Friday, April 20, 2007

Marathon Woman

Marathons seem to be big in my family. Several of my kids and in law kids have run them or are planning to. Heidi is in the final stages of preparation for a huge marathon.

She is having twins.

She has been in training for a few years.

Her first effort was pretty feeble. She was unknowingly dodging Jac. He was jogging after her, but she didn't seem to notice for a while. She actually invited another girl to go on her first date with Jac, not realizing it was a date. Another time she invited another guy to meet up with them on a date, not realizing it was a date. Then she broke up with another guy while she and Jac were on a date. Finally Jac told her they were dating and she immediately stopped running. Then it was a quick sprint to the finish line. She couldn't have received a better prize.

Heed moved into the fast lane when she had Lucy who is now 3 and 1/2. She then picked up even more speed with Chelsea who is turning 2.

Identical little girls will put her on a new track altogether. She's taking it in stride, but she's looking forward to a second wind! This marathon is a little different. The organizers plan to spring the date on Heidi, sometime between now and the end of May, and surprise her with a 20 yard dash to the starting line. She'll be panting before she even gets there. There might be some pushing and shoving as they jostle into position for their starting positions, and then with a cry of joy, the marathon begins!

Heidi is already a winner. She has been passionate about everything she's done. In 5th grade she was writing letters to the government for better treatment of cows that were raised for their meat. She wouldn't eat beef, and especially veal, in protest of the conditions they lived in prior to their demise. She became a freedom fighter for the separation of Czechoslovakia in the early '80's, writing letters as a 6th grader advocating the Velvet Revolution. She would have fought in it if she wasn't only 12. Her fight for women's rights took guts and skill. Right on the playground she took on The Green Gang, a group denying Heidi's friend the respect she deserved. "Are you friends with that fat girl?" they asked Heed, who stood up proudly, and took the mean 6th grade girls on with her fists. Then they practiced!

Later Heidi became a photographer and editor for her yearbook, rolling her own film, and developing her pictures in the darkroom. (She's still having a tough time accepting digital cameras as legitimate.) She wore her press pass proudly to every school function, covering sports, assemblies, clubs, classes, etc. while working with the publishers and writers to put it all together, with captions, indexes, and text to bring it all in on time. It was a race to the finish every year.

She had a job at a bakery where she made the bread. Every morning at 4 am she would be there grinding wheat into flour, preparing hundreds of pans, mixing, kneading, baking, and then later slicing, packaging and selling. The bread store was the hang out because they gave warm slices of your choice of bread, with fresh butter and honey, for free. The high school crowd worshipped Heidi because she was so generous. The store had hip music playing and the bakers were all modern day hippies, making their own food and sharing with the masses. After breathing in 3 years worth of flour dust, Heidi developed Baker's Asthma. Flour was coating the inside of her lungs and she was sick for several months until that was out of her system. Endurance and discipline were marathon skills learned there.

In the meantime she was an officer in a sorority. She incorporated her photography career into that, as well as her baking, and became famous for the muffins she brought to her 6am meetings all winter long. Running to and fro was incorporated into her training plan.

Heidi was an on-again-off-again college student, working for tuition a semester ahead, then going full time for a semester or two. She was able to plan and save enough to do a semester in Sienna, Italy and then travel for a few weeks afterward. She's traveled Europe 4 times, having gone to school in England for a year when she was little, as well as taking college classes in Italy. After she got married, both she and Jac finished college and graduated the same day. A fantastic accomplishment. They'd set a pace.

There is so much to Heidi, that she has a lot to offer. She loves music, nature, crafts, and people. She hikes, camps, reads, travels. She and Jac recently bought a fixer-upper house and have turned it into a place worthy of a magazine spread. She is compassionate, sensitive, funny, smart and beautiful. This is a marathon...keep going....

Heidi's a Political Science major and has worked on several local campaigns. She knows her stuff, and keeps up to date on issues both local and national. But there's more...

Even with 2 young kids she has taught guitar to neighbors, choir and music to kids, and she's been president of both the Young Women's and Children's organizations in church. She has been the girls camp leader for several summers, contributing her cooking, music, organizing and planning skills, and love for the girls. She's encircled by teenage girls who want to be like her.

I can picture a queue of little girls up in heaven saying "I want Heidi to be my mother..." Sensing the end of the line, a super enthused girl must have jumped on her friend's back and announced they'd come together. They're running at full speed, anxious to catch up with their older sisters.

There will be quite a support team watching this marathon. As long as Heed remembers we have a real stake in the race and our offers of help are sincere, she'll be able to keep her pace up, take necessary breaks, and the race will ultimately be hers. She'll finish with honors. She won't believe the worth of the prize.

There's a line in a song from Annie that applies to Heidi.
"Some women are dripping in diamonds, some women are dripping in pearls
"Lucky me, look at me, look at what I'm dripping in...little girls!"

I am psyched for this Marathon!


gab said...

We love Heed! She is amazing, beautiful, talented and so so so smart. I am so glad she is doing her best to make a whole batch of mini-Heidis to repopulate the world...we need more Heeds!

Stie said...

I couldn't agree more...Heidi is the kindest, most sincere, good-hearted person I've ever met. She's just plain GOODNESS. Love you to pieces, Heed. Good luck with the upcoming babies...let us know of anything we can do to help!

Anonymous said...

I missed Heed's college years and early courtship with Jac and much of this was new information to me. Thanks Oms.

Heed, go for 5! Be the best!

Nimmy said...

I concur. . .Heed is the greatest girl to have on your team. She is my first pick on the playground. I love the idea of having mini-Heeds in the world. What a power-house! And dripping with little girls really makes you beautiful. I love you so much Heidi. I'll be your secretary, your right-hand woman, in this, your own Young Women's organization.

marta said...

Hooray for Marathon Heidi.. You are like Honey Whole Wheat Bread: Sweet, wholesome, simple & good for the soul. We love you Heed and are cheering from the sidelines.

Heidi Ballou said...

What a nice tribute, mom. Thanks!

Today I started crying, because once again my ultrasound shows that everything's going great... he said, "we'll do another one in four weeks if you're still pregnant"! Don't get me wrong... I'm totally grateful to have the picture-perfect twin pregnancy, but today I just felt like sitting down in the middle of my "race track".

Thanks for all the nice comments that have picked me back up again. You all help me more than you know!
Love, Heed

kenju said...

My daughter has twins - they just turned 11. Good luck with yours.

mama jo said...

that was a very sweet story, heidi can be my mom sound wonderful...what lucky little girls and husband you have...the pictures are darling and heidi you look barely big enough for 1 baby, let alone 2...

MissKris said...

WOW! I got tired just reading this entry, lol! What a lot of living your Heidi has already crammed into the years she's blessed this earth! I am blessed with a remarkably wonderful daughter-in-law and she's as much a child to me as my own daughter is. We are truly lucky, Oma. My prayers will be including Heidi and the babies-to-be.

Gramafolly said...

I've always loved your easy going were picked to have this little family, cause it just seems natural for you to take care of these cute little girls.