Tag Archives: global

The adventure has begun

Rather than simply change planes in Brussels, we decided to spend a few days there, to adjust a bit to the time difference, and have a family break before starting life in Guinea. This picture sums up our five days in Brussels.

We had such a wonderful family time, to decompress, eat, drink, and be silly.

The flight to Conakry, was a deep (and LOUD) dive into local culture! The man a few rows ahead, traveling with his two young daughters, had his hands full. When he couldn’t get one of them to shush, either someone sitting within the sound barrier (eight rows front, back, and either side), or someone within arm’s reach, would take one of the girls.

Sometimes the man would raise a daughter up over his seat and hand her to an unwitting (but apparently not unwilling) passenger.  Sometimes it was initiated by the fellow passenger.  All of these were strangers.

And, strangely enough, each of them tried their hand at quieting the child.  Some were men, some were women.  They each succeeded in getting the girls to sleep. And then they would quietly pass the angelic, and finally quiet, girls back to their dad.

I think Peanut knew he was going to be handed over if he fussed, and was suspiciously quiet the entire seven hours. 

Our cabin on board the Africa Mercy has been a pleasant surprise!  It’s 10% of the size of our house, (it’s still our house–the sale fell through) but much bigger than we anticipated.  We’ve got Peanut’s stroller and backpack shoved behind the end of the couch, but we’re in!

The kids’ room has a bunk bed for the older two, and Peanut sleeps in a pack n’ play at the foot of their bed.  The room is just wide enough for him to reach over the side of his crib, open either of his siblings’ closets, and dump all their contents on the floor.  He’s greatly amused.  They’re campaigning for me to pay them in TV-time, every time they have to clean up one of his messes. I like the idea of paying for chores with something other than cash, but not sure TV-time is the winning currency.

Our “Master Bedroom” (had to say that - it makes me snort and giggle) is cozy. I love that Dreamboat and I literally brush past each other a dozen times an hour. Small spaces make for lots of contact. Can’t beat that.

Hmmm…I’m thinking that in the next house, we should switch the master bedroom with the closet. That’s a much better use of space.

Speaking of closets, I brought ALL the wrong clothes. This is a Moslem part of Africa. No ‘kneevage’ allowed. I’m looking at my knees with new eyes!

During breakfast, early one morning, (and, I do mean EARLY.  There are mandatory meetings that start at 7:45 am, and Dreamboat had left at 4:00am for a screening of potential patients with DOUBLE cataracts.) Miss O was telling me that I don’t understand how hard it is to be my daughter. Had I shown more sympathy to her plight, we might have avoided the incident that followed. But, I didn’t. And here’s what did.

Miss O, quite dramatically left to use the restroom. When closing the bathroom door, which is about three inches from the kitchen sink,  she was making a point. Firmly. And she locked it.

Now, the room we’re staying in isn’t used often. And, it was once the showcase cabin while the ship was being retrofit. And the keys to the rest of the ship don’t work here. And our doors are solid metal.

Without knowing any of this, Miss O shortly tried to leave the bathroom. The door would not unlock.  I have to admit I wasn’t feeling my MOST charitable, so I let G try to help her for a minute. Then, I tried pulling the door while she tried the lock. Then pushing the door. Then we tried passing things like coins under the door, to see if she could use them to unscrew something. Anything.  G tried passing his math under the door.  I think perhaps he had ulterior motives for that one.  But, I didn’t think it was serious. For Pete’s sake, if she locked the door, she could eventually unlock it. Right? So, while I tidied up from breakfast, we continued to encourage her through the locked door, and her voice stopped quivering and took on more of an annoyed tone. Again. I chalked it up to all the adjusting we’re doing, and continued trying to help.

After thirty minutes, I sheepishly called Reception, told them of our situation, and asked if there’s a master key.  Within minutes the Duty Officer arrived.  He called the First Officer. Who called the Captain. They worked for TWO AND A HALF HOURS.

While we waited, I took advantage of the forced halt to the day, ran Peanut up to Preschool (a thirty-second-commute), and made coffee to share with the Captain. We had a great chat and the officers provided emotional support to Miss O, asking her how she was doing every minute or two. I kept her supplied with reading material.

Finally, several drill bits later, and after trying several other options, including a crowbar to the frame, they drilled through the lock.

I’m grateful for the perceived lack of my empathy, as there was a great life-lesson for my girl.

I will also be grateful when a blank plate is placed over the gaping hole in the bathroom door.

There’s not enough bandwidth to upload the fifteen pictures I had planned to include. You can use your imaginations.


We all, truly, love the adventure so far.




Filed under September 2012

Nighttime dose of reality

I know the pictures of us touring Brussels look like so much fun. And we are having a great time. But, let’s not romanticize what traveling with three kids can look like. I won’t go into the detail of the fighting and bribing to get two of the three kids to eat, at two of yesterday’s three meals (we fixed the usual fare for breakfast, in our apartment).  But, I will give you a brief overview of what the night looked like.

We were going to have an early night.

That was the plan. But, plans don’t always happen.

After blowing (Ruining. Forever.) our Bluetooth speaker (our only provision for the music required for family dance-offs), Dreamboat figured out how to accommodate charging 3 devices through an assortment of converters, power strips, and adapters. One of the devices was my phone.

Dreamboat and I finally turned the light out just after midnight. I swear I had turned my phone off. Repeatedly. But, as it was one of the lucky electronics to be charging, when someone called at 2:30 AM, it rang. And rang. And rang. I finally unplugged it to get it to power off.  Even though it was arguably my fault, for the sake of preserving friendship, I’m not going to find out who called.

The call started a chain reaction.

First Peanut woke from what he thought was an afternoon nap.  After 30 minutes of listening to him (and potentially cursing his being awake. Potentially), I got up and gave him a Melatonin.  Yep. Drugged the Peanut.  Shouldn’t have wasted my time.  When I went back to bed he yelled loud enough to be heard back in Seattle. Woke the other two kids.

Here’s where the night took a decided downturn.

I brought Peanut to bed with us.

Now, I’m not a family-bed-kind-of-person.  No judgment here for those who are.  (I believe that whatever works for your family and gets your kids reared with the least parental-suffering, and I suppose, least child-suffering too, is a good way to go.)   For me, that means no co-sleeping. Co-sleeping means I suffer. And we all know, “when mama’s not happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

I need my sleep. Dreamboat and kids will agree, I need my sleep.  In fact, I can totally see the appeal of Carol-Burnett-style-separate-beds. Just saying. (And, obviously I am seriously sleep-deprived or I wouldn’t ever say that. Ever.)

So, bringing Peanut to bed, which was a selfless gesture on my part to allow the older kids to sleep, had the usual disastrous effects on me. Even though I got more cuddles and kisses and slobbering and kicking and face-patting and hair playing (pulling) and eye poking and hand-holding than a girl could wish for.

Peanut thought he was in Heaven.

I thought I was in Hades.

Dreamboat slept through it. All.

At 5:20 am, Peanut fell asleep.  I immediately carried him back to his pop-up-crib and returned to bed.  Where I eventually fell back asleep.

At 7:00 am, construction started on the building across the street. Let’s just say my thoughts weren’t charitable and my earplugs, which I wear every night, can’t stand up to hammering on metal. With a metal hammer. At 7:00 am. After having been asleep for only 1.5 hours.

At 7:30 am, Miss O came in to show me a bite on her finger. A bite, on her finger?  From a bug. That’s why she thought it was ok to wake me? Really? I refrained from giving her a bite to complain about. But I thought about it.

I sent her away without acting on my thoughts. I thought I was even pleasantish. (Miss O may have a different opinion.) But, I bet she won’t wake me to show me a bug-bite tomorrow morning.  Although, she might wake me for a hangnail.

At 8:00 am, G woke up. And came to tell me was awake.  Wasn’t that thoughtful of him?

I gave up. Got up. Made some coffee.

I have to say, Douwe Egberts makes some delicious coffee. And, when paired with heavy whipping cream, it makes me happy.  And, drinking several 10-ounce ‘cups’, from a European-styled bowl, makes me really happy.  And helps to make-up for the lack of sleep.

So, I’ve now been up three hours, and Peanut is still sweetly sleeping.

And I’ve had lots of coffee.

I’m equal parts admiring and envious.  But, I’m letting him sleep.  How can I begrudge him the rest he needs, that also gives me the quiet I need to write?  And to enjoy yet another large bowl of heavy-cream filled coffee?

Once Peanut wakes, we’re off to explore the Atomium and other Brussels monuments, and free-museum Wednesdays.

And I’ve already warned the family that I may not be at my most-sweetest today. Let’s just hope there’s no discussion over trying new foods today.

They’ve been warned.


Filed under September 2012

For My FIVE Kids

Not sure I would ever say this out loud.  But, this is my private journal (right?).  I wrote this alone in a motel room, after a lovely glass of chilled rosé (it’s my favorite summer wine). And I recently read an inspiring story about an abandoned child that was rescued by Mercy Ships.

And, although I currently have three children, my key password at work is: For My FIVE Kids.

It’s not figured into our budget. There are no additional airline tickets purchased. And, just yesterday, Dreamboat tried to get me to agree we would NOT. But, here’s my secret hope…

There will be a child. Or siblings. Who need love. Our love.

I’ve always wanted five kids.  I remember Dreamboat’s eyes when I told him this particular dream of mine, on our fourth date (right after I told him that I don’t share well, and if he wanted to date the other girl he was seeing, then no hard feelings, but I wasn’t interested).  Well, obviously Dreamboat bet on me, and we’ve made three amazing children. And I barely lived through the pregnancies. And the family barely survived me being pregnant.  And I wouldn’t want to add children to our family while I’m busy working with my corporate clients.

BUT, while we’re taking this year to focus on family, should a child (or children) be without love. Without family. Without resources. Without hope.  Then, I want to be their answer.  We have love to give.  We have more resources than they were born to.  And, with this year “off”, we have the time to spend, incorporating them into our family structure. Loving them. Nurturing them. Showing them they are valued and unique and treasured.

It may not happen.  It doesn’t usually happen this way. In fact, Guinea’s adoption policy with the US is complicated.  And if it doesn’t happen, I’ll be OK. Disappointed. Maybe a bit heartbroken. But OK.

And, knowing me, I may put the dream to one side…but only for a while.

Miss O wants a little sister. I’m happy to comply. But, I’d be happy with any child. Boy or girl. Or one of each. Or two of one.


Filed under Aug 2012

Education and discontent

When Dreamboat and I were first married, we used to dream. A lot.  We’d play “What would you do if you won the lottery?”  We were broke and it was fun. And we learned about each other. And what inspires and motivates us.  And, not surprisingly, we learned that if there were piles and piles and oodles of money lying around (those MEGA million lotteries were the most inspiring), we both wanted to support education.  For other children. For other adults. For other countries.  Because we both firmly believe that when you educate a child, you bring hope to not only that child, but their family, their village, and their entire country.  As a former high school substitute and French teacher, I firmly believe this.

And, funny enough, my clients at Microsoft for the past several years, have been in education. Strange how that works. Isn’t it?

And, I’ve been inspired. (You will be too if you check out this video.  Promise).

And I’ve been reminded of the need for more education. Anthony Salcito, their VP of worldwide education is working tirelessly to support his belief that education for every child should be a Right. NOT a privilege. (I couldn’t agree more). His daily highlights of education heroes will remind you too (and inspire you. And on occasion, bring you to tears).

And I’ve been convicted to do more.

OK. I have to insert here that the ‘conviction’ partially came through hours, months, years of misery at work.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely, dearly, truly love Microsoft, and the $500 million they’ve poured into education (reaching 8 million teachers and 190 million students). I’ve gotten my kicks working with Ministers of Education around the globe. I’ve loved rolling out lesson plans focused on protecting our environment to 149 countries. I’ve been privileged to participate in bleeding-edge discussions around child-directed learning. It’s also been rewarding to get to challenge the Microsoft employees to do their part in education. To make a difference too.

And I sat next to CEO Steve Ballmer once (I’m still a total nerd at heart).

And, I got to make a few new entries to the list of countries I visited…which I have kept over the years.  I first started writing it in high school, when I was bored in classes.  I’ve kept it up in all sorts of boring meetings since then. That and ranking the list of guys I’ve kissed…which of course, I don’t do anymore.  (That also gets boring when Dreamboat clearly outranks anyone, and new entries stopped over fifteen years ago.)

Yes, I am that shallow. And obviously have no shame. Sorry Mom.

But, inside, I grew dissatisfied. And I lost some of my passion. I grew quieter. I started to settle with the small decisions. And then with the bigger decisions. And stopped voicing my opinion. And I felt like I was wimping out. I wasn’t living my best life.  I had more to give. More to do. More to be.

Of course being an entrepreneur in a large, corporate setting, isn’t easy either.

But now, as part of our year of travel, we’re going to DO more.  We’re going to volunteer with Mercy Ships, who work tirelessly to educate others about health, agriculture, and micro-enterprise.  We’re going to volunteer at an orphanage in Peru, and help ensure those children get the love and education they need to flourish and live their best lives.

And… and here’s the funny/hard/interesting part. This year away also means we’re going to school our own children.  HOMESCHOOL.  That word used to send chills down my spine.  I should never have said ‘never’. I know better.  But here we are. Homeschooling three kids for a year.  And I know that I’m putting into practice and living out what I believe in.  That education can change lives. And will change the lives of my kids. That this year of adventure and helping others, and culture shock, and hardship, and surfing lessons, and fine wine (not for the kids), and opening our kids’ eyes to the world, will teach them more than they could learn any other way. That this year of adventure will be the best education I can give them. And that they will be changed because of it.

And, they will thank us…maybe not right away, maybe not for a few years…but they will, in time, think of this year as one of the greatest gifts we could give them.  And, just like my time growing up on a ship made me who I am, this gift will shape who they become.


Ps – I’ve taken on one last client (of course it’s all about education) before we head out, to raise awareness for Microsoft’s Global Forum. It’s a joy and an honor to work to celebrate the world’s most innovative educators, who bring learning to life in the classroom and impact millions of students. And, hopefully (it’s commission-based) it will provide some income to help fund this year of education and adventure!

One of the AMAZING, innovative teachers being recognized at the Globl Forum


Filed under Aug 2012

Home – part two

I’m often told how strange/odd/unique/different I am.  It’s true. I am.  Just today I was trying to fill out one of those online password reminder forms.  It wanted the street I grew up on.  The city I lived in. My 3rd grade teacher…NONE of which I could answer.

So, here’s a bit of background on why I am such an alien. Happy alien. But still an alien.

I grew up on a ship. The Anastasis.  She was  a 522 ft. (183 m), 11,650 ton hospital ship that recently ‘retired’ (it was time.  She deserved to sail away on still, aqua waters, forever.  But, it was and still is, very hard to say goodbye). I moved onboard when I was nine.

See that third porthole back from the 4th deck up? I drew a yellow arrow for you…that’s my cabin…IS my cabin. ‘Cause in my head it’s still mine.

The facts are pretty simple.  How I felt about it is more complex…which I’m sure will feature in future blogs, as its part of who I am.

The Anastasis belonged to Mercy Ships. A non-profit organization that brings hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor.  All their work is given for free.  They perform all sorts of surgeries, like the cleft lip and palate repair on this little one.

Their crew of volunteers minister to those terminally ill.

Train local personnel to address mental, neurological and substance abuse disorders.

Agricultural training.

Maternal health training.

Varied construction projects to build local hospitals, training centers, orphanages, and other community service facilities.

And distribute food and other supplies to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Here a picture of us kids (me, Luke and JP), shortly after we moved onboard, and then with Mom & Dad, and Charles, after he was born.

During my ten years onboard, we sailed all over, usually spending half of each year in the world’s poorest nations (by WHO standards), and visiting 1st world countries the other six months, to gather supplies, support, and volunteers.

‘The Ship’ as everyone calls it that lived onboard, was like a floating village.  There were upwards of 500 people and over 50 kids at any given time.  We had school in a designated area, built-out with classrooms on the aft (back) of one of the decks.  And unfortunately, Mom was the Principal for a while. I didn’t like that so much.  She was great, but you can’t get away with anything when your mom is your teachers’ boss…

We did science experiments and had piano lessons (and the dreaded recitals).

A nuclear submarine engineer and Chief Engineer taught my advanced trig and calc classes. During the summers we had to volunteer with the department of our choice.  My favorite jobs were volunteering with the fire team, the aft deck snack shop, and working with a construction crew. I’m sure painting on my arm was really helpful.

These glimpses into my life don’t really begin to describe it. I loved every minute of it in many ways, and at the same time really suffered from it too (mostly because of who I am). One of the things I found the hardest was the constant goodbyes to friends, either as we sailed away and waved goobye to them and their country, or as other ‘ships kids’ and their families moved back ’home’.

But, growing up on the ship gave me an innate understanding and love for people of other cultures.  That raises the question of what ‘other’ cultures are. Hmmm. Not sure what culture I am…But I know I am so very grateful for how blessed I was, and am.  Growing up as I did was the amazing gift that made me who I am. That gave me the heart for development. That exploded my worldview. That gave me such a feeling of fulfillment and joy. That helped me truly see and really love people.  All people.

And now, Dreamboat and I are about to take the kiddo’s back! Back to living with people from 149 countries.  Back to making a difference.  Back to doing our small part to change the world.

We start volunteering (yes, we’re PAYING for the privilege to work) on the Africa Mercy this fall.  This ship will be in Guinea.  My life, in an awesome and strange way, is coming full circle.  I get to introduce my kids to my home.  It will change their world…and make them odd too.

And by the way, I like being odd.  It suits me and it will suit them :-)


Filed under July 2012


This is subject to change, depending on flight costs and whims of fancy, but our plan for the coming year is to divide our time between four different areas. We’d also like to ‘follow-the-sun’ so that we don’t have to pack winter clothes. And because, well, we’re tired of the grey Seattle weather.

First, we’re volunteering with Mercy Ships in Guinea. We’ll be living on the Africa Mercy. Dreamboat and I will be teaching business and managerial skills and offering coaching to the crew. I hope there will be lots of opportunities for us and the kids, to get to know some of the patients. To color with children before their surgeries, and sit with them and their mamma’s and daddy’s while they wake up.  G has already collected a bag of small toys–to give to children he meets in the villages we’ll visit.

After Christmas in Morocco (I know, what an incredible DREAM!), we’re heading to Southern Spain …time to take advantage of the slower pace of life and the Euro crisis. And Spanish immersion classes. I keep telling the kids, repeatedly, that my dream is three-hour meals, where we lounge around a table of incredible food, enjoy each other’s company, and just BE together.  They just look at me like I’m crazy.

OK.  I have to tell you here, that one of the reasons Miss O has been supportive of this whole, crazy plan, is that she wants to spend some time in Paris (her current dream is to be a fashion designer there).  And, as the flight gods didn’t align, we’re now flying through Brussels and not Paris, on our way to Guinea.  Haven’t told Miss O yet…

Then on to Peru for the third leg of the trip, where we’re planning to take surfing lessons, volunteer at an orphanage, and lose ourselves in more Spanish language and culture. And visit Machu Picchu.  I’ve always dreamt of hiking the trail up to visit the ancient Inca city. At this point, my three kiddos couldn’t do it on-foot, so I may have to adjust my dream a bit.  But, who knows….by then my kids’ endurance may be better.

Finally, we plan to spend some time on the East Coast of the US, focusing on revolutionary US history, with visits to Washington DC, the Smithsonian Museums, and several of the historical battle sites.  We’ll also be planning how to re-enter ‘normal society’, strategizing, and doing job searches.  And, Dreamboat wants to spend these three months in an RV.  HELP.  I don’t see how even my favorite chocolate and wine can solve this one…

AND we recently adopted a dog.

Major complication.  The kids are in love.  I’m irritated (although late at night, when no one’s watching, I rub her belly while we snuggle on the floor. She’s not allowed on the furniture).

So we’re also working on pet-travel-regulations. And by ‘we’, I mean Dreamboat.



Filed under July 2012

Home – part one

Our house is on the market. For sale or lease. Whichever comes first.

I’m sure our neighbors just love us.  You see we only moved into the house a year ago.  And it was a dump and we’ve turned it into our dream house and reduced the dozen cars and other issues the neighbors hated, that came with the people who were renting it. And now we’re selling it.

This house has fulfilled a lot of dreams for me.  I love to entertain and to decorate.  The process of taking a place with urine-stained carpet…and the smell that accompanies it…into a welcoming and beautiful home, gets my creative juices flowing.

In our previous place, when we had friends over for dinner, once everyone was seated at the table, it was no longer possible to move around the room.  At all. There was no room.  The table extended through the hall and up to the adjoining wall.  Had there been room to move a chair back enough to stand up, there was no point, there was no-where to go.  In fact, and this was really embarrassing, the door to the toilet was directly next to the head of the table.  People didn’t want to leave the table for ANY reason… you get my drift here, right?

You may wonder why I still kept inviting people over.  But I love to entertain. Truly. Deeply.

I’ve got to stop thinking about that, as I’m feeling all caged up again, and shoe-horned and uncomfortable.

Our current place makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And proud of it and what I’ve done with it.  And at peace. Especially when there’s people over…or a party on the horizon J  We’ve had fifteen sets of overnight guests in the year we’ve been here, and are eagerly awaiting 4 more groups before we leave.   Woohoo. Can’t wait.

Although I’m so very happy here, I’m ready to sell. At least I keep telling myself that it’s just a house. There will be other places to decorate and welcome friends into, right?

I want to focus on my children and the relationships we build, and the kind of people they become. And I believe (Hope. PRAY)  that our dream of traveling with the kids, and all they will be introduced to, and our time together, will shape who they are and make them better people.

There are lots of inspiring, wonderful people out there who haven’t taken a year like this.  Whose dreams are different.  But it looks as though, because I am who I am, and because of how I grew up, that once again, we’re going to choose the hard way.  Beautiful too.  But hard. Staying, for our family, would be easy.

But here’s what scares me.  Ok, here’s one of the MANY things about this year that scare me…

I grew up living in 200 square feet, but without a home (I grew up on a traveling hospital ship – more about that in another post). And I know what it’s like to not really belong ANYWHERE.

And my little kiddo’s are begging us NOT TO SELL THE HOUSE.

And maybe I’m projecting, but am I going to scar them? Will they feel lost and untethered?  Will they feel abandoned, or worse… rejected…by their friends who may fill up, with other friends and activities, the gap my kids leave?

I just opened an email with an offer on the house. Today. Now.

So, tonight, Dreamboat and I will be discussing the pro’s and con’s of selling the dream house.

And potentially scarring our kids.

Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated…


Filed under July 2012

Breaking my heart a little

It’s been one week since the big decision.  Tonight was the designated night to let my friends in on the secret. Talk about shaking with excitement and dread.  I want my girlfriends to know what’s consuming my mental and emotional capacity. I need them to know.

I need them.

But telling them also makes it really real. As in REAL.

And six years after moving here, I finally feel like I have an amazing circle of friends.  My community.  We’re finally really happy and settled here.

And now we’re leaving.


The evening started out well.  I played stylist and selected outfits with matching bags, jewelry and shoes for every potential type of event…from my closet.  I gave away the ball gown I was wearing when newly pregnant with Miss O and Tippi Hedron accosted me in the ladies room by rubbing on my not-yet-protruding belly.  Ok, maybe it wasn’t quite an assault, but having never been pregnant before, I hadn’t been warned of the violation of personal space that was to come.  I gave away the suit I wore when I pitched the VC in San Francisco. I gave away the four pair of leather boots my friend Teresa picked out for me, sight unseen, at a Nordstrom ½ of ½ of ½ sale. I gave away the sequined shirt and jacket I wore to see Mama Mia one fun evening in London.  I gave away the red high heels I wore when Elvis walked me down the aisle to marry Dreamboat that night in Vegas.

Several people have asked if there was a sadness.

There wasn’t.  I loved purging my closet of the extravagance of things I haven’t worn in years. And I really loved seeing the joy on my friends’ faces when they found JUST the right thing.

And there was an abundance of champagne and wine. And amazing appetizers they all made.

Just FYI, I pick great friends.  In addition to being wonderful people, they’re foodies too.  And boy can they deliver a host of mouth-watering delicacies.  Diet be damned.

Although there was no grieving the stuff, there was a ½ day of panic that I was wounding my kids.

My family moved a lot when I was younger, and my family gave away EVERYTHING.  Almost all my parents’ stuff is relatively new, whereas the friends who were recipients of all that generosity have ‘our’ antiques lining their walls.  And my Dad no longer has his letters jacket. And whenever Dreamboat leaves a back-up hard drive in their closet, he tapes a big sign over it saying ‘Do NOT throw away.  I will collect soon.” And includes the date of the expected pick up.

So…after some soul searching and a chat with Teresa, of the four pair of leather boots, I realized it wasn’t a binary problem.  I’m smart that way! I didn’t have to keep everything, or give everything.

So, I let Miss O pick some of her favorite pieces of jewelry, and kept two sparkly shirts hidden in my closet that she has eyed for years.  And I asked her if she was okay with what I was giving (she answered that she had already taken all she wanted). The wedding gown is still safely archived on the top shelf.  I even kept TWO pairs of running shoes for those weeks when I fit in running AND exercising at the gym.

Back to the evening.

I had put off telling my news as long as I could.

I finally called an intermission to the private-trunk-show-shopping and discovered that corralling my friends away from the free merchandise was a bit like herding cats. When we finally all gathered in the kitchen for the dessert course, I told them all how much I treasure them in my life, how they are my personal ‘corporate board’.

And…that I’m leaving.

Talk about ‘Debbie Downer’.  From then on, there was a lot more tears, a lot less champagne.  And no toasts.

When the shock wore off, and we were able to talk again, several said how much they admire my strength. My ability to step out of my comfort zone and make the hard decisions.

That I inspire them.

I didn’t feel inspiring.

Tonight felt like paying the cost of following your dreams. The heartache of leaving.  I’ve always been the newcomer and never felt like I really belonged.

Until now.  And now I’m leaving.

I will treasure these women in my heart. Always. And as happy as I know I’ll be out on my big adventure, I know I’ll long for them.  For their friendship. For their openness and honesty and willingness to share their lives with me. And for the taken-for-granted-joy of sitting over several glasses of wine and looking into their beautiful faces, and talking.

As happy as I am to follow my dreams, my heart is breaking just a little.


Filed under July 2012

Breaking Their Bubble

I broke open the champagne. Made the kids their favorite smoothies and announced, “We’re celebrating!”  Dreamboat and I had carefully crafted an announcement that would appeal to the little ones (we are darn good marketers after all).

I started with, “Remember our recent family vacation to Asia, and what fun we had?”  I smiled all goofily.  “and remember how you keep asking to visit the Africa Mercy and help all those children get to see again and other people get their surgeries?” Who can resist the emotional pull of being part of little kids getting their eyesight?  Right?

Dreamboat continued with “Well, how about if we go on vacation for a year?”

He rattled off the places we have in mind, and made sure to mention we’re considering a visit to Disney World for the East Coast/RV leg of the trip.

Miss O jumped up and ran to get the globe.  She spun it in circles, rattling off places she wants to visit. That girl is JUST like her mama. G burst into tears and left the dinner table in distress, repeating “I want to stay home and go to school”. He is convinced he will have to start back in 1st grade upon our return. Peanut ignored us all and kept playing with his food. I know they need to adjust and grieve leaving in their own ways, but it wasn’t the fun celebration we’d hoped for.  However, at breakfast the next morning, G announced, “I’ve decided I’ll go to Disney World and then stay home.”  I think he’ll come around :-)


Filed under July 2012