Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Zookeeper

Do you ever wonder who is on the other side of the screen when you read a blog?  Do you wonder about the person who types the words that make you laugh or cry or roll your eyes?  Do you see the pictures of the kiddos and the house in which they live and wonder, what does Mom look like?  Who is she?  Do you ever want to know how a person got to have 3 kids, a mortgage and a blog?  Well, if you have, or you do, then this is your post.  I'm going to introduce myself... good thing it only took 100+ posts to do it... I suppose it's not all that surprising since I started this blog as a way for family and my in-real-life friends to keep up on us as we moved around the country.  I have a website for the children and it focuses entirely on them - their milestones, their struggles, their photos, their development - and on our family as we journey through life together.  The blog was originally meant to be the "Melissa" side of that - my thoughts about being a woman, a mother, a wife, a friend and doing it all so far from family.  It was supposed to be more about the adult reflections that ran as an undercurrent beneath the more saccharine stories on our baby website (which requires a user name and password to log on; if you'd like it, please feel free to leave a comment to that effect and I'll hook you up)... So, that being said, do you think I've stayed on target, or have I strayed largely from that original intent?  Regardless, if you've joined this tale later than earlier, you might want to know a little more about me.

I'm not going to go into much about early Melis... I'll tell you I had a difficult childhood and that my adolescent years weren't easy.  They weren't unhappy times, always, but I did face some issues within my family that were challenging enough to make me scoff at Meredith Grey's drama and think she's a gigantic weenie.  I grew up before I should have and had racked up a decent amount of experience-based wisdom by the time I went to college at the University of Notre Dame.  Ambitious and anxious to make my mark, I joined Air Force ROTC and took on Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry as my majorS(!).  I met an incredible man, Justin, and began dating him at the end of my first semester.  By my second semester I knew a few things: I would spend the rest of my life loving Justin.  I would not make the same mistakes my parents have made.  I was an adult. And I would only be happy if I chose happiness; life wasn't going to grant it to me.  I determined soon enough that ROTC wasn't the path for me, and I had exhausted myself with my absurd academic expectations and dialed back my ambitions a bit, switching to Political Science (oops) and History, graduated with Justin in 2005, married him 6 weeks later and we set out on our journey together.  We conceived our son a year later, and then our daughters about 2 years after that.   

So, great, boring.  I'll illustrate; it'll help.

My wedding day.

My honey and I on our honeymoon in Kauai.
Holding my son a few hours after his birth.
Our first family Christmas card photo.
With Jack at Disneyworld.
34 weeks pregnant with two amazing little girls.
Rocking some contractions and smiling about it.
Marveling at Addison during the 9 minutes in which I was a mother of only 2.
A rare moment (Halloween) in which I was holding both girls and not a single one of us was crying AND I had make-up on.  
Photographic evidence that I need a hair-cut
Trying to steal a snuggle from my son when all he wants are presents on Christmas.

Okay, so you get the drift.  That's what I've done. School, marriage, babies.

But, who am I?  Well, friends, I can't 100% answer that because it's an ever-changing response.  But I'll try to flesh out a little more of me for you.  I'm a woman who takes her role as wife and mother seriously.  My family comes above all else and I will fight - I'm a fighter - for that against any adversary.  I've been there... you know, those tough places in life we'd rather not think about.  If not myself, then I've held people's hands while they were there.  I've seen and felt sorrow and injustice and pain and desperation and I've faced those dark feelings head on, not looking away for a second, and I cherish the times that were hard for they make what is good so much brighter.  I'm Catholic.  I follow the Lord and am growing closer to Him in my faith each day, but I rarely, rarely talk about it - even with my husband.  I am deeply spiritual but nearly silently so.  I would rather lead by example.  I strive to be a good person.  I fail.  I nurse my babies no matter how hard it is and feed my family home-made food, no matter how tired I am.  I often eat Ramen when no one is looking because I'm just so tired of dealing with healthy crap.  I cry at sappy things on TV and avoid like the plague sentimental movies.  I drink straight tequilia and can funnel a beer but adore my Cabernets and Pinot Noirs.  I am petrified at the thought of losing my husband or one of my children.  Without them, I'm barely a whisp of a person.  I'm a fiscally conservative liberal who never knows who to vote for because I feel so strongly about so many issues, no one ever quite lines up with me.  I love to learn.  Everything.  Anything.  Science thrills me and I hate that I wasted college on Political Science (blech!) but know that if I hadn't, I may not have this amazing life.  This life I lead is amazing because I choose not to dwell on all the things that make it suck - like fleas, landlords, inequality, distance, stress and laundry.  I especially do not dwell on laundry.  I keep an immaculate house but only because I get annoyed when I have crusties on my feet all the time - they're gross enough as it is.  I don't take care of my feet.  I don't give a hoot about my hair.  In fact, it's been nearly 2 years since my last hair cut.  I suffer migraine headaches, am a snuggle-fiend and adore the written word.  I've published poems and flown jets, saved lives and driven backhoes.  I'm nearing the end of my life as a Navy wife who has survived deployments and, more astoundingly, the drama of life as a military spouse.  I am strong. I am weak.  I cannot sing to save my soul, so I don't try, but I could talk your ear off.  Football soothes me like classical music and a bubble bath.  I am stubborn and loyal.  I drive a minivan and don't care how uncool that makes me.  And I am daily thankful that I am as fortunate as I am.

So... That's who I am.  What about you?  Please share!


Kate said...

I think I love you even more now.

What a great, great post. I so wish we could be friends in real life!

I am Kate and I love me some Melis.

Arizona Mamma said...

Okay, now you have me bawling. Or at least my eyes are damp! I loved this post. You are an exceptional writer. It is one of the chief reasons I love to read your blog. Well, that and the fact that I totally love you! Not like stalker love, but like I think we'd get along in real life love. You're great. I did a post about myself, but nearly as great. You can find it under AZ Mamma on the nav bar of my blog. Will you read it? I'm not sure anyone even has ;)

Tanya said...

I'm a Melissa Fan! ;o)

Peanut said...

You should write a book or a collection of short stories, O.Henry style. You would be awesome at that. On another hand, I am not sure if I am ready to do a post about who I am. Partly because I don't think anybody reads my blog enough to care (yet :) ) and partly because I am not fully ready and comfortable to share stuff on www. Somehow it feels different doing it on Facebook.

Amy O'Connor said...

I love it. I think it is so hard to know who YOU really are as a woman once the husband and kids come along. It's so easy to get lost in it all. You have explained quite well who Melis is, though. I wish I could express myself as well as you do!

*Jess* said...

This was an excellent post :) And I think you are beautiful!! :)

Christine:) said...

Fantastic post- echoing everyone else, you are a truly talented writer. Each time I read your blog, I feel like I know you better and wish with all my heart we could have hung out more when our hubbys were stationed together.
Beautiful family, beautiful pictures:)

Kate said...

I forgot to tell you - you are BEE-YOO-TI-FUL.

The (Un)Experienced Mom said...

Wow, what a FABULOUS post. Seriously!!! This is probably one of the best posts I've ever read!

You sound A LOT like me. Could care less about my feet...Catholic, but pretty private about my spirituality, can't ever find a politician that aligns totally with me, and couldn't imagine what I'd do without my boys (all 3 of them!).

No wonder we get along so well!

And may I say - you are BEAUTIFUL girl!!!! (There, I just did).

The Iowa Farmer's Wife said...

What a beautiful post! I've read your blog a few times and I will definitely be back for more! I found some similarities in there! I too am Catholic and I loved what you said about when things are dark and painful...that you face them head on. I like to think of it that way too. I could dwell on the past and the pain it caused, or embrace my beautiful present and the future to come. :) Nice to meet you!

Nicole said...

You are outstanding! You touched my heart....seriously.....Lovin' the new Blog look Mama!!!


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