Heater, Mother of Lance

A dozen years

Yesterday my website turned 12 years old. Today it started its period and was like WHOA WHAT IS HAPPENING. Didn’t think I’d have to sit down and have that talk with it just yet.

Hey, website. Go google some questions. But be sure to put a helmet on first.


Whoever’s search history this is, you should probably stop eating so many leprechauns.

There isn’t much time to celebrate. I think Tyrant and I are going to eat a piece of cake later today, but that’s after I start packing up clothes and books and equipment to move to another home:


Last month I sold this house, this beautiful place that I once thought would be the scenery of my future. In about a week I’ll be living elsewhere and the girls and I will continue to make memories there. Getting this house ready to sell and the laborious process of making sure it was clean enough for showings and then packing up both dogs, Marlo, my cousin and Tyrant, sometimes Leta, all of us in one car wandering around until we got the call that it was clear to return, it’s made me very eager to move forward and leave behind this phase of my life.

There are very good memories in these rooms. I will honor them by being grateful that I was allowed to live them. As I walk around and assess what needs to be put in boxes and how things will fit in the new space, I’m not really feeling a sense of nostalgia. This change is a natural consequence of divorce, and I’d been afraid that when it came time to face this stage of it that I’d be crippled with sadness. But these are just things. These are just walls and floors, and if the last year and a half of my life has shown me anything it’s that a really beautiful house is not in and of itself happiness. It’s just a location.

I could be here, I could be in my mother’s basement. I could still be in that 400-sq-ft apartment in West Hollywood and I’d have to wake up and decide if I’m going to take what’s going on in my life and make it better, if I’m going to get up and out of bed every day to provide security and safety for my kids, if I’m going seek out happiness. There is so much in life to look forward to, and owning a giant kitchen and sprawling hardwood floors pretty much has nothing to do with it.

Metaphorically this move is a perfect celebration of what my website has given me, a place to process and articulate the joy and the pain and the journey of evolving. I can go back and read about my single life in Los Angeles, the sadness I felt when I left California, the awkward nights of living in the room underneath my mother’s kitchen. I can see the bewilderment of early motherhood. I can read about a marriage that lasted a decade. I can browse photos of the first house I ever bought, the cover of the book I wrote, the months my cousin GEORGE! lived in my spare bedroom. I can relive the moment a rattlesnake almost killed my dog. 12 thrilling years that resemble the sine curves of a roller coaster.

And now I’m moving into a home by myself with my girls, another wholly new experience that I know pretty much nothing about, one that is sure to be as winding and deranged as the entire journey that preceded it.

I hope you’ll join me on this part of the ride as my website enters puberty, starts slamming its bedroom door in my face and secretly starts sexting the delinquent neighbor who rides a skateboard. They grow up so fast these days.

  • Leigh

    2013/02/28 at 8:04 pm

    Seven years ago I had to leave a home I loved to move far away, to a place I didn’t want to go. I have grieved over that house, that home ever since. I so love what you said, that you’re honoring your memories in your house by being grateful for those memories, and I’m going to try that mindset myself. Thank you, happy birthday to your awesome site, and here’s to new beginnings that you didn’t really ask for but got anyway!

  • Mely Vidalon

    2013/02/28 at 8:36 pm

    Congrats on the 12 years…just one more year to the dreadfull teens years. I can only dream if these 12 yrs had been such a good rollercoaster full of poop, new houses, beautiful daughters, and running marathons imagine once we enter the teanager phase. I can’t wait Heather to see what you bring to keep us entertained.

  • Kristen

    2013/02/28 at 8:47 pm

    Saying goodbye is sad. It’s supposed to be. The sadness reminds you that you’re doing it right.

  • Sandy

    2013/02/28 at 8:49 pm

    Don’t forget to pack the bobcat!

  • NotThatJen

    2013/02/28 at 9:13 pm

    Yes, yes, and yes. With two teenaged daughters, after 17 years. Sigh. It was so unbalancing and so correct at the same time.

  • DisposableWombat

    2013/02/28 at 9:19 pm

    Sounds good. I know that changing living space has sometimes nudged me into a better place. (Andy in Provo…)

  • Stacey

    2013/02/28 at 9:54 pm

    Lady, you will be just awesome. Just jazz hands and high kick outta this house and into your new home. You will persevere and you will be just fine.

  • Cassandra Marie

    2013/02/28 at 9:59 pm

    Looking forward to all the fun things you will discover at your new location. Although it will be hard to beat the bobcat, angry squirrels, and didn’t you find a stray cat in your cupboard once?

  • Rose Peck

    2013/02/28 at 10:03 pm

    Quoted this and sent to my friend who just had to move. Well said. Best wishes in your new home.

  • Mette

    2013/02/28 at 10:23 pm

    How is it possible that you’re moving and that beautiful space isn’t filled with boxes? An impossible situation had I been the moving one 🙂

  • Drunk in the kitchen

    2013/03/01 at 12:26 am

    This might seem super weird & creepy. I lived in Salt Lake in my late teens-early 20s and was friends with one of the kids who lived in your house back then. I figured it out from the bobcat story. It always made me laugh that I got drunk for the first time in your kitchen.

  • theboldsoul

    2013/03/01 at 12:35 am

    Congratulations on approaching blog-puberty! My blog turned 8 on Monday so you’ll always be the “older sister” (even though I’m over 50 and you’re clearly a long way off from that — so hey, you can celebrate NOT being in your 50s!) And I wish you and the girls a long, happy and prosperous life in your new home. It can’t be easy, what you’re going through, but I think you seem to be handling it well. Keep writing.

  • theboldsoul

    2013/03/01 at 12:44 am

    Also, a bit off-topic but wanted to say that the way you handled Leta and the piano thing? Probably one of your best parenting moments EVER and the next time some a-hole writes in to criticize you as a mother, you need to pull out that piano story and yell “CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE” at them. I’m using that “chocolate” thing with my 11-year-old French step-son who is also a gifted pianist but who hates to practice. I told him this story of what you did and how it helped Leta, and now I’m yelling “CHOC-O-LAT” at him (with a French accent, of course) while he plays.

  • Kim

    2013/03/01 at 1:42 am

    The Jefferson’s theme was running through my head as I read this. We all have your back.

  • Johanna Bailey

    2013/03/01 at 2:14 am

    Hooray! From what I can see from the backs of those houses in the photo, it might be in the old hood – I hope so!

  • Erin Gill

    2013/03/01 at 5:45 am

    Let there be light!
    I left behind a relationship in the home in which I had it. A huge kitchen and sprawling floorboards. A swimming pool, my own study, and a double garage.
    Know what I miss? My dog. (I have visitation rights.) A house is just a vestibule. It’s what you put in it that counts, and you can carry that with you anywhere. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to a bit of new-house design porn from you.

  • Sue

    2013/03/01 at 6:08 am

    Heather, sending all good wishes for a bright, happy & healthy future.

  • Julie

    2013/03/01 at 6:29 am

    Heather, I found your website by accident after I found another website by accident – I won’t mention that website here because they were being snarky about you, and I think you probably know which one I’m talking about. Anyway, to be honest, I was laughing at some of the stuff said, even though I didn’t know who you were and had never read your stuff. I wandered over here to see what all the hubbub was about, and now I can’t stop reading. I really enjoy your writing and now I feel bad for laughing at that other crap, so I apologize to you personally for not initially giving you the benefit of the doubt. I wish you and your sweet girls only the best as you begin this new chapter. I can’t imagine what you’re feeling; but moving, in itself, sucks donkey balls. Good luck to you!

  • LisaJD

    2013/03/01 at 6:55 am

    wishing you much joy, laughter and happiness in your new home. Much love to snowy Utah from dank, wet and grey Southern England x

  • Skipsy

    2013/03/01 at 7:27 am

    Wouldn’t it be amusing to experience the owner’s first dying bird on the porch? Is that a bird dying on our beautiful new porch?! Oh yeah, you’ll have that. This is where birds come to DIE. Watch out for bobcats and rattlesnakes as well. Did you have to offer full disclosure on that stuff???

  • Vatsala

    2013/03/01 at 7:33 am

    Congratulations, Heather. I live in India, and I first heard of Dooce from a new media course I took in college. I haven’t been able to stop reading since then. I’ve been having a difficult time for a few months now, and your website is one of the things that has kept me sane. That sounds weird, I know; I have NOTHING I can relate to here from experience. But your sense of humour and the way you look at things have helped me in a way I cannot describe. I look forward to much, much more of Leta, Marlo (I LOVE this kid!), Chuck, Coco, and all the grit, hilarity and soul you bring to each of their stories. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • chickwhitt

    2013/03/01 at 7:34 am

    I am so, so sorry that you are going through this, and that we are going through it at the same time. I’m fighting like hell to keep my house simply because with everything else falling apart, I need that one thing to stay in place like it always has been, I need the comfort of my home. It breaks my heart that you are having to say goodbye to a place filled with so much hope for your future, but I know that this new place will be full of different dreams.

  • Shea Goff

    2013/03/01 at 7:36 am

    Congratulations, woman! Thank you for taking us on the journey.

  • Tara Newhole

    2013/03/01 at 7:41 am

    Thanks for this, I really needed it. I just separated from my partner of 12+ years about six months ago, and I’m losing the home we lived in together and having to move. I have shed many tears over the mixed emotions of it all. But, you’re right…. it is just material things that I am losing, and I have been trying to keep a good attitude that me and my “Girls” (my four cats) are moving on to our latest grand adventure. Best of luck to you and your Girls on yours. Love ya. TN

  • Jessica Marie Laster

    2013/03/01 at 7:46 am

    Much love and good luck to you!! Things are gonna be great!!!

  • Tara Newhole

    2013/03/01 at 7:50 am

    p.s. – Erin T. and I were talking about how awesome you are at the ZOOMA race in January in Amelia Island, FL ! Was yer ears a’burnin? 🙂

  • Beady

    2013/03/01 at 8:33 am

    I cannot believe you’re getting a divorce. I check in on your website everyday and had no idea!
    Thought you lived the perfect life. Love you, your kids and those great precious dogs.
    Hang in there, life goes on. You are strong and you will survive!!!

  • Sara R.

    2013/03/01 at 8:34 am

    Beautiful post Heather.
    I especially like the paragraph, “I could be here, I could be in my mother’s basement…and I’d have to wake up and decide if I’m going to take what’s going on in my life and make it better, if I’m going to get up and out of bed every day to provide security and safety for my kids, if I’m going seek out happiness. There is so much in life to look forward to, and owning a giant kitchen and sprawling hardwood floors pretty much has nothing to do with it.”
    That pretty much sums up our lives. How we have to choose life. Choose happiness. I really think this is the most beautiful paragraph I am going to favorite this page so I can come back and read it again and again. Because the rat race, the non stop escalater of life, I get lost in so often. And it is a great reminder that we all face come common challenges every morning.

  • Megan Gordon

    2013/03/01 at 8:48 am


  • susan b

    2013/03/01 at 8:49 am

    Dear Heather, Thank you for the post. I’ve been missing you and your voice . Things certainly have been different in the past year.

  • Brad

    2013/03/01 at 9:10 am

    Sometimes we are vastly different in our approach to life and parenthood and sometimes you’re so dead-on that I end up with a tight chest and something caught in my eye. Either way, I’ve always enjoyed you for who you are. When you hook up your computer in your new home, I’ll be on the other side ready to read and see how it’s going.

  • Libra

    2013/03/01 at 9:32 am

    My favorite line from my favorite The Head and the Heart song – “Momma once told me, you’re already home where you feel love”.

  • twocharacters

    2013/03/01 at 10:03 am

    400 sq feet!? How did you even poop? Oh, that’s right. You didn’t. 😉 Congratulations on 12 years of dooce-iness.

  • issascrazyworld

    2013/03/01 at 10:36 am

    I was thinking about this post a bit more last night. In October I sold my ex husband the house we’d bought together. I’d fought hard for it in the divorce, yet it became obvious over the past few years that it was never my house, it was his. Shrug. Life happens, you know? What I came to say was…even though I’m only in a rental in the moment, the truth is, my home is where my kids are. Houses come and go. The people in the house is what matters.

    I hope when you and the girls settle into your new place, that you feel the same way.

  • Luv & Kiwi

    2013/03/01 at 10:37 am

    I’m having a moment…I’m looking forward to your pubescent future, but it’s all bittersweet. You’re definitely handling this all with grace, which I love. I shall look forward to seeing how you make the next place a home. Bring back Chao!

  • oomph

    2013/03/01 at 10:38 am

    congratulations on 12 years…wow! just stumbled upon your blog so i am not sure exactly what your situation is, but as someone who was once in a similar situation (suddenly single and left with the kids), it’s terrifying and exciting at the same time. i’ve moved forward and never look back. best of luck to you and the girls.

  • Jayceekay

    2013/03/01 at 10:46 am

    Sigh…that was like a punch to the solar plexus. I mean it was a lovely post, but I’d hoped things were going to wind up differently. Now I want some ice cream and chocolate for lunch.
    Sorry about that, but you’ve allowed us to glimpse into your life, to care about you and yours…and I do very much. And of course, I more than understand that we don’t get to know anything but the bare bones…that you separated..but it did leave me hoping for you guys all this time. Reading the D word…well, it made me gasp out loud, tear up a bit. (Before you call 911 for a restraining order, imagine how I feel. It’s hella embarrassing to kind of love 4 people you’ve never me, believe met! Imagine happily starting to tell a room of friends “Hey great news! Doctors say Leta’s legs are fine–she’ll be able to walk, she’s just doesn’t like to! Who’s Leta? Oh yeah, well..um..never mind.” )
    That said, I’m happy you’re putting one foot in front of the other and getting where you all need to go. The girls will make beautiful, happy memories wherever you take them because you surround them with love and family and that’s all they need to thrive.
    Good luck, sweetie. So many people here are sending you love and best wishes so if that can help get you through it all, then your halfway there.

  • Nicole

    2013/03/01 at 10:50 am

    Beautiful, inspiring (and hilarious) post. Congratulations on 12 years! Looking forward to you sharing the next part of your journey, I’m sure it will be amazing. Sending you lots of love and positivity from Kentucky!

  • Val

    2013/03/01 at 12:08 pm

    Do you know what is more difficult than moving out of a house full of memories, good and bad? Growing out your hair!!! You’ve now done both. The rest is a breeze. 🙂

  • Jennie Barnes

    2013/03/01 at 1:21 pm

    Good luck with the move, and the next chapter. I’m glad you’ve got a supportive family to help out – moving with children (I don’t even know about pets) is a special type of hell.

  • Shannon McKarney

    2013/03/01 at 2:26 pm

    We’re moving soon. We’re leaving my dream house, the house I had always thought they’d have to carry my cold dead body out of 50 years from now. It’s been hard to accept, hard to even think about, because I never wanted this chapter to end. This post helps. Thank you.

    Good luck with the move, because holy fuck does moving bite donkey balls.

  • Meg H

    2013/03/01 at 2:36 pm

    I read this post sitting amidst boxes and bags with a nervous dog pacing the few clear square feet in our new little apartment. Living in the place that had been our home was too hard, seeing all of the empty spaces where our furniture had been, all of the not-faded-too-bright wall spaces where our decorations/art had hung. I can’t say it was a divorce (because f-you DOMA) but we were a family and now it’s just the furry child with me. But I’m going to be okay. I’m listening to Blur and reading this more eloquent description of what I’m feeling. Thank you.

  • kaptaink

    2013/03/01 at 3:11 pm

    This post hit home for me because I remember when I purchased my first home as a single mother. After leaving the ‘dream’ home that I thought I was going to share with the father of my daughter for many, many years. Our future.

    But as with your story, it takes some time from the moment of “uh oh, looks like my marriage may be ending” to “yup, this marriage is over” to “I’m now on my own”. And by the time I got to the point of moving out of the ‘dream’ home into a home that I purchased on my own, I was ready. It sounds like you are ready as well, as ready as you can ever be.

    What I was wholly unprepared for was how much purchasing that house, on my own, and making it the home I would (and still do) share with my daughter would transform me. I grew, no, not to sound to smarmy, I blossomed, through the process. As I realized I could, and would, carry on with life and that life would actually be much better than I could have imagined – on my own – I grew stronger and stronger. Then at some point I stopped and discovered that I had left far behind the person I had been when I was married.

    Good luck with the move. I have no idea what kind of house you gave up, but if you are anything like me, I’m pretty sure you are about to gain so much more.

  • deannamcneil

    2013/03/01 at 3:18 pm

    It has been forever since I commented on a post. I am just a humble reader of the last 5 years, who was finally diagnosed as bipolar after her divorce. And I just had to write to you to confirm YES to every word you wrote. Just hearting you from Northern Virginia, rock on.

  • tannanye

    2013/03/01 at 3:58 pm

    Good luck!

  • mouseinthehouse

    2013/03/01 at 9:34 pm

    Congratulations on 12 years and a new home! I’m sure you and the girls will make so many wonderful memories in it. Big hugs and mazel tov to you.

    I’ve been reading your blog for almost as long as it has existed, and your honesty and resilience have been a constant source of comfort and inspiration when dealing with my own mental health issues and making a home with my partner. Thanks for being so willing to let us all into your life–for this reader, it’s meant the world.

  • Liss

    2013/03/01 at 10:16 pm

    We just celebrated 12 years of marriage, we have known each other for 21 years….and the 12 years of marriage have been pockmarked by half a dozen moves, infertility and miscarriages, 2 remodels in 2 different houses in the last trimesters of my 2 (out of 6) successful pregnancies besides all the other emotional baggage that comes with all that mess. I have serious PTSD about moving. But then other things have fallen apart and in order to stay sane and be a strong family, we are leaving my dream home–a home that I grew up near and knew I wanted to own it some day. We are moving somewhere better, somewhere that gives us a chance to truly be a family. Best wishes to you and the girls as you move to a place that will let you be a strong family.

  • Vik

    2013/03/02 at 6:24 am

    Heather, I have been reading your website for 6 years, Through this time, I relived your joys and sadness, your crazy and your awesome (have never commented though). I myself have two kids and wholeheartedly related to you as I sat on my roof yelling “shiiiinnnnnngglllllleeeessss”. I have not visited this site in past year, as we have been in process of moving houses, no internet and our daily blah blah blah, crazy how much has changed in a year. I wanted to wish you and the girls a great start to your new journey, hope there is happiness and wonder, as well as delicious food and wacky conversations. Thank you, you are a spectacular woman. I will keep reading, as long as you are writing.

  • Jennifer Lowry

    2013/03/03 at 1:07 pm

    So I guess a reconciliation is out of the question 🙁

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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