’t shoot her. As soon as he made it known that she was the next target, she began spitting out information. Later in the show, she explained her odd actions by saying it was something she had learned watching Oprah. That when you face someone that has the potential to kill you, you should try and humanize yourself to them. So that’s what I did to this stranger because even though he was a stranger to me, I was also a stranger to him.

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“Let me just get my shoes and my phone,” I said. I gushed on about breakfast to the stranger. I made small jokes trying to lighten the mood. I just wanted to keep him happy. Caitlin was in focus mode. She didn’t bother putting on shoes.

“Let me lock the door,” I mentioned ironically.

“Yeah, the last thing we need is more random people walking into our room,” Caitlin added sarcastically as she began to walk quickly out the door from which the stranger came and towards the lobby of the hotel across from us.

The sun was finally rising slowly. I walked with the stranger who was getting irritated at Caitlin for moving hastily ahead of us.

“Psst. Caitlin. Get back here. Where you going?” he tried to call her back to us. “You forgot your shoes. You need to put shoes on.”

I realized that the stranger was getting nervous and that we needed to keep him calm and happy.

“Oh, don’t worry about that! We’re from the South. We walk everywhere without shoes on there,” I half lied.

“Really?”

“Oh yeah! We always walk around hotels and outside and gas stations with no shoes on!” I realized I took it too far with the Britney Spears circa 2004 reference, but it was all I could think of.

I kept feeding the stranger stories about how great this breakfast would be and telling him about the things we did yesterday while on vacation. I felt kind of bad about it after. I didn’t mean to sound like I was bragging to this man about all the money we had blown on this vacation, but I didn’t know what else to talk about.

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We walked over to a small lobby outside nestled between the front desk room and a small café that wasn’t open yet. I peeked down at my phone and realized that it was still only five thirty.

“What time does the café open?” I asked trying to mask the concern in my voice.

“Not until six,” Caitlin said.

“Well, it’s five thirty now. We can just wait here until it opens.”

The stranger didn’t like this. He shifted around and tried to get us to return to the room and get food by some other means. We weren’t about to give up and start over at square one though. Caitlin sat down on a couch to wait until someone showed up. I sat down next to her and the stranger gave in and sat across from us in a woven egg shaped chair.

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Rachel Green makes everything better.

This was the first time I had to sit down and casually use my phone. I texted my dad. I felt kind of guilty about telling him what was going on. I didn’t want to worry him. There was no use. He was on the Atlantic Coast and I was facing the Pacific. All I would be doing is scaring him, but it was much later in the morning there and I knew he’d be up. I sent him a series of quick messages as casually as I could because the stranger could better see us in the daylight.

“Dad. Call the police. There’s a man in our hotel room.”

I waited for a reply, but I didn’t get one. Caitlin sat casually on Instagram fed up with waiting for someone else to show up. I continued to make friends with the stranger.

“So what do you guys do for fun?” he wanted to know.

“We’re both students. Caitlin and I are both going into the medical field so we’re just always so busy with school and stuff. We don’t have time to do anything else because we are always so busy doing school stuff,” I rambled to him. I told him about my son, Holden, how we started off alone together and I showed him photos.

“I just really want him to go to college. I want to make sure I have a good job and I can pay for him to go to school,” I confessed to the stranger. I started getting emotional again because I still didn’t know if I would even be making it home to Holden.

“You will,” the stranger promised in his cool voice, as if he really knew.

A few times he tried to talk to Caitlin, but she didn’t bother trying to hide her annoyance with him. The stranger said he didn’t like her. I tried to tell him that Caitlin was always grouchy like that, so people didn’t really ever take the time to get to know her. I kept spitting out lies to keep him satisfied. She didn’t pay attention. Her eyes were watching the glass windows to our right where the front desk of the hotel sat empty.

Then we saw a man came over. He peered into the closed café, shook hands with the stranger, and then sat next to the stranger in another straw seat. He made small talk about the café being closed. He didn’t know what was going on, and we didn’t know how to tell him. He probably wouldn’t have believed us anyway. So we sat there silently waiting.

Caitlin suddenly jumped up.

“I have to go to the bathroom, “she stated.

“Me too. I’ll come with you,” I volunteered, not wanting to be left alone with two strangers.

That’s when I saw what Caitlin saw. A hotel employee with a walkie-talkie was about to open up the door from the front desk out to us. We ran into him. Caitlin grabbed his arm and started yelling about the stranger. He pushed her off and asked her to calmly explain what was happening. He said that someone had called the hotel and they were about to go out looking around the premises. He took us back behind the desk into the offices to get the full story.

We still weren’t fully at ease. The stranger was still sitting out there waiting for us to come back, but we were finally able to feel safe with another person there with us. They allowed us to sit in the office until the police came for the stranger. They told us later that they originally tried to question the guy waiting for the café to open. They didn’t even see the stranger sitting there with the white hotel towel around his neck.

The hotel man escorted us to our room to wait for the police to come take an official report. The room felt like a crime scene when we returned to it. We were the same people and this was the same room, but we weren’t the same people anymore and this wasn’t the same room. It felt tainted with negative energy. I felt like someone I loved had died in this room, like I had witnessed a horrible murder here, but no one was ever hurt in this room. The stranger didn’t touch us.

When the two officers showed up we told them everything. We admitted we felt bad, that the stranger had asked us for help and said he trusted us and we had turned him over to the police. Caitlin told us that earlier in the bathroom she had called her brother, who was in the Navy staying nearby. She made noise in the bathroom with the sink to hide that she was making a phone call.

We found out that’s how the stranger got in. Caitlin’s brother had been in our room the afternoon before. He sat in the chair and charged his phone before jumping up and walking out the sliding glass door that we hadn’t touched all weekend. Because we hadn’t gone through the glass door, we hadn’t thought to lock it. So the stranger went door-to-door tugging on handles until one slid open. Ours did.

Ours wasn’t the only room the stranger had been in though. We only had one clean towel left, but that wasn’t the one draped over his shoulders. The police asked us if we were missing pearls. We weren’t. We also found a granola from the closed café on our dresser. We made jokes that the stranger brought us a snack rather than taking anything from our room. They filed it as an attempted burglary. We walked around our room looking for anything valuable he might have stolen. Nothing had been taken.

We confessed to the officers that we felt like we had betrayed the stranger and that he might have been honestly looking for help. That’s when they told us. The stranger had a name and a criminal record. He was on parole. He was in a gang. The metal device in his hand had been a meth pipe. The police reports I read later said that he was both high and drunk celebrating the Fourth of July when he stumbled into our room.

After giving individual reports we had to identify the stranger. I buried the bottom part of my face into my sweatshirt. I didn’t want him to see me again. I stood in the opening of the sliding glass door as they drove the police SUV closer, got the stranger out, and made him stand there in the morning light for me to identify. His head was still cocked back with judgment and his wrists were cuffed.

“Yep, that’s him,” I confirmed.

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We dealt with cancelling kayak trips in La Jolla, PR people from the hotel, and our worried families trying to get us on the next flight home for the rest of the day. We immediately went to breakfast. We weren’t hungry, but we wanted out of that room and the hotel had given us free breakfast cards. I drank a few too many twenty-dollar mimosas to take the edge off before we had to go back. Eventually they moved us up a few floors for our safety and they gave us each five hundred dollars in spa treatments. The city of San Diego offered to pay for us to receive psychological counseling.

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We each dealt with the fear differently. Caitlin blocked it from her memory. She was always good at repressing things that she didn’t want to deal with. I couldn’t do it. Our new room had two beds instead of one and that scared me. We fell asleep to a movie I had wanted to see, but I woke up panicking when a female character screamed.

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On the flight home I reread the copy of The Stranger I had bought for the trip. It had new meaning to me now. A man kills another man for no reason. A man stumbles into the hotel room of two young women for no reason. And when I thought about it, a lot of things in life happened for no reason.

I read the police report when I got home. The stranger had sat in the back of the police cruiser crying and muttering something about God. I don’t know though because I wasn’t there.

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Dear Future Husband

[A Note to the Reader: I was initially afraid to make a second post to this blog knowing that whatever was written would have to live up to the hype of my first post. After encouragement from a few close friends though, I’m putting it all out there for you guys. I wrote this as a therapeutic vent session in my phone after a stressful day in April of 2015. I never intended to share this with anyone else, but here it is. I hope this lives up to the all the standards and expectations of “I Choose My Son” and that you enjoy it.]

Dear future husband,

     I don’t know who you are, but I’m here waiting for you. Right now I’m just a 21 year old single mother crying in bed over a guy that’s (hopefully) not you. In whatever year you’re from I’ll probably look back on all of this and find it humorous. This is probably really high school to future me. Future Alexa would probably tell me to suck it up and wait it out because Future Alexa knows a lot of things I don’t know. But it’s hard to be strong and just wait it out when I don’t even know if you exist. I could be writing this letter to myself for all I know.

     All I know at this very moment is I need you. I need to curl up in bed with you and I need you to hold me while I cry this one out. (Actually, if you were here I’d probably be crying tears of joy that you’re real.)

     At this point I’ve kind of given up on finding you. At first, I thought you were Holden’s dad, but tonight after spending all day cleaning the house for his weekly visit he didn’t show up and this is such a common occurrence I’ve come to expect it almost every week.

     I haven’t been with him in 3 years. It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long since I’ve dated someone, but Holden is going on 2 in 7 months which makes it true.

     When I actually look back at the relationship we had I am both relieved to no longer be in the place I was then at that time with him and confused as to why I was stupid enough to stick around for so long. Present Alexa wants to find Past Alexa and slap some sense into her. There are actually quite a few bones Present Alexa has to pick with Past Alexa, but this would probably be the big one.

      Other people told me to get out. They told me to run as fast as I could in the opposite direction. As our homie Tay-Swift would have said, everyone knew that relationship was trouble, so shame on me now.

     But in my mind I tried so hard to justify. To make excuses. To give out “benefit of the doubt” cards like I was the Nori Japan sample guy at the mall. Everyone wants to believe their relationship is different. We all want to believe that we found the Holy Grail of love and everyone that doesn’t support us is just mad, or jealous, or bitter. It isn’t until you get out, finally see the light, and find someone in the same shoes you were just in yesterday that you see everyone else was right about your relationship.

     This happened multiple times to me. First I was that friend, but then I got burned, and man did I get burned bad. So when I saw other girls that I loved and cared about and I saw someone treating them poorly or pulling something sneaky I wanted to protect them from what I went through. I wanted someone to learn from my mistakes and to make it out as the one on top. I didn’t want a boy to get the best of these girls the way one got the better of me.

     So I became the tough love friend that people thought was bitter. When I saw a guy that wasn’t sorry for something jerky he did I told the girl to leave. Flat out. Plain and simple. And they thought I was mean and they made the same excuses I did. They were still being blinded by their Love Goggles.* Today none of these girls are with the same guy. They all were burned the same way I was. (Maybe not as severely, but you don’t need a third-degree burn to teach you not to touch a stove.)

     Now when I see them with their new boyfriends I am happy for them. When I see a relationship where two people are trying to make it work I am happy for them. When I see people that are in happy and healthy relationships I am happy for them. But as I see so many other people my age getting into serious long term relationships and getting engaged, it makes me wonder when I will have the chance to finally be happy for me and someone.

     So I fell off my bike and gave myself a break. It took me a few years to cope with the Holden thing and finding myself again after my first relationship, but soon I was ready to try again. My biggest issue was, I wasn’t meeting anyone. I was so busy juggling school and Holden that there was no time to socialize. I also had trouble finding quality people that lived up to my standards**

     Then I met a guy that neatly fit my ideal man checklist. He had everything I wanted in a partner, except he didn’t. When I met him he said and did all of the right things. He offered to get me food and medicine after I got my wisdom teeth out. He told me I was different from other girls and I eagerly believed him****. He played with Holden better than anyone else did, but as time went on things happened and I realized it was absolutely too good to be true.

     When I tried to open up to him and tell him deep personal things (I’m sure you probably know about already) he wasn’t having it. He would make some remark about me being too negative or serious and change the subject immediately.

     I hope you don’t know how hard it is to have someone tell you they don’t want to hear about the most intimate and personal details of your life when you want so badly to share them with that person. If there was a number one most a-hole way to tell someone you don’t care about them, this would be it.

     But both guys taught me something and both guys gave me something. Holden’s father gave me the most beautiful little boy I could have ever asked for and he taught me about what it’s like to give out the type of selfless love that is so blinding it causes you to sacrifice everything you have for someone who doesn’t deserve any of it.

     The second guy gave me the gift of How I Met Your Mother. He and the show also taught me that eventually I will find someone that loves my quirks rather than just tolerates them. And I hope that’s who you are; a person that appreciates my quirks because we all know I have more than my fair share.

     I hope you like my goofy side and I hope you also like my serious side. I hope that when I tell you things about my past that still hurt me today you not only listen, but also really hear what I’m saying. I hope you love Holden as much as I do. I hope he loves you too. I hope you’re happy with me. I hope you like How I Met Your Mother as much as I do (I’m currently watching it and it was the inspiration for this letter to you.) I hope I can quote it at our wedding and you’ll understand the references. I hope you don’t mind that I like to argue. Well, at least I hope you can put up with it the best you can and I’m sorry in advanced because I know I’m pretty good at it. I hope you don’t mind my dysfunctional family. I know everyone says their family is dysfunctional, but by now you know it’s true. I hope you don’t mind that I probably can’t cook meat to save my life. I hope you are as giving a person as my father and grandfather. I hope you are having fun and studying hard at college right now. I hope you’re out making a lot of memories that will turn into stories you’ll fill me in on later. I hope our first kiss is magical. I hope I don’t throw up on you because I’m so nervous. I hope you share the same thirst for knowledge I do. I hope I can be unapologetically myself with you. I hope I feel comfortable enough to speak my unfiltered mind around you. I hope that we adopt a beautiful little girl together and I hope we have a happy life.

     I know that right now I know nothing about where I’ll be at that point in my life. I don’t know where I’ll meet you, how much longer I have to wait here, or when I’ll know you’re the one. I don’t know where we both are and I don’t know much about what I’ll even like or how I’ll look.

     All I know is that right here and right now I miss you. I don’t know you yet, but I miss you. I know that you’re coming for me as fast as you can, but please come faster. Until that time comes, I’ll be here waiting on you*****.

I can’t wait to meet you.

Your wife,

Alexa

*Love Goggles: Similar to “Graduation Goggles” from How I Met Your Mother, but for people that can’t see how bad a relationship is while their judgement is being influenced and clouded by the relationship itself.

**Alexa’s Standards: Intelligent, funny, ambitious, doing something productive with their life, good with kids, both interested and interesting.***

***I’m really not asking for that much here, so why is it so hard to find?

****I don’t know why because I’ve heard this line used one million and one times.

*****No, I’m not sitting by a rock tapping my foot. I am out working hard for the many degrees I want while raising my our son until you show yourself.

I Choose My Son

     Today I watched a video that someone had shared on Facebook. It was a word association experiment with women ages 15-50 in which their reactions to the word “abortion” were filmed. I heard people respond with words like “scary,” ” very sad,” “unfortunate” and “death.” I also heard statements like “none of your business,” “right,” and “necessary.” The most commonly used phrase though, was “choice.” And they’re right, to have or to not have an abortion is a choice that many women of all ages, races, ethnicities, religions, regions, education levels and economic classes have to face every day. I, myself, was put in the position where I had to make the very same choice.

     When I found out I was pregnant I was scared. I was 19 years old and struggling to make it through my first year of college. I was lazy, unmotivated and distracted. I had just recently gone through an awful ugly split from my high school boyfriend of 3 1/2 years and I was trying to find myself again. After so long with someone, you’re not just breaking up with a person, but who you are when you’re with them and all of the hopes and dreams you had planned together as a couple (no matter how ridiculous and naive they seem in hindsight). My future as I had planned it was torn out from under me and the walls were crumbling down around me. Adding a baby to this mix was the last thing I thought I needed, but it turned out to be the biggest blessing of my life.

     So there I sat, on April Fools’ Day, the biggest fool on the planet. Pregnant. Alone. And scared. But I was never truly alone in this. Even before I knew it, Holden was with me there. I went into an ER that day by chance. I almost didn’t go in at all. After a four hour car drive from home to school, I decided I should probably seek out medical attention for the sharp kidney pain I had been experiencing on and off for years. This particular day it was unbearable and at the urging of my friend, I decided to have it checked out. The doctor asked for my symptoms. I told her I was nauseous all of the time. She asked if I could be pregnant. In my head, I (kind of, sort of, not really) took birth control so the no period thing was normal and I had been single since the beginning of February. Not only that, but even when I was still dating my ex, I only saw him a few weekends out of the month because of the distance. He lived back home and was still just trying to make it through his senior year of high school. In my 19 year old brain, there was a 0% chance I was pregnant. But I was. No CT on my kidney was performed as planned. The radiation could hurt the fetus, the doctor told me. She sent me back to my dorm with a piece of paper that said “incidental finding” and “HCG positive.” She told me that the pee test came out “very positive” because I was “very pregnant” which meant I had been pregnant for some time and had been clueless. You don’t ever think it will happen to you, but it can and it does.

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     Telling people that day didn’t go so well. No one believed me. It was April Fools’ Day after all. I cried for a very short amount of time. I used humor to my advantage to get through the week, but once the shock set in for good I found myself struggling to come to terms. I knew I needed to see a doctor to see how far along I was, but then I remembered my sister’s situation.

     Three years before, my sister took a home test and found out she was pregnant. I went with her to the doctor and they almost pressured her into keeping the baby. She wasn’t planning on NOT keeping the baby, but she was going in open minded and aware of all of her options . She was living at home still and the father wouldn’t be around. The doctors office didn’t ask how she felt, they assumed that she was there to keep the baby and make a second appointment and receive a goody bag of vitamins and pamphlets showing a fetus in utero smoking a cigarette and enjoying a glass of wine. I didn’t know how I felt so I didn’t want that to happen to me.

     I had always believed myself to be a strong pro-life person, but my situation showed me that you truly never know how you feel until you’re the one in the hot seat. A friend of mine took me to a no pressure clinic to get an ultrasound. As I waited for my turn in the back I saw things that changed my life. I saw girls come in clinging to their boyfriends and crying. I saw girls coming in alone and unafraid. But most importantly of all, I saw a young girl come in at the age of around 12-14. She was with an older, stern faced grandmother and an unapproving mother. I wanted to reach out to her. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to talk to her so badly, but instead I watched as she was called into the back and I watched as she was escorted out by her mother after the procedure. She was so drugged up she couldn’t walk out of there. The others she was with had no change in expression.

     We all sat in there facing the same choice. Most of them walked out of there having made one, and I walked out making another. Once I went back, there wasn’t a friendly or comforting staff. Everyone was straight to the point and apathetic to my own personal struggle. They saw a million pregnant people a day coming in to terminate. It was just an average day of work for them. For each of us though, it was a life changing decision that needed to be considered carefully. They handed me print outs that explained how each procedure was done and while it may have been necessary for some women to have those options available, I didn’t think they were right for me. After my ultrasound I expected a copy of the print out that was shoved in my file I was disappointed when none was handed to me, but I understood why. That’s how I really knew that I wasn’t going to have an abortion; I was upset when I couldn’t see my baby. I knew that if I had an abortion I would probably look back and regret it, but if I kept it, even on the most difficult of days I would look back and say, “I can’t imagine my life without my baby.” And I was right.

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     So I left that place, but I still needed to make sure I was making the right choice. I reached out to a number of other people I knew had sat in this same seat. I spoke to friend’s moms, some of which had abortions themselves. I heard stories from women that had both abortions and babies. Most of the abortion stories I heard hurt my heart. Women depressed and crying in bed for weeks. Women still mad at themselves for it. And while I know, understand and respect that not all women feel this way about abortion, I knew that that’s how I personally would feel if I had one. I would feel guilt and I would feel sad and I might be even more depressed after losing a baby and a relationship and that might leave me in a really bad place, one that I didn’t ever want to revisit again.

But I also knew that having a baby would be just as difficult. I was working part time scooping Italian ice into cups. I was going to school for a degree in film. The job outlook in that sort of field isn’t always promising. I would have a baby to support now. How could I do it at all, let alone that I would be doing it with absolutely no support from the dad who told me on day one he wanted nothing to do with us? It seemed impossible at the time, but here we are today: happy and thriving.

Happy as Harry Potter to be exact

Happy as Harry Potter to be exact

     The combination of constant morning sickness, shame, embarrassment, secrecy, and depression caused me to isolate myself during those last weeks of college. I would order a large cheese pizza and Mountain Dew to be delivered to my dorm every night and finish off any cold leftovers for breakfast until it was time for a new pizza again. I binged Netflix on my phone from the time I woke up until around one in the morning. My friends, worried about how I was coping, tried to get me out grocery shopping for healthier food. They were tired of seeing me in bed with a half eaten pizza on the floor while Dora the Explorer played because I was too emotionally and physically exhausted to even change the channel or turn the tv off. Dealing with every day was a struggle because having a baby didn’t just mean making a new life, it meant starting over myself. I had to restart, rebuild, and try again at life with what I had as of that moment (which wasn’t much).

     I was called names. I heard accusations. Stories went flying. All because I was pregnant at 19 and on my own. It’s human nature to love a scandal, but even when people were asking for my side I could see they already had preconceived notions and opinions on something that was really none of their business. This turned me into even more of a hardened cynic. I became paranoid of people because I was tired of fighting for my reputation and for my innocent baby’s. One person even posted a comment laughing at my ultrasound photo. Well the jokes on them, because I am a better person and a happier person now thanks to my son.

Because who wouldn't be happy when you get to wake up to this on Christmas morning?

Because who wouldn’t be happy when you get to wake up to this on Christmas morning?

     Once the initial shock wore off, I was looking forward to having a baby. I love kids. I always have and I always will. Kids are my passion. I think there’s some sort of connection between having a not so pleasant childhood and wanting to help preserve that in other children once you grow up. Just call me a grown catcher in the rye. Up until that point my world had revolved around my nephew. He had been born and raised in my home and I loved spending time with him. A baby of my own was a welcome addition. I was just grateful to have someone to give my love to.

Kaden, the first baby boy to steal my heart and my best friend.

Kaden, the first baby boy to steal my heart and my best friend.

     There were days though when I thought I couldn’t do it. I didn’t think I was strong enough to be a single mom. No degree. No job. No boyfriend/husband/father. No plan for the future. But I was so incredibly blessed with a generous, unselfish, open minded and caring family and best friends that all stepped up to help me through.

     On the ugly days I looked into adoptive families. I found one in particular I loved. A gay couple with a son already. They had Ivy League degrees and taught law and English at prestigious schools. This family could give my baby what he deserved and needed. It would be a good, safe and educated home with financial stability and love. These guys would appreciate the gift I could give them and now I feel guilty and selfish for not having given them that gift. Sometimes I admit to myself that Holden deserved better and that maybe I did the wrong thing for him by doing the right thing for me. All I can do is hope that one day he thanks me for giving him the best I possibly could rather than resenting me because it wasn’t enough. I think that’s what I’m most afraid of.

     I knew my baby deserved a life that in that moment I couldn’t give him. I needed a degree because I needed a job because I needed money because Holden needed me. I practically picked a career out of a hat. My best friend’s parents were both respected medical field professionals. She was also aiming for a career in that area, so we looked into other jobs that were good money for a quick degree.

Thank god for Caitlin

Thank god for Caitlin

     That wasn’t good enough for me though. I love school and I value education. An associates degree would never leave me satisfied. Plus I knew how disappointed my family was that I was the first in the family to go to college and I was already moving back home after a year. That’s how I found Radiography; A two year degree that would give me enough money to get by while I worked my way through a bachelors program and eventually (hopefully) a masters.

     I almost didn’t sign back up for classes. I had Holden in November of 2013. I didn’t have one of those beautiful pregnancies people gloat about. I was sick. I gained 70 pounds onto my slender 120 lb frame. I saw special high risk pregnancy doctors. I went into preterm labor twice and got steroid shots in my butt. Holden ended up needing physical therapy for Torticollis because I was walking around 7 cms and +2 station for longer than I should have. I was put on bed rest, but I slept on a couch because my bed hurt my back. I felt my ribs separating. I had family say hurtful things like “you shouldn’t be allowed to wear a two pieced bathing suit” and “I’m surprised your guy friends would be seen out in public with you.” My epidural didn’t work. I lost so much blood I needed a transfusion. Having a baby alone was the absolute saddest and loneliest thing I’ve ever done. It was beautiful and it was happy, but it was also so very sad to be alone with my child. It was not a fun time for me and I didn’t want to face the public again. I wanted to stay home with my baby and ignore reality for as long as I could.

That's me.. biting stuff because labor is no breezy ride through the park.

That’s me.. biting stuff because labor is no breezy ride through the park.

     I credit my best friend, Caitlin, for getting me back into school. She helped me pick a career. She went to my first class with me. She woke up early and stayed up late quizzing me for tests. She had been to doctors appointments and helped me do my registry and threw my shower. She even watched Holden while I went to class. She helped me in ways I couldn’t even help myself. She was there and I am so grateful to this day that I have someone that cared so much.

Jessica Ashley Photography... and yes, we got family photos made,

Jessica Ashley Photography… and yes, we got family photos made.

     So I was back in school and I was back with a vengeance. I wasn’t there to waste my time or do the minimum anymore. I was there to fulfill prerequisites in the hopes of being accepted into a competitive radiography program. I had 2 semesters to rack up enough points to get in. It was a long shot, but somehow I made it happen. I’m now a 4.0 student studying something I love with goals for the future. I don’t even recognize the old me anymore. I am a completely different person today and it’s all because of Holden.

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     When I made a choice to have a baby, I made a much bigger choice than just having a baby. I made a choice to love this baby, to be his advocate, to be his friend, to be his rock. I made a choice to be his mother. I made this choice knowing that things could change at any moment for better or for worse. I made a choice with no certainty of the future or what it brought for us. I made the choice to work hard so I could someday repay Holden for all he has given me.

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     I chose my son over myself. I chose his future and dreams and happiness over what I wanted. I chose to center my life around him instead of me. I chose to give up my early twenties nights of bar hopping for nights at home with a bottle of milk instead of tequila. I chose to devote my free time to studying and getting ahead on homework instead of socializing and dating like normal college students my age. I chose to clean up the throw up of a sick child while I juggled exams and projects. I chose court and sacrifice and to give every part of me I had for the rest of my life to this little person I made. I chose the hardships and the struggles because with them came the most beautiful and pure love I could have ever imagined.

Pardon the rough

Pardon the rough “I’m still learning how to do this” look.

     While having a baby isn’t the right thing for a lot of people, Holden was the right choice for me. Even though I still mess up on occasion, I’m trying my hardest. All I want as of now is to make him proud of me. I try to be the kind of student I want him to be. I try to lead by example and teach him to be a respectful and thoughtful person. I try to not lose it when life gets to be too much for me to handle. I try to make it through one day at a time.

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      I want so much for my son. I want Holden to value education. I want him to appreciate the opportunities given to him. I want him to take advantage of all that life offers. I want him to find meaning in life. I want him to get lost in whatever he’s passionate about whether it be reading or dancing or playing the drums. I want him to find someone that loves him just as much as I do, and I want him to treat that person with respect and love; whether it be a male or a female or anything in between. I want Holden to have morals and values and believe in something, anything. I want him to be grateful and see the good in other people. I want him to see in himself what I see in him. I want my son to be a person he’s proud of. I want him to be a hardworking and unselfish man. But above all else, I want him to know just how much I love him.

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     I gave up so much to be Holden’s mom. It was the greatest sacrifice I’ve ever had to make. And it isn’t just a one time choice. I make it over and over again every day. I chose to dedicate my life to Holden and given the choice again today and tomorrow and for the rest of my life I will always choose my son.

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I choose Holden.

Another of my favorites from Jessica Ashley Photography

Another of my favorites from Jessica Ashley Photography

I choose my son.

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Next Stop: California

Wow. This really feels like a mix between a grown up version of Tumblr and a diary. It will probably take us a while to get into the swing of posting here. (Forgive us, we’re noobs).

The point of this blog was to create a place where my best friend and life/parenting partner could share our adventures, thoughts, progress, hopes, and fears as we try and navigate the unpredictable waters of life and the occasional storms thrown our way. (Okay, they’re a little more than just occasional. They’re actually quite frequent, but more on that later).

Caitlin and I live off the coast of Virginia when she isn’t at school in the mountains. We aren’t really all that fond of our area or how everyone we know seems to be stuck here, so one day we came up with this crazy idea: What if we left?

Caitlin’s eldest brother recently moved to San Diego and after visiting the Golden State once she came to the conclusion that there were much bigger and better things for the three of us elsewhere.

So we got suckered into the idea of the great American Dream to head out west for a new beginning. I made us each a jar to start saving up for the big move and we created this blog to share our journey there with you.

We had a difficult time picking a name for this page. Eventually I came across the definition of a “sea change.”

A sea change is “a radical change or transformation.” How perfect for what we are currently going through. If only you had known us two years ago. We were a mess, but we’ll talk about that some other time.

I also thought the name fit well because we will literally be changing seas from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. East Coast vs. West Coast.

So Caitlin and I are desperate for change. We need it. We crave it. We are hoping, praying, and begging for it. We want to move to California. We realize that both figuratively and literally the grass won’t be greener, but Cali is still calling for us none the less.

Now all we have to do to get there is finish our degrees by May 2017 and save up for the big move. We hope you’ll be there to root for us, share your own advice, and cheer us along as we do everything in our power to make our California dreams come true.