Ever since the day in early June that I was asked to write for The Forecaster, I’ve been drifting off to sleep each evening, fully expecting to bolt upright at 2:30 a.m., awakened by some divinely inspired idea for this, my first column.
Alas, while I am thrilled to tell you that I am indeed awake and typing this at 2:36 a.m., I am also here to report that I am not currently channeling anything brilliant from the queen of all columnists, Erma Bombeck. Nor from my late husband, Drew. Although I’m rather certain they are hanging out together in the afterlife, sending me love and good wishes on the occasion of my debut in this newspaper, apparently, as far as content goes, I’m on my own.
This was not my plan. I was supposed to be the beneficiary of some divine inspiration. But when do things go as we plan? I mean, really, does anyone’s life ever go the way they plan? Mine certainly hasn’t. One day you’re going along, trying to survive the usual challenges of raising three little children with the man you’ve loved forever. Your marriage isn’t perfect, but it’s perfect for you: filled with laughter, creativity, love and the intermittent longing for the days when you were childless and had time for sex.
The next day, you’re logged onto match.com at 1 a.m., fielding e-mails from men who want to drink merlot on the beach and give you a back rub. Men with screen names (that they chose on purpose) like “Desperate4U” and “BetrayedAgain.” Men who might have restraining orders against them. Men who are not your husband. As Gandhi said, “Were it not for a sense of humor, I would have long ago committed suicide.” I love Gandhi. Were he alive and well and on an Internet dating site, I’d go for a decaf latte with him in a second.
I’ve been doing this widowhood thing (reluctantly) for seven years now. There have been times when I’ve wished I were six feet under, with Drew. There have been times when I’ve entertained thoughts of selling my children. There have been times I’ve felt oddly blessed to have learned firsthand that we can’t take love or life for granted – so we’d best stop caring what other people think of us, speak our truths and follow our passions.
I’m an artist, writer, speaker – and a Girl Scout dropout. Shocking, I know. I share my stories of love, life, death, mid-life dating and single parenting because, well, it would be a sin not to. My hope is that you will at some point read some tidbit that will put a smile on your face, bring a tear to your eye, or make you laugh so hard that your chocolate milk comes shooting out of your nose. Maybe you’ll read something that will make you feel more connected. Maybe I’ll write something you’ve wanted to say, but didn’t. Or couldn’t. Or perhaps you’ll think this is a column about diabetes and be left wondering, WTH?
Don’t tell anyone, but my ultimate fantasy is that at some point you’ll get out your scissors, and one of my columns will grace your refrigerator. Next to your grocery shopping list. Or your fourth-grader’s spelling test. Or, if you’re anything like me, next to a magnet that says, “I know what turns women on” and features a handsome man at a kitchen sink, sporting an apron and washing dishes.
I think we live in amazing times. I think my MacBook is fabulous. I love having my blog and my website. And the fact that people can connect with me from halfway around the world via the Internet still makes me giddy.
But truth be told, the thought of my words on a sheet of newsprint, dangling precariously from your refrigerator door, is what makes my heart go pitter-patter. I embrace and appreciate the wonders of technology, but I’m a sentimental girl at heart. I still like words on paper. Newspapers. Books. Love letters. Call me an anarchist. If Drew and Erma (and Gandhi) were still alive, I’d like to think they’d deem me “fridge-worthy.” I am thrilled to be here. Thanks for having me.