She was 14 when I met her. My husband had said he had a daughter, but in my mind, she was in pigtails and sucking on lolly pops. My brain knew she was 14, but I wasn't expecting breasts and makeup. What was I thinking, anyway.
14...and a young woman in her own right.
At that age, the woman that dates and then marries your father isn't truly your step-mother, she's more like your father's wife. And that's okay.... I get that. I was a pretty possessive kid, not to say that she is, but I was - so I can only imagine that a new woman on the scene would have been a bit hard to take. Especially if that woman was rearranging your kitchen, your schedule, your patterns, your life. Add into it that her mom and dad don't always see eye to eye, they are divorced after all, it makes for a difficult situation all around. One house has one set of rules, the other house has a different set of rules. That isn't easy, even if you're a mature child, you're still young and it's difficult to understand.
So...I try. And she tries. And sometimes we have so much fun together I have to pinch myself. This "parenting" thing is quite a kick. And sometimes she's so challenging I want to kick something...most likely her rear end. And that's okay too. That's normal, right? It's part of growing up - and figuring out what you believe and where your boundaries lie. If we don't go through it, we don't end up being very independent at all.
And truly, that's what I want for her. I want her to be independent. To go forward and make her life as she wants it. To make her mark. To grab life and live it. And I'm now old enough to know that mark making doesn't require one to be the next female president, have the most successful career of our "crowd", to keep up with the Jones, or to even want to keep up with the Jones. All it requires is that we love. When we are loved back, that's icing on the cake.
And it happens naturally when we love. When we find passion. When we do good in the world....that loving comes right on back to us.
And she is successful. Her bosses love her. She keeps her grades up. She participates in sports. She's a good kid. She's still a kid...I'm also old enough to know that turning 18 and graduating from high school doesn't automatically make us an adult. In the eyes of the law, perhaps. But in the law of nature, we've still got a way to go. And she'll get there, I have no doubt.
And maybe one day, when she's sitting where I am, I'll be more than her father's wife. I'll be her friend, too. And maybe one day she'll know that whatever her father and I did when she was a teenager that she hated, we did because we love her so dearly and want the very, very best for her. And maybe one day, she'll know what it feels like to have a child look back at you with your husband's eyes and know that even if you didn't give birth to her, her successes and failures break your heart in the very best of ways.
You are stunning, child of my heart, don't even let anyone convince you any differently.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
This weekend I hit another "bench mark" birthday. The big mid-decade of my thirties.
How the hell did this happen to me?!?! How is it that the calendar is telling me I'm now in a different age bracket but my brain still feels 16? It just doesn't seem right to me. None of this is to say that I think that 35 is *old*. It's just that I shouldn't be 35!
Usually, I'm a huge birthday fan. I've been known to call May my Birthday Month...in which I celebrate every day of the month. I just don't really feel that way anymore. Make no mistake about it, I love it when people remember me....it's just that lately I feel like I don't want to know WHY they're remembering me. Couldn't we change it from my birthday to national "Heather Day" and call it good? No mention of the birthday one little bit!
I guess I'm feeling a wee bit melancholy - I sat down last night to write some things down on the calendar. I hadn't turned it past May for some time, it would seem, and when I did, I saw that I hadn't erased all of the "pregnancy" dates I had on the calendar. Classes, week counts, party dates...and while life is pretty good right now, it still made me sad. An elephant (or a Heather, in this case) never forgets.
Friday, May 16, 2008
The sun in shining in Seattle...and that makes for a beautiful day. You'll never be able to take the Idaho from my heart and soul - I'll love my home state until I die....but nothing in Boise compares to my new home on a beautiful sunny day. The green, the warmth, the water, the mountains...it just fills me up with such a sense of well being.
It's weird...sunny days here almost make me giddy. I want to strip off everything but the bare essentials and go running through the grass, dip my toes in the water, laze and lounge in the sun like a cat whose found the best spot for warm sunny rays. I sometimes wonder if I wasn't a cat in a former life....I so love to laze away my days in sleepy, sunny splendor.
I'm very much looking forward to this weekend - I'm spending a bit of time with some friends and I'm hoping to get a wee bit of gardening in the mix. But truly, the part that just fills me with glee is that it's going to be sunny. Beautiful, beautiful sunshine.
I have a particular uncle who is weaved so thoroughly though the memories of my childhood, he's inseparably, really. He is my mother's youngest brother and was always the uncle most involved in our day to day lives. This is not to say our other uncles were any less loved, they just had familes of their own. But this uncle was late to having children of his own and thus adopted us as his own. I've been thinking so much about him. He is so like the men in my family, fairly unemotional, fairly strong in his convictions of what is right and what is wrong, opinionated, strong willed....all descriptions that could be used to describe me. He had called me about three weeks after I miscarried and left such a sweet and funny message. I played that message over and over again. It was so good to hear him say he loved me. I hadn't heard him say that for several years. Not that he didn't feel it, he just didn't say it. I can't put my finger on it exactly...but it seemed that as I aged, we softly grew apart - were not as close as we once had been. That is natural, I am sure...this soft distancing. I grew up, took on a life of my own. He married a wonderful woman and had two beautiful children, whom I adore, and we got busy. Add into it we live states away and it's natural, no doubt. But a big part of my heart misses him very much. The little girl part that desperately wants the approval of the men in her life. I feel that way about all of my family. I wish somehow we could take ourselves back to the small town we came from - eat in the same restaurants, talk over the fence post, go to church together on Sunday, all one big happy family. That's idealized, I know....but it doesn't mean I don't want it.
So here I am, so many months later and I haven't called. At the time, I was still not in a place where I could talk to people. Writing about it on the internet is one thing; posting on a board, emailing, chatting via IM...all of that I could do very easily. But talk to someone face to face or voice to voice? That I just couldn't do. My parents can attest, I still cry very easily. And the first time I talk to someone I haven't talked to since Christmas, I'm a basket case, even still. So time has passed and each weekend I think - this weekend I need to call my uncle. But I chicken out and don't do it.
How do you breach that? What do you say when you call? Hello? I was an emotional basketcase, I'm sorry I didn't call? Hi, I love you, I really do - and because I love you so much, I can talk to complete strangers, I can go grocery shopping, I can do this and do that, but I can't talk to you? No matter how I practice the conversation in my brain, it just leaves me feeling like I'm a complete and total idiot, and a bad niece to boot.
I want to call....I need to call....it weighs on me, the distance and the guilt.
Maybe this weekend when I'm planting some flowers I'll pick up the phone. But I think about when I should...what time would be the best....how to fit it in with this responsibility and that...and I chicken out - again.
Ahhhh....procrastination and lack of gracefulness at it's worst. These are the times when I am embarrassed by my own emotions.
"Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air..."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
That is all I have to say about that...carry on with your blog reading.
Or at least it's trying to be! I'm so looking forward to the projected sunny skies and warm weather we're supposed to be in for over the next few days. This has been the longest winter ever...
This last weekend it was at least gray and not raining, so my husband and I got started on some much needed yard work. Two weeks ago, he'd run his Dad's (the Ron variety of Dad) yard edger around our entire yard, but I'd never gotten around to doing the post winter weeding and pulling up those edges. Bad wifey! So, while I started on that, he worked on cleaning out the garage. Exciting times at our house ;) I joke, but honestly, when our house is clean, organized, and pretty, I feel really content and calm. Does that mean I'm getting old?
I am pretty darned proud of my husband, he's been going through the garage and selling off all of his scuba equipment. He finally agreed that if he hasn't used the equipment in ten years, he's probably not going to. He's made a mint from listing them on E-bay! He's my little E-bay super stud!
We've also nearly finished our first home improvement project - all without fighting! I know, I know, I mentioned it before...but we have one last finishing piece and I'll post some pictures for all to see. I just love the space though - it's now warm and inviting where before I hated going into that room. It always seemed a mess and messes stress me out. I'm such a product of my sign...I love comfort and beautiful things. Who doesn't really, but we Tauruses seem to like it more than most.
This weekend marks the first of many upcoming graduation events for my step-daughter. She's having her senior portraits done. I'm really excited for her - we're doing them at the japanese gardens where my husband and I got our engagement shots taken. We also have a really fantastic photographer, I'm really excited to see what she comes up with! My step-kiddo also played in her regional golf tournament as a final qualifier for the state competition. She made it as a alternate, so she gets to go, but we're not sure if she gets to golf. I'm excited for her...and hoping she gets to play.
I'm a little ambivelant about the coming birthday I'm about to have. I just don't feel like I should be this age. I know that people say age is a number...and in some measure that's true. But it's still there...staring me in the face and I'm not so sure I like the look it's giving me. I almost wonder if Father Time is giving me the stink eye...
But these feeling will fade, I'm sure, as the day to day reality of life moves on....and as warmer weather continues to grace us with her presence.
The seasons are shifting,
The winter shades lifting,
The springtime is filling
Earth's children with mirth.
The daffodil yellow,
The south wind so mellow,
The gentle rain falling,
Upon the green earth.
The song sparrow singing,
New life quickly springing,
All nature is telling
A tale of rebirth:
The deep wells of being,
Beyond each day's seeing,
O'er flowing with new Life,
Restoring the earth.
-David E. Bumbaugh, "Spring", 1998
Monday, May 5, 2008
I've been a bad blogger....I haven't posted in days. I don't really have any good excuse. I could blame work - but that certainly isn't it. I could blame having been on jury duty for a week - but that isn't it either. I just didn't have much to say, really. Maybe I had too much to say and didn't know where to begin. Or maybe I just feel like I'm always bemoaning the same thing, even though I say I'm not going to.
Or, I could blame the lack of carbs on my ability to think rationally...but we'll get to that.
I'm feeling renewed. I spent the weekend reconnecting with a section of my husband's family. I love them dearly and spending time with them is like pulling a warm blanket around myself when I'm feeling a little chilly. I guess after I miscarried, everyone just felt awkward - they didn't know what to say. That seems to have passed now - or at least it has for the most part. I still reserve the right to cry for no apparent reason and was joking with one sister-in-law that I felt like I should announce to the family: "Something will happen - someone will say something completely innocently and randomly, it will hit home and I'll start to cry. Just ignore me. Carry on with what you're doing while I boo hoo in the corner. I'll get myself together and everything will just carry on. Promise."
Being with them, however, reminds me the importance of family. Watching my nephews grow and change. Watching my niece learn about the world for the first time - especially when it involves figuring out that you have toes and that you can suck on them! Watching my husband connect with his family in a way he never has. All of it just reminds me how very blessed I am.
I'm also the spirit of renewal around our house. With the exception of hanging curtains, we finished redecorating our office and it looks fantastic! I'll post pictures when we're done. Completing these sorts of projects and continuing to build our little home fills me with hope an d optimism...like everyone is getting a fresh coat of paint.
I'm finding a sense of renewal within me - with excuses week after week, I've put off going to the gym. That stops today. My husband has switched to a day schedule for the next couple of months and will be home long after I am. So, I'm not filled with such a sense of urgency to get home. So, I'm finally committing to working out 3 nights a week.
I also rejoined Weight Watchers. I did my best attempt at South Beach for two weeks. I was *really* good until last Wednesday, when I just couldn't handle the lack of carbs ANY MORE! Seriously....I had headaches. I was going into convulsions. You just can't take potatos away from a girl that grew up in Idaho! It's evil! So, I've switched over to Weight Watchers. I know the program works when you follow it - and this time, I'm going to give the Core plan a try. Not as much counting - but still allowing for some bread here and there!
And finally, I am renewed in the power of friendship. I spent the evening with a couple of girls that reminded me that when the chips are down, it's your girls that have your back...and no matter what may happen, what matters is what is said from the heart, not from the lip.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect ~ Romans 12:2