Wishbone

There is a space right in the center of a woman’s breast,
stretching between her waiting arms,

that craves a baby. It aches to be filled with the
soft bounce of new flesh, the warmth of new life.

It was here that I felt the wishbone break and
suddenly Thanksgiving was over. Celebration was

tossed aside as I snapped apart and became empty.
The hollow of the marrow leaked a plague stain –

bright red between my thighs. The world was silent
noise, all scurrying and rushed, while whispers passed

and the nurse stepped back as I shattered on her table.
She said, “There is no heartbeat.” and I thought instantly

of a washing machine – the steady thwump, thwump, thwump,
and knew that someone had turned it off.

Someone had snapped the wishbone and I was all
hollow marrow and no heartbeat.

© Laura A. Lord, 2016


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On Not Writing

I so rarely take the time anymore to just blog. I always regret it. I mean, the day passes and I sit back and think, Well, at least I wrote.

What a shitty attitude.

I spent most all of my day on this computer: writing, editing, designing, researching, and all other things writing related, and yet I so rarely take the time out from all of that to just simply write about my day.

So today, I’m not “writing” in the work sense of the word.

I couldn’t even if I wanted to…someone I love dearly keeps stealing my mouse.

And pushing my chair down the hallway.

And all manner of annoying cute one year old behavior.

Amazingly enough, I think he left all his good behavior behind at the National Aquarium. We took the kids two weeks ago for their first ever trip to the aquarium. It was a blast and I got some amazing photos.

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It never ceases to amaze me how much inspiration I can find in the beauty of marine animals and sea life and yet still…

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be totally and completely terrified of big bodies of water.

I mean, these guys are fantastic and fabulous, but I have absolutely no interest in going anywhere near their natural environment.

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Besides, the beach hates people who are as pale as me. It’s best I just stick to the aquarium.

And you can check out more of my awesome aquarium photos…or pictures of my family attempting their ninja picture avoiding skills, over here at my Instagram account. See you there!

1 A.M.

It is 1 a.m.
and you are draped across my body –
the potency of your soap
spreading across my skin.

Sleep is pounding in my skull,
but mutual lust is dripping –
a slow leak
down to my leopard print high heels.

Creative Commons
Creative Commons

Your mouth is pressed against my breast
and I gasp,
head thrown to the side of the bed
and our tiny room is tossed into a prism’s light,

the luminary lighting his small face in the crib
making dark eyes beam hazel
and so I slide out from beneath you.
He is crying and I take him from his bed.

I wrap him in my arms and
sidle down into the bed with him.
He is groping at my breast,
and it is 1 am

and he is draped across my body –
the smell of lavender in his hair
it’s a complete 180
and I’m spinning from woman

to mother
from desire, to nurture
from you to him.
It is 1 a.m.

and I am the light
cut from the prism’s heart.
I am one and all,
wife and mother

in leopard high heels…

© Laura A. Lord 2015


There is something odd, and yet beautiful in being a mother. It seems we always have so many different coats to wear: wife, mother, daughter, friend…Sometimes those coats seem to overlap, we slide from one thing to the other with little thought.

This was written for MindLoveMisery’s prompt.

The 5 Stages of Co-Sleeping

I never tried co-sleeping with my older children. I was very scheduled, and so were they. I was terrified to let them in the bed with me. I don’t know what started it with my youngest, except I was clinging to every aspect of his infant stages knowing he was going to be my last. I’m not proclaiming that one way is right or better. All I know is that I’m on step four and I’m too exhausted to ponder the greater values of sleep systems for babies.

Excuse me while I drown my woes in coffee. . .

1. The first few weeks – Your boob is like. . .right there.

You’re nursing and he’s happily latching on every two hours on the dot. You, however, wake up every fifteen minutes to watch his chest and make sure he’s breathing, that there is nothing near his face, that he’s not too close to your pillow, that your husband hasn’t rolled over on top of him…You get zero sleep.

2. The next two months – Utter exhaustion.

Creative Commons: Lawrence Sinclair
Creative Commons: Lawrence Sinclair

You find that you’ve passed out for three hours at a time, only waking when he does to eat. Initial panic sets in and you feel around the bed to make sure he hasn’t magically disappeared. You check to make sure he’s breathing…while he’s screaming for a bottle. As you’re feeding him you think, Why the hell am I doing this? Then he falls asleep in your arms, and the crib seems so far away, and so you lay down for just a minute…

 3. Months three to six – Sharing sweat.

You wake every four hours with one side of your body drenched in sweat. He’s drenched in sweat. You change clothes, feed him, and lay down with your personal mini heater…which just plain sucks in June, July, and August.

4. Months six to twelve – Good luck, you brave, brave woman.

He can roll. He can crawl. He can use you as his personal jungle gym. You’ll find his preferred sleep position is draped across your body like the heaviest, sweatiest, drool-covered blanket ever. He will wake up long enough to burp in your face, kick you in the crotch, and then pass back out in a pile of the drool that’s collecting in your cleavage (or what’s left of your cleavage, because c’mon, darling, you nursed…we all know better). You look at the crib and realize somewhere over the last year it has transformed from that adorably decorated thing you posted all over Facebook to the world’s most expensive clothes hamper.

5. One year and up – Good God.

I’m sorry.

The Man You Call Dad, Is Not Your Father

The man you call dad, is not your father.

There. I said it.

And one day, I’m going to have to say it out loud, because one day you are going to come to me and you are going to ask. You are going to remember back to when your last name was different and you are going to be old enough to know that it didn’t change just because “mommy and daddy got married.” You are going to notice physical differences. You are going to hear things. You are going to end up in school with your half sister. You have multiple other half siblings out there.

You are half siblings yourselves, and you don’t even know it.

You don’t even know what a step-dad is.

I’m going to have to tell you all of these things.

Creative Commons: Lies Through a Lens, Father and Son
Creative Commons: Lies Through a Lens, Father and Son

I am still trying to piece together the story, the mixture of truth and sugar-coated, cherry-picked lies to give you. I’m going to lie to you. I can’t even pretend I won’t. I’m going to lie to you until you are old enough to read the court documents, until you decide to find out for yourselves, because I’m still your mother and I can’t stand the thought of hurting you.

I’m going to tell you, my daughter, that your father was there for me when I was in need. That there are people in this world who need to love broken things, and that he is that kind of person. That he will ignore his own life in an effort to fix those around him, and that when I was broken he wanted to do that for me. I will tell you that it didn’t work, and that we tried so hard to be good parents for you, but that he found someone else who needed him and moved on, as people like that do. I’m going to tell you that he chose your step-dad for you. That he looked at our piecemeal family and said, “Yes. He can adopt her.”

I’m not going to tell you how he stopped showing up. How he stopped calling. How he had a million and one excuses for why he couldn’t come see you. I’m not going to tell you that he had other children, that the woman in his life wanted you and I out of it, that he chose that. I’m not going to tell you any of that and I’m going to pray that you continue to forget any of it happened.

I’m going to tell you, my son, that your father and I were two live grenades bouncing around a room, waiting to blow. I’m going to tell you that we loved fiercely and burnt ourselves out. I’m going to tell you that he was a brave man, who served his country again and again, and became a little less of himself each time he did. I’m going to tell you that he was good enough to step back from your life when he knew that he couldn’t be the kind of father you needed. I’m going to tell you that he called me, he asked for your step-dad to adopt you, to make our family whole.

I’m not going to tell you about all the nasty pieces of our relationship. I’m not going to tell you about the cheating and the drugs, the alcohol and the fights. I’m not going to tell you about being poor and how the church brought us Christmas in big black trash bags. I’m not going to tell you that the last time you saw him you were just learning to walk.

The only father you two know is the one who has raised you.

But I dread the day that I have to tell you the truth, when last names no longer make up for DNA, when you want to find them, to meet them, to discover family you didn’t know you had.

I wish we would be enough, but I know it is coming.

I know we won’t be.


Domesticated Momster

Your Bullet

pen-and-ink-drawing-the-gun-creativity-carnival-shafaliI suppose He tore another page from The Book today. . .
let is slide between sweaty fingers,
slice the tip,
right there under the nail,
so the pain would ebb and flow,
waves of electricity with each
thump-thump –
a heartbeat set to leap into
break-neck pace,
as the blood dripped like heavy sealing wax.
Gifts unwrapped and
His will is a shiny, sparkling,
death trap.
It’s fully loaded and
set to go
right through the forehead
with the little blonde curl.
It’s His will,
His gift. . .
but your bullet.


You can join in this prompt at the Creativity Carnival, here.


When Are You Evicting that Baby?

1509069_893607897324302_6571898719524823997_nI have no idea! But maybe you do?

It’s time for a new contest and at 30 weeks, what’s more fun than a round of Guess the Due Date!

So here’s all the stuff I’m sure you are going to ask about my pregnancy:

– The doc’s predict he will be here January 22nd.

– This is my third full term pregnancy.

– I have a history of going into labor a couple of weeks early.

Got your guess ready? Good, because the winners will get a free e-Book copy of the book, Loving in Shadow, by Ashlyn Kingsley (my pen name). One person will win the chance to receive a copy of my children’s book, The T-Rex That Ruined My Day.

How can you win?

The 5 closest guesses will win copies of Loving in Shadow.

The top (one) guess will receive the book, The T-Rex That Ruined My Day.

To leave your guess – just leave a comment with the date you choose! 

Ready?

Set?

Guess!

To Watch Him Love

I went through a year of horrendous online dating before I met the man who became my husband. I wasn’t exactly a poster girl for the most eligible bachelorette, but none of my hold-ups were much excuse for the sort of men I met. I was 24 years old and a full time student. I worked part time, lived with my parents, was divorced, and had two children under the age of five. I’m not an unattractive woman, but men weren’t exactly beating down my door to date me. More so, I knew that I needed a companion, not just a boyfriend.

I couldn’t seem to even meet a normal, down to earth man. Things became enough of a joke around the house that my mother would sit up at night and wait for me to get home, collapse on her bed and giggle while sharing all the terrible details of my odd nights out.

There was the man who was allergic to everything. I gave him an innocent kiss after our date, forgetting that I had eaten a piece of chicken, and almost killed him.

Then there was the guy who asked me to hold his belt while in the mall so I wouldn’t get lost.

The man who took the menu out of my hand and ordered food for me like I was three.

The guy who took me to a movie and proceeded to move down to the front row where there was only one open seat to “see better,” leaving me alone.

The man who figured out where I worked and spent an hour walking around the store trying out different women’s lotions before finally admitting he was one of the men I had denied a date request from on an online site.

The guy who took me shopping and then proceeded to tell me how I should dress.

The gentleman who stripped naked in his parent’s living room while I used their restroom.

The dude who attempted to suffocate me on my parent’s couch.

By the time I got around to talking to Mak, I was pretty wary of dates. A whole year of these kinds of dates will do that to a woman. I had a whole safety set-up – complete with emergency friend phone calls lined up and pepper spray.

Mak invited me over for dinner. I had such a good time that I ended up coming home and looking him up on Google and the case search program to see if he had some shady criminal past hiding. There had to be something wrong, considering my past history with online dating. He had a speeding ticket. That was it. Needless to say, I was impressed.

The next morning we had a quick conversation.

“I’m not really interested in playing around,” he said. “I like you. Let’s make this serious.”

If any other man I’d gone on a date with had said that to me I’d have gone running for the hills.

“Okay,” I said.

I don’t know why. I’d hate to chalk it up to some sort of fate thing, but maybe part of me knew he wasn’t a psycho killer. Maybe there was some deeper connection. Maybe I was just really brave.

Within a few weeks he had met my children and included them in our outings.

541497_397525856932511_2036391058_nA few months later was Easter and I was scrawling ‘I love you’ onto an egg and hiding it in the fridge.

“Go get the orange egg out of the fridge,” I told him.

He got up and I heard the fridge door open. After a moment it closed again and he came back to the couch.

Silence.

“Well…” I started.

“Well what?” He asked.

“What did you think?” I asked. It was the first time I’d attempted to tell the man I loved him and he was being completely stubborn about the whole thing.

“It’s cute,” he said.

“And…” I lead him.

“I love you, too,” he said. “You know that.”

By the end of the year he had moved in. We were blessed in our relationship. There hadn’t been many of the big challenging moments. His father passed a few weeks before our wedding, but it was expected, and while we mourned it hadn’t surprised us. Their relationship had been so strained, for so long. It was the first time though that I ever saw him cry – a moment that I think is imprinted in my memory. There is something about seeing a strong man mourn, something heartbreaking and frightening and so real it hurts that one simply doesn’t forget it.

I remember standing by his father’s bed. He sat in a chair across the room from me. I went to him, but he didn’t reach for me. I stepped back – gave him space. I didn’t know how to handle his grief. He took a few moments to himself and I watched him. I watched the years, the pain, the neglect from that relationship wash away. For those few moments there was love.

There hadn’t been many of those bring-you-to-your-knees moments. We didn’t even really fight or argue. We were thankful to have found a companion in one another that shared a similar sense of humor. Laughter got us through any time things seemed to be getting dark.

He stepped into the role of father as if it were all he’d ever known. It was never a look-at-me exercise, but came naturally. There was a gaping hole in our little family25248_108453875839712_7044406_n and he saw it, stepped into it, and never looked back. It was in the quiet way he made that transition that still never fails to amaze me.

He has a silent strength in him. A code of ethics that can’t be argued or even discussed. They simply are.

Perhaps it’s because of his quiet nature that people find him intimidating. Combining that with the sleeves of tattoos and long dark hair, it’s quite understandable. However, anyone watching him drink tea from a tiny porcelain cup with my daughter would realize how wrong they are.

Four years after that first date and I was talking to my brother in California, planning his trip home to visit.

“When is he coming home?” Mak asked.

“The end of June,” I said.

“Good,” he said. “We’ll get married then.”

Proposal. Date set. End of discussion.

I had a month to get everything planned and ready.

I love you, too. You know that.

After our wedding we decided to have a baby. A few short months later and I was excitedly waving those little pink lines around in the air. We were so excited we told everyone.

We were at his mother’s for a belated Thanksgiving dinner when I started miscarrying. My husband had the kids in the car while I stood white knuckled on the phone with the emergency room and watched my father-in-law toss the kids’ toys into their book bags. Hours and many tests later the doctor gave us the news.

“There’s no heartbeat.”

I’d known when I saw her face. I’d been crying since she came into the room. I looked across the room at my husband. I expected him to get up, to come to me. The doctor left and he still sat there for a few moments. In that space between us I watched him break, hit his emotional knees, mourn, and grieve. I watched him as he cared for himself and then he came to me. He put himself behind and cared for me.

For the following days he held me while I cried and found whatever ways he could to make me smile. We found laughter in the darkest moments. We suffered. We healed.

We spent months talking back and forth about whether or not to try again. The entire process had frightened him so badly. I learned to appreciate what pregnancy can do to a man. It’s a terrifying situation, especially for one who tends to like to be in control of things. There is no control with pregnancy.

He couldn’t see what was happening inside my body.

He couldn’t control what was happening.

He couldn’t stop me from being in pain, from hurting.

All he could do was be there and hope that I would heal.

“I’m not sure we should try again,” Mak said.

We were lying in bed, the lights off and waiting for one or both of us to become too tired to keep talking.

481829_525481010803661_775093643_n“We’ve got a girl and a boy,” he started. “You know? Maybe that’s enough.”

“You don’t want one of your own?” I asked.

“They are my own,” he said.

A few nights later we were repeating this whole thing again. It was like a record skipping, playing backwards, flinging all over the place. I never knew where we’d end up.

“We could try again,” he said.

“We’re not doing anything to stop it from happening,” I answered.

“If it does, it does,” he’d agree.

Three months of this back and forth indecision plagued us.

Finally he said, “I don’t think we should try again.”

“I’m pregnant,” I said.

We collapsed against one another laughing. For weeks we were quiet. We were so careful not to tell people too early. We went to each appointment with our heart in our throats. Every test was a negative, dangerous thing. Every symptom I had was cause to worry. We struggled to find joy.

Mak kept warning me not to get my hopes up.

I kept countering that he needed to not think so negatively.

We flew past each other, both of us on separate ends of our own emotional roller-coasters.

“Are you happy about the baby?” I finally asked him.

“Of course,” he said. “You know that.”

I love you, too. You know that.

I am five months pregnant today. A few weeks ago we went to the doctor and we got to hear the heartbeat. The tiny whomp whomp whomp sound filled the room. I was942205_603602919658136_1585711832_n laid back on the bed watching my husband. He didn’t stand up and come to me. For a few moments, he sat there and smiled. I watched him in this moment of joy and excitement and relief. I watched him take that moment for himself and then he came to me.

He kisses me every morning before he leaves for work. He tells me he loves me before we fall asleep. He doesn’t have to say that he loves me. I know he does. All I need are those few moments, where there is space between us and I have the chance to really see my husband. It is in those moments that I get to watch him love.

The Stranger That Took Me

stranger“You dreamed about it again?” He asked.

I nodded. “I dream about it all the time now. I remember that woman from the beach. I can see myself sitting there…watching it all happen…”

The beach was hot and hazy, the sand liquid fire on my feet. I spread my towel out and jumped onto it, thankful for the barrier between my skin and the burning sand. I hadn’t been there but a moment, when little feet ran by my towel kicking sand up onto my legs as two kids drug their mother out toward the water. I brushed the sand off me and watched them, caution making them slow down at the wet sand’s edge. They held tight to their mother’s hands as she guided them towards the water.

The waves were big and frothing white. They fell and swept in like the rows of white teeth in a shark’s jaw. Salty water sprayed up over the children cold enough to make them gasp and squeal. They bent and slapped at the water as it receded and then braced themselves against their mother as the wave came back. Slowly their feet sunk into the sand like the beach itself was eating them.  

It could have been hours of this, or five minutes. I don’t know. Everything happened so quickly. I heard a scream. The mother’s hand was empty. Beside her stood the small girl, but on the other side the boy was missing.

I watched her look, from her daughter to the ocean.

I watched the choice. A split second decision.

She let go of her daughter’s hand, and dove into the water.

People began to gather. The crowd grew so thick, that I was forced to stand to see. I watched others getting into the water. I watched them point and dive towards something I couldn’t see.

I watched a man in blue swim trunks and a grey shirt walk up to the little girl. I watched him bend down and talk to her.

He took her hand and walked away with her across the beach, towards the boardwalk.

I never saw the mother come out of the ocean. I never saw if they found the boy, if they pulled him in safe. I don’t know if they laid his body on the beach and pumped the water from his lungs.

I don’t know what happened after that man walked me off the beach, and put me in his car, and drove away.

“I think it’s time we call the police to investigate this,” he said.

I looked over at my doctor – the man who had been working with me the last two years while pieces of this dream surfaced. My father was in the waiting room.

The father who had raised me for 13 years.

The father who had once walked with me across the beach in blue swim trunks and a grey shirt.

The stranger who took me.

*****
prompted-buttonWord Count: 491

The prompt this week for Tipsy Lit was an impossible choice. One of the things I experience most during pregnancy is an unusual amount of nightmares. The terrible part is that most of these revolve around my children. Sandy, my brilliant friend from Mother of Imperfection, told me this morning that it probably had something to do with all the hormones raging and my protective instincts soaring. Last year around this time we took our children to the beach for the first time ever. I wrote about it briefly here. This Sunday we are taking them again, which probably is what spurred the horrible dream that brought this bit of fiction out. I suppose this not sleeping well thing does do wonders for my creativity. Silver linings…

Copyright Laura A. Lord ©2014

Mutant Babies and Free Stuff

Yesterday I had an appointment with the doctor for an ultrasound and blood work and all those wonderful things.

 

Yeah…it basically went like that.

babyBy the end of it though, we got to see baby and find out that everything looks good. Baby is healthy and active and looking just right for 12 weeks.

I showed the husband the pictures and he laughed and said it still looks like a mutant. I told him that he wouldn’t be very pretty stuck in water for that long either.

Silly man.

In his defense, the 3D images of the baby were relatively frightening (hence why I am not posting them). Baby will be beautiful…in a few more months when it gets here and we can dry it off and dress it and such things.

What?

You want me to be one of those women who “Ooo” and “Aahh” over little grey film of something I still need help deciphering as to what part is what of this amazingly ever-changing little being?

That’s not me.

I’m not even the happy pregnant type.

I’m the…give me my baby and let me get on with the mommy thing type.

It drives me nuts to keep saying “baby.”

I’m ready to say a name. And we’ve got names picked out. So let’s have some fun with this, since I can’t find out for six more weeks if this is a baby Lily or a baby Tommy.

I want you to guess!

Leave your guess in the comments below and in six more weeks all those who guessed right will win a free ebook copy of my newest book, Perjury.

p1