Finding Your Perfection


Today I watched you stand in front of your mirror, your face barely reaching above the top of the dresser – in one hand you hold your plastic curling iron, pretending to fix your long, dark hair for whatever pretend adventure you and your baby sister have planned for today. I know you both will grow up way too fast. I imagine you both crowding in that same mirror that will someday be too small for both of you to use. One day you will have no use for the plastic curling iron and pretend makeup you adore now. You will leave it and your childhood behind. Soon, you will quietly whisper about the boy or boys you are preparing to see. I know one day you may not want to tell me about your dates, and especially the young men that await you, but I’ll still be there, even if I’m still just watching you from the doorway.

Right now a young man can be anything you imagine. He can be as handsome and brave as one in a functional movie, but someday the choices of whom you will want to be with will be more complicated than you realize. I want talk to you about when you give your heart to another person. Your heart is beautiful and precious. I can only hope that you know exactly what you deserve. You won’t learn the majority of it from me, you will learn the most about men from the most important man in your life right now, your dad. I hope when you decide to date, you are willing to wait for someone who is as wonderful as your father.

I had a hard road before I met the man that I’d love forever. Once we met, it didn’t take me long to fall in love with him. It isn’t hard to love your dad, he has a generous smile and a warm personality. Of course, I thought he was the most handsome man I had met but it wasn’t just those things that made me fall in love with him. It was also his generosity, his willingness to give of himself selflessly, and his big, big heart. When we were together, it was like I found a missing part of myself, the best piece of myself. I knew quite soon he and I were supposed to be together.

When he and I met, dated, and fell in love, he demonstrated qualities that assured me he was a trustworthy man. His actions defined him as a man and who he would be as my husband. I was his equal, his partner, and I never worried about what he would do once he held my heart. He didn’t just compliment me, he helped build my confidence. He didn’t just talk with me, he had a genuine interest in me. This is all important because when the time comes, you will want to know if you are with someone who is just as interested in you as he is himself. You will know the relationship will last through the best and worst times because he made time to know you and hopefully you will have done the same. All of this is important because bad times in a relationship will inevitably come. If what is supposed to be the best part of a relationship brings out the worst in someone, don’t be surprised what the worst times in a relationship will bring out. You will want someone who cares about your well being as well as his own during hardships. I know because your Daddy and I have been through a lot together. When we vowed to love one another better or for worse, we didn’t realize how important that vow would be.

We have faced an artillery of difficult circumstances. For example, we never anticipated having a child with a life altering medical condition, or that I would also be diagnosed with one, all within ten years of our marriage. Both diagnoses bring stress to our marriage in various ways.  It is in these times that I have seen the best, not worst, in your father. He has been an example of how to truly love another. He gives of himself and his love selflessly and meets each challenge with understanding and prayer. When there is nothing but pain and hurt on the faces of those he loves, he is patient and non-judgmental. It may sound easy, but it isn’t. It is hard to smile when there is pain inside and I know he hurts too. It’s not easy to be the one person an entire family looks to for guidance and your dad does it so well. When he smiles and says, “It will get better,” and you can have confidence in his words. He can tell me he loves me and thinks I more beautiful than the day we met and although I don’t believe I am, I believe him.

So girls, one day I hope you will wait and seek a man much like your dad. He isn’t perfect, no one is but he’s pretty close. We are all very flawed but love and the love of someone who truly loves you can make a relationship that feels nearly perfect. Until the day you leave us for a family of your own, we want to love you the same…….. imperfectly perfect

Mom (*d*)


Three is a Crowd in the Legend of Me

Everyone has a brood of exes and as my co-blogger has pointed out in her last post, running into one can be, well, interesting. I have three major exes in my life, one ex-boyfriend, one ex-fiancee, and an ex-husband. I have been fortunate to avoid all three for the last twelve plus years. Sure, there is Facebook with the occasional photo but that is a picnic compared to the awkward confrontation. Fortunately my ex fiancée (I will call him Penny Roller) moved out of town and then out of state, my other two exes are still local but I moved away for ten years, thus making a run-in very unlikely. I have since moved closer to my hometown so running into my ex-boyfriend (we will call him Duff) and ex-husband (Holes) a real possibility.

I don’t look forward to the awkward day I am face to face with my past so I hope it never happens. Running into Duff wouldn’t be so terrible. Despite my memories of his rather mopey mug, he was a nice guy and I worked with his wife after high school and I really like her. After sixteen years, I wouldn’t know what to say to him. The last conversation he and I had, we were high school freshman. Penny Roller would be an interesting encounter. We got engaged in high school and he abruptly ended our relationship. I found my own type of closure but there is too much in our past that would be hard to avoid. There are more humorous moments in our shared past as his nickname implies. He dropped out of high school and joined the army while we were together but between these adventures, he worked sporadically. I remember him rolling loose change to afford to put gas in his noisier than necessary truck to “go mudding” (yes, driving your big ol’ truck in an overabundance of mud is a thing in our state) or buy cigarettes. What I boiled down to was a literal notch in his headboard (he had quite a few). The dreaded meeting would be with my ex-husband, Holes. The darker details to this relationship are spelled out in one of my previous posts. He was the man who had obvious red flags that I somehow ignored. I married him out of guilt and fear of hurting his feelings. I ignored the moldy dishes that were rotting in his sink, the odd collection of figurines (earning him the more humorous nickname Senior Nutcracker), and obvious self-centered behavior. I didn’t want to be another disappointment in his life so I chose to turn a cheek to his lack of interest in aesthetics. Holes had a regular rotation of holey clothes and stories by the time I walked out the door. I know how he is and I anticipate an encounter would entail him telling me how terrible of a person I am.

My trio of exes are a string of examples of my self-loathing behavior. I ended the relationship with my ex-boyfriend after we dated a good portion of my freshman year. Things got awkward with Duff when we stopped socializing with friends and I began to feel like I was married at 15. I left him and began dating Penny Roller. I was taken with him, so much so that I often thought of him long after I married Holes. Penny Roller was one of the many reasons I ran away and right to Holes. I had little confidence in myself and thought I needed to settle for the dependable Holes over the Penny Roller’s antics. I didn’t give myself a chance to swoon over other boys (aside from my life long obsession with Wesley from The Princess Bride), but I did have my share of dates between the three. My legend was just a fable, tucked quietly away in the corner of my mind.

It took a few hundred half-witted smiles, several empty boxes of cigarettes, and a shelf load of odd knick-nacks later to finally break free of my trio and meet my legend. I am still amazed by him today. The day may come when I encounter one or all three of the ghosts from my past but despite what happened, I am finally confident in the decisions I have made. I know a chance encounter will no longer bubble up lingering feelings because I know I am exactly where I am meant to be. What memories I choose to hold on are the ones I can laugh at and others that solidify the best decision I ever made.



Wesley: “As you wish.”
Me: “Giggle, giggle.”

Wallflower Road


I am socially awkward. If it were up to me, everyone would wear a name tag and I would have the option to first write down what I want to say before speaking.

I am terrible at remembering names. To help me remember, my husband suggested that I use the name of a new acquaintance before the end of the conversation. I have tired but I still can’t seem to make the association between names and faces easily. Most of the jobs I have had since high school have required me to build some sort of rapport with clients. I did familiarize myself with the regular clients but my relationships with them rarely reached a personal level. My husband thrives in jobs where he can interact with people. He has had plenty of practice. He spent several years in sales and now holds a management position. I am sure he succeeds socially because he is friendly and he can make conversation easily. I, on the other hand, am terrible at small talk. This makes starting a converstion with a stranger difficult. My husband has made friends with people at the airport, random people standing in line, and anyone who responds to his generous smile. When it comes to social finesse, he and I are opposites. We compliment each other in many other aspects of our relationship, unfortunately it isn’t easy to see.

With two people who seem so different, the head scratching and comments to how he and I manage to work have surfaced. My husband was in his mid-thirties when we married. It seemed like so many people waited for him to find just the right woman, and then he met me…. Maybe it was the anticipation of who he would finally marry but I have felt as if I have fallen short of some great expectations. I was the clock radio instead of the HD television in the big gift box at Christmas or the free cat instead of the designer dog everyone wants. I was the shy girl instead of the perfect compliment to my husband’s outgoing personality.

I can’t say for certain that I am an introvert, but I am close. The world does not respond well to introverts. My point has been gratified while writing this piece. Synonyms for the word introvert is defined as a person who retreats mentally; autist, brooder, egoist, egotist, loner, narcissist, self-observer, wallflower, and solitary. In all fairness the same online dictionary listed show-boat, life of the party, and exhibitionist as a few synonyms for extrovert. When I looked up the word outgoing, a few synonyms listed were kind, easy and approachable. All words I would use to describe my husband. I define myself as somewhat shy so a few words used to describe my personality are as follows; distrustful, backward, and wary. “What the ????” How does one break the mold of the pre-defined? Shy, unlike outgoing, did not have the word kind listed as an acceptable synonym. Maybe I should cause an uproar about this. Just because I am shy, doesn’t mean I am not kind. Who do I write? Who is in charge of defining an acceptable word to describe a personality trait anyway? It certainly isn’t a shy introvert.

A few years ago, I took my oldest to his kindergarten screening. My husband (bless his heart) told me it would be a great opportunity to make friends with other parents who would also be attending the screening. What he didn’t realize was how scary it was for me to sit in a room full of strangers. Thank goodness I had my infant daughter with me. She felt like a shield between myself and a room full of snakes. I held on to her tight. She gave me the excuse I needed to avoid small talk. As hard as he tries, I know my husband doesn’t understand this part of me. Making friends is as natural to him as writing is to me. Texting and messaging are my friends. Unlike talking, I don’t need an immediate response, rather I can take a moment to think before I reply. That day at kindergarten screening was intimidating because I tend to over analyze what I say. I feel like I need more than the appropriate split second between small talk to think about what I want to say. I know I can be aloof with my words and I often stumble over them. Opening myself to someone else feels like I am baring my soul. Once I open up, I feel like I am open for scrutiny. Scrutiny to an over-thinker like me is like picking an open sore. I know my short comings; it’s even harder to hear them aloud.

This blog is a scary step for me. I feel like I am in the dream where I am wearing only underwear in class, except my underwear is bright yellow. It is easier for me to have a bit of anonymity while allowing myself plenty of time to reread my own posts several times before publishing. I know my writing needs some work, but my goal is honesty. I want to break barriers for others who can relate to me. I am shy and possibly an introvert, but I am still kind. I can still be open, honest and given some time, even I can handle small talk. Exposing myself to others is difficult and making new friends sometimes feels more like an experiment rather than a natural part of life. I am that girl other people really don’t know if they want to sit next to at the reception, or ask to carpool , or see on the arm of someone so outward and full of life. No one knows what to say to me and it can appear that I think I am too good to make conversation. It isn’t true. I am just scared and I need time to let my guard down. Be warned, if I let my guard down and I get hurt, it will take a long time to earn my trust again. I ask not to be defined by typical definitions but allow me to define myself.

As for my husband and I, we make it work because despite our outward differences we are a lot alike. We can and do talk about everything and enjoy similar interests.  Most importantly, we work because love is not defined by a book, dictionary, or any other person’s perception of happiness. Love is not defined by words, but how someone makes you feel. My husband could have found that one woman that exceeded the expectations of all those who waited for him to find his perfect match. Everyone could have unanimously agreed in excitement that he had finally found “the one.” It did happen but he had to find that definition on his own. It followed his heart ten years and four children later. I made a difficult journey and he took the long road but we met up at the same crossroad and decided to take the next step together. If we decided to let others define us, we would have missed the realization that we were truly what the other needed.


Homemade Pizza and Prozac

I made an awesomely beautiful homemade pizza tonight. My grandmother, who’s staying with us for the winter and loves pizza, was very impressed by its tastiness. My husband, who thinks he’s a pizza aficionado found it to be “amazing.” In all fairness though, he thinks a Quarter Pounder with cheese is “amazing.” While yummy in the throes of an insatiable grease craving, I would never say the burger is amazing. Regrettable, Indigestion inducing, Nap inspiring, those are all terms I’d use to describe the sandwich. But, the pizza was really good.

Anyway, pizza is something we don’t often break out the good china for. We spare my blue and white farm animal print dishes and use paper plates with those plastic support things under them. The practice has always been to use the plastic thing, throw away the paper plate when finished and put the supporter back in its place in the cabinet if there’s nothing crusted on it.

(Thinking of my last post about the horrors of germs on towels and the obvious contradiction this plate policy represents makes me wonder if this is why no one can seem to follow my rules. No, that couldn’t possibly be it.)

For whatever reason, my husband, an engineer, has never been able to grasp the supremely difficult procedure and leaves the plastic supporter lying on the counter RIGHT BELOW THE CABINET IT GOES IN. Without fail. Every time. I’ve asked nicely. I’ve yelled. I’ve brought the plate back to his office and laid it down on his desk saying that there must be some mistake and that perhaps he’d like to try again. He normally apologizes and puts it away but I’m dumbfounded at why he won’t save himself the extra steps and me the inevitable eye twitch. It’s true that I could just put the plate away but I have a long-standing belief that I married a man, not a child. That belief is tested on a regular basis but I don’t feel like I should be supporting his efforts to make me into his mother.

So, tonight, when he again left the plastic thing sit, inches below where it was supposed to be, I asked him to explain it to me—explain how he can’t add one more step to the process and just PUT THE PLATE IN THE CABINET.

“I think it’s because I sit the plate down there on the counter and take the paper plate to the trash and then I just never go back,” he said.

I fight back a quivering eyelid. “You walk past the trash can on your way to that counter. Couldn’t you throw the plate away and then walk to the counter?”

“Uh, I don’t know.”

This. This is why I’m medicated.



Ignoring a Five Year Plan

Next year marks my ten year wedding anniversary. This is significant for a number of reasons. For the significance of this post, it means my husband and I have been together for a couple rounds of “where do you think we will be in five years.”
This used to be such an entertaining game. Even before he and I met, a sported round of this game was always worth a spin. Here is how the three previous rounds have summed up since I was somehow declared an adult.
Round one took some casualties. I lost friendships and a marriage but I gained the confidence to live on my own and try to start asking what I wanted with the next five years.
Five years later and I was remarried. I had two children. We were both employed and happy. It was also in this five years we found out one of our children had a rare and incurable disease. Five years down the road began to look more bleak.
Sadly my husband and I no longer question where we will be in five years. My life is very different than I could have imagined and it demands that I live for today. Planning tomorrow ended years ago in a hospital room when we realized how quickly today can change tomorrow.
Five years from now is scarier than it used to be. The older I get, the less I would want to know. In everything there is joy but only with a share of heartbreak. I think I can wait for it all.
Today I will start a new game called, “making today’s decision at the crossroad count.”

Five Year Plan

When we graduated high school and were making plans about where we were going to be in five years, I don’t believe any of us really had a clue. I know I didn’t. I certainly wouldn’t have predicted that I’d be living with a cheating drug abuser, finishing up my last year of college and my English degree, and working four small part-time jobs just to be able to afford Dollar Menu dinners every night. Nor would I have been able to foretell the five years after that that included my druggie boyfriend leaving me for my cousin, me re-living my early 20’s out on the dance floor of the local dive bar, and numerous gentlemen floating through my life. None of that is what I imagined. The last five years has been a surprise too. The pleasant kind. I met my husband, finished writing a novel I started in 2005, and quit my job to—well, mostly I quit because it was awful. Also, I wanted to finish my book. I had intentions of getting a job once the novel was done, but finishing it made me want to be a part of the writing community. It made me want to see if I could make money doing what I loved instead of barely being paid to do what I hated. Even though I’ve found that it’s a long way from the last keystroke on your manuscript to the first paycheck, I’m excited to have come this far. This whole experience has pushed me to make choices about who I am, what I want, and where I’m going.

It’s a scary thing to be 33 and not have a clue where your life is headed—to be staring down the barrel of Life, pointed right in your face. Every day I feel inadequate and incapable and dare I say, like a failure. I wonder where I go from here. What’s next for me? Where will I be in five years? The only thing to do is to make a choice and pursue it like my life depends on it. I have to accept that just because I stumble, it doesn’t mean I’ve chosen the wrong path. There are bumps in every road.