A Sobering Swim

FullSizeR-3

Two. The number of times I have almost drowned.

The first episode involved one of the only adopted children I knew growing up. His birth mother had been an addict. His psychology was frail. But I was a fighter and broke free from his attempts to submerge me permanently in water.

I should have internalized the bigger lesson: steer clear of the deep end.

Continue reading “A Sobering Swim”

Proposing Motherhood

heydi with flowers

“Well, open it.”

I looked from my boyfriend to my parents. Frankly, I felt framed.

It was Christmas 2007. I wasn’t ready to be married. But there my boyfriend sat expectantly. I had just unwrapped a cherry jewelry box.

No, really, I don’t want to look inside. Please don’t make me look inside.

“Okay,” I resigned. I feigned a smile with the understanding that – if a ring was inside – I would have a choice to make. A public choice. An immediate choice. A forced choice. 

The writing on the wall, however, had been revealed to me approximately nine months prior – during my first international service trip.

Nicaragua. Orphans. And a promise to give up sweets for Lent.  Continue reading “Proposing Motherhood”

A View from the Bottom Bunk

img_5104

Don’t be afraid of what you don’t understand.

Easier said than done, of course, but this is my husband and I’s go-to advice for our three-year-old son when we know storms are imminent.

Two nights ago, however, we were no match for the incessant thunder and lightning.

At approximately 3:45 a.m. we awoke to my son’s tearful pleas: “Mommy! Daddy!” There was something different in my son’s voice this time – a blend of emerging maturity and raw fear. He sensed what was happening, yet couldn’t prevent himself from the human desire for certainty…and control.

I led my oldest child down the ladder as Mother Nature illuminated his small room with urgent pulses of white. The night’s antidote would be snuggles with Momma in the bottom bunk.

And, in that 10-minute embrace, shadows weren’t the only images that danced across his walls.

Continue reading “A View from the Bottom Bunk”

Happy Trails

IMG_8866

The week after my freshman year of college, my first love broke my heart. He ripped it out, used it as target practice, and urinated on the tiny fragments of my innocence.

So I agreed to an overnight camping adventure with my childhood friends. Tears were shed, alcohol was consumed, and a battle of the sexes resulted in toilet paper and Pop-Tarts being burned beyond recognition. I needed to remember how to laugh again.

Most vivid, however, was my endless night in a poorly pitched tent. I tossed. I turned. Despite my best efforts, I could not escape a jagged rock beneath the nylon.

Yet, somehow, I found healing in the midst of my life’s first mental crisis. And – just before sunrise – the mountains closed their arms around me.

You are home.

Continue reading “Happy Trails”

Grate Expectations

IMG_1043

I have a confession: I hate cooking. Really, I make a terrible Southern woman.

When I met my husband, his culinary expertise immediately hooked me. After our first food-inspired date night, I wanted to try my hand at chocolate fondue. I am quite good at following recipes, so I added a few ingredients to create the perfect luscious sauce. Only it was a disaster. And somehow it didn’t even taste like chocolate.

Continue reading “Grate Expectations”

The Dance of Innocence

IMG_0903

Last Friday, I went on my first date with another man: my son. Several weeks ago, I learned of a local mother-son dance, and I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to watch my toddler thrash to fun music.

Well, at least this is how I envisioned our night would look. Continue reading “The Dance of Innocence”