Part Two: Single Dad’s Guide to Thanksgiving – Missing in Action

Jake, left on his own in Virginia, was armed with only an oven, a knife and a fire extinguisher. Thanksgiving was stressful to say the least. Last I had heard from Jake, he was on his way to Wal-Mart to pick up a meat thermometer for his first attempt at cooking a turkey.

PC, Cole and I were enjoying our own afternoon of football and feasting with our family in Wisconsin. Occasionally I would sneak away to dial the (703) area code – trying desperately to verify that nothing had burned down. After my fourth attempt to reach Jake and sons, I gave in to helplessness and enjoyed a glass of wine, a plate of turkey, and my Packers whopping on the Lions. Go Team!

Today, Black Friday morning, PC and I shared a pot of coffee as I logged into my email. I wasn’t quite ready to face what disasters lay ahead if I were to track the elusive Jake down. I feared that something may have happened with my poor, boy-dumb friend and his great kids.

I felt guilty from encouraging Jake’s idea at preparing a Thanksgiving Feast, and I was afraid to hear the outcome of under-cooked turkey or a fire in the apartment.

Hesitantly, I accepted the iPad PC placed in my hands. I logged into my Hotmail account only to receive an email from Jake with the subject line reading, Missed Thanksgiving followed by another subject line that read, First Attempt.

Geez – what did I get him into? There I was, trying to help a bachelor-dad to prepare a grand feast  when he had probably never even turned on an oven. And I was a thousand miles away. How irresponsible!

I clicked and the first note opened. I read aloud to PC…

Missed Thanksgiving

Heidi Lee,

First of all the food was amazing!  And asparagus is now my favorite vegetable in the world – just break of the hard parts of the stalk, lightly coat in Olive Oil, fry on the George Foreman Grill, and when done just a bit of lemon juice topped with Parmesan cheese.  It was the best tasting vegetable EVER 🙂

Unfortunately I missed most of Thanksgiving.  The night before I didn’t sleep at all – nervous from my task ahead.  So after the boys and I “wolfed” down a gluttony of food, I can’t really say for sure what happened other than I had laid down to get a moments rest and didn’t wake until 7:00AM EST.

The boys loved Dinner H.  Thank you so much. FYI:  Not a lot of meat left over from that 14 pound bird 🙂

Jake

What a wonderful experience. Today I’d love to thank my friend, Jake, for allowing me to be a part of this memory he created for his children.

And the note that he had titled First Attempt – it was a picture of the meal with the boys standing proudly next to the turkey. Granted, a bit too much of my secret basting liquid, but the bird was cooked to a moist gloss of perfection.

He and I had a quick call this morning, and he shared with me their thoughts on potatoes. He made a triple batch of gravy because his boys never enjoyed a potato on its own. However, he made the sour cream mashed baby reds, and the gravy went untouched.

This morning I’m proud of my friend. I’m happy for him and for his kids – the oldest son is getting ready to join the Marines. I feel privileged to be included in even a small piece of their Thanksgiving experience and their family memories.

Thank you, Jake, and thank your sons for me as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Heidi Lee

Beat the Holiday Stress by saying Thank You

Happy Friday to you all! As we prepare for the Thanksgiving Holiday, do you feel life getting a little more stressful? I sure do, but I think I found a way to ward of the evil spirits of stress, frustration and anxiety. If you will allow me, I’ll share.

Last night, PC took me to the grocery store to pick up a few items for my son Cole’s 16th birthday. Needless to say – Festival Foods was a madhouse filled with people shopping for their Thanksgiving Feasts.

Using my shopping cart to cover my Offensive Line, I gingerly tried to lug my orthopedic boot through the aisles. Women were yelling in their cell phones about whether to serve turkey or ham. Young children were terrorizing their parents by playing hide & seek in the produce section. Most people were hurried to jump in the shortest line – damning every person in the way. Calling the store a war zone just about captures the atmosphere.

PC ran interference for me so I could grab only the necessities for Cole’s Birthday dinner and his Turtle Cheesecake birthday cake. He unloaded my cart for me at the checkout, and he went to pull the car up to the curb. He kept me safe while I tried to survive a battle that is hard to fight with two good feet, and I only have one working for me right now.

Watching PC help me, I started to think about the sweet little things PC and I do for each other to make each day a little sunnier than the last. I would love to share an example with you, friends, with the hope that you also get the opportunity to appreciate the little things.

The best little thing that PC did for me this week was to come home. He has season tickets for the local college basketball team – a tradition he has shared with his parents for many years before he met me. It is their ritual, and Ma and Pa love being able to spend this time with their oldest son.

Wednesday night, PC went to the game while Cole and I hung out at home. I had planned to watch a favorite show, Revenge, while PC was at the game. I turned the channel to ABC at 9:00. PC came through the door just in time to hear the theme song. He rushed in and sat with me to watch the show.

When I asked PC if UW Green Bay won the basketball game, he told me he left with 5 minutes still on the clock. He likes watching Revenge with me.

“Wow”, I thought to myself. I really did find a gem, and he really does love me. I know that this was such a small gesture, but it has a huge impact. Imagine having someone think you are important enough to them that they would leave before the end of a game. Saying thank you and seeing his smile simply eased my stress away.

I believe that I often overlook those little things. I know that people in my life do those sorts of things often for me. I need to appreciate the little things more. My goal is to remember to acknowledge and thank people – whether for an intentional act of kindness or simply some spur of the moment good deed. I need to just say thank you. It goes a long way.

And friends, if you are looking for a little something special to do for your special someone, I pack lunch for PC every day. He loves it.

Warm Regards,

Heidi Lee

A Thank you to Saint PC – the Patron Saint of Difficult and Whiny Patients

Hello, my Dear Friends. I’m recovering uncomfortably from my foot surgery, and I’ve come to the realization that I am the world’s worst patient. Fortunately, PC has the bedside manner of a saint. I whine, whimper and pout, and he simply strokes my hair from out of my face and stumbles in the dark to find me another pain pill.

My doctor mentioned that I would have at least a week’s worth of pain before I started to feel better, but I honestly could not have imagined the extent. True to form though, PC is right beside me holding my hand. I’ve kept him up all night through restlessness and crying, and the only thing he could think of this morning was to tell me that I look beautiful. Poor guy – he really needs some sleep.

While I am too doped up today to showcase the romance or the humor in the Care and Feeding of Heidi Lee, I did want to take a moment and say thank you.

Friends, remember to thank someone you love today.

Warm Regards,

Heidi Lee

Ever feel like Ms. Piggy? This might help.

For all of my Toad Kissing Friends – Happy Halloween!

A love song from our favorite little green frog. Thank you, Kermit! I’ve always loved this – maybe that is how I was able to kiss so many toads.   http://youtu.be/Tqj456ImNSY

Enjoy!     Heidi Lee

Moxie – For You

My Dear Friend,

Today my message is especially for you, and inspired by simply knowing you.

You once gave me a book of quotes to help me find focus and encouragement in your absence. This book sits front and center on my desk and in my world.

This morning as I read through the wisdom in this book of “Moxie”, your inner spirit jumps out to me yet again. I see your strength shine through as I read what I hope you begin to understand:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. As we ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of the universe. You were born to manifest the glory of the universe that is within us. It’s not in nust some of us; it’s in everyone.” (#mariannewilliamson as quoted in Moxie)

This, my sincere friend, this is how I see you. This is how others that matter in life see you. This is how I hope you see yourself.

Please own the talent within you that others seek to takeaway. They likely are afraid that once you know this in yourself, they will lose control. Please recognize your inner strength, your intelligence, and your incomparable beauty. Learn to soar. Learn that you are magnificent.

This is my wish for you. I ask only one favor in return. Please go and stand in front of the mirror and repeat to yourself the words of Margaret Thatcher – because you can!

“If it’s me against 48, I feel sorry for the 48!”

And know that you are admired and you are loved. Most importantly, you are not alone.

Love always and with lots of Moxie,

Heidi

PS…Please feel free to share these words with someone who may need to hear them. And remember to thank the people who inspire you – always!

Thank a Teacher Day – in honor of my friend

Good morning, Dear Friends. Please indulge me this morning as I specifically want to congratulate someone very near and dear to me.

Forrest, I’d like to tell everyone this morning how much I’ve learned from you in the Art of Toad Kissing – both personally and professionally. You, who taught me to make spreadsheets of characteristics to analyze the men I was dating. You who gave me seeds of knowledge that I was able to cultivate and use to become so much more than I had ever thought professionally. You were my teacher, and you are my friend.

Thank you for being the Peas to my Carrots, Forrest.

Congratulations on your new Role. It is both impressive and well-earned. May your brilliance outshine even your past successes.

And for all of my Dear readers and friends, remember to say Thank You today when someone shares their knowledge with you. It is priceless

xoxo

Jenny

A Conversation with Mother Gump on Fantasy Football

Good morning everyone! How are you today? I’m perfectly elated as I go into my ESPN Fantasy Football site. I see that my best friend Collette and I are the last two standing undefeated going into the Bye Weeks. This season is going to be so much fun!

I’m also home in Green Bay this week with my family, and my work takes me to DC next week – my childhood home. So many things to celebrate and so many wonderful people to enjoy.

So my winning scores combined with my chaotic travel schedule got me thinking; While life may be a box of chocolates, if Mother Gump and I had a conversation today she may tell me that “Life is like a Fantasy Football Team . You never know which players will be on top in any given week, but you need them all to win the game.”

Mother Gump’s words of wisdom as I hear them <imagining a soft spoken southern drawl>:

“Heidi, remember in life to count your blessings. Building a strong team to support your QB is essential, but so is remembering that the guys on your bench are just as important as your star running back.

You’ve grown into such a lovely woman – and you are successfully headed to the Super Bowl with the love of family and friends in your life today. Be proud of that, and cherish the people who support you every day – your starting line.

But still remember your bench. They are there when you need them – always in the background yelling, ‘Put me in Coach, I’m ready to play!’  These are the friends and family who maybe you don’t see often and honestly perhaps the years have separated you. But they love you still, and they are a critical part of your team.

The Bench is your childhood friend who dried your tears when the mean boy punched you in the arm.

The Bench is the group of teen-aged girls who skipped study hall with you to run to the drug store and buy a new shade of lip gloss.

The Bench is the Quarterback’s best friend who let you cry secretly in the Girls Bathroom after his buddy dumped you – all the while running a strong blocking game for other girls who had to pee.

The Bench is the cousin from the other state who you only see at Family Reunions, or your Mom’s youngest sister that you never really knew. They are your family, and you can count on them to love you too.

The bench is the Dear Friend who calls you to her starting line-up and invites you to a Pole-Dancing exercise class to help tone your back end! Love it. (more on this later)

Don’t ever forget your bench, Heidi. They score big for you when you need them. More importantly, remember to be a good bench player yourself. Remember the little girl that cried when Billy said she had Cooties. You were there for her then, and she may need you some day. Be a good friend – be a good bench player today.”

So today is for my bench! Thank you, Donielle. Thank you, James. Thank you, Kathy and Ken. Thank you , Kim and Aunt Alice. Thanks Ethel, Stephanie and Cornell and Missy. Thank you Nicole, Emily, Alicia, and Doug.  Thank you to others on my bench who I simply don’t reach out to often enough. You are all important in my life, and I appreciate you.

Thank you, Facebook, for helping me to build my Bench.

And thank you, Mother Gump, for your southern charm and wisdom.  Go Team!

Warm Regards,

Heidi