My Morning Mug

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This is my morning mug. It’s not only my morning mug, but my “weekend” morning mug. It is the mug I wake up to between 8am and 10am, that I’m happily greeted by on Saturday or Sunday, and it is what I often look forward to because I know that my weekend is officially here.

I’ve had this mug for almost 10 years now. It has evolved from a coffee cup left in my dorm room next to a September issue of Glamour magazine and a note from my aunt saying, “You can do this!” , to a permanent fixture on the corner counter of my kitchen, reminding me that Saturday is just around the corner!

During my college years, this mug  served well in times of late night caffeine fixes during numerous midterm / final study sessions, long heart to heart talks with friends, and even those early morning epiphanies that were easily followed up with by another jolt of “wake the heck up”, before that dreaded AM class!  Being a communications major, I didn’t have too many early morning classes (2 to be exact – 7AM Intro. to Communications & 7:30 Intro to Design/Edit, both my sophomore year).  Thankfully, as more of the communication classes worked their way into my schedule, I also had more Friday’s of NO class..apparently com prof’s were accustomed to having their Fridays off, believe me when I say this – I certainly wasn’t one to complain! In this case, my little mug took a seat on the sidelines, while I took a walk down to D&M or Starbucks and caught up on some studying or maybe a chat with a friend…. let’s be honest, Fridays are still Fridays .. and most times – it was more likely a social outing than anything related to academics.

As “College Life” ended and “Real Life” began, this little cup of goodness quickly fell into its new role, in which this Monday-Friday, 8AM – 5PM working girl greatly appreciates. It is now the mug that (once filled) I hold in my hand, sip slowly, and make plans for the day, which might include a walk around my quaint and quiet neighborhood, usually consisting of birds chirping, the sun rising, and those who reside in Zillah Lakes awaking with their own cup of Joe in hand.   Sometimes, I enjoy this mug of coffee while I watch my Saint Bernard and kitty cuddle together on our back porch, or over a phone conversation with my best friend (it’s our time to catch up on life) while I stick a load of laundry in the washer and “think” about possibly doing some yard work. Sometimes, this mug is accompanied with a plate of warm cinnamon rolls, a mid-morning movie, and much-needed snuggle time with my husband.  It’s also the mug that keeps me company while I brainstorm or write my latest blog, and when it’s empty – it’s the mug I fill back up, in hopes of more inspiration for the “right” word or that perfect ending to a story I’ve wanted to share, but just haven’t had the time to stop and think.. and freely write my thoughts… while I take a sip out of my morning mug.

By Heather Decker
*Credit to Melody Olsen for giving me the idea of writing about my morning mug :)

Unspoken Words

UnspokenWords

We all have our quirks and nuances when it comes to picking out the best gift for someone.  In my case, it’s not always just about the gift, but more about finding a card that completes it.  When I tell my husband I’m in the card aisle shopping for someone, he knows (if he’s talking to me on my cell phone) that it will be awhile and he’ll have time to finish that last chapter on his Kindle and probably even that last level on his video game too.  I’m that person who can easily spend hours, reading through and contemplating the artwork of each card until I find “the one” that fits the occasion and the person I’m giving it to. My husband, on the other hand, is perfectly content in skipping the card altogether..buying a gift and (if the recipient is lucky) attaching a name tag to the said gift. “Cards are expensive” he always says to me. “Instead of spending $5 on a card, put that money toward the gift “, is what he usually interjects, at the end of our conversations regarding the great debate on the significance and value of a card.

As I reflect on my husbands comments and the gesture of buying someone a card, I can’t help but ask myself why I treasure the cards I’ve given and received throughout my own life. It’s not really the card itself that is  important, but more about what’s inside the card that truly matters.

BirthdayCardFromMom BirthdayCardFromMom

While unpacking an old box upstairs, I stumbled upon some cards I had kept, one from my own mother,  given to me on my 17th Birthday. She had filled the card with her writings, some recalling her favorite memories with me, along with advice given to her that she was now passing on to me.  She told me how proud she was of the woman I was turning into and that no matter what, she would always love me and she would always be there for me. As I reread these words, this card takes me back to a time in my life when I had a relationship with my mom, a time when she was the one I turned to when I was having a bad day, when I needed a good laugh, or maybe just someone to have a cup of coffee with in the morning. It was a time in my life where I hadn’t done anything to upset her or go against her own wishes. It was a simple time in that I felt like I almost had her approval and all I wanted was to make her proud. This card and the words written inside of it are the only reassurance that I hold in my hand..knowing my mother did love me and was proud of me. Even though we haven’t spoken in over four years, I can look at this card and remember the special times we shared.

Letter From Son

Just like I’ve held onto the words of my mom, I know there are also parents who keep cards written from their children. It might be a postcard, promising to change their life around, to make things right, to put God first, to come clean once and for all. Or, maybe it’s a card to say “I’m Sorry“… for the ugly teenage years, for the grey hair, for the sleepless nights, for painful life lessons learned. But what about those cards that say “I Love You” and “Thank You”… for loving me anyway,  for believing in me when nobody else did, for supporting me, for making my dreams come true, for NEVER giving up on me. Yes, I’m sure these cards are treasured by parents and children alike… because even when times are tough, these are the reminders that stay with us forever.

IKeepHisCards IKeepHisCards

My husband might be guilty for his lack of card purchases, but he has kept all of the cards and love notes from me. These are the cards exchanged between lovers and best friends. The card that you read back to him 10 years from now, because the words written inside are timeless, that first time you signed it with an “I love you” or an inside joke that was just as good as Morris code between the two of you. It’s the card that puts a smile on his face because he knows you are his one and only..and you know ..as you read the message neatly printed on the embossed Tiffany note card that he is your Happily Ever After. It could be a card filled with all of the reasons why you love him…or it could be a card with just a few words expressing his own reasons for loving you. This year,  for my Birthday, I asked Nate to include a card with his gift. The card couldn’t have fit me better,  and although I cherished the gift that came with it, his words inside my card meant so much more to me.. they were true, honest and thoughtful.. and a little piece of him and his heart were now inside my card.  This is the card I keep on my desk at work. My birthday is over,  but the card stays.. to remind me.. that he loves me…and heck,  he is never one to settle for “simple” and that in itself makes me smile. For some of us, cards are the last thoughts and memories … the last trace of the person you loved..and will always love. Sometimes, it’s the card that takes you back to the beginning of your love story… and that last “I Love You” written with his hands..he was thinking of you that day …picking out this card with you in mind.. and you can’t help but recall how happy you were that day..the day he gave you this card. It is no longer just “a card” It’s a piece of your past, a lingering memory of the one you love.. something you just can’t put a price on…

Unspoken Words.

By Heather Decker

Seasons of Change

Daily Prompt: Mid-Season Replacement
by michelle w. on October 11, 2013
For many of us the seasons are changing, bouncing unpredictably between cold and warm. Are you glad to be moving into a new season, or wishing for one more week of the old?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us SEASONS.


Zillah Lakes Sunset

It’s that first glimpse of a golden amber leaf…slowly swaying .. gently touching the ground
The evening glow of deep shades of orange, pink, and even a touch of red…all melding together,
creating the “perfect” autumn sunset in our backyard..just past the greens of hole #1
The colors begin to fade as I savour that last sip of wine … cherishing my favorite season,
This is the season I wait for each year…the season that inspires me… the season I love.

Seasons of Change

It’s that first morning chill that quickly changes into a pleasant brisk afternoon ..
Just warm enough for a soft cozy oversized sweater, some leggings and your favorite pair of boots.
A pumpkin spice latte in one hand and a dog leash..a book.. or maybe even his hand in the other,
An afternoon stroll around a favorite park, a hayride in search of the pumpkin, a kiss on the cheek,
This is the season I wish stayed longer, the season that says “hello” and “goodbye”.. too quickly for me.

Reflections.

It’s when I realize the golden amber leaf belongs to a tree,  changing into its own shade of autumn, overnight.
It’s when I realize that just like life, seasons DO change and you can’t hold onto a season or a life.
It’s when I realize that the last “hello” could truly be the last “goodbye”.
It’s when I realize that just as I cherish this season – I’ll always cherish those ..
Who like the seasons ..come in and out of my life ..

Fall at PNWU

This is the season of change

By Heather Decker

*This post is inspired by the daily prompt: Mid-Season Replacement*

Fitness = Fun

Weekly Writing Challenge: Fit to Write - by Erica on August 12, 2013
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/writing-challenge-health/

This week’s creative writing challenge, tell us about what health means to you. Have you struggled with an illness, physical or emotional?  What got you through that time? How it has changed your perspective? Are you a fitness fanatic? Let us know about how you got interested in athleticism and the ways it affects your life.  Let us know what brings you happiness and balance, through physical effort or mental calm.

The Skort Outfit

The “Skort” Outfit

Fitness: Friendships & Falling in Love
“Hey, I have an idea .. let’s go to the gym this morning,” he says – smiling, as if the excitement in his voice and pearly whites are going to motivate me to jump out of bed and say, “That’s a great idea!”   It is one of those Saturday mornings … the kind of Saturday morning that, quite honestly, after a crazy week of classes, all-night cram sessions, group projects, and endless family dramas, I want nothing more than to stay right where I’m at, wrapped up in a zebra print sheet set, complete with the matching comforter and pillow case.  I remember thinking – even back then, that this bed decor could use some updating .. I mean seriously, can we say “Goodbye 1995?!”  I could tell I wasn’t going to win this – and so I agreed to go to the gym .. on my Saturday.

When I think back to my experiences with exercise, health and fitness, I have few memories.  I remember that throughout grade school / high school – I dreaded gym class. It was never a favorite class of mine – and that is what I equated “working out” to for most of my life.  After high school – I tried here and there to “workout”.  While I lived in Idaho – I remember an ex-boyfriend (who shall remain anonymous) taking me to a gym that he went to on the National Guard base. It was the biggest disaster ever, partially because our relationship was on the fritz, and this was his solution in bringing us closer together – we could workout together. I decided to give this a try, so the night before – I went shopping, and made sure I had the cutest outfit to “workout” in.  I didn’t know the  first thing about exercise, but I wanted to make sure that I looked my best .. and so, after work that day – we headed over to the base. I changed into a pair of black shorts and a fitted pink & black stripped tee, slipped into my brand new pink puma shoes, pulled my hair back into a ponytail, giving myself a once-over in the mirror, I was ready! I’m not quite sure what my ex was doing, but I walked out of the changing room first, and remember staring at  all of these machines – not knowing what to do exactly – they all looked so foreign to me.  Then, this other (quite handsome) guy walked over to me and asked if he could help me out. “Sure,” I said, “This is my first time here, and well .. how exactly do you use these machines?” He smiled, “Oh it’s quite simple, here let me adjust the seat height and weights for you!” He walked me through the basics, and even got me started on some of the free weights.  At this point – I had totally forgotten about my ex, that I had arrived with my ex .. I was enjoying the company, and just as this handsome young man started to ask my affiliation with the gym on this base .. out walks my ex .. in the ugliest outfit .. an old faded cream-colored t-shirt with a big mallard duck printed on the front, neon yellow swim trunks, knee-high socks and black dress shoes! “Sorry it took me so long, ” he says, walking towards me, “I couldn’t seem to find my tennis shoes.” My face turned fifty shades of red .. the guy next to me, trying his hardest not to laugh, watched us both. I wanted to pretend like I didn’t know him, I wanted to tell him what an idiot he was for wearing such a ridiculous outfit and that I hated to even be seen with him! Heck, I knew NOTHING about going to a gym, but at least I made sure to wear clothes that matched, and shoes that were meant for exercising! “Thanks for helping her out,” he says to my new friend, “But, I’ve got it from here.” As I walked away from Mr. Handsome and followed Mr. Fashion Disaster .. I already knew that this wasn’t going to work, and I was right – soon after this, we broke up.

Nate & Heather,  College Days

Nate & Heather,
College Days

“You can’t wear that to the gym.. ” he tells me, as I come out of my dorm room in a cute light pink pair of skorts and fitted green tee.  “Why not?” I ask, still contemplating why the heck I gave up my Saturday to get all gross and sweaty, “Well, because – what is that?- is that a skirt you are are wearing? You can’t wear a skirt to the gym, it’s inappropriate!” Nate truly looks concerned about my outfit of choice – which was a first for me.  “It’s not a skirt, It’s a skort!” I thought it was perfectly acceptable for working out in. He nodded his head side to side .. “What exactly is a skort?” .. I explain to him that a skort is a skirt with shorts, making it all the more “appropriate” for gym wear! Well, he wasn’t sold on the idea, but that Saturday morning, Nate and I walked over to the Nicholson Rec Center and we worked out together.  I remember while Nate showed me the machines, adjusting my seat height and weights, thinking back to that day with my ex, and just how embarrassed I was to be seen with him.  I watched Nate in his sleeveless white Nike Dri-Fit Tee, black & orange shorts .. that matched his black & orange sneakers, he looked so sleek – like he belonged in this gym, and I – I was with HIM – my very own Mr. Handsome! I was so proud to walk in and out of that gym with him.  We (to my surprise) talked a lot while lifting weights. He helped me lift the bar – as he stood over me, encouraging me, telling me “One more, come on, you can do it .. just one more, you got this!” I felt this connection with him, bonding and working out, it was this experience that turned me on to exercising.  And then came his turn – but he lifted more than just the bar, and I tried my best to motivate him to lift that bar, mostly hoping he did lift it – because if it happened to fall on his chest – well, I would probably just burst into to tears, frantically grab the closest guy to help me.  Luckily, this was never an issue – because I’m sure Nate knew I was not capable of lifting a 100+ pound weight off of him.  As we left that day – my perspective on Saturday workouts changed – and I actually looked forward to this time we had together.  Little did I know that this time – the shoe was on the other foot..  “I saw you at the gym today,” Ajay, a guy in my dorm hall said in passing, “Oh Yeah..” I said to him. “Haha, I sure did .. good job at lifting that bar,” he sarcastically said to me.  In one day – I had been teased for not only my choice in clothing but for my lack of strength too.  I figured this was probably my payback for that day at the gym with my ex.  Normally, I would let comments like Ajay’s influence me, even my roommate liked to tease me for how much time I spent at the gym – as she would say, “I don’t know why you go to that gym, it’s so ghetto.. nothing like the one I have at home!”  She was right, it was pretty ghetto, but that year – while she invited  her sleazy / cheater / mono-giving boyfriend over, I was happy to head out to the gym and hang with Nate…

Heather & Sara Homecoming Dance

Heather & Sara
Homecoming Dance

I remembered both of my aunts telling me how important it was to sign up for fitness classes while in college – they were usually 1 credit classes, and usually helped break your week up a little too.  What they didn’t tell me – usually, it’s a Grad student who teaches these classes… In my case, the first Abs class I took was not only a Grad student, but he had also done time with the Marines too.. and (before Sara and I took his class) – he was all business.  I’ll never forget my first day in that class – I didn’t know anyone, but quickly became friends with a girl named Sara.  Her boyfriend was in the ROTC, his name was Brian, she was crazy about him – they were high school sweethearts .. homecoming was that weekend too .. was I going? What was I going to wear? Did I have a plan for my hair? As we discussed these important details .. while “planking” for what seemed like the entire class .. a friendship soon formed, and by the following week, we were all giggles over story-telling about our lives in between “crunches”.  Mr. Red-Headed Marine  noticed us and our conversations .. making eye contact with us, he smiled and said, “Girls, this is not social time, do I need to separate the two of you?” We both smiled, shaking our heads.. changing our tone of voice down to a whisper.  But, during our next class – we had moved on from floor exercises to a series of lunge exercises, my favorite – “The Charlies Angel” Style Lunge! As we lunged back and in straight lines across the gym – Mr. Marine couldn’t help but notice my cute tennis shoes.. “Hey, those are Puma’s .. where did you get those?” Feeling quite proud of myself, looking down at my grey mesh pumas with pink stripes, I tell him, “My Aunt Dina got me these at Nordi’s, they were on sale!”  Sara and I follow suit in our “Charlies Angel” lunges and continued in our conversation about the highs & lows of last weekends homecoming, in which he decided to listen in on, and many more conversations aft that… Mr. Marines, now known as Mr. Chatty Pants, almost always wanted to be in on our gossip sessions – I think he actually enjoyed these chats… and us for that matter! By the end of that class, I realized not only how much I enjoyed this fitness class, but also how much I loved the social aspect of it, meeting new people and making friends.  Sara and I are still friends (9 years later) – I was there to hear all about her wedding proposal, her first and second pregnancy, all of her moves, her adventures.. and I have this fitness class to thank for our friendship!

The Pink & Grey Pumas.. Yes I still have them!

The Pink & Grey Pumas.. Yes I still have them!

I tie most of my memories to experiences I’ve shared with others – friends, family, my husband.  When I think about some of my fondest memories – they’ve taken place over a fun run, a workout with a friend, a tennis lesson with my cousin, a walk around the nature trail or Green Lake, a 30 minute treadmill session .. a 5k run with my friend Anita .. I’ll never forget that year we religiously jogged together, because she was determined to beat Nate at this 5K run around the CWU Campus.  He had literally just finished an entire medium sized Dominos pizza just before the race, and he still beat the socks off of her, in which, I think she is still bitter over.  But, I remember jogging at night with her, jogging in the wind and the rain, jogging all around Ellensburg .. I remember those evenings I couldn’t sleep, because I was worried about an exam, a problem at home that I had no control over, a fight between me & Nate .. but in the end, after that 30 minute run, I always felt better… the circumstances were still the same, nothing had been solved, but my mind always felt clear, and breathing in that fresh / sometimes cold crisp air, it seemed to always take away all of my worries and all of my stress.  When I think about that term “Runners High” – It truly is a high, because for that moment – there is NOTHING to bring you down, and for that moment ALL is right in your world.  I’m glad that I was open that day – to try again – to go to the gym with Nate… to try out a fitness class, to push myself when I didn’t feel like doing anything at all.  It has shaped my life and continues to push me – to become a better, healthier, more fit individual.  And hey, anyone who knows me – knows it’s also an excuse to go shopping .. there’s always a good reason for another pair of Pumas!

By Heather Decker

We always have fun!

We always have fun!

 

The One

Summer Sunflower

 

Daily Prompt: Keep Out

by michelle w. on July 9, 2013

Who is the one person you hope isn’t reading your blog? Why?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us OUTSIDE.

When I think of the question “who is the one person you hope isn’t reading your blog?”
I actually have a hard time narrowing it down to just one person, and for so many different reasons.
Believe me, I know that this is a public site, and when I hit the “Publish” button, it is free game -
for anyone – to look me up, to critique my work, to say whatever they choose,
to hurt me or to encourage me,
but when I think about that question,
there are few people that come to mind -
that (quite honestly) I wouldn’t be upset
if they were not reading my blog.

It doesn’t matter, how hard you try
There’s always that one professor, who has pegged you
as the “B” student, because he doesn’t like your metaphors
Thank you  for those sleepless nights, those numerous drafts ..
red marks, feedback that often left me in tears.
sometimes – there is no metaphor
Sometimes, It just is what it is
Professor P – this stanza is for you..
I really hope you aren’t reading my blog.

Life is too short to copy and compete with others
Our friendship started to diminish as you tried
and tried to copy ALL of my likes, my dislikes
my hairstyle, my clothing, pretty much my life.
Other friends said I should think of it as “flattery”
I tried, but our visits soon turned into something from
“Keeping up with the Jones’s” and I lost interest
in this superficial friendship.
“Xerox”- I really hope you are  not reading my blog.

Those who are closest to you are the ones who hurt you the most..
to the sibling and sometimes the parent who lashed out at me
because they are unhappy in their own life
I’ll never forget that voice mail - on my honeymoon..
I was disloyal to my family for not lying,
for believing in accountability..
to ‘the one’ who never said he would read this blog again,
to “the one’ who has erased me out of her life
I really hope you aren’t reading my blog

Ex-girlfriends and Ex-boyfriends
There is a reason why you are an EX
It’s time to let go and move on
Nate and I are happier than we’ve ever been
Please stop “friend requesting”, “Twitter Inviting”..
and filling your head with these “what if” scenarios
It is NEVER going to happen!
I hope you find your own happiness,
But I also hope you aren’t reading my blog.

-By Heather Decker

 

When I look in the mirror…

Daily Prompt: Mirror, Mirror
by michelle w. on July 5, 2013
Finish this sentence: “When I look in the mirror, I . . . “
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/daily-prompt-mirror/

When I look through the mirror..

When I look in the mirror, I see a girl
smiling at a mirror in front of her.
It was her favorite mirror, she loved the yellow heart
framing it, and the brown smiling teddy bear
face, arms, and little legs that hugged the heart mirror.
She wondered if it once hung in her nursery..
She can only recall the house and the room it is in right now,
Capturing this memory, she sees her curly blonde hair and blue eyes
A fisher price doll house with its matching furniture pieces poke over her left shoulder,
While stuffed animals piled high on the end of her bed smile back
The day has barely started, and her only real concern -
making sure her doll Lisa is dressed, and that she’s ready for a day of play.

When I look in the mirror, I see a girl
getting ready for her first day of school
Pigtails, a pink polka dot tee, and perfection.
Eyes bright – she looks up at the teddy bear heart mirror…
The dollhouse, neatly stored in the corner of her room, now somewhat out of sight
She sees the pink & purple backpack draped over the little brown rocking chair
Waiting for its new destination .. her doll, still tucked in her bed, replacing those stuffed animals..
She imagines all of the friends she’ll make, all the new thing she’ll learn.
She wonders what school will be like. Her day, about to start, and her only concern -
What is cafeteria food, and will she like it?

When I look in the mirror, I see a girl
getting ready for her very first girl-boy dance
crimped strands of hair, a ‘hand-me-down” white tee with pink flamingos
She stares back at that heart-shaped mirror, watching her mother
help her apply eye shadow and eye liner for the very first time.
She remembers, “A little goes a long way” .. “You are already so beautiful”
Her mother stares back at her in the mirror, perfection.
She sees her two smiling friends Keri on one side, Nikki on the other,
anxiously awaiting the party at “Fat Boys” Pizza. “I love your jean shorts”,
one girls says, while the other chimes in “Yeah, you totally match!”
She’s the new girl in town, unsure of her surroundings, going to a party
with girls she has just met, her evening, about to start, and  her only concern -
what is “slow dancing”, and what if she doesn’t like it?

When I look in the mirror, I see a girl
getting ready to leave home
A home that (over the years) has turned into MANY homes..
In between the 30 something moves, that little heart-shaped mirror cracked..
broken and shattered into pieces, too many to pick up,
somewhat a reflection of her own heartaches and challenges .. growing up, maybe too fast.
She looks through the generic mismatched mirror that hangs above a borrowed dresser.
Behind her – boxes and a few suitcases awaiting their new destination.
She is ready for yet, another new beginning, a road trip – she’ll get to know her dad..
with years to catch up on and a 6 hour drive, this adventure is about to start, and her only concern -
navigating Seattle , without GPS and any sense of real direction!

When I look in the mirror, I see a girl
getting ready to marry her best friend
Curled strands of blonde hair frame her sun-kissed face,
adorned in white and just enough makeup, perfection.
her blue eyes, now full of wonder, love and  happiness.
She wishes she could freeze frame this moment in time,
just as every bride does.  Her special day, nearly half over..
A tap on her shoulder, her teary-eyed aunt looking back at her..
“It’s time” she says .. as bridesmaids appear one at a time behind her.
With one final dab of lip-gloss, she remembers that first time he winked at her
Another new beginning is about to start, and her only concern -
Their “first dance” together – she never did learn how to “slow dance”.

When I look in the mirror, I see a girl
getting ready for the day..sometimes for work
and sometimes for play, critical of her appearance,
questioning countless outfits, pointing out every flaw..
her husband can only answer the same question,
“How does this look?” so many times,before the mirror
is truly her only guide in the matter.

Sometimes she sees her reflection and is sure of her future
and where she belongs, but sometimes her eyes question
what lies ahead and certain decisions she’ll have to make.
These are the days she misses that little girl…
whose dreams stared back at her…
through a yellow heart-shaped teddy bear mirror

- By Heather Decker

 

Hi, Mom!

Daily Prompt: Hi, Mom!: Today is Mother’s Day in the United States. Wherever in the world you are, write your mother a letter.

Me & My Mom  Zillah Lakes SummerHorse Riding

Hi Mom,

I probably never told you this, but this picture – it’s one of my favorites.  Infact, I remember the day we stood there together – in the backyard of that house on  Thompson street. I remember you looking at me.. just how you are in that picture, with such love and gentleness in your eyes.  You (I’m sure) adored me .. loved me unconditionally.  We had no differences back then … I was the apple of your eye, we spent our summers out by that pool of the apartment complex – I remember you telling me – I could have been that little girl on the front of the Coppertone suntan lotion bottle .. and I’m sure that it’s because of you – that I tan so easily (hardly ever burn) every single summer.  You are the reason I love my sunshine, my flip-flops, a nice warm breeze and especially a relaxing horseback ride to finish up those perfect summer evenings… which have been replaced with a stroll around the golf course or nature trail with Nate .. not quite the same, but those rides with you – I’ll cherish.

Manicure

Do you remember that day you took me to get my nails done?  I do – I was in the 5th grade.  We were on our way to Stefanie Lalande’s birthday party – it was a sleepover.  I had my “Truth or Dare” game in hand, my sleeping bag & pillow.. thinking we were headed straight to her house, instead .. pulled up to a salon.  “Heather we are going to go & get our nails done .. ”  I remember picking out my color – it was a translucent pink .. I watched as my nails were trimmed, filed and painted .. and you, alongside me – also getting your nails done .. I felt so special, having that time with you .. knowing it was just the two of us, me – experiencing my very first manicure with my mom .. knowing that after this moment .. there would be more of those manicures to come.  And now – whenever I go to get my nails done – it’s you that I think of.  I remember arriving at Stefanie’s house, feeling so proud, telling everyone where I had just been .. and showing off my perfectly manicured nails! It was and still is one of my favorite memories.  

High School Graduation

Do you remember this day? High School Graduation – I couldn’t have been happier, and you were there – to cheer me on.  You were so proud of me that day! This was the start of something new – I was almost 18, thought I had all of the answers .. like any other graduating senior does .. But, this was just the beginning .. Still, you stood by me – encouraged me to follow my dreams. It was so hard – telling you goodbye that day at NCC.  We had spent the whole drive over from Idaho to Eugene, Oregon – you telling me not to go out at night, it’s not safe – and if I did, I better wear that flashlight with the whistle around my neck .. and if I was scared at all, to blow on that whistle.  You helped me unpack my side of the room, not knowing if we would have enough space, but you made it work.  You filled an entire container full with snacks, incase I got hungry and needed something to eat.  I remember dreading that moment when you and everyone else left – there was nothing more to unpack, the boxes were empty, and it was time.. it was a terrible feeling .. seeing you leave.  This was before cell phones, email or instant messaging.. and I worried about how I would manage without you, without our evening chats outside on the front porch, our rides into town, our time together.  That first night – being in a new place, I’ll never forget.. I was so used to falling asleep to pure darkness… as I did, living in that house in Harrison out in the country, so quiet and so dark .. with the exception of the crickets .. and the stars.  lying in bed that night – with the sound of college students outside my window.. and the fluorescent light of a street lamp shining through my window, I knew my life had changed.  And, I had to experience just a few more things in life before really figuring out what it was I wanted to do… coming back home for a “break” that turned into “6 years” — I met some amazing people along the way, who helped me figure out what & who was missing … I soon decided I wanted to finish what I had started, my education, and I wanted to know all of my family.

CWU Graduation My Wedding Day

When I decided I wanted to go back to school … we weren’t exactly on speaking terms … because along with going back to school .. I had also chosen to reunite with my grandmother  aunts, uncles, cousins.. and many other relatives I had not seen since I was 9 years old .. and most importantly I found my real dad.  We seemed to work  through those differences (a little) .. but something happened in between the College graduation (in which you attended… you were there … but your mind was elsewhere, and I was sure to hear all about it on my special day – the day I had been waiting 4 years to enjoy) … It was that day – you had already decided in your own mind that you would not be attending my wedding… because I could not promise you that “The Others” would not speak to you or the rest of the family.  Sometimes, if I had to do it over again, I would have opted for you to skip my graduation and come to see me get married.  And in some ways – I wish you could have just been there for both of these very important days of my life – that I’ll never do over again.  Why couldn’t you just set aside all differences for one day, and watch your daughter get married .. on the happiest day of her life.  Why did you have to post such a mean comment on Facebook, proclaiming how HAPPY you were that I would be changing my last name? Was that truly necessary? Was it truly necessary to make a point of what a great time you were having that day with your sister, barbecuing .. not making one mention of your own daughter getting married .. because, I wonder sometimes, if you were worried about what others might think – what would you tell them if they had asked.. why you weren’t at your own daughter’s wedding?  Oh, I’m sure you would come up with something to justify why you didn’t attend .. because, yes, that’s right – it was MY FAULT you weren’t there … because I CHOSE to have ALL of my family (who wanted to be there) watch me marry the love of my life.. that’s right.  To say that I’m deeply hurt over this.. is such an understatement, you’ll never know just how bad you really hurt me by not being there – and it is something that I will NEVER do to my own kids – regardless of circumstances I may agree or disagree with.. because that’s what you do when you are a parent .. you put your own feelings aside and let them have that moment. Although I am still sad that you chose not to come, I have forgiven you, and my anger and sadness is only for you – I’m sad for you, that you missed that day.  In the end, I can honestly say, it was a beautiful wedding and those who attended wanted to be there and that is what mattered.  I would have loved for you to be there, but you weren’t – and well, as the old saying goes, “It is what it is.”

Heather & Nate

It has been nearly 4 years since we’ve really spoken – and there are some days that I miss you .. that I have to think back to that “last time” .. having coffee together, laughing together, telling stories together … shopping together.. as the years go by, I’ve been so blessed with the friendships I’ve made … and today, on Mother’s Day … as I look through the pictures of moms & their daughters .. I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have these amazing mothers in my own life.  They’ve taken me in as one of their own .. and when I’m having those days … where I’m missing you – they are the ones who step in .. and they are the ones to remind me that even though you might not be speaking to me, you do still love me – because really, you just can’t help yourself.  I will always remember the fun times we had together – and someday, I really do hope that instead of responding to a daily prompt on my blog site that I’ll be able to pick up the phone and tell you Happy Mother’s Day.  But today – as I write this letter that you may or may not ever see .. I just want to tell you Happy Mother’s Day, I do love you mom..I always will.. because quite honestly, I just can’t help myself either.  And – finding that picture of us .. way back when a few days ago – really made me miss you.  Incase you wanted to know, I’m doing really well .. Nate and I are happy together – he is so good to me, and he loves me .. he would do anything for me .. we are a good fit for each other, and I’m excited for the life we are living .. and all that we still have to look forward to.

Happy Mothers Day – Heather