Gone, Baby Gone by Deb Gillespie

Booked a flight to California, heading out this weekend, I can’t wait. I’m going to see my daughter, Sam. It’s been a long time coming, too long. Last time I saw her was this past July. She flew across the country to say good bye to her grandpa. It was a short visit, and as you can imagine, not a very joyful one.


My daughter will be turning 21. Yippee! I could never have envisioned that she would be living so far away from me, and that I would only see her twice a year. I really thought that she would always be there, that I could see her anytime that I wanted. I knew that she would be going off to college. But I never thought that she would settle down so far out of reach. And to make matters worse, she doesn’t have a land line, and her cell phone plan has limited minutes. And with me living in Canada, well, let’s just say we are not able to talk on the phone very much. If I talk to her once every two weeks, I consider myself lucky.


This past Christmas was the first Christmas that we did not spend together. It was painful for me. I saw photos, seems as though she enjoyed herself. I am happy for that.


It’s tough, this letting go, accepting what is. I’m doing it because I don’t have much of a choice. But this was not my plan. It’s life’s plan. And I’m realizing that I have to learn to accept life’s plans. I don’t have to always like it, but I do have to learn how to accept what is.


By Deb Gillespie

I Survived My Separation! / by Elisa Garcia

stock photo quill and paper courtesy of Google imagesI’m back!

At the beginning of the month, I wrote a long, painful entry about my upcoming writer’s conference and the ensuing 8-day-long separation from my daughter.

Miraculously, she survived, as did the house, the partner, the pets, and everything else.  She was lovingly cared for by my parents and her other mommy.  She made it to swim class.  She played.  She was spoiled … and she thrived.  I won’t lie; it was a bit disconcerting to me (albeit briefly) when she’d quickly sign off after a five-second chat during our daily conversations.  (I’d be saying something along the lines of missing her terribly, and she’d interrupt with a boisterous, “I love you, bye bye!” It was beyond cute!).  But, really, I was happy that she wasn’t crying and was enjoying herself, and, apparently, not really missing me.  🙂

And me? Well, I won’t go into all of the details, but to say that this conference was a truly transformative experience on so many levels is a huge understatement.  I met some amazing people, worked on my craft, and really, really thought about things in a way I hadn’t been able to (or afforded time to) before.  Truly transformative– and I’m confident that I’ll continue to reap the benefits for a long time to come.

But now that I’m back to being a full-time mama, it’s soooo good to be home!

by Elisa Garcia

Preparing to Leave/ by Elisa Garcia

luggage courtesy of Google images/ Nat'l Geographic

This Sunday, I am leaving my child. 

I will travel nearly two thousand miles from Houston to L.A. for a week-long writers’ conference.

Though I am honored beyond belief to have been accepted into this year’s Lambda Literary Foundation retreat, I am torn: The writer in me is excited, thrilled, really, at the opportunity I’ve been awarded; the mother in me, which encompasses ALL of me, really, is heartbroken.

The writer in me yearns for the constructive feedback of fellow scribes and jumps at the chance to hone my craft, a craft long-neglected in favor of earning money through more lucrative means.  Spending more than twenty minutes at a time immersed in and singularly focused on creating my own work is a luxury I ceased to enjoy when my daughter, Alina, arrived three years ago.  I am– dare I admit it?– selfishly anticipating this unfettered artist’s time, shamefully but secretly joyous at the prospect of one week sans client demands, proposal submissions, housecleaning, and, mostly, embarrassingly, caregiving.  I’ll write, eat, talk, sleep, and drive … without interruption.  This is, after all, a week for me.

Yet the mother in me immediately saddened when I read my acceptance e-mail; my celebration was tempered by tears in a truly maddening confluence of mixed emotions.  Honestly, I never thought I’d get in.  But once I did, my mind erupted.  How, I wondered, could I survive a week without my baby? Without her starfish hands, princess costumes, sweetly uttered manners (“Thank you, Mama.  I love you”, she says when I hand her a cup)? Without her daredevil monkey climbing, devil-may-care dancing, and sticky ketchup kisses? How?

Our financial circumstances are such that I have to attend this conference alone.  No traveling au pair or well-meaning family member here.  And, truth be told, my partner and I are scrimping just to afford my portion of this trip.  Though this separation will be among the most emotionally difficult periods I’ve yet to endure, both the writer and mother in me agree that this conference is a door-opening opportunity that can only serve to benefit my professional– and therefore– personal and family situations.  At least, on that we agree. 

And at the risk of sounding whiny, I do realize that scores of other parents are separated from their children, often for much longer periods.  Military parents are the noblest examples of this; they must, I am convinced, possess some kind of amazing fortitude. I know my daughter will be in the most capable of hands during my absence, those of her other mother’s and her grandparents’.  I know she will be fine and that she will not (I hope) sustain any long-term emotional scarring.  (Of course, the irrational worrywart in me fears a manifestation of abandonment issues and immediately pictured a grown-up Alina lying on some shrink’s couch, spending thousands on therapy, the moment I knew I was leaving!) I know that my darling partner, whom I’ll also terribly miss, will ease our daughters’ fears and sail beautifully through the week even as she juggles home, family, and work alone.  I know I have nothing to fear.

Except– I already miss my baby. 

How on Earth do parents do this?

 by Elisa Garcia  

Where Did All the Friendly People Go? by Nicole Ocean

Let me explain a little more about where I came up with the title to this blog.

Last weekend I went on a ferry boat trip out to an amazing local island called Orcas Island. This island is located in the San Juan Island chain and is a well-kept secret among the local folk. Those that know about its beauty and amazement tend to be pretty tight-lipped and very hush-hush about it.

After boarding a huge ferry boat that is able to pack in what seems like hundreds of cars we continued travelling across the ocean for an hour. We (meaning my lucky boyfriend and myself) arrived at the ferry landing on Orcas Island. I knew what to expect as we got ready to leave the ferry boat. We waited our turn and didn’t have to wait long to be on terra firma again, and boy what a beautiful piece of earth it was!

I had planned a special day trip for us and was excited in the fact that we were just on the island. I would have to say that if you visited this place you could tell that you were someplace truly remarkable and out of the ordinary. Not only is the scenery awe-inspriring, but you just might be lucky enough to experience a long-forgotten tradition that used to occur on the mainland. This forgotten tradition is really quite a simple gesture. Many of the local people practice it very well….and that is their ability to simply raise their hand in acknowledgement while anyone drives by them and as they pass someone on the road they go out of their way to wave as they pass you.

This simple act struck a chord in me right away and I couldn’t help but want to share this story with you. I learned that it is typical for people that live on any island in my neck of the woods to wave at people when they pass each other on the road. I think this is one of the coolest things anyone can experience while visiting and/or if you are fortunate enough to be able to live on any island; such as on Orcas Island.

I can’t help but wonder why most people have forgotten how to be friendly and to simply do a small, kind act like acknowledge another human being when they encounter them.

I think there was a lesson to learn that day and I hope you won’t forget to be friendly to a perfect stranger sometime in someway, today! I know I will put it to good use myself!

Make today something special!

By Nicole Ocean

First Time Air Travel

Do you have worries about flying for the first time with your baby? I did. Not anxiety worry, just general worry. Will his ears plug? Will he cry the entire time? Will he poop all over his outfit? Will he become restless and bored? All these questions and more filled my mind as I prepared for our journey.

Worrying about what might happen was not something I wanted to be doing. I decided to take it as it came and to just prepare the best I could.

I did the basics. The diaper bag was full of diapers, wipes, a bottle full of filtered water, books (two to read and a soft one for him to chew on), burp cloths, a change of clothes, saline nose drops, gas drops, a couple toys, a light blanket, anti-baccterial wipes and a few other odds and ends. He nurses so I fed him on take off and landing. I didn’t have him nap before our flight so he slept like a “baby” for most of the two flights that we took. On top of that, he smiled and charmed those around us.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to sound like the mom of the year. He is not mobile and still quite young so he’s easier to wrangle and soothe. I know full well that once he gets a bit older, he will be more demanding and harder to appease. But I must say, I was pleased. On our flight back, their was a couple with there two year old across from us. He was restless and fussy most of the flight. I said to my husband, “We must enjoy this time because that could very well be us next.”

So all went well. We have three more trips planned this year. I might be singing a different tune. But I’m not going to worry. I’m just going to prepare. .