My first 'Guest Blog' post comes from a good friend I met about a year ago on Instagram. (Yes, Virginia, true friendships can begin online.) She's an amazing story-teller, and I literally get excited every time I see her post another new blog. This is one she had yet to post, and she granted me the favor of letting it be the first of what I hope will be many, many guest blogs to come! Here's a little about Jaime:
Jaime Parker Stickle wasn't born a Beeber, she married a Beeber and they became The Beebers… a typical American family. She uses humor, a lot, especially when conversations are hard and awkward. And in every story she tells she goes ahead and uses that humor to see if 'we can't all laugh together at life being really real.'
"I'm writing all the words all the time from my midwestern-polite p.o.v (Michigan born and raised), to my Californian heart (I hope I never leave)... we'll call me a passive-aggressive do-gooder! Book coming soon, I promise!" ~Jaime
I’m waking up, and one of two things is happening: either I am floating in a swimming pool, or I am sweating profusely.
I’m sweating. Sweating like the dickens, primarily because of the heater that is ablaze above me and partly because I think I was having a nightmare. Now, what was the nightmare about? As I stretch out in my hot, slightly damp bed the bits and pieces are starting to replay in my head - something about parallel universes; me trapped in a mirror; precious time wasted staring at pieces of a jigsaw puzzle with my mother in the house I grew up in…yeah, nightmare.
I need five more minutes, but time is racing. Just another five, and there goes the alarm, again. Snooze. I think I can squeeze in ten-more if I skip a few steps, like brushing my hair, but what’s the point I’ll just be stress sleeping and panicked when I wake again.
I know I can cheat and tell myself I’m stretching…in bed. Nobody will know, but me. But I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to guilt. I cannot tell myself a lie and it sucks.
It’s been at least another five minutes now of stalling and excuses. I’m sweating so much I HAVE to get out of bed. All I can think is, “Why did the idiots who flipped this house put the air ducts in the ceiling?” I want to rip them down and stomp on them for being useless and blasting their hot air directly on me from above. It feels like I’m standing in front of the exhaust pipe of a car, in the middle of the desert, at high noon, in August. But, I remember I should be thankful I have a home and heat when so many people go without. ‘A little gratitude goes a long way,’ I repeat in my head over and over and over and over forcing it down my own throat. Why can’t I just be irritated without the burn of guilty conscience streaming it’s way up my chest?
I am repeating, ‘A little gratitude goes a long way,’ and practicing self-hate when the smell hits me. The first whiff of morning coffee! Dark roast, Starbucks beans, whole, from Costco, freshly ground which intensifies the smell as it drips. It is the most heavenly aroma I can think of.
As I start downstairs for a mug of hot coffee, I hear a male voice that is not my husband’s, and I remember that at some point in the middle of the night my brother-in-law has shown up to spend the weekend. Dammit!
I lumber back up the stairs to put on a shirt and some leggings, since it would be highly inappropriate to enjoy my coffee in my nursing camisole and underwear with company present. I hate leggings. I wish jeans felt comfortable enough to throw on when crawling out of bed first thing, but my jeans are “skinny” and cumbersome and squeeze all my postpartum weight in very unpleasant ways. Why don’t I put on sweatpants? I question myself already knowing my rationale: because sweatpants are strictly before-bed attire. They have to stay fresh for slipping into once the day clothes come off or I get puked on, whichever comes first. I succumb to putting on the leggings, and as I do, the lycra catches and snags on my unshaved leg hair, making that awful scratching sound. The worst part is that they’re an awkward three-quarter length cut so my calves are only half covered and the cuff immediately starts itching where it separates my pasty white, unshaved skin from the smooth lycra. I hate that I won’t go buy a pair that reach my ankles, because then they wouldn’t be workout leggings. They’d be every day leggings. And I would become the mom that wears leggings every day, and I don’t love that woman.
I finish pulling on my leggings, and I hear the cries of my baby. I pray to every God, “Please let him fall back asleep for a little bit longer so that I can enjoy a ‘nursing-free’ cup of coffee. Amen.” I just want to finish one cup this morning while it is still hot, but it is not going to happen. And since my brother-in-law is down stairs, I will graciously nurse the baby in the bedroom, instead of on my couch. I will watch the clock, instead of watching Saturday morning television. I will drink my tepid bottle of water, instead of my hot cup of coffee. Dammit, all I want is my almond biscotti and coffee!
The smell of the coffee is wafting up the stairs with such intensity I can literally taste it. I look at the time on my phone every thirty seconds waiting for the minutes to pass on this feeding. I look so often that the time barely changes. Thank you Time, for now standing still. Where were you when I needed five more minutes in bed? And now I am sweating again. Damn heating vent!
“Do you want cream and sugar?” I hear my husband ask my brother-in-law, and my heart races a little with possessiveness for my half-and-half and my coffee. I feel the panic rise up in my chest. I forgot to buy a new creamer! Please don’t let there only be enough half-and-half left for one cup of coffee. Please save the half-and-half for me, while the coffee is hot and fresh. Please don’t let anyone use the last of my half-and-half.
I start rationalizing how it will play out if the half-and-half is gone before I get downstairs. I list off worst case scenarios: I can just send Jason up to the market -it’s only 10-minutes there, plus 10-minutes inside, and 10-minutes home, but that’s another half hour without coffee! He could run up to Starbucks; or I could use milk! No, milk doesn’t have enough cream to cut the bitter. All these things are time consuming and all I need to know is: how-much-half-and-half-is-actually-left??
In the middle of my mind-rage, I pause. I hear footsteps coming up the stairs and the smell of the coffee is actually getting stronger. I hear a voice other than my own in my head, “My love, I brought you a cup of coffee and a cookie.”
In this moment I feel relief. I look inside my ‘I went to Hawaii’ mug and see the perfect hue of liquid gold: caramel. I am now literally grateful.