Ready for a new cast spotlight? (Of course you are.) Meet Jessica Rapisarda!
LTYM: Who IS Jessica?
Jessica: I guess my resume would say that I’m an editor and a writer, even an occasional teacher. My family would say I’m a way better mom than they expected, considering I can’t do anything practical, like cook or play a sport or drink beer. My friends think I’m neurotic, but in a way that’s entertaining for them to watch, which is really just the same thing as schadenfreude. Mostly, though, I think I’m still figuring it out. I like being a mom. I like writing. I like making people laugh. That’s enough for now.
LTYM: How did you discover LTYM?
Jessica: I heard about LTYM through a 2013 cast member, Lauren Boston. Lauren and I met at The Bethesda Writing Center. We bonded over our mutual love of writing and our shared desire to sell out our families for fame and cheap laughs.
When I saw the show last year, my son was just 3 months old. I was a hormonal wreck listening to all of the stories — laughing, crying, leaking all over my blouse. It seemed like the kind of thing that I might want to subject other moms to, which is why I auditioned.
LTYM: What is one of the craziest things you’ve ever said to your son?
Jessica: My son turned a year old in February, so up until a few months ago, most of what’s been said has been said at him rather than to him. He is just starting to understand the concept of “no no,” which he demonstrates by wagging his finger at the dog’s water bowl the second before he tries to drink out of that water bowl.
I don’t know if this counts, but when Sam was an infant, I sang Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” to him whenever he had a crying jag. Nothing soothes the nerves like a tune about violent murder. For the record, though, I sang it very, very softly.
LTYM: What is one of your favorite things you’ve ever written?
Jessica: By far, the best thing I ever wrote was an email to an online admirer. I was living in a podunk town in Maryland and using an online dating service. After a few martinis with some friends, I got up the nerve to contact a guy who kept checking out my profile. The email read, “Damn you for living in Virginia.” And that’s how I finally landed a husband after 35 years. It made all the money I poured into my MFA totally worth it.
Other than that, my poetry thesis is a point of pride. But, more recently, I’ve been blogging over at Welcome to the Bundle. I wrote a post called “You’re Doing It Wrong” that is pretty indicative of feelings about the cult of parenting.
LTYM: When did you first start thinking of your mother as an actual person, and not just “mom?”
Jessica: This is a tough question. My mom died after a very short battle with cancer when I was 8 years old. My mom was only 36. For most of my life, she has not only been “just a mom” to me, she’s been a mom to my little kid self. She didn’t get to be a mom to me when I was a chronically bitchy teenager or when I was an aimless college grad or when I was an adult with a career and dubious cooking skills. But when my son was born, suddenly, and I mean almost overnight, I thought of my mom differently. She wasn’t just the mom of little kids, which I think conjures a very specific image of motherhood. When Sam was born, my mom became a woman who had breastfed, who had braved long and sleepless nights without the Internet to console her, who still went on to have two more children, and who somehow had to face a terminal illness when the youngest of my sisters was in diapers.
I wish I could have had a conversation with my mom about her favorite book or the worst date she’d ever been on or how to cook a chicken. I have a huge and wonderful family that fill me in on those kinds of details, but it’s not quite the same as having that kind of adult small talk with my own mom. So I think it will always be hard for me to separate the individual woman from the mother. But now that I’m a mom, I have a deeper and more meaningful understanding of what kind of mother she was. On a pretty regular basis lately, I find myself wishing I could call her up and ask her for advice or to commiserate.
LTYM: What do you wish most for your children?
Jessica: More than anything, I want my son to be happy. But it would be nice if he were also kind. There are lots of self-satisfied jerks in this world, and I’d prefer that my son not be one of them. And I also hope that my son embraces failure. I learned far too late in my life that being a perfectionist can be paralyzing. If you make peace with your screw ups, if you stop dissecting your own past, you open yourself up to so many opportunities and adventures. For Sam, I want the world.
LTYM: If you were stranded on a desert island, what is the one item you’d want to have with you?
Jessica: Am I stranded alone? Like, no baby, no cell phone, no computer, no work to do? If so, I’d like to bring my husband, Shelby. We really need a date. And a nap.
LTYM: Thanks Jessica!
Read more about Jessica on her website, Welcome to the Bundle. And check back soon for more DC cast member spotlights…
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