Blogging 101: Today’s Assignment: publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it.
Sometimes when I’m looking at the mirror .. getting ready in the morning .. I see your reflection looking back at me. I’ve been told that in certain pictures I’ve posted that I look just like you. The other day, as I excused myself from a funny conversation, laughing to myself as I walked to my car – It was your laugh I heard.. and when I find myself consoling a friend, always looking at the brighter side, I hear you in my word choice.. Just the other day, I was visiting with some friends, sharing memories – and I was reminded of those early mornings, when I would watch you get ready for the day. If anyone could pull off the short pixie haircut, it was you…even that time you dyed your hair and it turned bright orange (remember the sulfate water in Hillsboro, McKay Creek Farms) – you still looked amazing! You had the perfect pair of black heels, pencil skirt, and electric blue silk blouse.. and when you applied the finishing touches with the signature red lipstick – your meticulous morning routine left no room for imperfection.. because in my eyes, you were a movie star in the making .. the look-alike singer in that 80’s Band Roxette .. at least that was the general consensus of my friends in junior high… and you were the one I looked up to, you were who I wanted to be when I grew up…
I wish I could go back in time, and relive those moments of us together, when we still got along – staying up late and watching those mini series movies together (this was obviously before Netflix), remember that time you took me to get my very first manicure? It was right before my sleepover at Stefanie’s house… horseback riding … road trips to the various houses we lived in – I even enjoyed those times together .. painting that room upstairs in the loft when we lived in Lostine … learning how to make lasagna with you when we lived in St. Helens in that log house … listening to you sing “She’s In Love With The Boy” on our way to the store – I remember thinking to myself, what a beautiful voice you had that day… Freshman Homecoming Week, you “bought” Jake & Keri at the “Freshman Slave Auction”- and had them come dress shopping with us so that I could find that perfect dress.. that is actually one of my favorite memories I have with you. I tried on several dresses … and yet .. it was that first blue violet dress with the embroidered floral print that stole your heart, and you told me, “Heather – THAT is THE dress!” and of course, we had to get it! You picked out a beautiful set of Austrian crystal earrings, and a heart-shaped necklace with my initial carved in the middle. I still have that jewelry set, and I think about you every time I wear it… all of my high school heart breaks .. friendships that had gone astray … ridiculous assignments that were required throughout the years .. you were there for all of it. And, when I left for college the first time .. and the second time .. and even the third (and final) time .. I came home to visit, and we would catch up over a pot of coffee .. and numerous interruptions from brothers and a little sister .. and sometimes even the occasional kitty or Saint Bernard. You always had the best stories on all the neighbors and town people .. with whom you swore you had nothing to do with .. but yet, still had all the dirt on! You were always good for that — and sometimes, when I’m telling a story of my own .. It’s you that I hear telling the story.
Remember when that movie “Mamma Mia!” came out? I remember you watching the previews for it and saying, “That looks like the most ridiculous movie ever!” I hadn’t given much thought to the movie … until people kept telling me that I needed to see this movie and that I would undoubtedly enjoy the plot of it – a girl who is about to get married, doesn’t know who her father is .. finds her mother’s diary .. in which she discovers the possibility of finding her dad … just in time for her wedding day. This movie (with the exception of it taking place in Greece, and the additional 3rd man) was relatable to me in so many different ways – If only life could be like the movies .. and if only you had written your deepest most personal thoughts in a diary … when you still loved my dad .. and I could still read about it.. I know that life was hard when you had me, when you left your first husband, when you raised me on your own for a little while, when you remarried someone else who also had a child, when you spent time and money in numerous family counseling sessions .. and when even then – life continued to get harder. I wish that someday you could understand where I am coming from when I tell you that I never meant to hurt you or the rest of my siblings when I decided to seek him out. It was never my intent to uncover a secret .. I’ve never had any ulterior motive or hidden agenda – I simply wanted to know who he was .. and when I began my search, seeking him out was initially so that I could rule him out as even being my dad because I BELIEVED the story you told me so long ago – the story that I was obsessed with for my entire life .. of a man .. a best friend .. who helped you conceive a baby .. so that your father could see his first grandchild before he died… that is what I had always believed in my heart … without any question, without a picture of what this man looked like .. without ever getting to introduce myself to him – I believed you.. and that night, when I told you what I found out, and all you could say to me was “How could you do this to me?” – I was speechless, after all these years – of me believing a story … and you wanted to know how I could do this to you. You were so angry that night – at what I had done .. and you blamed the man you remarried for not being the father he should be .. because to you, that’s why I had to go looking for him. Maybe if it hadn’t been treated like a dirty little secret, if I could have talked more openly about him (whoever “he” was) to you, maybe if you took my feelings about this seriously when I was younger .. and maybe if you could step back and realize that you aren’t the only one who has changed in 20 years .. then maybe we would still be talking today.
You missed one of the most important days of my life – because you wanted me to promise you that “the others” would not talk to you or my little sister. You didn’t want to be in any pictures with “the others” or “him” because that would just be a “picture full of lies” What about the picture and what it would have meant to me? A picture that has my mother and my father (the two people who created me and who I love) together – not as a family, but simply a picture of me with both of my parents. For one day, not even a full 24 hours, you could have watched your first child walk down the aisle and marry her best friend. You’ll never get to see that moment – you missed it.. and that hurts… that is what I struggle with – when I think of all the other times you were there for me. You are my mom – why couldn’t you just put your personal feelings aside and just be there for me on such a special and emotional day of my life. I don’t understand – and I hope that someday I will.. because it still breaks my heart. Do you know – his Dad came to our wedding .. my grandfather .. the man who refused to go to his own son’s wedding because he was against it from the get go … but he came to his granddaughter’s wedding, and although I don’t know him that well, I was very touched by the gesture, and the fact that there were more family members from my father’s side of the family.. and my own grandmother was there – and all of your sisters, and their children .. everyone was there to see me get married .. everyone but my own intermediate family who I lived with for over 20 years – It’s really too bad.. because it was a special day, something I wish you could have shared with me.
I don’t know if you ever did watch that movie – but there’s 2 parts that always seem to get to me… the part where she is singing to her friends about her mother’s diary entries, and the end of the song she says, “I heard about you before, I wanted to know some more and now I’m about to see, what you mean to me.” That is exactly how I felt when I decided to find him – and I’m glad that I did because he is the most loving and caring parent – for what it’s worth, he’s an amazing man, and he & his family have only ever supported and loved me since our reunion. I hope that someday you won’t be so bitter toward him or those who you claim are “dead to you” – bitterness turns into animosity and it isn’t healthy to have so much hate toward a person. People do change – and he isn’t the man you knew straight out of high school… none of us are.
The other part of this movie that touches me .. even makes me a little sad is when her mom is singing to her, getting her ready on her wedding day.. and reminiscing over a song, talking about when she was younger, and sitting at the breakfast table together, making plans .. understanding her daughter for just a moment in time .. this is how I choose to remember the type of relationship that we once had – because (before all of this) we did – and we were close, and I could tell you anything – I could confide in you, and I could trust you. These are the memories I’m choosing to hold on to.. at the end of the song … she sings, “Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture, and save it from the funny tricks of time” – If only that were possible.