Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I'm Turning 40 Tomorrow...

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I really haven't thought of my age a whole lot since I turned 30. I was sure that turning 30 was going to be a tough birthday for me.

It actually ended up being very nice. A neighbor offered to keep our 2 girls and Jon and I ate dinner at the German Outback Steakhouse and went to a great Volksfest and rode rides.

It was a great day.

Even though the kids are growing and getting older, I don't see myself as "old". Sometimes I don't even feel like a grown-up. I mean, I play with the kids. I watch "Glee". I sing karaoke and color with Abby. We swim and goof around and I feel like I can do most of the "kid" things still.

Tomorrow I'll be 40. My body doesn't feel 40, even though it has a few battle scars and a couple more pounds than I'd like. I don't feel "O-L-D".

But, knowing that tomorrow my new age will start with a "4" scares me just a tiny little bit.

Why? I don't really know. There's no reason for it to.

Life at Casa Heffner is pretty good these days. The summer weather is gorgeous, Virginia is lovely (except for the traffic and crazy drivers...), and 9 days out of 10 my job doesn't suck. The kids and Jon are good, and we've seen more of Jon in the last year than we have the rest of his military career!

But being "in my 40's" scares me. In my mind, it's closer to "the end".

Not to be morbid. I am NOWHERE near being ready for the end of this life.

It's not the number itself. It's really hard to explain.

Hopefully tomorrow will be wonderful and I won't feel a bit different........

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I heard myself in my teenage daughter last night.

"You don't understand. You have no idea what I'm going through."

Oh, honey, I do. But you don't believe me. I was 16 once and thought I knew it all. I thought my mother couldn't possibly understand my life and how hard it was to be 16. I thought my parents were just there to make my life harder than it already was. I said those exact.same.words to my parents. (Well, my mom. No one ever talked that way to my dad. It just wasn't done.)

The only part of your life that I haven't gone through as a teenager is the constant moving. That part sucks. And I wish you didn't have to deal with it. But it's the life that God gave you, and there's a reason why He thought you could handle it. I wish I could explain to you that it sucks for me, too. I don't have best girl friends to hang out with. I don't have someone to cry to (except your dad, but sometimes you need another female...) I hate being the "new girl" too. It's not any easier as an adult. But it has made me stronger. More confident. And I know you don't think so, but it's done that for you, too. I see it in you - you are brave and strong, and you can handle it. I know you can.

I know you think that I don't love you, that all I do is yell at you. I know you think your life is hard. And some of it probably is.

But I don't yell because I like it. I yell to enforce the rules that you (loudly) disagree with. I yell because sometimes I have to be loud in order for people to even hear me at our house and take me seriously at all.

I do love you. We don't hug a lot, because that's not who I am. But I tell you. Maybe I should tell you more. And I am always there for you. It hurts my feelings a lot that you think I'm not.

Maybe you don't know, but I have been crying every night a little bit, too. Thinking about how in one year you will be eighteen and possibly leave home (for college). It's a day I've been dreading since 1994. You will be grown, and I will be replaced with friends, a boyfriend, a new life. You won't need me the way you did.

I don't know what to do. I have never been the mother of a teenage girl before. I don't know what I'm doing, and it probably shows. But I am trying. I'm trying to figure out this new phase of our relationship and how to make it work. It's hard. Some days it sucks.

It reminds me that I am not as young as I feel. I'm not that teenage girl that I see in your eyes. I am the mother now, and I have to figure out how to mother you through the trials that you're dealing with.

I make mistakes. I wish I was perfect. For you. And for me. But I'm not. I am far, far from perfect. And I will make many more mistakes before I die.

It's a fact of life.

We have to find a way to work through this.

I guess I haven't told you enough.

I love you. I am proud of you. I am lucky to be your mom. And grateful. And honored.

I wish you knew that, but I know that it takes more than words.

I will work on it. I hope you will, too.

I love you more than life. I hope you'll believe it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The True Meaning of Memorial Day

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It's more than cookouts and a free day off.

It's a moment to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the name of our country.

We've lost too many Americans to a war-on-terror that I don't fully understand.

On this day, I offer my sincere thanks to those who paid the ultimate price.

As a military spouse, I suppose I think about the reality of a combat death more than the average American.

I hope that ALL Americans take a moment today to remember those who were brave enough to risk their lives for our freedoms.

Fallen servicemembers, you are not forgotten. You live on in the hearts of family and friends, and people (like) me who you never met. People like me who are grateful for your brave service and your commitment to duty.

I remember you this day and give thanks for your life.

Sleep well, fallen servicemembers. Your duty is complete.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"You'll be with me, like a handprint on my heart"

Probably my most favorite song lyrics ever come from the song "For Good" from the Broadway musical Wicked:

"So much of me is made of what I learned from you. You'll be with me, like a handprint on my heart. And now, whatever way our stories end, I know you have rewritten mine by being my friend. Who can say if I've been changed for the better, but because I knew you, I have been changed for good."

I cry absolutely every.single.time that I hear this song. It speaks to my heart each and every time I hear it.

A little backstory:

In my life, I have been hurt by people I called friends. I have also hurt people that I had once called friends. I don't consider myself a bad person - I follow the law, I try to help others and be kind, I even wave idiots on in front of me in traffic. Those I have hurt, I hurt by accidental temporary insanity, or by my own insecurities and self-confidence issues, not because I ever wanted to hurt the people in my life.

These "hurts" at a relatively young age have caused me a lifetime of trust issues. I trust almost no one with my secrets. I have never told anyone all of my life's story - each friend gets a little bit.

I don't have a true BFF to share, to laugh, to cry, because I am afraid to give that much power to someone else. It has always hurt me to do so in the past.

I'm rambling...These are all things I have said before. Back to the topic...

Because I have been a military spouse for 17 years, it sometimes feels we have lived the lives of gypsies. We barely have time to unpack and figure out where the good restaurants are, and it's time to pack up and go again. With my seemingly insurmountable trust issues, how can I possibly find a BFF in that short amount of time? One I can trust and share with and really embrace?

The answer, for me, is that most of the time I can't. I don't.

However, I had two very rare opportunities in my military-associated life to find the exception to this rule - living in Germany and living in Hawaii.

I was blessed to meet some lovely ladies (and their families) in both places that have definitely left handprints on my heart.

(Well, in Germany I was also burned by two ladies that I really cared about as friends. I haven't really ever forgiven them for that. I probably should write a blog entry for that one, just to finally let it go...)

But, I did find the closest thing to a BFF that I think I have ever had.

And in Hawaii, we found 'Ohana. More than friends - people to share our lives with.

I miss them in an almost unhealthy way. (Thank goodness for Facebook, which allows to maintain a presence in each other's lives.)

Thank you, Glee (my favorite show) for airing my favorite song last night. It was a beautiful tribute to the power of friendship.

I think I cry when I hear that song because for years I have really needed a friend in my life. Not just a Facebook friend.

No offense meant to any of my current friends. You are my friends and I love you. But I know you all have BFFs that are not me. And that's fine. It just makes me long for one of my own.

Any takers?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Working Out

image courtesy of

So, I have never been much of an athlete. Who am I kidding. I've never been an athlete! The closest I ever got, and this is a stretch, is starting jogging while we lived in Hawaii.

Working out has never been important to me like it should be to everyone. I mean, I have gone through "phases" where I did a workout tape for a few weeks, or had a period of time when the Elliptical machine was a friend instead of an enemy. But I've never been a regular exerciser.

I never put myself first in that way.

As I reach 40 (!), I think I have finally decided that Tiffany deserves 30-45 minutes a day.

Now, they won't be fun minutes. At least, not at first. They will suck.

I hope that after a few weeks I will like it instead of dread it. I hear that that can happen. After all, I really enjoyed jogging in Hawaii. And I was pretty regular at it. I could see that it was making a difference in my physical and mental health, so it made me want to continue.

But here in Northern Viriginia, there are not a lot of places to run near home. And I want the convenience of working out at/near home. At least for now. I still have 3 kids at home and I work full-time, so when I'm not working at my job, I want to be home for them. (Actually, I want to work at home, too, so I can be near them, but that's another post.)

So, the last 2 days I have gotten back on the Elliptical machine in the basement. I realize that it's not the same as running, but it gets my heart rate up, I sweat like a beast, and my legs feel loose when I'm done. Plus, it's a good excuse to watch the Glee episodes on our DVR. And Glee makes those 30-40 minutes go by pretty quick. And, it's a nice mental health workout, too. A way to burn off some stress and be alone. (No one wants to be around me when I'm on that thing, because I turn the TV too loud so it can drown out the elliptical squeaks.)

I want to want to do this everyday, or at least a few days a week. I want to want it to be part of a new lifestyle. I mean, I am still going to eat dessert and probably still drink Diet Coke sometimes, but I want to be a little skinnier. Not a size 2, that's unrealistic. But a couple sizes less than I am now. We eat moderately healthy, but it hasn't been enough for me.

I want to want it so badly. Badly enough that I stick with it.

So, day 3 on the Elliptical today and we'll just go a day at a time. If I can make it a few weeks, I hope to make it forever.

Wish me luck!

Monday, May 23, 2011 more rain.

Well, not today at least. The sun is shining and, even though I am stuck in the office, I don't mind. Well, not much anyway.

This job has turned out better than I expected. The first couple of months were tough. I was getting used to going to an office everyday. I had a "manager" that was weird. I mean, really out there. He said and did some things that were questionable in my mind. (Maybe that's why he isn't the manager any more.) I didn't love it here, and I had promised to give myself 6 months here and move on.

Since the new manager came along in March, things are better. This job is flexible for when the kids need me. It allows me to work at home once a week. (I wish it will become more, but for now one day a week is actually fine.) It is challenging, but I'm not on call and I don't have to work evenings or weekends. I love that I can not see my cell phone for a whole day and that I don't jump when it rings, wondering "what does work want now?" My 4 teammates are smart, dedicated people who also like to have fun and laugh to break up the workday-monotony. It isn't exactly like my days at NiSource, but close.

It isn't my dream job. It doesn't pay me millions. But it has exactly what I prayed for - flexibility, proximity to home, decent hours, and decent pay.

I am constantly astounded at God's willingness to hear my prayers and answer them. He gave me what I needed, while I figure out exactly what it is that I want.

In other news, Prom was this past weekend. Alissa looked lovely. Of course I cried when I saw her. She and Jon laughed at my sentimentality. Oh well. Facebook friends can see her photo on my Facebook page or hers.

This weekend means an extra day off, a trip to the hair salon, The Hangover 2, and my favorite chicken wings! The other 4 Heffners have out-of-town plans, and I can't go (long story), so I have decided to make my own plans here. It will go by before I even have a chance to realize that I'm here alone.

I hope you all have a great week, and a fantastic Memorial Day!

Friday, April 29, 2011

It's almost May, and things are starting to get crazy...

image courtesy of Google Images

May is always the busiest month for the Heffner clan. Girl Scouts, birthdays, end of school (or almost), Memorial Day, and warm weather! There's always so much going on, but we sort of like it that way. Who wants to sit around and watch their life pass them by?

Well, this May also brings the year that my second child, Alexandra, becomes a teenager. Yikes. I feel like I was just a teenager yesterday. Where have the years gone?

And, Alissa has Junior Prom. Are you serious? Wasn't my Junior Prom just last week?? I don't feel much older than they are. (Thank goodness that age is just a number.)

We're going shopping for the perfect Prom dress this weekend. Just Alissa and me. You'd think I'd be dreading it, that it would be no fun for me. But, I disagree.

It will be a memory that I will keep in my pocket and hold tight, especially when she's away at college and I'm missing her laugh or wishing she was closer.

Say a prayer, friends, that the perfect dress finds my beautiful Alissa. Prom should be a magical evening for a young lady, and we ladies all know that it starts with the dress...

Happy Weekend!