Monday, June 18, 2018

A Most Familiar Stranger

He sat next to me for a moment today when he came by to pick up the kids for Father's Day.  It was a surreal moment.  So ordinary.  Just sitting next to each other, watching our kids happily chase their puppy through the sunlit backyard.

Not too long ago, I could've told you everything about him.  His goals, hopes, dreams, fears, what he ate for lunch and what he was doing Friday night.  I knew his opinion on art, music, politics, religion.  I could tell by his footsteps on the stairs if he was having a good day or a bad day.  I knew he was thinking about cracking a joke before it happened because of the ever so slight twinkle in his eye.  I could finish his sentence and predict his next move.  I knew his order at any restaurant without so much as a second thought.  We slept together, ate together, planned together and lived together in a beautiful partnership.  I knew his soul and he, in turn, knew mine.

On the surface, he looked the same today.  It was almost scary.  I saw him and wanted to wrap him in my arms and laugh about the silly things we used to tease each other about.  But he wasn't him.  He's not the man I knew.  You see, I don't know his goals, hopes, dreams or fears anymore.  I don't understand his choices.  I don't know what he likes, what he believes, where he will be in five years, or even where he will be tomorrow.  I don't know who he sleeps with, eats with, plans with or lives with.  I don't know anything about him.  Nothing more than skin deep.  He looks like the man with whom my soul communed, but I don't recognize him at all.

He is the most familiar stranger I have ever known.  

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Truth in Advertising

So it's come to my attention that in the 18 years I was hibernating in my marriage, the very nature of dating has changed.  Apparently people meet each other mainly through websites and dating apps these days. This is slightly horrifying to me.  You see, in order to be on these apps and websites, you have to create a profile.  What is a profile, really, but a dating resume?! You mean to tell me I have to post my pathetic dating resume on the interwebs for all to see in order to meet people?  Oh goodness.  My dating resume is even more anemic than my resume resume.  It's very lean.  Like about 10 dates long pre-marriage.  I know people who have racked up better numbers than that in a week.  Guys.  The odds are not ever in my favor.

This new knowledge has caused quite a bit of reflection on my part.  Now, I am no where near ready to date.  Emotionally, I feel like a soldier in the Normandy Beach scene of Saving Private Ryan. I have been through it and back.  And while I believe in love and forever, I am not fully convinced that I am worthy of love and forever.  But that's another topic for another blog.

So, even though I am not ready to date, I can't help but wonder what my profile would look like.  What would I say?  How could I fluff the truth enough to make it look more inviting?  I think I've finally managed to draft a pretty accurate portrayal of myself...

...and I think instead of dating I'll just collect more pets.

Heather's Dating Resume
Body Type:  Salvage Title.  She was once a beaut, but she's since been on some bumpy road trips.  The original parts are all there, though they have to be strapped in pretty tight to stay in place these days.

Likes:  Long walks down the cereal aisle at Target.  Netflix binging and drive through Taco Bell (preferably in pjs so that when my bean burrito--with sour cream because I'm a classy lady--inevitably bursts I don't ruin yet another shirt).  Singing along with the radio far too loudly in the car.  Hiking.  Okay, not really hiking--walking.  Fine, strolling.  I like strolling down very mild, family-friendly hiking paths.  Fart jokes (let's be honest.  Life is just too short to pretend gas isn't funny). I like nurturing and growing things--plants, animals, my people (kids). In fact, that's probably my greatest talent---keeping the things I am responsible for alive and growing.  Useful, yes.  Sexy, no.

Disclaimers:  I laugh way too loud.  I snore.  (Let's just get that on the table right away.  No surprises this time around.  I'm  going for complete truth in advertising).   I really like food and I really hate dieting.  You probably aren't going to hit your target weight while dating me.  I am not good at dating games.  If I like you, I will tell you.  Awkwardly and often.  I am a grade A klutz.  It doesn't matter what our date consists of--I will bump my head and then pretend it didn't happen.  But, it did.  It totally happened.  Probably twice, honestly.

Looking For:  My penguin (according to Leslie Knope, penguins mate for life).  (Is it okay to reference Leslie Knope on your dating resume?) Oh wait!  I know the answer to this one.  I believe what the kids would write here is, "a relationship."  Boom.  Nailed it.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

On The Nature of Heartbreak

Ah. The "D" word. No, not that one. The other one. Divorce. Oh it hurts my soul just to write it. Each letter is slowly, deliberately, painfully typed. Maybe if I take my time, if I avoid saying it or writing it in it's entirety---maybe, just maybe, it won't have to be true. Or, at the very least, I will buy myself a few more delicious seconds of denial. I still spin my imaginary band around my finger (now permanently deformed from wearing a ring through four pregnancies and 18 years of weight gain). I still check the "Mrs." title box. I still refer to him as my husband. Everything has changed on the surface.  But in my heart, absolutely nothing has changed.

 Eighteen years. Just shy of half my life. I was nineteen when we met. I saw him across a crowded room and fell instantly in love, just as Hollywood would have written it. We talked about marriage before our first official date. We both knew. Why wait? Being apart was torture. So we married and it was absolute bliss. I often told him that ours was the kind of love that people wrote songs about. We were a living, breathing ballad, the two of us. It was magical and beautiful and everything my soul ever wanted. 

 Then, all of a sudden, it wasn't. The love was still there. My heart still swelled every time he came into the room, just as it did when I was a giddy teenager. No, I take that back. It was even sweeter than when we were newly in love because my feelings had been refined by nearly two decades of working and growing and loving together. The giddy infatuation had matured into a deep, unconditional adoration. I knew everything about him. And I loved him completely. And he returned that love. But it wasn't enough to bind our rapidly diverging needs and wants together. We clung to each other desperately, until we finally admitted defeat. It was because of the genuine love for each other that we realized we had to let go. There was no other way to heal or be whole.

 And so, here I am. There are days that I wish so desperately I didn't love him. Wouldn't that be so much easier? Why couldn't I find comfort in anger? Isn't that what divorce is supposed to be like? The cliched tossing of clothes into the street from your balcony or posting vile comments on Facebook about how you're so much better on your own. That's what divorce should be. Not this horrible ache in my heart. I love him. I look in his eyes and feel. Oh how I feel. I see in his eyes our history. Births, deaths, victories, defeats, dreams, laughter, softness, comfort, understanding, acceptance, joy, pain---love. Real love. And no matter how many pro and con lists I make, no matter how logically I explain the need to separate, my heart refuses to listen. It still sings our ballad at full volume. And where that song once brought happiness, it now brings pain. My body hurts. It hurts with loneliness and disappointment. With longing and despair. And I don't know how to salve it because my spot in the universe is gone.

 So, I am doing the only thing I know how to do. I will write. I will give my feelings words to live through instead of carrying them around like wounds. I will allow my hurt to scream across a page so that it can, hopefully, settle into peace. And maybe, someday in the future, I'll be able to replace that pain with gratitude.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Adventures

Here's a link to a shutterfly book I've made (for all you grandmas out there)

Click here to view this photo book larger

Create your own custom photo books at

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Back to School (for reals)

Mikey didn't have the greatest kindergarten experience. I remember coming home from school and telling Chad that I thought I could do a better job. Not that I was a better teacher, but that I could give Mikey some real one on one attention and avoid a lot of the yucky stuff he was being exposed to. Then I was introduced to a home school co-op run through the public school system. It allowed kids to take whatever classes they wanted "on campus" and then complete the rest of their education at home. It seemed like the perfect hybrid. So, we pulled Mikey out of the public school system and became homeschoolers. I loved it. And Mikey seemed to thrive. All the same, we wanted to be sure the kids were happy, so every year we offered them the option to go public. This last summer Mikey caught us off guard by deciding to go back to "real" school. I have to admit, I was terrified. What would it be like? What would he be exposed to? Had I done an adequate job teaching him? Would he be able to assimilate? Would it stifle his creativity? His personality? His spirit? Mikey, on the other hand, was ready to go. No hesitation, no looking back. Which means that this year, on August 31st, he went back to school (for reals).

He is in Ms. Hayden's fifth grade class. He loves recess. He likes to play four square and a game called "infection" which (as far as I can ascertain) is akin to tag. They sing Justin Bieber songs with their music teacher. At first he was appalled by this, but he has since come to the conclusion that "Never Say Never" really isn't that bad of a song. Their school has the largest collection of xylophones in the school district. The P.E. teacher is strict, but funny. They are reading Mr. Popper's Penguins (which I read with him in 2nd grade, but he doesn't remember so it is new and exciting for him). Ms. Hayden is very nice. She is probably in her eighties (according to Mikey. She is, in my opinion, late twenties at the most. Heaven only knows how old I look in his eyes. Is ancient an actual age? If yes, that is probably where I fall). Starting in October you can buy ice cream for 50 cents at lunch time. Everyone wants to know who likes who (which is appalling to me. Cooties should buy me at least two more years, right?). And while I am still terrified by all the things he may be exposed to, or by his spunky little spirit being crushed by the system, he appears to be terribly happy and safe. And old. Really, really old. It really does go fast. I am afraid that if I blink too long he will be leaving for college when my eyes open.

5th Grade


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Busy, Busy

Every year I look forward to summer as a time to relax and slow down. As a homeschooler, I anticipate it just as much as the kids. I imagine long days full of leisurely walks and catching up on chores and reading that pile of books I've been saving for when there's "more time." But then summer hits and it's somehow busier than the school year. Don't get me wrong, I love it. I love the family visits and summer festivals and time spent with friends. All the same, I've found myself daydreaming about September lately. About falling into a school routine. Days filled with structure and order. Scheduled time to catch up on chores and read that pile of books I've been meaning to crack open. Huh. Perhaps I should invest in a maid and a stack of books on tape?

Anyhoo, here's a quick catch up. Last week we were surprised from a text from Debbie & Lance saying they had a layover at Seatac airport and would be there for a couple of hours. Obviously, we jumped at the chance to spend a little time with them. We hung out at the airport and caught a quick bite at Wendy's. It was so wonderful to get to see them and hug them and talk in person. Yay for layovers!

Monday, I took the kids to a petting zoo in Auburn. It was a groupon a while back and I can't pass up a good deal. Plus, as much as I try to pretend the zoo dates and petting zoos are for the kids, it's really me who can't wait to pet the pig and feed the goat. I can't help it. I like critters. The petting zoo was pretty cool. They had alpaca, horses, rabbits, ferrets, chicken (and tiny baby chicks!), turkey, goats, sheep, ducks, dogs and an adorable 150 lb potbellied pig named Porkchop (of course). They also had a miniature horse (or pony, I don't know. I'm not a scientist). We were kindred spirits. He got me. While chaos swirled around us in the form of squealing children chasing frightened farm animals, he stood next to me with his adorable little pony head pressed against my side. If I stopped petting him, he'd nuzzle against my side harder. Oh, blissful animal companionship! I'm not sure how much fun the kids had (that's not true, I know they liked it), but I was an extremely happy camper.

This morning, (thanks to yet another groupon) I took the kids to Uptown Glassworks to blow their own glass pieces. It was really cool. Mikey made a vase and natty made a goblet. It was amazing to watch the man swirl the glass around like it was no big deal. Just a pinch here and a tap there and he had a beautiful glass piece. I was impressed to say the least. The shop was full of beautiful glass pieces too. I found one I kinda fell in love with. It was only $1200. I'm sure I'll be able to talk Chad into it. NOT! (Yes. I did just say NOT. I'm not proud, but it happened).

And that was our week in a nutshell. My house is a stinking mess and my pile of books is only growing taller, but we had several adventures and spent a ton of time together. I'll clean my house next summer...