(Many of you know Ester......she J.J.'s younger sister who founded this blog. For those of you that did not find us until more recently, meet the sister that started it all.)
Hey ya'll. I asked if I could write an update post. It's been a while, and it's awkward because... I disappeared over a year ago. Just kinda went AWOL and you and I didn't even get any closure. I've missed you.
Let me tell you what happened.
I got pregnant. It happened. For real.
Andrew and I... you know... we made a baby.
Remember when you last knew me and my husband and I lived in a camper? ...In Alaska? We lived in that camper in Alaska for 7 months. And I was pregnant. And I freaked out. Just a little bit. I was like, 'Oh my god, I am an under-educated, pregnant, unemployed 27-year-old, and I live in a 19-foot-long camper in Alaska, and it's winter, and all I do is talk to my dog all day and type a blog for my brother and how the hell am I going to be a good mom if this is the only thing I know how to do?'
Isn't that horrible? What a whiner! What a negative Nancy! But it happened. Almost exactly like that. I started trying to map out my future as a mom, and - like any rational pregnant person - trying to figure out what would happen if I gained like 100 lbs or if my husband left me and I had to fend for myself and a baby and I really freaked out. And I gave up on J.J.
...Not my brother, but the blog. I wrote my brother and told him I was freaking out. And he was like, "Durrr... you think?" We both realized that I had a lot going on in my head and in my life, and I needed to figure it out. In the meantime, I wasn't going to be any great use helping J.J. to blossom like the beautiful flower it is. The blog, I mean. Though Michael is also a beautiful flower :)
(Really poor quality MS Paint collage about my life pregnant, in a camper, in Alaska, in the winter, and yes,
we had to store food in the bathroom. It wasn't all bad. The cinnamon roll, for example. Because YUM.)
...So what we did was we made this diabolical plan where I would find my smartest and sweetest friends and test them typing, and then I would tell them how I was going crazy and make them feel real sorry for me, like tell them how I was pregnant and living in a camper and was practically homeless and how I didn't have an education and didn't know how I was going to take care of a baby if my husband left me and, you know, just make sure they realized what all was on the line. And if anybody stuck around for all that and still wanted to become pen-pals with my brother, who was in prison, well, she'd be just the gal we were looking for.
Lo and behold, Brooke took the bait.
Aw, that's not really what happened. In fact, she realized that we were struggling without either of us saying much about it, and she offered to help. And she has done an amazing job. And I sat on my ass in a camper, eating bon-bons (and pickles, and dried mangoes and moose-meat) and gained 75 lbs.
(That's not even all 75! And to answer your question,
NO, I did not have a 75 lb baby, smartass.)
...Oh yeah, and also my husband got out of the Army and we (he) drove our little house - and our little dog too - through the Canadian Rockies in the dead of winter and moved back to Michigan.
...And I had our baby.
(Gold stars if you know who designed my one and only tattoo)
...And we bought a house! We don't live in a camper anymore!
I am still under-educated, which just gets a shoulder-shrug from me these days instead of a weepy break-down. My kid is awesome. We named him Gus. He thinks I'm awesome, too. It's totally obvious. Andrew did not leave my fatass.
(Gold stars if you know who designed Andrew's tattoo)
I wrote to Michael around his birthday and told him that this summer I went to my 10-year high school reunion (I know - gross, right?) on my 28th birthday. And I was nervous when I was getting ready to go. I was thinking about how all I do now is hang out with a baby. ...Which is perfectly awesome! ...Only, in the movies, 'those women' are made fun of. Like, 'Good job, so your uterus has done something recently, but have you?' I don't have any regrets. But I was worried about being surrounded by a bunch of college grads looking down their noses at me.
Then I realized that I have done something. I started a really cool project with my brother. I lived in Alaska in a camper in the winter and I worked on a blog with my brother. And I trademarked "Tattoo'd Hooligan," which was a big deal for a non-lawyer to understand all that jargon and still get it done right. So I went to my reunion and knew I had at least one interesting talking-point.
We all just talked about our babies anyway.
And why wouldn't we?
(By the way, that's Michael's tractor)
I have missed working on J.J. I've missed the eager trek to the post office, opening my mail, reading the latest bit of writing, and studying the latest piece. They really do look a hundred times more complex when you hold one in your hands. I miss interjecting smartass remarks on the blog. Sometimes I miss feeling part of something that is bigger than the tiny town where I live. I miss writing back and forth with my brother, mile-long letters that poured right out with no effort at all. We were both working on something, and I was almost always there waiting for him at mail-call. Now the project has moved on, and my world and Michael's have shifted.
Brother, I am proud of you for keeping on with this project. I remember many nights over the last 9 months when I was up late, feeding the baby, reading J.J. on my phone, laughing and crying with you, just as I used to do when I was working the graveyard shift at that hotel in Alaska, or in the camper, getting ready to type up a piece. Now I know what it's like to just be a reader. Sometimes I leave comments and sometimes I don't, but I'm always reading. I always love you.
Brooke, thank you for graciously stepping in right as I was breaking down. Your business savvy far surpasses what I could ever be capable of. Thank you for helping my brother get published, to say what he needs to say. Thank you for typing up those long-assed holiday greetings from the other guys! Whew! As the former-typist, I was blessed by their words and simultaneously felt sorry for you having to type it all :) You are a true blessing to us. Thank you a hundred times!
(Brooke and Ester Jean, baby-shower-style)
Thanks to both of you for letting me log in to say hello and a proper goodbye.