Just Heather

I spent some more time with The Girlfriend this weekend. It was a little more relaxed since it was in the context of “my little sister’s friend” instead of “my brother’s girlfriend.” My sister is in the Bahamas this week for Spring Break with some friends. They stopped by my parents’ house Saturday night to spend the night, swap my dad cars, and have breakfast before driving to Florida. I didn’t find out until they were almost there that Leslie was one of the friends.

That made it better. There was no time to panic and work myself up into a “I-can’t-believe-this-is-what-I’m-wearing-when-my-brother’s-girlfriend-comes-over” frenzy. I was relaxed. Almost cool. The five of us spent a few hours just hanging out in the kitchen talking. I like her a lot. He seems to be more than semi-serious about her. If she can tolerate him through the summer—when he works hard and is at his finest—I just might get a sister-in-law someday.

I started this post on the anniversary of my grandmother’s death, one week before Christmas. I couldn’t finish it. I was moved to try again this weekend as I stood by a dear friend through her own grandmother’s death.

This year I celebrated my 2nd Christmas without my grandma, but I wasn’t sad. Well, not much. Grandma taught me it shouldn’t be that way. Christmas is about family. So are birthdays. While it may have flitted through my mind once when my baby turned two, I couldn’t cry. That was her day. It’s not the big days that get me. It’s the little things.

When I bit into a bell pepper—straight from my very own garden—last summer, it tasted exactly like hers did when I was small. I cried.

When I sat on the sidelines watching my little one play soccer this year, I remembered how Grandma never missed one my own games.

When I watched the cutest little elf on stage at Christmas, I remembered my Grandma would never miss a performance for one of her grandkids.

As I sing in church each week, I remember how much my grandma loved to worship at the top of her voice, even though she couldn’t sing.

When I pierced my nose last week, I could hear exactly what she would say to me, and know without a doubt she would have loved me anyway.

Slowly, the grief is giving way to memories. The sadness fades slightly, but the hole in my heart will always be there. I can think of Grandma now and smile more often than cry. I can look at her pictures and see the love instead of blinking back tears. As time goes on I can focus more on the good times and less on the loss, but I’ll never stop missing my grandma.

It starts with next to no sleep because I decide my ear doesn’t hurt that bad anymore. No reason to take Tylenol PM 4 nights in a row. I wake up to a snotty, whiny baby. I get some medicine in her and we’re just settling down to nap cuddle when the phone rings. I get the poor baby dressed, buckle her up and make the trek to the Humane Society.

This where I retrieve my dog for the bargain price of $45—which includes the price of a mandatory microchip—and promptly lock my keys in the car. To my credit, I distinctly remember putting them in my purse. They had to have fallen out when I picked up the leash. This is no comfort while we wait 30 minutes in the lobby of one of the saddest places on earth, which sits right next to juvie. Spectacular view.

Fast-forward to this evening. I’m starting dinner and baby is apparently not sick enough to stay on the couch with a sleeping daddy. First she locks me in the garage when I go out to the freezer. Never fear, that’s why I keep a key out there. Then she picks today of all days to learn how to unlock and open the sliding glass door all by herself. So where’s my $45 dog?

I don’t know either.

Our idiot dog took off last night, chain attached and all. We looked for him, but he was no where to be found. My thought was someone found him and brought him in since it was cold and late. He has tags with our number on it. I was expecting the call I got this morning, but not quite the way it happened.

On the other end was not a nearby neighbor asking us to come get the dog, but the Humane Society telling me I can pay a $40 “return to owner” fee when I drive all the way to the next town to get him.

In what mind was it easier to drive 15 miles with a dog than to call the phone number on his handy little tag? Also? His chain is not with him. Which means that not only do I have to load up a sick baby, drive across town, and pay $40, I also get to buy a new chain and stake.

I did it! Can you believe I didn’t chicken out? I’m so afraid of needles and I have no pain tolerance whatsoever, but I wanted this so bad. Plus, hubby said he wasn’t letting me back in the car unless I had a nose ring. I picked a—surprise!—purple gemstone surrounded in white gold. I was afraid it was too big, but as hubby pointed out it’s still seriously tiny.

I also did these:

Happy birthday to me! I love it so much, I just can’t stop looking in the mirror. Spencer barely seems to notice. Stacia says I don’t look like me, but I think she’ll come around. Brenia thinks it’s pretty and wants one for herself. My parents? Pissed, pissed, pissed. Never mind that I’m 28 years old—which was pretty much the point.

Last week when I announced CBS plans to interview me, I actually made my dad proud for the first time since the time in high school when I brought home straight As just because he said I couldn’t. I’m back to being a disappointment again. All is right with the world once more.

As I celebrate the 4th anniversary of my 24th birthday, I thought it would be fun to look over the last year or 28.

Things I have learned:

  • I will never stop missing my grandma.
  • Love isn’t all you need—you also need a deep commitment to standing by that love through all the crap that comes your way.
  • No matter how well you think you know your children, they will never stop surprising you.
  • That’s a good thing.
  • Taking time for me is not a guilty pleasure—it’s an absolute necessity.
  • Needing time away from my children does not make me a bad mother (okay, so I’m still learning this one).
  • Having a community—both here and in real life—is important.
  • Merging the two completely rocks.

Things I have accomplished:

  • starting a successful business
  • maintaining my sanity (mostly) while leading a Brownie troop of 24 first graders
  • stopping my mother-in-law from calling 3 times a day
  • spiritual growth
  • actually writing in my blog

Things I will do today:

  • pretend to wear a crown
  • pretend I’m not getting closer to 30
  • get my nose pierced (If I write it down will that keep me from chickening out?)
  • remind myself why I don’t want a tattoo
  • have a nice dinner with my family
  • eat dessert
  • take a long bubble bath

Freaking real news. If I could relax and use the time to get more prepared it would be fine, but no. I have to be neurotic. And procrastinatey. So while I have now been rescheduled once again, I’m still not ready. As soon as I clean up one mess, I have to go clean up the mess she made while I was cleaning up the first mess. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I need a plan. I’m bad at plans. I’m super-disorganized. Just ask anyone. I’d love to say that I’m making progress, except I make it a policy to be honest. Yesterday, as soon as I found out they wouldn’t make it today, I promptly took a nap—which I desperately needed since I haven’t been able to sleep much this week.

When I woke up, you’d think I would have continued with the original plan of cleaning the kitchen and clipping my coupons. Nope. I took my little one for this: