the buzz of guilt

November 12, 2015

The other day she barged into the bathroom while I was finishing my shower. MOMMY. What, Elsie? I have to go the bathroom. Go for it. Then I turned off the water and reached for my towel, stayed in the shower more to avoid the chill in the air than to avoid the usual, Your tummy is funny and, I can see your butt! From her throne, she suddenly blurted, “I love you, Mommy.” So I told her I love her too, of course. And then I added, “You’re my best girl.” And she said, “You’re my best mommy.” There has always been this sneaking suspicion (or often it’s a very clear, not sneaky, thought) I have that I’m not the best mommy at all, not even close. From my first pregnancy through today, I’ve battled over ten years of self-doubt and guilt. Sometimes it is LOUD and sometimes it’s quiet–a hunch, a […]

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Just Write {195}

September 29, 2015

They used to think the earth was flat and long, dropping off at some point, past the horizon. If this was the truth, last week I may have tried to walk there, to the edge. I may have just continued to walk. That sounds terribly dramatic, but this is what it’s like to be a person with depression and anxiety. It ebbs and flows with no warning. I wake up some days and just know. Oh no…it’s here, so heavy…I want to start walking…but no, I can’t. That’s too hard. It’s like waking with an itchy sore throat, a full chest and head. A cold. No cure, so common. Arriving out of the blue and staying until it feels like going. This week it is gone. Just like that. Poof. I feel…good. I wish I could explain the sporadic nature of this coming and going, follow its course to the edge and back again, […]

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Just Write {193}

September 1, 2015

So this is the school year, right? Here we are, not ready and not set, saying all the different things that add up to the same thing–Where does the time go? It was slipping fast this morning, through oatmeal, cereal, toast, showers, lunch boxes and put your shoes on. It will slip past the same way tomorrow and the day after that. And the evenings will be the great gobblers of time too, with their demands for homework and more eating and more dishes, getting to bed to do it again. In between, we will run places for work and sports and appointments and clubs and church and friends and family and life. That’s where the time goes, I suppose. In the middle of the sameness of it all, we are each, every grown up one of us, given the chance to see these small ones that we call our very own. There […]

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Just Write {192}

August 25, 2015

They had a bath. It rained hard, and then it stopped. I thought they were riding bike. There were very big puddles all over the place. They found the biggest and the muddiest and the result was a lot of fun, and some memories made, and an upset Mama. I don’t want them to remember that part. By the time I took the picture, I had started to laugh, but it was a little late. I asked them to make the face of what they thought I was feeling. oops. I told my friend that sometimes I wish I could just shut off that getting upset part of myself. That I want to feel light and free most of the time, instead of stressed and not-free. I’ve realized my tension is deep. No, it doesn’t help that there has been a lot of stress, with medical things, etc…but it’s also that it’s just me. […]

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Just Write {191}

August 18, 2015

Of all things, a dead spider was in her hair. Had she known, there may have been quite a scene while we dropped off her registration paperwork for preschool. Elsie Jane is four and she is going to preschool. The third of the offspring is starting full-time preschool. Or, mostly full, since she has Fridays off. Should we not all have Fridays off? I stopped her in the entryway of the church and asked her to stand still. She has very fine, very thick hair. It took a while to get the dead spider out, and all the while I was thinking, HOW did it get in here like this? When? In bed? Ugh…gross…DON’T THINK ABOUT IT. I threw the spider down (sorry, church entry!) and we walked through the double doors and to the office without a mention of what it was. I changed the subject, reminding her how often she’s been to that […]

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proud gusto

August 17, 2015

OH hiiii there… I’m okay and even good sometimes. But yes, I’m doing too many things. No, I have not been taking care of myself. Yes, it’s catching up with me. No, I’m not really doing anything about it. Yet. Sometimes I don’t until I do. When there are fight or flight stressors for months on end…well, I don’t know. It’s just a lot. Last week I did almost nothing other than to try to keep us all in survival mode. Doctor appointments, calls, hurry up and sign up for preschool, babysitters, work, appointments. You get the idea. I sure get the idea. I have the anxiety much. I’m working on it. Sort of. Okay not really. But I will. Soon. I hope. I really do. First, the appointments. On Friday Elsie and I chilled with her good doctor at U of M Riverside Children’s in the big city. He is the doctor of baby hearts, the one that already fixed […]

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Just Write {188}

May 19, 2015

I have at least one new idea every day, a creative flow of light bulbs dancing behind my eyes. Some are fleeting thoughts and some stick around like breath. I have no good way of knowing for certain which ideas are the best to pursue, or how to find the time to pursue them. Life has not allowed for pursuing anything other than the time to change a load of laundry, and jumping in the good ol’ minivan for the next thing, mostly medical things, and we keep going past the time for ideas. I have learned to be okay with this. The time will come. It will. On this particular morning, the house is buzzing with the sound of the furnace, sadly, in May. It got cold last night. I fought the good fight, to keep the furnace off and I lost. That actually meant I won because I stopped shivering. Our guinea pig, […]

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Just Write

April 28, 2015

I watch the kids through the kitchen window, out front. Yesterday, the boys were playing with our neighbor friend, who is ten and a girl and she can kick booty with all the boy rough make believe games. They stood in a circle, their backs to each other, and would each count to ten, one at a time, and take off running. Asher went first, because he said he couldn’t run as fast as the older two. Then the other two went, one after the other, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10, I’m going! They ran away, around one house or the other, to try to get back before the others. I have no idea why, but they were Avengers. These are the random things I witness that cause some sort of explosion of love for them down deep. I smiled and wanted to cry for some reason, but […]

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Just Write {181}

March 31, 2015

Brandi Carlile has a new album. My favorite song is Wherever Is Your Heart. Please forgive my mind, she sings. Please forgive my mind. I listened to it a few minutes ago and started to cry. Maybe because my mind, if allowed, is on a mission to destroy. I have been working hard in the midst of medical scares, divorce, sobriety, and every new and different thing, to stop my mind. Stop. Just stop. Almost every last thing is a thing I cannot control, so to think on these things is only torture. Thinking can be like a drug. A control drug. Because maybe if I think long and hard enough, I will things into being better, or however I imagine is best, and I’m probably wrong. So I stop. I try to stop thinking. I do the things I need the courage to do and I try to stop my mind. Please forgive my […]

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Just Write {180}

March 24, 2015

The clinic called yesterday to remind me of Elsie’s pre-op appointment. That was good because I had forgotten which day it was, and only wrote it on one calendar, instead of the kind inside my phone and computer that reminds me of stuff. It matters a lot to me, but there sure are a lot of things up in the ol’ noggin these days. Starting on Friday, it’s spring break, and it lasts through next week. Elsie will have her tonsils and adenoids out on Tuesday. I just started to think through this, after the reminder call, and wondered if her recovery is going to be harder with everyone at home. A flutter of stress flew through my chest and belly and then I decided that it will be good. Just as it is already planned. Stay out of the way, Heather. There will be no running to and from school and there will be little helpers […]

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Just Write {178}

March 10, 2015

She tells me she wants to have two tomorrows, one for what I am saying we need to do the next day, and one for what she would rather do the next day. She is three, and easily believes she has a right to demand a double day. Of course, I can’t grant this wish, it’s like telling her I can paint an extra moon in tonight’s sky. Her first days on Earth are vivid in my cluttered unfocused brain because they were so awful. Thankfully, I also remember them well because I fell in love with her, which I realize is not the immediate experience of every mother. Sometimes falling in love takes time. Someone should tell us that. My Elsie Jane did not arrive after 40 weeks on my insides, she came a little early. In grand Elsie style, she kicked the nurse on her way out, causing said seasoned OB […]

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Just Write {177}

March 3, 2015

I made them pick up all the Legos, again. They thought it would be way too hard, again, and threw UGHHHH at me. One asked me why I always make that terrible threat, that I will sell them. (The Legos, not the children.) I don’t know, I said. I guess I just figure that if you can’t clean them up, I don’t want them here. But you’re right, threats are kind of lame. From downstairs I could hear the clanking of the plastic, the distinct Lego sound. The boys found a system, of scooping with a plastic bin’s lid, like a dustpan. Then one of them appeared next to the couch, hopping up and down and asking for food. His brother was right behind him, asking to play the XBox. Their little sister abruptly stopped playing to ask to watch a movie, if her brothers were playing XBox. I looked at all three […]

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Just Write {166}

December 16, 2014

We trimmed a fake tree last night. It’s a beautiful fake tree. The kids don’t at all care about whether or not the tree is real. Two glass ornaments were broken, and I didn’t even freak out. I just went and got the broom and dustpan. (I did say “don’t move” because bare feet on glass = ow.) It was a peaceful thing, no chaos, which is weird because there were three kids involved and ADD me. Maybe we were all too tired, to have the energy for chaos. We’ve had a week of both strep and influenza and I have to tell you….that sucks a lot. But there we were, getting well together. And we took the long way sometimes, especially Elsie, since she’s three. She took a bunch of ornaments off the tree, just to put them back on. Isn’t that just it though? She’s got it figured out. It’s not […]

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Just Write {164}

December 2, 2014

I can’t sing. (No really, I really cannot sing, it’s okay.) She can’t remember all the words yet. She’s just three, but like many preschoolers, she loves the made-up song, the timeless songs, the carols, the rock and roll. Anything with a beat, a melody, a tune… She will try to carry it around inside her and she lets it out with that abandon that only children are capable of, in the shower, outside, in the store, at the kitchen table. Elsie Jane would sing for the whole world, as long as the whole world would watch. And the whole world should really watch, because she’s magic. She walks around with her pants falling down, because she’s in that going-from-pudgy-to-string-bean stage. She turns and says, look at my butt! And she laughs. She is the little sister of two brothers. She is also born to express, stay vulnerable, joke around, say it like […]

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Just Write {160}

November 4, 2014

Everyone had the look of sleep-deprivation. Dark circles and an accidental or on-purpose perma-frown. We all have eyes that glisten with the soft glow of just waking up, even if we’ve been up for hours. We got to set our clocks back. Our bodies are confused about this. I ran into a friend at Goodwill and she said she normally wakes up at six, like clock work, pun intended. And now she wakes up at five. Or that is what the clock says anyway, and so the day is just so long. It’s darker and longer. Winter’s slow and then fast arrival feels foreboding, and I told another friend that it settles in on me, and I have no choice but to keep thinking of spring. Sara Groves says “hope stands in defiance” and I like that because I like to think of hope standing there with hands on hips, and maybe I’m […]

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Just Write 157

October 14, 2014

This is the back corner of the coffee shop where I love to write. Jenna is coming soon. There is nothing like a friend who has known you since you were five. While I put the creamer in my dark roast, up front, a “Hi, Heather” came from behind me. I turned to see a high school teacher of mine, from all those years ago. I have no idea how so many of these people around this small hometown look the same. Hardly aged. Does Minnesota country air do something good for those that choose a healthy lifestyle? I’m pretty sure there’s something to that. Yesterday was a hard day. I don’t know, there’s just a lot of stress. And I stopped at Goodwill to look for more vintage for the walls at the Cre8tive Escape because our Grand Opening is this Thursday and oh yeah, no we’re totally not ready. Like that […]

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Just Write 156

October 7, 2014

There was a cookies-n-cream fluffy pie with chocolate cookie crumble crust tucked behind things in the fridge. The boys found it, of course, and asked to have some. I told them from the other room to each have ONE small piece, and they did. Well, they were actually really big pieces. What was left was a “piece” of pie so small, it was less than Elsie Sized. She didn’t know yet, but I left it on the counter until she noticed, because what child never notices a pie tin at eye level? What’s that!? She ask-yelled. Oh that? I said. That, is what’s left of the pie after Brothers got a hold of it. Then I grabbed a fork and I sat down right there on the kitchen floor. She came over quick, down to her knees halfway to me, scooting along full-force. I met her with the fork in the air, and […]

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Just Write 155

September 30, 2014

They can teleport, they say. And every imaginary moment is voiced, narrated, more than actually played out. Now this is when I walk in and I get so mad that my eyes are flaming… no, no…first you actually have to tell me which way it’s coming.  okay, that way. Start there. I have no idea which way you’re pointing, stop spinning in circles!  So we teleport while spinning!  It changes as it changes, saving face, winning at making up the rules. They’ll do this the rest of their lives, they just don’t know that they are practicing. They call each other on doing it “wrong” and they decide for the others their moments of demise. The smallest ones are quiet followers. They sit on the front steps of the big old blue house across the street and watch the bigger kids still deciding how things work. This is a dead end street, so […]

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Just Write 153

September 16, 2014

I did not look at my email even one time yesterday. It was a Monday and a perfectly beautiful day, and I worked at The Middle Fork and you guys should have seen it. All the tables were full and people were waiting in the entry and thank the good Lord that one of the owners was there to man the cash register and make fancy lattes and such. My feet hurt. I love it when that place is busy. Except I say really random things to the people at the tables sometimes because I’m trying to remember so many things at once and move faster than I can. And my weird humor up and jumps right out when I’m overwhelmed, so there you have it. For instance, this one time, some people were trying to get a high chair to fit behind their table, in a corner, lifting it up and over. […]

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glimpses of now

September 12, 2014

I didn’t have coffee until after ten o’clock this morning. This is unheard of, really. I am one of those people that pours my first cup of joe with my eyes half open, on the way to the shower. And then I wonder, every time, why I didn’t just wait until after the shower because it gets a little cold on the bathroom counter, waiting for me. The best mornings are when I can pour that first cup with my eyes half open and then sit in my pajamas on the couch. Lately I need slippers. Minnesota is showing us her master plan for winter early. We are nervous about what she has up her sleeve, but we are pretending, and sometimes meaning, that we love the crisp reminder to snuggle in, wrap up, slip on soft things. Lately there is so much to do, more than ever. My body is different because […]

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Just Write 151

September 2, 2014

There is a kind of tired that feels so good while it also hurts to not be able to move your arms without hating painting. The kind that comes after hard work, together. After finishing something, or working your way (slowly) toward finishing. It’s hard to keep going and everything is screaming that I’m OLD, but it’s worth it. Like childbirth. Only not.that.painful. We are painting and painting at the Cre8tive Escape building, getting ready for our first creator’s retreat in the ginormous room downstairs next weekend. NEXT WEEKEND. We have had helpers, people who care about us and come to roll on paint or scrape the old carpet glue off the cement floor. We pay them with….love. (How nice and generous, huh?) I thought you might want to see what the ginormous room looked like before:   Ironically, the words on the wall from the previous renters of the downstairs space say […]

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Just Write {150}

August 26, 2014

It was a stifling kind of humid this weekend and then just like that, it lifted. That’s Minnesota. It’s a “just like that” kind of place. This morning it’s so chilly I’m glad I closed the windows last night. I sit here now with slippers on. The air around me smacks of autumn, and so do all the back to school Facebook posts of yesterday. We still have this one week before the call of the fall schedule. This one week, to shift gears, let go, and start again. Sometimes people say, We’re ready! and I think they mean they have all their school supplies and the clothes that fit the season and the growing children. If they mean they are mentally and emotionally prepared, they need to be teaching the rest of us. I haven’t met a mother (or any guardian of a child’s life and heart) that feels ready for such […]

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Just Write {149}

August 19, 2014

They were wiped out, and so was their mother (that’s me!) but we were keepin’ on keepin’ on. That’s how we roll. And it is in the midst of all of the busy-ness and ugh and whining and arguing and trying and failing and keepin’ on, that we find the most moments of joy. No, not in the times when we try to make it arise, like planning a special trip or event. I mean, that’s fun too, but joy seems to prefer the daily grind and sometimes it is hiding behind the ordinary and can only be found if you keep going around the next bend. For us it was popping up in the middle of this: I came home from work. I had been at the Middle Fork Cafe, with the entire place full and just one me, until serving help came. Phew. The kids had a sitter and had so […]

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Just Write {147}

August 5, 2014

Elsie had a fever. It came on fast, out of nowhere. She’s so strong, so feisty, a listless look doesn’t fit on her. But there she sat with her shoulders hunched forward and her eyelids heavy, her cheeks flushed. I felt her forehead and said uh oh, here we go. When she gets sick, she gets sick. There’s a good chance she goes so hard for too long, ignoring the discomfort of tired muscles, a sore throat or a headache, whatever her body is saying. That’s what most of us do. Until we crash. We do this in so many ways. So I held her in her bed and “kickled” her back, combed my fingers through her fever-sweaty hair. I sang twinkle twinkle, her favorite. Then her raspy whisper cut through the dark, I love you, Mama. I love you too, My Elsie. ::: First there was the boom-crash and then the tinkling […]

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Just Write {140}

June 17, 2014

It’s been raining a lot here, but when it isn’t, the sun shines hard but it never gets extra super hot like Austin. I saw a picture of some Austin friends on Facebook and they were at a baseball game with sweat dripping, their hair all wet with it. I can feel it through the screen, but then through my window screen at home I feel a soft breeze and remember all there is to love about Minnesota. Until winter, when I will remember all there is to love about Austin. It’s strange to look at these photos and think of our Texas home and friends because it’s been not just a whirlwind but more like a hurricane, bringing us back Home and to a New Life. New Lives. More and more I realize that as much as this family will always be a whole, we’ll always be separate, just as we were […]

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Just Write {135}

May 13, 2014

Lately he has been hanging out with me, just sitting there on the couch or plopping down on the floor, flat on his back, while I hang clothes in my closet. He talks and talks and talks. Mostly about Legos or Star Wars or other things that he thinks about all the time. The other night, at bedtime, he said he couldn’t get to sleep because of his busy mind. My brain tries to focus on so many things at once, he said. It won’t stop going fast from thing to thing. Oh how I know. And how I wish I could slow it down for him, this boy with his mother’s brain. But I can’t, and maybe he’ll be a writer or think quick on his feet in his work, whatever it is. Maybe he’ll think up the greatest new thing to help people, because of his ideas, the ones that never […]

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“From this one place I can’t see very far, from this one moment I’m square in the dark…” – Sara Groves 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 Thing that 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 funny […]

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Just Write {134}

May 6, 2014

It’s a short flight from Atlanta to Austin. I’m on my way home from Mom 2.0 Summit. It was held at the beautiful Ritz Carlton hotel in Buckhead. The summit is a really well done and totally-worth-it experience, and It was a lot for me. Right now is not necessarily the best time to be away, to feel so out of sorts. Traveling makes me get all out of sorts no matter how intentional I am about it all, trying to remember to just be. This morning I woke up way too early to catch a return shuttle to the airport and it was all so smooth and simple and then there I sat, two hours before boarding, at the gate, writing and slumping over a little in my seat from being so tired. All I did last night was stay in. I ate really fantastic french fries and I was writing and […]

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{This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cardstore.} There are so many things I never would have guessed I would do as a mother. My days are never dull and always extraordinarily ordinary. Had I known that every day would mean staying on my feet most of the time and always answering questions while also wiping noses and bottoms, I would have rolled my eyes.  Oh what an exaggeration, I would have said. But I quickly slowly learned to expect the unexpected after I became a mom, and the unexpected does so often include standing up and wiping all the things. And somehow, amidst all the chaos and the change, the surprises and the mundane, I can honestly say that I continue to experience joy, every day. You guys have seen the #WorldsToughestJob video, right? If not, you totally MUST watch it. I couldn’t stop laughing, and then I got […]

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Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and I’m realizing once again that the gift for my mom should be special, but I don’t know what to get. Whenever this happens, I can honestly say that I love to turn to Uncommon Goods. I always find something unique that can’t be found at the mall, something personal or funny, different and meaningful. (So even though this is a sponsored post, all the words are mine. Full disclosure.) As a way to help you overcome the What Do I Get for Mom (or Grandmom) Conundrum, I wanted to share some unique gift ideas for Mother’s Day (and beyond!) from UncommonGoods!  — From the Uncommon Goods section, Gifts for Mom:     From the UncommonGoods section, Gifts for Women:   From the Uncommon Goods section, Mother’s Day Gifts       These are just a few examples, my friends. You can find so many more options on the Uncommon Goods website. […]

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