I love New Orleans.
I have always wanted to be here. In this city. I just never imagined I would be here as a single Mom with a four-year-old daughter. My fantasies were quite different. But here I am, alone, with my little girl, and the city still captivates.
Fortunately, an old friend of mine let us stay at their apartment for free, right in the French Quarter.
Unfortunately, my daughter refuses to walk anywhere, so I am carrying her through aforementioned French Quarter. Along with any groceries, we might need. I am lucky in one respect; she only weighs thirty pounds. But still.
We are here for a wedding. She is the flower girl. I planned the trip before my ex, and I split up. It feels overwhelming right now. And hard. And I still love it here.
We spent the day on the Cemetery Bus Tour and the Swamp Tour. She fed marshmallows to alligators. Before bed, we were both so exhausted that somehow; she ended up nursing again. We weaned when she was three. It was hard. I would have kept going, but I was going to be gone for over a week and the timing seemed right. I have no milk left, but I can see her visibly relax just having my nipple in her mouth. She sighs audibly and closes her eyes. I don’t have the energy to refuse, and in a way, I like it. Breastfeeding was and continues to be the one time I feel like I got this whole mothering thing. It soothes me too. So fuck it. There isn’t anyone here telling me I can’t do it, so I am going to carry on, warrior.
I woke up this morning reeling from a vivid dream where I was sobbing in the rain on a street in downtown Laguna Beach, where I grew up; I was pounding furiously on my ex-husband’s chest, begging him to tell me why he left us. He never answered. I woke up shaken and disoriented. I could not go back to sleep, so I lay there, listening to the sounds of the French Quarter, ruminating on my life and the decisions that led me up to now.
I thought about Highland Park. I thought about Tim. I thought about me.
I looked at my daughter, sleeping next to me, a sweet innocent angel.
And my heart explodes into a galaxy of stars.
The wedding was lovely, she nailed being the flower girl, and we are finally heading home.
I drank more than I wanted to one night while we traipsed through the city, and although nothing bad happened, I can not shake my shame around that. I swore I would not drink around her, and I am not able to keep my promise. I am an alcoholic. I am.
I wonder when I will finally decide to be sober again?
This shit is killing me.