The Back Story

For starters, my name is not Reese Dixon. I’m Tresa Edmunds, formerly Tresa Brown, and I live with my husband, two completely spoiled ragdoll cats, and first born son in Modesto, Ca. Reese Dixon became my alter ego back in college. Back then I found it helpful to have a fake name on hand to pass out to creepy guys. When I started blogging way back in the way back of 2002, it came in handy once again when I felt like a little anonymity was necessary. Now any anonymity I cultivated is completely gone, so there’s no point in hiding anymore.

I try, really I do, to keep things on the positive end of the whining scale around here, but my life seems to have been one comically tragic event after the other, so much of what there is to read is my best attempts at gallows humor. I’d love to be one of those blogs where everything is lovely and charming and inspirational all the time, but I just can’t. All the unpleasantness has been too big a part of my life, I don’t know that I’d even know how to separate it by now.

My earliest blogging efforts are long gone, and I think the whole world is better off for it. When I first started writing we had just moved from California to New Hampshire for Bear to go to law school. I was struggling with my debilitating disease of endometriosis, unable to get pregnant, and I didn’t know a soul. The internet got me through some very rough years of total isolation while I was bedridden with illness and Bear was completely consumed with his studies.

This blog picks up just after we left law school to come back to California for a new job for Bear in hospital administration. I was still disabled, still unable to get pregnant, still high on pain pills all the time, and still struggling with how to feel good about myself while living with this disease. Over the next few years I navigated insurance red tape, terrible doctors, and unsympathetic acquaintances, while Bear dealt with one job setback after the other.

In December of 2006 I got pregnant after 7 years of trying, Bear landed a great job in January that brought us back down to Southern California, and then we lost the baby in February of 2007. That totally sucked. We bought our first house in May of 2007 and we poured blood, sweat, and tears into it. Then, in August, we got pregnant again but I only made it to 28 weeks before I nearly died of HELLP syndrome and our baby had to be born via emergency C-section. He spent his whole last trimester in the NICU fighting to get off the respirator and making his job way harder as he kept ripping the tube out of his little throat. Before he was even old enough to be born, he was already proving to be a stubborn and willful little guy. His toddler years are continuing to prove this. In February of 2009 he was officially diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and the doctors guess that he might not walk. I think he’ll prove them wrong.

Spring of 2010 brought us another new job and another move back up to Modesto and away from my dreamhouse, and we’re back in the middle of infertility nightmares as we hope to have a second child.

In and around all this drama, I’ve been making one thing after the other. I’ve worked in the craft industry in all kinds of capacities for years and years, mainly in the scrapbooking world. Being so sick for so long really forced me to step back from pursuing a serious career, so I’ve been able to experiment and create and imagine my own endeavors. Now I think I do pretty much any crafty thing – sewing, knitting, paper crafts, quilting, I’m really big on Christmas stuff – anything that keeps my hands busy and my mind still. I keep hoping that the big life drama will wind down, but it doesn’t look likely. Still, I try to spend more of my blogging time on what I make and my new journey into being a mom and my work to make this world a better place.

Largely because of all the hard times, I started a weekly series called Year of Pleasures, where I highlight all the things I love and treat myself with. Seeking out simple pleasures in life really goes a long way to making everything else OK. I’ve also started a series called Project Put Together, where I stop letting myself go and use my creative skills to become someone who’s really got it, “put together.”

So much of my life has not been fit for public consumption. This blog is my attempt to communicate with the world despite the messiness of infertility, premature babies, unemployment and other ridiculous bad luck. It helps not having to witness immediate reactions. I write about my journey into a different kind of motherhood, all the stuff I make, and trying to create a life of grace amid the temptations of a suburban California life. I want to be a more peaceful person, more grateful, more appreciative of every moment, with a clearer vision for the direction of my family. And yet at the moment I’m a bundle of neuroses and contradictory ambitions. There’s a whole lot I want to do in this world. I wonder if I ever will.