Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Heather's Wrinkles

Heather defies any labels that one would try to stick on her. She is a true beauty by society’s definition – tall, thin, blue eyes, red hair. Yet she is not pretentious or smug about her handsome features, in fact she seems unaware that anyone would notice her. However, it’s hard not to notice someone who travels thousands of miles with her young children and makes numerous friends at stops along the way.

Heather appreciates what she has: a loving husband, two boisterous sons, and an 11-year old stepdaughter. They live in a small town outside of Charleston, South Carolina that is growing too fast. Heather said that while she appreciates industry and jobs coming to her area, it’s bittersweet because they push out other charming features, including family farms.

Heather was born to a Navy family in California, but has been in the Charleston area most of her life. She learned that she likes the slow pace and warmth of southern living after spending some time in the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul. Although she was a mere 19-years old, Heather found a job tending bar deep in the northern woods and was paid “under the table” for her efforts. Whether it was the booze or the company, the beer drinkers never complained about their jobs, so Heather suggested her husband find a job at the company where they worked. He was hired at the same steel mill and stayed until their move back to South Carolina.

Good fortune hasn't always smiled upon Heather. When she was young, her father left the family for a long-distance job. He assured his wife and children that he would send money so they could join him, but he never did. After several years of waiting, Heather’s Mom had enough, met someone else, and moved away. She left 17-year old Heather to care for her 15-year old bipolar sister. The girls didn’t exactly get along like the Olsen twins or as you’d see on a television special. Instead, her much bigger sister beat her up prompting Heather to send her to their long-absent father’s home. She does now have a relationship with her father and her sister, who is completing coursework to become a pharmacy technician. Although it wasn’t the best time of her life, Heather says it makes her appreciate what she has now.

Today, keeping her immediate family together is a priority for Heather. Her family is everything to her, yet they aren’t her only identity. When her son was born, he was a colicky, miserable infant who screamed 24 hours a day. Heather learned to balance her role as mother with other interests because she didn’t want to be a parent who didn’t like her children. She relinquished her solo control over rearing the boys and asked her husband for help when she needed to leave the house. She was very complimentary of Tim being good with their children.

As we finished our coffee, we agreed that all bloggers basically like to be in charge, that we want to control our destiny. With that, whether we are traveling across the country with two small children or getting to know the friends of our friend, we can only hope that fate is kind to us on our journey.


Blogger Heather said...

The bar I tended for was deep in the Francis Marion National Forest in Huger, SC. That was totally my fault for not being clear on the timeline; I have a confusing past. I was 19 when I was tending bar and trying to take in my sister. I didn't move to MN until I was 21 and drug Tim back to SC when I was 26.

Tim received an e-mail from a headhunter while we were living in MN, I pestered the life out of him to answer it, and here we are. He now works less than three miles from where I used to bartend, but the bar is long gone. I'm not at all surprised considering the owner's complete disregard for the law.

I am thoroughly enjoying these posts, thank you.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Sonia said...

is it me, or do Heather and Malia look a lot alike? Great journaling, as usual :)

6:14 AM  

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