70 and 8

Today she is 70.

We celebrate the beautiful soul that is my mother.


As a young girl I remember her dancing with me while the Mandrel sisters sang on TV.

She taught me how to make chocolate chip cookies and let me eat the raw dough.

She edited my stories and woke up in the middle of the night to listen to my latest musings.

And now she parents another generation.



My girls have dance parties in her living room and bake cakes in her kitchen.

She teaches them about Jesus and loves them like only a grandmother can.

And while I always knew she was strong, it was on this day 8 years ago that her strength became our foundation.

Her birthday marks the anniversary of my father’s passing.

Their love story spanned 37 of the 70.

She still wears his wedding ring, keeping his memory alive for the grandchildren (three of whom were born after his death).

She loves him, breathes him, carries him; long after the world around her has let his image fade.

But, she is not stuck in the past. These 8 years have taught us that past and present can coexist.

She will not let his death be the end and speaks of a day when they will be reunited.

Her life is the greatest teacher.

Happy Birthday Mom.

Dad is proud.









Two years gone.

A lifetime lived.

Decades since that conversation which pulled the thread on a marriage.

In the months following book after book told me it would take two years to “return to normal”.

Two years and now I feel new not normal.

A new life built over these last 730 days.

It wasn’t always easy.

Nights and days spent questioning my purpose.

Wondering how I could move forward and learning to forgive myself.

But last night as I stood in a bookstore, girls reading quietly beside me, I paused in my reflection and spoke congratulatory words to the women I am now.

To come so far.

To live a life I can be proud of.

To acknowledge my faults but live in the glory of God’s grace.

The courage to reach for the next trapeze swing. No longer just hanging.

You’ve done good Heather.

Be proud of these two years and grateful for the journey.

Tyler Knott Gregson:



Many mom’s and dad’s are the sole parent to their child for a variety of circumstances. I, however, have the opportunity to co-parent quite effectively with the father of my children.

I am not single, alone or abandoned in my parenthood.

Yet why does society seek to attach that word as an adjective to my motherhood? Single Mom.

Should you also be seeking to attach that word to woman as a way to define my marital status, single woman, I would ask that you refrain from that as well.

Please do not use that adjective to define my womanhood.

Define me by my pursuits, my job, my religion, my community work, my motherhood.

But whatever you do please don’t introduce me as your “single friend”, the “single mom”, the “single co-worker”.

I love your desire to show your admiration for how hard it is to parent from the space of divorce by attaching the word single to my status as a mom. Many nights as I struggle to put three girls to bed and give each the attention they need, I feel alone in my job. But defining me as a single mom would do a huge disservice to their Dad, who in his on right, tries his hardest to parent alone when I am not present.

My children have two loving and engaged parents. Please don’t refer to either of us as single parents.

I also admire your attempt to set me up with a partner whenever you see a chance by attaching the word single as a descriptor to my status as a woman. Whether it be at the coffee shop when you want to introduce me to your  “single neighbor” we just ran into or casually over lunch when you offer to set me up with other “single friends”. I love your enthusiasm for being a matchmaker but single is just not how I think of myself.

I love words. I love the good they can do when used in the appropriate ways.

So please, regardless of how good your intention is behind labeling me as single, I ask you rethink that word and its applicability to my life.

When forced to come up with an adjective to describe me, may I suggest that you substitute the word single for extraordinary.

“Can I set you up with my extraordinary friend Heather?”

“Have you met this extraordinary mom I know?”

That my friends is putting real power behind a word.



My parents loved to travel.

The five of us piled into our white K-car traversing the east coast each summer.

As we got older the trips got bigger- Iceland, Mexico, Canada.

They wanted my brothers and I to see it all.

And now, more than ever, I want the same for my girls.

Early summer found us traveling a great deal and when my girls screamed “enough” and demanded an August at home I complied.

Then September rolled in and the urge to travel could no longer be squelched.

While Sid and Aud’s days were filled with school, soccer and riding, off Ellie and I went on our grand adventure to Utah.


We landed on a Friday and soaked up the sights and sounds of Salt Lake City. The moment we walked through the gates of Temple Square we could feel the peace of that place.


Saturday saw me run the North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon Relay with friends in Park City.

It was hard and that’s all that needs said.


Seeing Ellie’s face as I crossed the finish line was well worth the agony from the climb up the ski slope.

Saturday night we ate dinner on the patio and watched the sky turn red then black.

Those moments will forever be cherished.

Sunday was church, then swimming, then the most amazing dinner with friends.

Love was in that place that evening as little boys tossed a football around and Ellie spent hours chasing her playmates.

On Monday when it came time to leave, I found myself wishing we had just one day more. There was so much more to see and do that we just never got to.


And the big girls would have loved it all- the horses, the zipline, the mountains.

So on Monday night when Ellie and I stumbled through the front door at 9pm, staggering under the weight of our bags and the day of travel, I looked at the joy on the faces of my two eldest and vowed that next time school and activities would not get in the way.

To travel is the greatest teacher of all.