The Toast of a Lifetime

I wanted to share something sweet and romantic today. I am a romance writer, after all!  Below is the speech my daughter gave at my wedding a year and a half ago, after having been with Will for about sixteen years. It’s one of the most lovely things that has ever been written about any part of my life and I cherish it.

When I met Will I was already married and still IN my marriage. There is a lot of complicated stuff in there and a tale of accidental polyamory that is relevant to this, but not so much that I need to get into all of those details today, here. Mostly, I wanted to share this lovely toast with you. We didn’t get a recording of it, but I can tell you that everybody there was moved by Jade’s toast and I’m finally putting it out there for you all to enjoy.

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The three maidens – L-R – Jade, Robin, Amber

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Jade was given a LOT of wedding responsibility, that she handled like a champ. Here you can see the migraine Jade is about to have start to take hold. She held out until after the speech then got a very bad migraine, bless her!

My mom brought Will home for the first time when I was 8 years old. I remember her sitting me down and telling me about how he was going to be around a bit, and though it was kind of complicated, not to worry about it.  I didn’t know what to think, or how to explain it to my friends, or what was going to happen – but i knew I wasn’t worried. I think even part of my little 8 year old subconscious recognized the spark of something I’d never truly seen in my mother: happiness.heatherwillwed.color-318

So he stayed around.  I grew up as they grew together. I don’t remember too much about those formative years in their relationship, but I do remember Will coming into mine.  Without too much fuss, he became a part of the family and the routine; he would wake me up for school and make me breakfast while I passed back out on the couch (something that my boyfriend will tell you is not too different from what he does for me now.)  He came to the school plays and recitals, we would go on Saturday day trips together, and soon it was all just part of life.  His family became our family; his wins became our wins; his losses became our losses; and ours his.

Life happened. Hardships and complications and hurdles happened; and I watched them, every time, look each other in the eyes and choose to choose each other, and then look forward into navigating whatever made the seas heavy that time.  I watched them learn how to be together, and look at every situation – eventually – as not a problem, but a challenge; an opportunity to learn more about how to best love the other person.  Soon, they became my template for what a loving relationship should look like; what compromise means, what humble means, what grace means.

From the night they met, it was Will and Heather.  Yeah, there were some complicated things in there, some extra baggage at times; but that’s what it was.  From that point on, it was Will and Heather, co-captains of Ship Weatherhill, always looking forward.

And for my part, I have always felt very grateful and lucky that Will came into my life – and I know my co-maidens feel the same. I so appreciate the fact that, though my mom had so many logistical reasons that she could have just kept her life moving in the direction it was, she had the courage to climb on board and redirect the sails, and start moving into the winds, even if it was going to be hard.  And she ended up taking us with her, and I will always be grateful she did.

Will has been nothing but a supportive, loving presence in my life; he still comes to all the school plays; he still brings me breakfast when I pass out on their couch.  Even when he is tired and even when he is upset, he is a constant, positive beam of moonlight in every life he touches, always with a poetic word and an ear to listen.  When my father kind of disappeared into his other life, Will seamlessly stepped in – not taking up the space, but in fact stretching it to fill the gaps where I needed somebody.  In all of the kerfuffle of this lifetime they’ve lead together, never once did I feel a lacking.

And my mother is different too, from the mother I had in my younger years.  She is more fulfilled, more unafraid, and more open (as if anyone thought that was possible.)  She has learned how to love herself by loving Will, and by proxy learned how to love the people around her better.  She found herself in finding him, and I don’t know where she would be if she hadn’t, but I wouldn’t want to find out.

heatherwillwed.color-310Most people don’t get to watch their parents find their people.  They weren’t born yet, or it’s hidden from them, or it’s after they moved out, or whatever the reason. But I did.  I got to watch my mom make the journey, make the choices, and come out of the other side the person she was supposed to be as opposed to the person she was trying to make herself become.  I watched them become a them, and I watched them refine it, and I continue to watch them work and love and compromise and sail.

So, a toast, to Heather and Will; The ship that will always sail through heavy seas.

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*photos by the very talented Mary DeMarco-Logue

Walking Towards the Sun

 

Like most people, my life has had a lot of ups and downs. Though the first years of the 2010s decade sucked and my life felt totally upside-down, my heart was broken into a million bits, the end of this decade was much happier. I got married. Bought a house. Have been spending more time talking to my daughters and sister. I have wonderful neighbors and am in a cute town. I have a muggle job I like and I started a authors’ salon as well as a book festival, which has connected me with many wonderful women writers. These things have all been blessings. I’ve had downs in there, too. Some health issues. Depression. Anxiety. But overall, these past couple of years have been good.

I do this thing, this thing were if my life is going well I expect something terrible to happen. Even writing that makes me a little superstitious, like I’m asking for trouble. But I’ve worked on getting past those things. One big helper is writing down all the stuff I worry about and much later looking at it to see how many of the awful things came true. Usually not many.

I’ve always had a hard time letting go. But ya know what? I’ve gotten better at it. This quote (the one in the image) by Mary Engelbreit has always spoken to me. Looking back is very important to helping us grow, learning from our mistakes, and seeing where we don’t want to be. What we don’t want to do is keep looking back at hurts and wrongs and feeding energy into them. Giving them energy makes them more alive and it’s harder to get distance on them. In my Red August series Faolan does a lot of looking back and it makes him stunted in his ability to see anything beyond and therefore hope for anything more.

I don’t want to be stunted. I want to grow and learn. Though my growth is going to look a lot different than it would have at the beginning of previous decades, I’m looking ahead. Walking down paths that have light at the end of them whenever I can find them. I’m not talking about being sunny and positive all the time, I’m talking about letting go of hurt, knowing my worth, and not meditating on the negative.

Let’s start off the next decade walking towards the sun.

 

 

Happy Hogmanay

I’ve included Hogmanay in my Red August series. My husband has a lot of Scottish in his bloodlines on both sides and it’s probably one of the main reasons I use Scottish themes in that series.

Have you wondered what on earth Hogmanay is? Well here is a nice little piece about it, please hop over and give it a read https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/38477036

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screencap from their website.

Social Media Scale-back & Awkward Moments

Sometimes I just want to dig a little hole in the sand and wiggle in and cover myself. It’s odd how much the opinions of others can affect me sometimes. And I get (and have) a lot of opinions online. Sometimes, when I kind of admire somebody, or respect them, and something awkward happens, I just want to NOPE out of all interactions with the outside world and curl up into a blanket burrito with my cat.

I’ve been saying I wanted to scale back my social media forever. I have in some ways over the past two years, but it’s still way too present in my life. I’ve had recent arguments online in groups that are supposedly like-minded in goals and lifestyle. I left those groups last week. I’ve read most of my news online. And stay in touch with friends that way.

Today I went to check out the wall of a fellow author and newer FB friend who I’d had some nice interactions with, and it appears as though she blocked me, and I have no idea why. At first I was thinking I would write to a mutual friend and ask if they knew why. But when somebody blocks you, they have their reasons and they don’t owe you an explanation, so I came here to write and think about it and figure out a system to move past these things. I do take it on heavily when stuff like this happens, like I did something bad or wrong and tell myself stories about not being a worthy person. But I have to find ways to get past that QUICKLY, because spinning my wheels about why somebody doesn’t like me has already eaten half of my life. I used to think confronting issues and communicating was the best way to handle things like this. Like, if I could know why she blocked me and discuss it there would surely be a misunderstanding in there and we could clear it up and everybody would feel better. But at this point in my life, maybe it’s better to just let people have their view of me (informed or not), and for ME to find a way to just be ok with whatever it is they think. Clearly communication isn’t an option, but even if it was, is that how I should spend my time?

So, in the end I took it as a really good sign that I should scale way back off of online interactions because that is a place things often go sideways. I should instead put my energy into my blog. My websites. My books. My other job. My family. And real in-person time with friends.

I’ve said these things before. And each year they become truer. Will this be the time I have some success?

My friend suggested I take the Facebook app off of my phone. I’m going to try that to see if it helps.

Have you been scaling back your personal time on social media? What has worked for you?

Do you have a way of dealing with these kinds of hurtful and awkward situations?

What kinds of things do you want to do to make your life a little richer in 2020?

 

The Better Part of Valor

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Sometimes you want to talk about things you can’t really talk about.

Sometimes you just want to wall up your heart from the pain of caring about people, or to let slip away the responsibility of having them care about you.

Sometimes you’re part of a small exclusive club of aching hearts and broken spirits.

Instead, you think about love in its many incarnations. What it requires of you, and what it gives. From a single thread, to a fully woven tapestry, you are the weaver and the collector of textiles.

So you keep it to yourself. You hold it dear. You can learn from it.

And you use discretion, because to do otherwise would cheapen the experience.