Alisa. 37. New Hampshire. Married for almost three years to this wonderful, funny, smart guy. Previously married. Went through in-vitro fertilization to have my five year old magical son Keegan. Stepmother to the charming Isabelle (6). Gushingly in love with our baby boy Harper(1). Policy Wonk and dreaded bureaucrat. Lover of fine cuisine, honeybees, truly romantic moments and the underdog.
Curried Beef Short Ribs

Note: I found this was more realistically four servings.

Finishing this dish with lime zest and juice brightens its rich flavors.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces ribs, 2/3 cup rice, and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds ...continue reading

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Scars Remind Me That The Past Is Real

Tuesday I went into the office for a couple of hours while my mom watched Harper. It is frustrating to go in because as usual there is way more to do than can possibly be done in the amount of time given. We also did a welcome for our new secretary who started last week. She seems to be settling in. I just want someone who is emotionally stable, not drunk or hungover, has appropriate personal boundaries and can get along with others. There is a reason I left the mental health profession and I have enough spilling over into this job already. When I get talking about work issues I get excited and remember why I love it there most of the time. But being with Harper and looking at his chubby smiley face I really don't want to go back yet. I doubt I will feel differently in four weeks.

Having Harper has been completely different than having Keegan. I adored Keegan from first sight but the rest of those early times were extremely difficult. He was a colicky baby, not a good sleeper, I had a real struggle with breastfeeding, I had so many doubts about my abilities as a mother and my marriage was unraveling. I had been out of work for the year before and lost my sense of identity and self worth. It was the middle of winter and we lived way out from other people and I was so isolated. I did go to a mother's group each week and made other plans with some of them so I did get some contact. But I was drowning and didn't even know it. I would not say it was postpartum depression but my life was definitely miserable. I have said since that bringing a baby into your relationship highlights all of the weak points but can increase the strong ones. Unfortunately we had far more weak points. So instead of turning to each other and getting support we isolated even further. We literally lived two almost completely separate lives in the same house. Tom started looking for ways to escape. He thought the solution was to move somewhere new. But I knew that we would just take our problems with us and then I would also be without my support system here. He sent me links to houses in Colorado, Virginia and anywhere but here. I told him that I wasn't moving and that if he did I would treat as though he abandoned us and proceed accordingly. He didn't even respond. Nor did he respond to words like breakup or divorce. That is when you should know it is over. But I was not ready to just walk away from our vows and our history together. I proceeded to formulate five plans and carry them out over the course of the next ten months. Nothing worked. Because what we really needed was help and he said he was willing to do anything except go to counseling. You can't really love someone and then set limits on what you are willing to do for love. And one day I had just had enough.

I try not to compare then to now but I can not help it. Having another baby dragged everything back up. The first few nights after we got home from the hospital with Harper I dreamed about Tom. In each dream I was trying to get him to help me find a lost baby and he just brushed it off. I woke up mad at him. I don't want to be mad at him. Even though we were on good terms when he died I wish we had more time. I wish that there was still a possibility that we could have figured out what went wrong and he could have answered the many questions I still have. We apologized and forgave each other a year after we broke up. I know that he was happy for me that I was getting married again. I feel like he would have wished me well on the new baby. And sometimes I'm still mad that he left such a big mess that I am still cleaning up. But almost ten years ago he promised to love me until the end of his life. And he did.

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