marriage, motherhood

This Is The Way (of a Courageous Heart)

December 6, 2003

Within each family are the stories of shared memory. For example, ask T.Puzzle how the boys earned a day of ‘Unlimited Video Games But with Limits’ and you will hear a little bit about what makes our family tick. It’s a whole lot of teasing and humor with a generous dose of love.

Another such story that lives on as family legend is how Mad Dog broke up with me not once, but twice.


I can find the humor in it now, but living through it at the time was anything but funny.

Not surprisingly, my boys find this fact to be hilarious.

As today marks the anniversary of our 17th year of marriage, I realized something. Following one’s heart is not without fear, but following it at all is enough to sustain you through life’s uncertainty.

While we were dating, Mad Dog was always honest with me that forever may not be in the cards for us. Through the course of our relationship I learned I was worthy of commitment and decided I would not settle for less.

Mad Dog clearly disagreed.

Not once. But twice.


Then at some point, he had a change of heart and I was faced with a dilemma. Do I follow my heart or do I let this guy go once and for all?

I followed my heart.

My heart knew better than all the naysayers and it knew better when my head spouted fear and worry. I chose to live from the heart because I figured if it all blew up in my face, at least I wouldn’t have regrets.

I would never have to wonder ‘what if?’.

This is a life lesson I have carried with me. It has helped me leap forward when my head is adamant I stay still. It helped me know it was time to return to Florida. Moving during a pandemic in the middle of a school year is not the circumstance one dreams of when contemplating major life decisions. While all signs pointed to stay, my heart knew without question it was time to go.

This knowing, one might assume, would make life immune to hardship as if our gut instincts will shield us from adversity. Yet it has been quite the opposite. I can’t even begin to describe the stress and challenges we have faced in these past few months. We have fought, I have cried, there were quiet moments of genuine despair, and yet, we have not broken. We seem to weather each day as it comes, storms and all, and keep going. It’s as if these hurdles when woven together bind us closer as a family.

Through every up and down I continue to listen to the knowing within. Whatever happens, my hope is to never let a ‘what if’ define me or my life.

I would marry Mad Dog all over again.

No regrets.

Our anniversary sunrise. Worth every bit of the journey.

children, family, humor, kids, marriage, motherhood, parenting

Moving Day


“Hurry up and get your shoes on. I have something I want to show you and the boys,” Mad Dog declared as he walked in the front door. The boys and I grabbed some shoes and zipped outside. I thought maybe the car was newly washed and shining, or there was a cute, tiny bird that he thought we would want to see.


It was a snake.

My life flashed before my eyes, I saw stars and my spirit left my body, hovered over me and watched as I attempted to hold my crumbling emotional exterior together. The boys held their breath as they watched and waited to see how Mom was going to respond. Mind you, they both had beared witness to Dead Lizard-Gate 2012 and could sense things were about to go south.

The snake was slithered up against our garage door. All I could think was, ‘it’s going in my house, it’s going in my house…’. I couldn’t verbalize it because I had lost my ability to speak. In a flash the snake vanished out of sight. Not only did he vanish, but he vanished in the direction of my garage.

At this point, I lost hope. I got very quiet and very sad because I knew the only logical course of action was to pack up and move. Oh, how I am going to miss my house! T.Puzzle, who normally is compassionate towards other forms of life, started marching to the front door shouting,’Kill the snake! Kill the snake!” So much for raising a level-headed, life-cherishing leader for our future. Sorry, America!

What was most difficult for my adrenaline-addled brain to comprehend was why on earth would Mad Dog think I would want to see a snake. To be clear I am terrified of snakes, dead lizards, fire ants, heights, massive crowds, sudden noises like balloons popping or fireworks, and realistically scary movies (I’m talking to you Contagion). Please spare me the knowledge if one or more of these things manifest in our driveway ever again.

Mad Dog I love you. I’m sorry we have to move. We had a good run. I’d write more but I’m pretty sure there’s a snake right behind me. Even if there isn’t, I have a feeling there will always be the memory of that snake watching me and waiting for our moment to get reaquainted. Save yourselves!