Friday, March 7, 2008

Friday Friend or Family Feature...

Today's Feature is...


This has been a really hard entry to write. Mostly because I know how private Heather is. I want to say everything, without saying too much.

This first picture of Heather at a friend's wedding is hilarious to me because it was taken on one of the four days in fourteen years, that I have seen Heather in a dress. She also wore a dress to two other weddings, and to her own. Her wedding dress was accessorized by white Converse sneakers if I remember correctly.

I met Heather the same time I met Steven.

Steven lived in the guest house of Heather and Marc's main house in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They shared a courtyard. The day I met Heather she was participating in a Santa Fe Art Show. Artists opened their homes and studios to the general public. Heather seemed shy, but friendly. I don't even think I had a chance to see her paintings that day. Apparently I only had eyes for Steven.

When I moved into that little purple house three months later, I never would have imagined that this woman would soon become such an important part of my life. Heather is my best friend. I talk to her constantly. She has been there for me time and time again. She is unfaltering in her friendship.

Heather is a no nonsense kind of woman. There is no bullshit with Heather. She tells it like it is. There is no pretense. There is humility, strength, humor, patience and wisdom. Heather is an incredible listener. Heather offers advice in a gentle, constructive manner. She knows what to say, and more importantly she knows what not to say.

When you run something by Heather and she says nothing, you know you are in trouble. If Heather is silent you can tell that she is letting you work through something. She is waiting (very patiently) for you to figure it out on your own (she is confident that you will!) I'll give you an example:

There was a brief, tortuous time when Steven and I officially gave up in the family building department. We couldn't take it anymore. I told Heather that is was obvious that the universe did not want Steven and me to be parents. I had been pregnant four times, and still we remained childless. Adoption, for that brief period, seemed far too daunting a task. Heather just kind of let me work through it on the phone. She didn't push me. She knew what I needed in terms of support. I needed a moment to let the strength come back to me. I needed to build myself up again. I needed to overcome my losses and disappointments. I just needed a little time to get myself together. I needed some time to open my eyes and my heart to something different, to something else.

She never pushed me. She let me get there on my own. I could literally feel her support in her silence. She just listened, and listened, and then she listened some more. Like I said, she is an incredible listener. How on earth did she know that that was exactly what I needed?

I can also think of time when I needed Heather to actually speak up, to set me straight verbally. Steven had a job opportunity in Los Angeles and wanted to take it. I had fallen in love with Santa Fe and didn't want to move. After weeks of stubbornness on my part, Heather sat me down and said," If you love Steven, you will get in that car." I brought this up to Steven the other day and he said that, he too, had gotten a "talking to" from Heather. His was something like," If you love Julie, you better make sure that she comes with you, make sure she gets in that car."

Heather and I both do something that is not ideal. We both worry A LOT. We have both fallen victim to Dr. Google:

"Well I just typed in my symptoms into Google, and I am sure that I have Ebola." Or," Well, according to Google, my cancer has a huge recurrence rate and will you take my dogs when I die?!" Or, the latest from Heather, " Neve's head, (Neve is her 15 month old daughter) is way too big for her body. It must be (insert horrible disease here)."

It is true, Heather and I tend to band together and fall into a Debbie Downer mood. We can't really help it. We have both been through huge health scares and challenges. We have suffered losses. We have battled major illnesses.

We have lost friends...

Together we have cried about Maddie, about Oasis, about Ollie and now about Lummi. These were our kids. These were our family.

Here is another of Heather's paintings. It is called "Disheveled Mom".

Here is another piece, I will title it, "The opposite of Disheveled Mom."

Heather is a great mom. She is vigilant in her care of Neve, but also allows Neve to experience new things on her own.

Heather suffered terribly to make sure that Neve was, and still is breastfed. The La Leche woman, at one point, made Heather stop and let her breasts heal. (Sorry Heether Feether, that was pretty personal huh?) It was an extremely painful and challenging experience for Heather.

She stayed strong and dedicated. It is really an amazing sight to see Neve make the sign for milk. It is even more amazing to see Neve's hand rest gently on her mom's face as she nurses. It was tough, but Heather was determined.

I have mentioned how supportive Heather has been emotionally. Did I mention that Heather gathered up a batch of her paintings, auctioned them off and then sent us the money to put towards our adoption expenses? Who does that? This money completely covered our home study. What a gift. Heather is a well respected artist. Her work commands top dollar, and she is featured in many galleries across the country. She has been the focus of several magazine articles.

When I asked her about this incredible gesture she said," After all of the losses that you guys have gone through, it felt really good to be able to finally help in some way."

Um, what does she think she has been doing for the last fourteen years?

Luckily, in a rare karmic response, a collector stumbled upon this auction and offered Heather, an "Artist in Residence" spot at his estate in the Italian countryside. Yep, I said Italian countryside. Oh, by the way, if you karma Gods are still out there, this is Heather's favorite artist...

Richard Diebenkorn. If you happen to see one lying around, please send it her way. She deserves a nice present.

This is another picture from my wedding...

This is our friend Chris' vintage Cadillac. On our wedding day, Marc and Heather decorated this car with balloons , streamers, and Paco the Pardoned Pinata. Chris, (who is epileptic and not allowed to drive,) drove us around the Santa Fe Plaza. Heather had strategically placed an enormous bag of candy in the back seat. Minutes after saying our vows, Steven and I tossed this candy to cheering onlookers. It was an incredibly exhilarating moment, one that I won't ever forget.

Another moment, made brighter by the presence of Heather...

Ginther's Great Ice Poop ! Truly an inside joke. I apologize.

How will my adoption impact Heather?

One of the pictures I have in my mind, one of the ones that makes me grin so big it hurts, is a picture of me, Heather, Neve, Marc, Steven, our children from Ethiopia and all of our dogs hanging out. In this picture we are laughing. We are happy. We aren't that worried. We are healthy. We are together. We have our children. Neve shows our kids something and they giggle. There is a small scuffle for the best toy, but then there is sharing. There is coffee. There is the New Mexico desert. There are burritos from Bumblebee. There is friendship. There is love. There is gratefulness. There is joy.

I can't wait.

I love you Heather. You are, hands down, the World's Greatest Best Friend.


  1. eah! And I really regret that I don't know these two friends of yours, and your god child, better. I have realized long ago how much you appreciate and love them.

  2. Wow, what a nice post. Sounds like you are a pretty awesome friend, too.