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.