free pass

February 8, 2012

  When Asher was a baby and he was crying all the time, I remember trying hard to learn something about faith and then implement it. These were beautiful ideals and I wanted them in my life because I know the peace that comes from actively seeking the heart of God. But what I remember the most is that I was sitting there crossing my fingers and toes and wishing (that’s probably not very Christian) that the person speaking to a room of mothers would add a disclaimer. Something like, Yes, doing all of this will help you and you will feel freedom and peace. But, don’t expect to accomplish this if you aren’t getting any sleep and someone is tugging on you at all times. Then you get a free pass because implementing anything is impossible for you right now and you should just go ahead and expect very little of yourself […]

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your hard is hard

January 22, 2012

(originally shared Jan. 2012) (I thought you  might need the reminder. Or maybe you’re a new mom of one or someone who didn’t read this the first time. I hope it helps.) Before Asher and Elsie Jane came along, I was out with some friends and I was venting about a hard day with Miles. I was surrounded by mothers with more than one child and they rolled their eyes and sighed and looked at each other and started laughing. One of them said something to the other like, Do you even remember the last time you ever showered alone? Their reaction hurt a lot, as unintentional as that may have been. I got a message–they had it harder than I did–and in that moment I felt foolish for feeling tired or maybe even for having feelings. Today, just like that day around five years ago, two more kiddos later, I am exceptionally tired.  Is it […]

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April 13, 2011

notes to my children: Don’t forget to feel and then move on if things don’t go the way you thought they should go. Sometimes what you want isn’t even what you wanted anyway. Open doors for girls. Or better yet, open doors for anyone and everyone coming through. Please. Your brother will be your best friend, if you let him. Don’t pass up chances to go to far-away places even if it doesn’t seem like the right time. Marry someone who likes so many of the very same things that you like. Please. You need to trust your heart-gut, it speaks to you. It is a true voice that can keep you safe from danger and lead you to great things. You were made for those great things, like laughing or changing your corner of the world. There are dreams in your heart and you’ll surely forget them sometimes so circle back and uncover […]

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July 18, 2010

The red wine is for the skillet, for cooking, for mushrooms, for steak. It is not for me. It is not for me. I am standing and pretending I’m unaffected, handing out bread next to the skillet and its chef, downwind of the smell of the wine. To the people who curve in a line like ants, coming for food, I repeat, bread? bread? bread? would you like some bread? bread? bread? And I’m thinking, wine wine wine, even while I try to focus on other things, like the serving gloves I’m wearing, my hands sticky and hot, and the faces smiling and thanking me. For the bread. wine wine wine… Of course there is irony here. The bread and the wine, this doesn’t escape me. This thought reminds me to beg for serenity. This thought, of bread and wine together, not alone. So I say the prayer and kick at the dirt […]

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The way home

June 3, 2010

I am on a flight where you choose your own seat and this is new to me. At the same time that this empowers me, it also makes me feel like the unpopular kid in the lunch room, searching frantically for one of the last spaces and a welcoming face. Much like the last four and a half months of sobriety, I think, because I always think in analogies. I can’t help it. I spot the middle seat in the exit row and ask the Aisle Man if it’s taken. He kindly says it’s yours and I slide in and stretch my legs and start to realize he’s been drinking. He makes jokes that aren’t funny, loudly, trying to entertain the whole plane. Some people chuckle softly, a courtesy laugh. Others shift uncomfortably in their seats, trying to ignore his volume and obvious drunkenness. He orders a drink and then another on a […]

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I carry you

March 22, 2010

I Carry You~originally posted on June 31, 2009 I look down and my hand is doing that thing,it’s resting on my lap in a curve. Dad, your hand was just this same way today, I saw it.It was sitting there resting exactly like this. Just like Grandpa. The same hand in the same spot. Curved just so, fingertips to leg.The lanky fingers that grow thicker with time,they curve on the lap and rest. I do it too and it’s just like the unconscious way I run my finger across my lip like Grandpa Glenn when I’m nervous. Or how I grab the bottom of my shirt and rub my thumb across the fabric, like Grandma Helen. It’s the way I care like Aunt Elsie and understand like Grandma Colleen. It’s the way I laugh like Aunt Sandi and cry like Auntie Kay. Today I’m thankful that I carry you, all of you. My […]

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In a safe place

February 28, 2010

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” –Cesare Pavese I had some time alone at home and was spending it catching up. I hurried through Miles’ room with an empty laundry basket bumping my leg as I walked. I bent to throw the dirty clothes from the floor to the basket and was hit with his smell like a bump to the head. It stunned me with its goodness and I was surprised to miss him even though he’d just left. I was there with his smell, one that’s all boy and just this boy, my boy, all heavy with earth and fresh air and his hair. Oh, that hair that grows to a thick and careless mop and then transforms to a short faux hawk per his request because it looks cool, he says. Either way is fine with me, I think, as long as it keeps its smell. And then […]

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The stone

February 22, 2010

I was thinking about everything, the fact that I found myself in the vice grip of alcoholism, and the fact that quitting is good and hard at the same time. I was thinking about remorse and regret and redemption.  It is all so big. And then I just set it down. All the thinking, like a stone I’d been lugging around.   kerplunk. There is no figuring it all out in one day, I said to me.  So I played myself a song and I sat with it. Just sat with it. The next thing I knew my arms were above my head and I was dancing a bad 80’s dance right here all by myself, stomping and even spinning. I shook it and I sang louder and louder and I didn’t care about anything. It wasn’t until the song was done that I thought even one insecure thought like, This must look […]

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Hi, my name is Heather

January 21, 2010

from this one place I can’t see very far/in this one moment I’m square in the dark* I don’t know how to do this. Just quit. I don’t know how and haven’t been able to. I don’t even know how it happened. But it did. Even to me, the girl who is always fine because other people are not fine. It’s this disease that forgot to skip me. It laughed at my always trying to be good and please everyone self and kicked my stubborn pride in the guts. It laughed. And then it kicked harder and harder. I’ve always tried to be a bit invisible. Felt a little invisible. Even while bouncing and laughing and showing off. Even then. Keep it simple. Keep it small. No one has time for your always so overly sensitive self, always so affected, so full of emotion. Just stop. Go numb. You’ll be fine. So the […]

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December 14, 2009

I can’t. That’s what I thought. I can’t. We pulled in the driveway over four years ago, me in the back seat with this new foreign person, aching in every way. And I thought those words. I thought, I can’t. I asked Ryan to take the baby in without me, to introduce him to the dog without the excitement of me, the dog’s everything, in the picture. So I stood outside and shivered in the heat alone, looking around at everything being different than it had been just a few days before, all overly bright and textured from the pain pills. Standing there in my suddenly roomy maternity shirt, I shivered. Empty. Ryan came out and said everything was going fine. The dog sniffed the baby and the baby slept. There were no big events as I had imagined. I walked up the steps, not quickly because of the surgery, and passed through […]

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One way or the other

September 22, 2009

Wednesday~September 23, 2009 There are dust bunnies. So many. They are under the bed and in me, scurrying across the wooden floors of my home and my heart. They are moving much too fast through the empty, bumping into toys and crayons and dried up play-doh, then coming to a weary stop. It seems no matter how we try to keep up with them, they are winning. So we sweep up only the ones that are out in the open and then we leave the house, coming and going with the living of everyday life. We could hold them out in the palms of our hands to show that we have them, but the bunnies float and they spin and we can’t seem to catch them. We push them under the rugs to hold them still. We ignore them. We force them to unnoticed parts of our cluttered minds, and move on to […]

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Rewriting my name

September 13, 2009

If a weekend could take human form and walk around, mine would be a haggard and shuffling old man. As I sat on the floor and rifled through old boxes of letters and journals from my past at my parent’s house this weekend, I knew I was taking a risk. You see, my past is definitely tainted with things that bring me pain, things I won’t name here, things that still sit in boxes, waiting to be healed. They are ugly things, some that were out of my control and some that were in it. So I ran down memory lane instead of strolling, holding my breath and leaping over pot holes, eyes scanning the pages in a bit of shock. At one point, I tripped. I took a sharp curve and landed face down in the dirt of my own mistakes and the mistakes of others in my life. And there on […]

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Passing the Bed

July 31, 2009

He has asked so many questions that don’t have answers and I’m just so tired. I ask him to help his brother. I say, “He’s going to get hurt, can you help him?” He asks, “Why will he get hurt?” I answer through gritted teeth, “He just will! Just help him!” Then he sighs and his big blue eyes look sad and I wish I could find the strength for more patience and less surprising anger. When I walk into my room to get dressed, I pass the crumpled bed and want to get in it. I want to curl up on my side and cry. I’m not sure why, but I want to do it. I start to walk that way and then I see her, the me in my mind’s eye, on her side in the bed where I am not. She looks like she’s repeating history. She is carrying this […]

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March 7, 2009

  He stands at the counter next to my table, he’s ordering and telling the people around him that he hasn’t been here since it was Richardsons. No one seems to know what he means. Including me. Time marches on. So do I. But he takes a call amidst the backdrop of coffeehouse noise, shouts to the caller the funeral arrangements, thanking for condolences. There will be a private burial, he chokes. And my heart hurts. The plates are clanking, the aromas strong. He’s thinking of another time and another place, a person he lost from back when this was Richardsons. A young couple with a fuss about where to sit, a sneer, a silent scold. Then they sit and they eat with no words, just resistance. They weren’t here when this was Richardsons. The mail carrier stops for his short break checks email, sips hot cocoa and chats with regulars. He keeps […]

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September 23, 2008

“You’re not going to remember any of it anyway,” was what she said. I felt like she had just socked me in the stomach. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but forgetting makes perfect sense. I do it all the time. But this? I’m not going to remember this?I guess she would know, she’s been through it. The sleepless nights, the loads of diapers and laundry, the tantrums, the baths, the food flung across the floor. Those are the things she was referring to, saying I’d forget all of that. She was meaning to encourage me. And yes, I don’t really mind that I’ll forget all of that. I will enjoy my hindsight rose colored glasses when they arrive years from now. But I would gladly remember all of the stress and strain, fatigue and frustration vividly if it meant I would remember all the rest just the same. Because it makes […]

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