gratitude update

It’s been just over a year since we moved into this apartment that now feels like Home.

Before that, we lived in “high density housing” (American for “poor people’s apartments”) where we were as happy as we could be. It wasn’t because my daughters walked in on a couple guys smoking not-tobacco and not-marijuana in the stairwell, or because of the dealer who camped out on the back stoop, or because of the unsupervised children so desperate for adult guidance their behavior was not always safe, or because the man who lived downstairs disturbed me so much that I told him if he spoke to my daughter again I would call the police—this is the same man who invites those same unsupervised and hungry children to his apartment for snacks after school. None of these are the reasons we moved. We moved because we could. My parents have money and they paid for our move. That move put our lives back on course and the course is good.

The last 4+ years have been difficult. Rocky. Challenging. Full of lessons. Any way I say it, it sounds white-washed. There were times I wasn’t sure I would make it. If you know me well, you’ll know that means it was really bad. Normally, no matter how bad things get, I’m like Pippi calling up to her mother in Heaven, “Don’t you worry about me. I’ll always come out on top!”

Just over four years ago, I was pregnant and our marriage was ending. Then, we had a second child, the very new baby, and our marriage ended. We declared bankruptcy. We moved (me to Brookfield/”high density housing” and him to Orono, a decision I supported). We began sharing custody of our children over the hurdles of physical distance. We readjusted from married-forever to being loving friends who co-parent. Add to all of this many other events, happenings, choices, and significant difficulties that all brought me to the content for my newspaper column, being “newly poor.” All of that also brings me to now.

I’m writing this because today I had a really good day. I’ve had a lot more of them lately. There are many reasons for that, but there’s a distinction for me between having a good day and having a day where the light at the end of the tunnel is so close I’m almost in it (and, I’m now sure it’s not a train).

This wonderful home, some outstanding help in my business (life-changing for me, though she won’t let me give her so much credit), high quality preschool for my nearly-four-year-old and an excellent public school for my nine and a half year old, a spiritual community we love, and heaven on earth (my parents’ summer place near Bethel) to visit in the summers. There are other outward expressions of how much better things are, but I want to keep this relatively brief.

So, I’m tired. I’m very, very tired. Despite my ex-husband’s incredible co-parenting and generous support, I’m still a single mother. Being a single mother is a job I could only understand after living it. I love it, but it’s not easy. At the same time, as I said, work is going well. The column is the job I’ve dreamed of since the 90s when I was writing, “It’s all about me! (the column)” on my website every week. I’ve made several new paintings (not shown on my website) and will be showing them at Bard in time for First Friday in April (they’ll still be there for First Friday in May, too!). My daughters are extraordinary. More and more often, my gratitude nearly overwhelms me. Life is good.


14 thoughts on “gratitude update

  1. Glad to hear things are on the uptick. It’s funny how life has gone through all the changes that it has. I, too, find myself to be a single parent of a fifteen (yikes) old boy and we are both living the life of the “newly poor”. When I look back the nearly 20 years ago when we were all hanging out, I have to say I never expected it to end up like this.

    But you know what, I wouldn’t change a bit of it. Sure it’s hard and stressful and sure, like you, I am tired (often), but the world is full of endless possibilities and as long as I keep that in mind, then why worry and start making an adventure out of it.

    Thanks for writing this, Heather, and I hope everything continues to shine!

    • Holy whoa, Dan. I didn’t know you had a son! I don’t really know anything much about anything in a lot of ways. If you’re living “newly poor” then I know you know what I’ve been going through. Coming from where we came from and being here now, it’s all so foreign and strange and awful and, through all of it, thanks mostly to the kiddos, amazing.

      Thank you, really, for reading, and for telling me a bit about what’s gone on for you, and for leaving this wonderful comment. Thanks. :-)

  2. I’m aware of newspaper columnists who have had a terrific income spanning 3, 4 decades up to their retirement.

    Do Not Believe how newspapers are “dying.” They’re not. They’re going to screens, yes, and Ipads etc.Warren Buffet understands and he’s buying them up. Why? Because he knows. Only a fool would bet against him.

    Cheers, young one.


    • Thank you, so much. I’ve thought a lot about how I might get to do this (writing columns) for a long time. That is, how I might help make that happen. Your encouragement is great to read. Thanks, again.

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