Eleven years

Today is the eleventh birthday of this website.

Some of you have been reading since the beginning, since I was single and living alone in Los Angeles working as a web designer, back when I thought that children might not ever be a part of my life. Remember when you could drop someone off at the airport and walk them to their gate? Or meet them eagerly as they walked off of the plane? So does my website.

Some of you started reading after I got married, some when I got pregnant for the first time. Some of you found this website after I gave birth to my little frog baby. And then there was the postpartum depression, the hospital, the years of my child teaching me what it means to be human. That child is now old enough to be baptized in the Mormon Church. But even if you’ve only been reading for a month you can probably guess that baptism, particularly into the Mormon Church, is on a list of things she gets to choose to do when she’s old enough to make decisions that big. You know, like skydiving. Or a forehead tattoo. Or, oh God, thinking it’s a good idea to move to Nevada.

From living in my mother’s basement to the first house, the second house, to the current residence. So much change. More change than you’d find in between your couch cushions and in the junk drawer combined. More change than the shape of Joan Rivers’ face.

More than anything else this website has chronicled all that change. The unbridled spirit of 25-year-old Heather Hamilton still powers the heart of 36-year-old Heather Armstrong, but damn am I ever glad to be eleven years older, wiser, and well, different. Yes, different. I feel so much more settled into my skin and confident in the way I move my body through my life. I’ve got way more wrinkles, a ton of gray hair, and it takes a lot longer to recover from a late night out, but who cares about any of that when I now possess an increased ability to identify and shrug off the things that don’t matter.

A lot of that is age, but most of it is the responsibility of having children and supporting two employees. They are why I am so different.

Two kids and four adults now count on these pages to feed them. I won’t lie, that’s a lot of pressure. Sometimes that pressure doesn’t faze me, and then sometimes the stress of it puts me to bed very early without dinner because it’s killed my appetite. But I always come back to one thing, the one fundamental thing that keeps me from walking away: I love doing this.

I love telling stories.

This is the story of how I’ve changed, how I continue to change. Sure, some of you don’t like where I was, or where I am, or where you assume I’ll be a year from now. And that’s fine. But I can promise you this: every word has come from the deepest part of me, and it always will.

I think of you as the group I’d invite over for dinner on a Friday night, and what I write here are the stories I’d tell you when you asked about my week. It’s always been that way. And no matter where you jumped in and started following along, no matter if you left and came back because something made you furious, I’m going to ask you to stay and have another drink. There’s so much more to share with each other.

Thank you for coming over.

  • superkittn

    Thanks for inviting us in. I’ve read you every day since I found your site when Leta was a baby. You’re writing is what good writing should be… funny, smart, poignant, and heartfelt…and makes me feel like your actual friend. I love you, Jon, Leta, Marlo, Chuck, and what’s his name, your other insane dog.

    I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve started with “My favorite blogger, blah, blah, blah.” Yes, my friends think me insane for having a favorite blogger.

    Congratulations on 11 great years.

    Let me know when you’re next in L.A. I’ll have you over for a hot dog.

    xxoo

  • Gabriel Mommys Monkey 8811

    Im pretty new to you, but I enjoyed your book and I look forward to reading this blog everyday because with the way my life has been recently sometimes this blog is the only thing that can make me smile or make me feel like someone is listening to me. Congrats on 11 years, I look forward to more than 11 more!!

  • austin_fan

    I feel so fortunate to been here for a very long time, and that I have gotten to see you in person in Austin TX, twice. I have laughed and cried with you on these pages. Keep up the great writing!

  • AprilD

    I’ve started reading this blog when Leta was still a baby. Sometimes I can’t believe its been that long. I don’t even remember how I came across this blog but I remember laughing so hard I was crying. I spent an entire afternoon reading through the archives and from that moment on I was hooked and I never looked back. This blog is one of the first things I check when I get online..after Facebook of course..lol. I love your honesty, your humour, and your realness. Congratulations on 11 years. I look forward to reading your blog for many more years to come.

  • Monsoon

    Heather,

    I found you about 5 years ago when reading about you and Leta helped me through rough nights with my first baby. You have helped me appreciate what it means for someone to be clinically depressed and made me more empathetic about it. You always make me laugh and cry (this post is no different) and I will keep coming back till the end (no time soon as your recent posts can attest). I wish you all the best- and if i am ever in Salt Lake I will so be ringing your doorbell on a fri night for dinner.

    Heather

  • suzified

    Thank you for having us! Our differences are what make us (a) whole (lot of fun). Your words have helped me through my own difficult journeys, and I hope some of the words from your community of supporters and fans can help you through yours. Cheers!

  • suzified

    Thank you for having us! Our differences are what make us (a) whole (lot of fun). Your words have helped me through my own difficult journeys, and I hope some of the words from your community of supporters and fans can help you through yours. Cheers!

  • Scott-5×5

    Heather, you are the shit. I don’t know anyone who is as stand-up and full of integrity as you are.

  • Kirsey

    Heather, I just love you! Your honesty, your comedy, your heart…I don’t know you, I never will, but I read everyday religiously, I can’t tell you why other than you make me laugh, smile, cry and love my life in return.

    PLEASE don’t stop, we need you around here writing!

    Way over here from Edina, MN! Keep the posts rolling!

  • Truthful Mommy

    Congratulations on 11 years of living and sharing. Your transparency through the good and bad times is what keeps us coming back.Your kind heart and dry wit are the reason for many of us to know that we are not alone in our own crazy predicaments.
    Pour me another drink. I want to hear some more stories!

  • becaru

    Happy birthday to your site. I’ve been a reader since Leta was 9 months old.

    Oddly, I had a dream last night that I met you on my way to the opera in Detroit. Not sure what that meant, but that you’re on my mind.

    Best,
    Becaru

  • Issa

    Happy eleven years Heather. Here’s to eleven more.

  • BluSarah22

    Thank you so much for not ever giving up and trudging through all the jerks. i’m not sure how i found your blog, but we were pregnant at the same time; me with my first, you with Marlo, and I’ve been reading ever since! Happy Anniversary! you are awesome and creative, hilarious and intelligent. Here’s to the next chapter! Best wishes to you and your family and friends. You’ve inspired me to create a blog just for my daughter to read when she turns 18 (or whatever). you are much loved and MUCH supported.

  • antifuse

    I’ve been reading since… Actually, I just googled “Leta therapy dooce” and the post that came up (this one: http://dooce.com/archives/daily/01_12_2006.html ) I distinctly remember as being the first post I ever read. I have no idea how I found the site, who or what directed me here, but I love the stories. I think what kept me hooked in the early years was your monthly letters to Leta (which I miss dreadfully) but I stuck around because a) your posts are usually pretty easy to keep up with and b) they almost always entertain. Here’s to hoping that you *do* stick around! :)

  • Stephani

    Congrats, Heather!

  • MrsMFDC

    I don’t remember how I found this site, but I’ve been a long time reader. Like, over 8 years. You, and this site by extension of you, gave me the courage to seek help for depression and anxiety. I was encouraged to start my own blog and to write nearly every day. I have read this site during my darkest days and my brightest moments and was always able to relate. When I suffered from PPD and couldn’t possibly believe there was a light at the end of the tunnel, I clung to your story as a way to get me from hour to hour. In short, you have always been a woman I’ve admired. I think you’re a trailblazer, I think you’re brave, I think you’re committed to this community and I think we’re lucky Dooce.com exists. I hope to still be following you in 60 years when I can download your latest post via a microchip in my brain.

    Thank you for being who you are and sharing that with us, even though it lays you bare and vulnerable.

    That is all.

  • LegosnEggos

    Happy Blogoversary, Heather. Thank you for always selflessly sharing and putting yourself out there. It’s inspiring to witness someone who is as unique, open, and courageous as you are. Remember that the bravest things one can do are to be honest and to make herself vulnerable to ridicule and judgment, for in so doing, she frees herself from the need to please and from having to live up to others’ expectations. Most of us never learn to do that. I hope God shines on you in your transitions and future endeavors.

  • rosane

    Happy blog-iversary, Heather!

    I’ve been reading you since you were pregnant with Leta. More than any other personage, you amaze me in so many ways. One of them is your courage to share some of your fears with us.

    Another reason is that you renew in me a sense of wonder for human’s capacity to love. I’ve never met you, or anyone in your family, but I love you (not is weird way, either). :P

    I wish you and your family all the best in this world!

    Take care,

    Rosane.

  • Babydoll

    This is a great accomplishment!

    I am very proud of you.

  • SushiForBaby

    Delighted to have been along for even half of this ride.

    You continue to amaze me and continue to be one of my favorite people in the world.

    Love to you. xx

  • theurbancowgirl

    Dearest Heather,

    Thank you for writing what you do. It’s beautiful, we love you. Your post brought tears to my eyes.

    Also, a California Zinfandel would be wonderful :)

  • kajomo

    Congrats! You go girl.

  • tweedsouttasite

    Thank you so much! I have enjoyed reading your blog for years. I greatly appreciate your honesty and your openness. Happy Anniversary!!

  • jessiCat

    Thanks for havin’ us over, lady! You are a fantastical hostess! I’ll take a double vodka with a splash of OJ/Cranberry, please and thank you.

    Happy Anniversary!!

    Keep that valedictorian chin up, and know we love you!!! :)

  • Tanzie F. Nielsen

    I look forward to every visit!

  • NeurosciMom

    I started reading when you were pregnant with your second, and I was pregnant with my first. Now I’m pregnant with my second. I’ve always thought there were many similarities between us, even though we have never met. Your stories are inspiring in many ways. Congrats, and I look forward to reading more!

    p.s. Having been through a divorce (prior to my kid(s)), my heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing so much of what is really difficult and really personal. Best wishes for a resolution that will be better for all.

  • Raevah

    I found dooce.com a few months ago and have slowly been making my way through the archives. I was gutted to catch up to real time to learn of of the latest events at the ‘Blurbodoocery’. But if I’ve learned anything from the years of posts I’ve trawled through, it’s that you’re one tough mofo! Keep on keeping on and don’t let the haters get you down – you have given insight, hope and solidarity to a lot of real people out here in internetland, including myself. Thank you.

  • motherwifeme

    Congratulations on 11 years.

    I think…

    “The unbridled spirit of 25-year-old Heather Hamilton still powers the heart of 36-year-old Heather Armstrong, but damn am I ever glad to be eleven years older, wiser, and well, different.”

    …sums up so well how it feels to be growing older but still essentially ‘you’.

    Here’s to the next 11 years!

  • theslickmom

    Thanks for giving me years of laughter. I started reading 5 years ago when my first son was born. I love your honest, blunt way of writing. Keep on keeping on, Heather!

  • Pixie

    I can’t recall how many years of stories I’ve read, how many times I’ve laughed out loud or how many tears I’ve shed….but I love it all. Congrats on the #11 milestone. Keep cranking out the stories, we NEVER grow tired!

  • deborahjmum

    You’re the same age as Angelina Jolie! (and there the comparison ends). You’re beautiful inside and out. Thanks for the enjoyable reading. I know many have mentioned this already, but it’s weird feeling like I know you when we’ve never met, and probably never will. And also, just looked at yet another amazing Chuck photo, and something else you already know, but I’ll say it anyway: you have the greatest dog in the world.

  • kansassunflower

    Very well said. Thank you.

  • eea

    I’ve been reading for years, but I just set up a community account today so I could comment on this post. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for sticking with it for 11 years. Also – I gladly accept the Friday night invite. In fact, for that all your stories have meant to me over the years, I will come bearing a package of weiners so at long last someone can fix mama a hot dog.

  • Susabelle

    Happy ‘Birthday’ to Dooce, Heather–best and warmest wishes for many, many more!

  • momof8

    Wow. So much has happened in the last 11 years for you. Thank you for inviting us along. I wish you the best and hope things are getting better. <3

  • denise karis

    I found your site first after I had become a mom. My son would sleep but I wouldn’t because I was afraid I wouldn’t hear him if something happened. I was suffering from the worst self inflicted insomnia and was constantly online … So, June, 2006 – Leta was tiny and I read every post, looked through every photo and tried to laugh silently to not wake my sleeping baby :) xoxoxoxo I’ll be here until the wheels fall off!!

  • LIB

    We so enjoy the stories, Heather! Keep it up! Don’t let the haters get you down; for every one of them there are 10 (or more) of me!

  • Victoria_Girl

    I’ve been around for a long, long time and it’s been a pleasure every step of the way. Thanks. :)

  • tullisjen

    Happy Birthday Dooce.com! Congratulations Heather on surviving and taking no bullshit for the last eleven years! Love you and your family…

  • catherinetheblack

    I love your blog. You & cuteoverload.com are the only sites I read every day. You for the laughter (it’s there even when you’re sad…how DO you do that??) and CO for the squeeee! Both pick me up when I am blue, and add to my good mood when I’m not.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  • cofink

    In a world where so many people lie or embellish beyond simple entertainment, you’ve always told the truth. Sometimes raw and sometimes as a story teller, but always truth.

    Thanks :) .

  • AshesVonDust

    Dude, want to feel old?

    ….

    I started reading your blog when I was a teenager. I’m 28.

    Crap, that just made ME feel old.

  • taintedidealist

    Thank you so much for having us over… I really love what you’ve done with the place.

  • juliemewood

    Aww Heather. That was beautiful! Love the site and your outrageous posts!! Congrats, my friend!