Introducing Jennifer Bonessi | As a dreamy-eyed little girl desperate to escape a challenging childhood, all I ever wanted to be was a mommy. I still have my true firstborn, a blinky-eyed baby doll whose head recently had to be reattached.
In early grade school, I wanted to be a teacher, mostly because I wanted to build beautiful bulletin boards and have the power that came with holding the chalk.
Then, in the ever-dreaded middle school years during which I spent a lot of time alone and lonely, I wanted to be a WRITER. I spent hours and hours alone in my room reading and then writing and writing and writing – I have the collection of RL Stine books and No. 2 pencil calluses (thirty some odd years later, ahem) to prove it.
Thanks to the early 90’s, the inspiration for my early writing was usually some combination of Sweet Valley High, Nancy Drew and Christopher Pike novels, of course. In my stories, people always died dramatically. Any poetry I wrote was undoubtedly inspired by pre-teen love and absolute grunge music. You’ll be glad to know I have moved on from these motivations.
In high school, I took creative writing classes and published in my school’s lit mag and continued creative writing in college. But in my final year as a Communications major, I found myself expecting my first child, Ethan.
Needless to say at that point, and just like all areas of the life of a 20-something single mom, my writing became incredibly practical and efficient. And I spent the next decade-plus, hunched over and squinting furiously at a computer, writing only as a digital marketer would for a variety of small businesses to put food on the table.
I’m grateful to have done it. And I’m glad that season is mostly over.
Many, many children later, I work from home in Northwest Austin as a brand and marketing coach for aspiring, self-help authors. But I also find myself brimming with children’s stories of my own and have been dabbling as an author in the self-publishing world as time allows. While I’ve written for other online mags including Scary Mommy, I’m excited about the opportunity to be regularly contributing to Austin Moms. It is an opportunity that feels a little bit like coming home.
This fall, I hope to begin my master’s degree in social work, so I’ll be doing a lot of writing of yet another kind. Say a prayer. My husband’s job as a police detective and Navy reservist means I still occasionally solo-parent my amazing kids, ages 17 to 3 years – including a set of twins. Plus there is pandemic-homeschool to contend with, and we are joyfully expecting our sixth child in July 2021, another boy. But I’m looking forward to it. All of it, really. And I do believe anything is possible, however insane.
Pre-pandemic, you could find me in the corner of a coffee shop, sipping a chai and pounding away on my keyboard until my backside went numb (and then some), but today my life is too wonderfully full – and so are those coffee shops, thanks to seating restrictions.
After a lot of years of mommin’ hard and the recent global pandemic that twisted my arm, I have finally found peace in working from my own desk at home, not traveling even when I can, writing mostly for other people, and cooking three different meals three times a day for my three pickiest eaters. It sounds terrible and awfully self-sacrificing, but I am so grateful for such a good life.
Though I do confess, I deeply miss that coffee shop chai.
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