The Life of Bon

Monday, March 13, 2023

All day kindergarten

 I put my five year old in all day kindergarten.

Fought for it.  Raised hell for it.  Cried shamelessly in front of the school secretary when she said it was just luck who got all day kindergarten and I said really there's no help for single parent homes, I'm doing this alone lady, I need help.  The school was adamant, we can't make any exceptions for special circumstances.  No one gets in for "hardship."

And then, a few weeks later, coincidentally, a spot opened up.

That's the story of how I fought tooth and nail for my five year old to be away from me from 8 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon five days a week and then not get to see him on Saturdays when he goes to his dad's.  

All day long he is gone from me.  I go to work.  I miss him.  He feels so little to be gone at school all day.  His dad is absent in so many ways, I am the one who loves him, nurtures him, teaches him, makes him feel seen and special, explains to him what this world is all about and how it works.  And now where am I?  Why am I working?  Why am I earning more money?  Why is there always more work but never more childhood?

All year I have had this emotion clumping around in the back of me.  I thought it was guilt.  Struggling with the guilt I feel for choosing to have him away from me all day.  It's too long for him.  He's too tired.  He wants to be with me. I want to be with him.

And then tonight it dawned on me. 

 It isn't guilt.  It's grief. 

I am not mourning something I think I took from him.  I am mourning what I think I took from myself.  Grieving the loss of time with my son, time just the two of us, hours and hours I will never get back.  Fruit bowls and memory games and morning snuggles and having him eat a corn dog next to me while I work.  Instead I rush him out the door early in the morning and he eats lunch with other five year olds.  I see him when he gets home, close to 3, tired and completely beat, the worst version of himself with nothing left to give his mom.

My son would not have lasting memories of being five and hanging out with just mom while his sister is in school.  I would have.  The trajectory of his life will be ultimately unaffected by all day or half day kindergarten.  But maybe mine would not have?

Trying to have compassion for myself and the place I was in a year ago when I made this decision, when I begged for the school to give Hugh the chance to go to all day kindergarten.  I have to work.  No one else is paying my bills.  Not seeing a way or a path for more time away from work, feeling scarcity and lack, not trusting that I could take more of a step away from the business, take some extra time for my son, and that I could still be ok.

The grief of missing time when he was five turns into the grief of missing time when he was four.  In three different preschools so I could work.  And that grief turns to missing time when he was three. And two. And one.  And a newborn.  How I went back to work when he was weeks old, left him with his father to take care of, when I wanted to take care of him instead.  His father got to be next to him all day, got to feed him and burp him, put him down for endless naps.

The grief of how I can't even remember him learning to walk because I was in the middle of deciding to get a divorce, too much trauma and sorrow to remember where and when he took those first steps, how he decided to be brave enough to dare to do this great big adventurous thing called walking.  The way I was already missing two and three day spurts with him when he was only not even two years old because he was an hour away from me at his dad's.  The way I had a dream he drown when he was three and I woke up sobbing and he was not in my home so I called his dad in the middle of the night, frantic, panicking, is my boy ok is my boy ok is my boy ok why is he not in my home with me?

Now my boy is six.  He lost his first tooth last week.  He is learning to read and ride a bike without training wheels.  He is growing.  His babyhood and toddlerhood is gone from me, and I am here, in the thick of his childhood.  

Praying that I won't miss anything more.

Thursday, January 07, 2021


 I came here to write.  My brain asking me to settle some thoughts.  Then I got sucked in.  Sucked in to this blog.  What it is, what it once was, the pain suffering sorrow joy gratitude it contains.  Some posts make me cringe.  A la 2012.  That was a weird time.  Forgive me for what I wrote.  I was still learning and growing.  I am still learning and growing.

Somehow I landed on Hugh's birth story.  He turns four in a few weeks.  Where did his babyhood go?  My baby who I never planned on, who formed and arrived in spite of strict instructions from his parents NOT to form and arrive- my passion, my fire, my Chef Hugh, my choo choo king.

I digress.  I came here to write, not to reminisce.

To tell you that I made it through 2020.  

Isn't that something?

WE made it through 2020.

The world.  We survived what has collectively been the hardest year that we have lived through.  Congratulations, world!

I was so scared when the world shut down in March.  Suddenly my children couldn't go to school, I was left to my own lonely devices to figure out how to teach them.  I was still trying to run a jewelry business.  Working while teaching June her letters.  Needing to hire on help, but not knowing how to, especially now, in a pandemic, how could I even interview anyone for a job?

I was afraid to see my own mom.  She was coming up every Wednesday to help me with menial household chores that I couldn't keep on top of by myself.  Suddenly this felt like a crime.  Everyone else gets to quarantine with someone,  but I had to quarantine by myself.  My friends who had been my life support the last two years, suddenly taking cover in their homes, their safe spots, with their people people.  Oh, I realized.  I am your people but I am not your people people.  At the end of the day all my people have other people but I have only two little people.

I remember my best friend agreeing to go on a walk with me.  Don't tell anyone we agreed.  We were criminals.  Breaking invisible pandemic laws that had emerged in minutes.  I remember feeling so grateful and so scared.  So grateful for a friend who would walk and talk with me, so scared the gestapo would see this single mom, desperate for companionship, on a walk with a friend.

And then there was the day I broke down in the Walmart parking lot.  It was mid April.  I had gone three straight weeks on my own with the kids.  Running a business, homeschooling kids, no break, no social outlet, no way to just go to a damn store and try on a pair of jeans.  We ate Taco Bell in the backseat of the car, and I sobbed.  Is being single and caring for kids during a pandemic the thing that will kill me?

On Easter Sunday I locked myself in my bathroom.  I was trying to make a ham and twice baked potatoes.  It was too much.  My kids needed me and I needed help.  I turned on the tv and ran away to a hot bath and sobbed into My Antonia.  Later we went in secret to my brother's house.  My two brothers and their two wives and their collective four children.  Tried to celebrate a somewhat normal Easter together, instead we ate in paranoia, half convinced we would all now kill each other for eating Easter dinner together.

And somehow.

Here we are.

2021.  Facemasks in hand, social distancing signs at every turn, positive covid tests par for the course.  

Surviving the pandemic.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Hi dad.

 It is the eleven year anniversary of my dad's death.

That sentence is jarring to me.  How was it been eleven years?  Eleven years without my biggest fan, without the man who was convinced I could do it all, eleven years without the man who buried me in bear hugs when he saw me.  

My sister called me last week.  I was making quesadillas for the kids for lunch.  Melting the cheese in the middle, flipping the tortilla.  When I answered the phone my sister was already in tears.  "I just miss dad so much" she blurted out.  Tears instantly.  That big a grief, that big a loss is always ready close to the surface.  One little poke and it quickly emerges. All we could do is cry together.

Dad.  We miss you.  Your daughters.  We miss you.  This life, this adulthood, these problems.  We never wanted to do it without you.

My life has evolved and then evolved again in the years since my dad's death.  I built one life.  Burned that one down.  Am building a new one.  The children, the love, the faith remain.  Everything else is new.  Sometimes I wonder what he thinks of the construction,  the destruction,  the reconstruction.  He loved to build.  I think he is proud.

It's happened to me twice in the last few months that someone has said to me "my biggest fear is that my dad will die".  I don't know what to say to that.  How to respond.  Your biggest fear is my reality?  The thing that wakes you up in a panic induced sweat in the middle of the night is the life I have learned to live with?  My heart hurts when people say that.  Why does it get to be some people's fears and other people's realities?  (And why am I "other people").  Maybe I respond with the truth.  Maybe I say, "Your biggest fear is every bit as horrible and lonely and soul wrenching as that nightmare in the middle of the night makes you think it will be."

But I pivot.

I'm not here to bemoan.

Not tonight.  I've done that plenty in the last eleven years.  Plenty of grieving, plenty of acknowledging loss, plenty of missing, plenty of screaming to the nameless sky.  There is a lot of loss and I have met that loss.

Tonight I come with gratitude.  I read some of my dad's journal entries recently.  Whenever he mentioned me he was filled with awe.  "Bonnie called today, she got all As this semester" "Bonnie home for the weekend from BYU, she is full of joy and energy" "Bonnie broke up with her boyfriend and is feeling sad.  I didn't much like him."  In all the entries his love for me shined through.  It was wild to read it.  To see so clearly how absolutely crazy he was about me.  To be on the parenting side of it now, to relate to the intense love he had for his children and to realize, wow, that lucky child, that receiver of so much love, was me.  

Tomorrow I will take my kids, my thing 1 and thing 2.  We will go to his grave and drink cherry coke and listen to Credence Clearwater Revival and I will tell them about their Baba, the man they never got to meet, the grandpa who would have been as smitten with them as he was by me.  I will tell them how I totaled a car in high school and he made me work out in the garage with him on cold winter evenings repairing it.  I will tell them how after I went skydiving in Hawaii he bragged to all his patients about it.  (She jumped out of an airplane at 14,000 feet.  Can you believe that? 14,000 feet!). I will tell them how he would always nap in the living room after Sunday dinner while the kids cleaned the kitchen and how he would shush us for being too loud putting away the pans.  I will tell them how he used to make me eat my vegetables and I would hide them in my roll and so he would make me eat the roll and belly laugh as I tried to stomach down a roll stuffed with orange squash.  I will tell them how he smelled like Old Spice and how his work desk was always messy.  I will tell them how when Unchained Melody came on the radio he took my mom and danced with her and held her close and how he had so much love for her, for us, for them. 

And I will tell them what a gift it all is.  To be his children and grandchildren.  To have that much love, to give that much love, to receive that much love.

Yes.  What a gift it all is.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Break up

I broke up with the boy.

He was here for six months.  With all the patience and desire and love that any girl could hope for.  He  thought I was a queen and a badass and treated me as such, with a mixture of awe and admiration.  He was anxious to please, prioritized my happiness and needs, never considering his own wants, desires, feelings.  He kissed me with the urgency and hunger of a boy who has never kissed before, or will never kiss again.  

But still.  It wasn't quite the right fit.  Little areas where I couldn't get our pieces to connect.  My core knew it long before my head and heart and body did.  The core leads the way if I am strong and brave enough to listen.

It's been six days since I told him goodbye.  It was a long and painful conversation.  He was convinced he could change himself enough to be exactly what I wanted.  I would never ask that of him, never want a partner to have to change who he is to be the person I want.  Nah.  Let him be him.  There will be another.

The day after the breakup I took my kids to stay in a nearby hotel for a few days.  I deleted the social media accounts, bought a book and spent the three days going to playgrounds, visiting Halloween attractions, and going on hikes up the canyon.  We swam in the hotel pool 456 times.  The kids enthusiastically learned how to work the magnetic key, excitedly ran through the halls, slept in the hotel bed next to me, kicking me all night long through their happy dreams.  Each night when they fell asleep buried in the crisp white hotel down comforters I read until my eyes finally felt heavy- the distraction of a book my lifelong loyal friend when times are rough.

On one night we ate Cafe Rio on the hotel beds.  The kids quickly finished their quesadillas and immediately got to work jumping jumping jumping from queen bed to queen bed.  (But seriously, have you ever slept in a room with TWO queen beds?  What a thrill, what a rush!). June landed on me, her gangly limbs flailing every which way and out of nowhere grabbed my hand and squeezed it three times.  I. Love. You.  Our secret sign.

It stopped me in my tracks.  Threw my heart right into my throat.

Where do our kids come from?  How did she know I needed that?  How could she see her mama's pain- a pain, suffering, heartbreak that I hadn't bothered to tell my children about?  It wasn't their burden to carry, I reasoned with myself.  

But still.  She was carrying part of it.  She had seen it and picked it up.

June gave me a smile and a hug and then lunged back onto the other queen bed.  Hotel bed jumping waits for no one, you know.

I looked down at my steak salad, took a bite, watched my tears fall into the lettuce.  I wasn't ready for another relationship to end, wasn't ready to say goodbye, wasn't ready to be alone again.

Watching my tears drop into the salad reminded me of my first ever heartbreak.  At 18 I had fallen madly in love.  He was a law student and funny and smart and witty and totally crazy about me.  We dated a year before he could wait no longer to marry.  (Oh, Mormons.)  I wasn't ready.  He said we couldn't just keep dating indefinitely. (I said why not?) So I let him go, convinced he would do his thing in the world and then return to me when I was ready.  A year later he was married.  He did not return to me.

That break up was devastating and crushed me in a way I had never before experienced.  It was my first relationship, and firsts aside, he may have been the best match for me of any man I've ever dated.  (Or married.)  My young spirit knew nothing of the world, but it knew how to find what it liked.  I couldn't reconcile getting married so young, though, and he couldn't reconcile waiting the five or ten years it would take me to grow up.  So he moved on.  

When we broke up I cried every day for months.  One afternoon I tried to shave my legs in the 700 square foot apartment I shared with five other 19 year old girls.  I sat in the bathtub with the shower going, the warm water running down my back and legs, shaving the same spot over and over and over.  Crying, sobbing, body heaving in the shower.  I remember thinking "stop crying, Bonnie!  Stop crying!  You have to stop crying so you can get out of the shower!"  But I couldn't stop.  The floodgates had opened and the heart insisted on mourning.  Shave cry shave cry shave cry.

And here I was.  Sixteen years later.  Same eyes, different tears, new heartbreak.  Eat cry eat cry eat cry. Grieving not just this break up, but grieving almost two decades of meeting, falling, hoping, loving, breaking, ending, rinse, repeat. Break up after break up after break up. (And of course, giving space for The Break Up which was such a big break up that it gets a whole new name because Divorces are break ups multiplied by break ups.)

At what point do I no longer cry over boys, no longer mourn failed relationships, finally finally find a person to do this life with?  A person, a partner, someone who gets it, who sees it, who also thinks that joke is funny.  My heart craves a deep connection, someone with whom to share it all.   Someone brave enough, silly enough, strong enough, emotional enough, sexy enough to tackle life with me.  Someone who wants the corners of my heart, the inside of my mouth, the deepest tunnels of my soul. 

Have you seen him?  Have you seen that man?  Because if you see him, send him my way.  

Tell him I'm ready.

Friday, September 04, 2020

Sugar cookie

 Sometimes I feel so nostalgic for my marriage.  A marriage that was unhealthy and trying and often lonely.  But still.  I miss it sometimes.  

The pang of missing comes unexpectedly and at inopportune times.  I'm getting ready for a date.  Suddenly I remember.  Something lovely about our marriage.  I don't want to go on the date anymore. 

Anyone who has gotten divorced would tell you that the marriage was hard.  That there was suffering involved.  That there was pain.  But anyone who stayed in a marriage for seven years will also tell you that there was joy.  Connection.  Inside jokes.  Glances that communicate volumes.  I don't suspect people stay married if there isn't also immense love.  And even when the reasons to leave outweigh the reasons to stay, the reasons to stay are still there.  The reasons to stay are still there.

Everything we shared.  Where does all that sharing go?  Everything we loved together.  Where does that love go?  The experiences, the memories- only he understands.  Only he remembers.

Today I was working on my jewelry business.  Making projections for how much earring inventory I will need to see the business through 2020.  It was not especially fascinating work, but it required all my focus.  One hundred percent of my brain power.  Or so I thought.  I guess it required 99% of my brain power because out of nowhere I remembered.

One Friday afternoon he picked me up from my teaching gig at the high school.  The kids were in the backseat.  We were going to his parents' home for the weekend- a place that was always a total oasis for him.  I ran out to the car and got in the front seat.  Work is done for the week hallelujah lets gooooooooo!  Grabbed the hand of my husband.   Looked back at my two babies making noises in the back.  These were my people.  My family.  My ride or die.  He was smiling a sneaky smile.  June was also excited.  They were up to something.

"We got you a surprise!" finally he burst.  He pulled out from the middle console a huge, fluffy cookie.  My favorite sugar cookie from my favorite out of the way cookie place.  And a pint of milk.  He had left early to go get the cookie for me, he knew how much I loved it, knew how delighted I would be to receive a surprise treat after a long day of work.

"You don't have to share it with us" he said, "It's all for you."  He was so proud of the way he had surprised me with this treat.  I felt loved, adored, cherished.  Of course I shared the cookie.  Breaking off and feeding sugary frosting pieces to my husband and my children.  A unit.  A family.  The four of us.

Where did this memory go the past two years?  I haven't thought of it since.  It's been hiding in my brain waiting to reemerge.  No one else knows of this experience.  Only he would remember.  

Who do I share it with now?  

And when the marriage ends where does that sharing-a-sugar-cookie-in-the-car love go?

Sunday, August 30, 2020

I am dating a boy.

 A boy. I am dating a boy.

He's been here for a minute.  We're working on five months now.  I tried to ask him to leave a few times.  Broke up with him seven days in.  He said ok.  I said actually wait a minute.  I like you.  But my heart doesn't know how to feel safe.  He said that's ok.  I understand.  I'll be patient.  I said ok.  No wait.  You should go.  No please stay.

Somehow he's still here.

We move slow.  Little tortoises making our way along an uncertain path.  We can't see where the path goes, don't know how it ends.  He inches alongside next to me and when I need to retreat back into my shell he patiently waits.  You ok in there? he asks me.  I don't know I answer.  Take your time he tells me.  I'm still here I hear him say.

How does a heart heal?  Perform the gigantic work of repairing itself only to put its fragile, vulnerable, barely stitched back together self back out there again?  

I never knew this about divorce. About new relationships.  About remarriage.  When I used to hear of a woman finding love after heartbreak I would think oh good for her.  That's so great.  What happy news.

Now I think,

"Wow.  She is so brave."

Sunday, August 23, 2020


It’s been a minute since I’ve written anything. What does it take to start writing again? To find my way back to this blog?


A global pandemic. A polarizing president. A tense election year. So many many opinions, thoughts, voices screaming at me that suddenly my own voice is so small. So quiet. I can’t hear it. Do I like anything our president is doing? Should I go to the lake with my five best friends or is that selfish and reckless in the face of such a global disease? Is it ok for Black people to riot, to destroy property, to resort to violence after decades and centuries of being ignored? What do I think about people who won’t wear masks? Are children being sold and trafficked in safes on Wayfair? 

The global issues affect my ability to assess even my personal life. How much do I like the boy I’m dating? Am I running my business responsibly? Am I accepting accountability and doing my part for a healthy coparent relationship? And on a deeper level my spirit is looking for answers, for connection. Does my God see me? Is He listening? Does He care? 

So many voices telling me so many things. Where is my own?

So I turned off the voices. For a month at least. Maybe more. No more social media, very limited news sources. No more watching from my phone another person’s child playing when my own are playing right in front of me. No more divisive political Facebook posts, no more Instagram pictures of big clean homes I can neither afford nor maintain, no more 22 year olds in belly shirts dancing for me on tik tok. This month is just me and my children and my friends and my books and my running. The rest can be quiet.

17 days in to this fast- this fast from politics, from social media, from covid, from 800 anxieties being thrust upon me- anxieties that are not mine, problems I can not solve, worries that worrying can not fix- and what emerges? A stilllness in my mind. My brain coming up for air. It’s so quiet now it says. Is it safe to emerge?

Yes, I think so. I answer. You can come out now. No one will chase you back in.

And when the brain is out what quickly follows surprises me. A desire to write. A desire to process. A desire to understand. 

So here I am. 

Back on this blog. 

See you tomorrow ?


Sunday, May 03, 2020

Last night I was remembering

The boy I dated around Christmas.

This was Round Two for us.  We dated ten years ago.  I was 23 and full of life and energy and convinced I was invincible against the world.  He was goofy and smelled good and tried to kiss me on our first date.  I demanded we wait until the second date at which point we kissed all night.

And then here we were again.  Ten years later and worser for the wear.

A decade of pain and heartache for us both.  Him working through the trauma of unexpected job loss, crippling debt, his mother’s quick sickness and death, his father's death by suicide.  Me working through the trauma of my own dad's sudden death, years of a troubled marriage, a quick divorce, single motherhood, slow healing.

He looked like a Danish soccer player.  Stupid tall and with a slight gap in between his front teeth.  Handsome and fit and strong and with a full head of blonde hair.

On Christmas night we walked in a silent world, in quiet neighborhoods.  It wasn't cold for Christmas.  My kids were with their dad.  It was a lonely and sad day for us both, in our own unique ways.  He spent the day alone, reading 1984 in the small basement apartment his uncle let him live in while he looked for a new job.  I spent the afternoon at my ex's, trying to manage dinner with his family, pushing through discomfort and sorrow and grief to see my kids on a special day.

We walked slowly, looking at the lights and the big houses and daydreaming about our own somedays.  Somedays with pretty homes and trampolines in the backyard and heated driveways.  Somedays with jobs that are secure, that don't leave you while your back is turned, marriages that stay healthy, kids who you don't have to say goodbye to every other Christmas, parents who live long enough to see their children into adulthood.

He was so shy with me during Round Two.  Round One he was confident, goofy, assertive.  Round Two he hardly touched me.  Slow to take my hand, hours and nights would go by without him initiating any physical contact.  Years of suffering and loss took a toll on his confidence and we slipped into largely platonic habits.

We walked slowly around the neighborhood.  Finally, I shyly slipped my hand into his and he did not let go.  No one else in the world for us to see on Christmas night.  No one knew where we were.  Everyone with their own families.  I suppose we were each other's family that night, looking for comfort, looking for company, looking for someone to make us believe we had someone.  That we weren't so damn alone.

After our walk we drove through more twinkling  neighborhoods, listening to 24 hours of Beatles on the radio.  I hesitantly put my hand on his knee.  We made our way to IHOP, the only place open late on Christmas night.  Two girls talked loudly and excitedly at the booth next to us.  We ate mostly in silence and left a generous tip.

Three weeks later and Round Two was over.  He received the news that he didn't get a much hoped for job.  We quickly fizzled from there- him not able to show up for the relationship, me not willing to be in another relationship where I show up alone.

But Christmas Night remains a really beautiful memory to me.
Two very hurt people.
Wandering slowly.
Half lost.
Half found.
Paul McCartney soothing us softly in the background, nah nah nah nah life goes on.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

I saw my ex husband

I saw my ex husband at a Jazz game the other week.

I knew he was going to be there.  He told me earlier that day.  We have children together.  Talk on the phone almost every day so kids can talk to their other parent.  Meet twice a week to switch and reswitch our two most precious assets. Sometimes do things together with June and Hugh.  I see him and talk to him often.  I should not have been surprised to see him at an event he told me he was going to be to.

And yet I was.

I was with my brother, shuffling through a crowd, trying to get back to our seats after halftime.  Inside the arena the crowd roared, cheering on Donovan Mitchell, watching with eager anticipation as our basketball savior continued to awe and inspire.

And then suddenly he was there.  Right there.  Right in front of me.  My ex husband.  A stranger in a crowd.

Something about seeing him in that setting, in that way- it completely jarred me.  I didn't know what to do.  What do you do?  What do you do when you unexpectedly in a very public place run into the man who at one point knew you better than anyone in the world but who is now completely foreign to you?  A man who you bought groceries with, bathed with, cried with.  A man who ate cheese and crackers in bed and always let his toenails grow too long and pouted when he lost at board games.  A man who you screamed the f word to in a desperate fit of rage. A man who watched your body get torn apart two different times, two different ways, to deliver your two perfect babies.  What do you say to a man who at one point knew it all and yet somehow didn't know enough?

I gave him a friendly punch on the shoulder.  That's what I did.  A good old fashioned playful slugger.  

Hey pal.  
Hey buddy.  
I think we knew each other once?
Thanks for the memories.  
We cool.  

Sunday, August 25, 2019

My Baby Starts School Tomorrow

My baby starts school tomorrow.

All day long she has packed and repacked her backpack, practiced drawing letters on lined paper, made pictures and drawings for her new teacher.  She is ready.  Nervous and excited, confident in the year ahead.

It is all going so fast.  I can't catch my breath.  I just had her.  It was yesterday that the doctors tried to flip that stubborn breech baby in my belly and when she wouldn't do it cut me open and yanked her out. It was last night that I watched her sleeping in that clear plastic box beside my hospital bed.  Five pounds twelve ounces of perfection.  Held her naked body against my naked chest, skin to skin, taught her how to breast feed, watched in awe as she clenched her little figures into a fist, marveled marveled marveled at the perfect teeny tiny fingernails. It was this morning that she learned to walk, unsteady steps, looking to me for guidance, plopping down on her diapered bum.

Now she is five.  Entering a school that in 13 years she'll walk out with a degree in hand.

My job as a parent is to essentially put myself out of a job as a parent.  To allow her and teach her to do it all on her own. To let her learn to be her.   But what if I never want to be put out of this job?  What if I want to parent and hover and helicopter until the day I die?

There's so much about her babyhood and toddlerhood that I don't even remember.  The trauma of trying to save a troubled marriage.  The fights the video games the cancer the jewelry the lesson plans the tears the divorce the healing the how can I save this family the how can I save myself?  Those are my memories of the past five years.  Not what foods she liked and didn't like, or her first words or what her favorite books were.  These things my brain can not remember.

I remember how my heart contracted and writhed when I met her the first time.  How Greg placed her in my arms and I wept and thought "Oh my gosh I missed you."  How I felt I was being reunited with a best friend after too much time apart.  How I wanted to hold her and protect her and never let her go.  The strongest love I've ever felt in my life, how my emotions overtook my body.

I remember that.

Hugh and I will be lonely tomorrow when she goes.  Her first step away from The Three of Us.  We are a tribe.  A unit.  One of us is starting to leave the unit.  The other will soon follow.

How does anyone raise children?  How can anyone endure the complete heartbreak of watching your babies grow?

Monday, July 01, 2019


Yesterday was my 33rd birthday.  
It felt appropriate today to post this, 
something I have written off and on the past year, 
while I was 32.

I wish I was nicer to myself when I was 16.

Like yes I was awkward and weird and I'd never kissed a boy and I crushed obsessively.  But I also got all A's and worked two jobs and practiced the piano every day and played Monopoly for hours with my little sister. Only I couldn't see it then.  I saw so many of my flaws.  And I look back and want to hug 16 year old Bonnie and say girl you are doing so great and there is so much more happiness ahead of you.

I wish I was nicer to myself when I was 22.

I was serving a mission in Argentina and no one wanted to listen and my Spanish was horrible and I couldn't get someone to take a Book of Mormon if I paid them and the only person who was interested in listening was the drunk on the street and even he was really only interested in touching my blonde hair.  But I also worked so hard and set and achieved goals and loved Argentina and the people there and dulce de leche with all my heart.  I prayed constantly to God to give me strength and patience and love.  And I look back and want to hug 22 year old Bonnie and say girl you are so great and everyone can clearly see you have put your whole heart in this.

I wish I was nicer to myself when I was 25.

I was newly married, fighting constantly, discovering how deep deep deep the differences went.  Telling myself if I only change this, if I only don't say this, if I can only be okay without this then I can protect this marriage.  Telling myself I held all the power to keep the marriage going and that if I was only better, stronger, smarter, made more money, I could fix all the problems.  Resolving to do better every night, every week, chiding myself because it still wasn't enough I still wasn't enough.  Yet still I was hopeful.  I continued to give of my whole heart.  I risked it all, allowed myself to love deeper, more fully than I thought one person could love.  I look back and want to hug 25 year year old Bonnie and say girl you are so great.  You don't have to do this all by yourself.

I wish I was nicer to myself when I was 28.

I was teaching high school English and nursing a baby and saying yes to a misplaced French teenager being placed in our home and writing five blog posts a week and trying to help my husband who was horribly depressed and pushing to quit his job and quit helping the French teenager and pushing to quit his church too.  We fought constantly- a life I felt I was promised slipping from my grasp.  But I also tried so hard to accept the changes.  Started a business so he could work from home and took the baby to church by myself week after week and taught the French teenager to drive on empty neighborhood streets late at night.  I was resilient and strong and brave and had no idea that it would get so much harder before it got easier.  And I look back and want to hug 28 year old Bonnie and say girl you are so great.  Hold your baby as tight as you can and don't worry for one second about those lesson plans because babies grow up and lesson plans don't.

This leads me to wonder- am I being nice enough to 32 year old Bonnie?  Will I look back and think I should have been kinder, softer, gentler, more forgiving to myself during this time?  I wonder where 42 year old Bonnie is right now.  I could use a hug from her.  I also want to know how the hell she made it out alive from this.

32 year old Bonnie making grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner while Hugh spills water on the floor and June whines that she doesn't like preschool and can't we please eat oatmeal for dinner please please please please???

32 year old Bonnie struggling, struggling to get out of bed in the morning because she knows that what awaits her are dishes, laundry, jewelry, order inventory, figure out something for dinner, work, work, work.

32 year old Bonnie asking her kids every night before bed, after stories and after prayers and after being tucked in, "Did I forget anything?" and June's excited little voice crooning, "Huggggggs and kissesssssssssss" and their two little heads together and her tickling them and kissing them and their tired and happy giggles rising up together into the night time air.

32 year old Bonnie trudging down to the unfinished basement at 9 pm.  40 orders.  She is talking to herself, " I just gotta get 40 orders out tonight and then I'll be close enough to caught up and Lianny can help me with the Etsy orders tomorrow and I can restock the booth on Wednesday morning and I can't forget to order more gold chain..."

32 year old Bonnie wondering how in the world you meet a decent man.  A new age for dating.  Swiping on phones instead of meeting at parties.  This guy looks alright.  Actually no.  He does not have a job.  He voted for Trump.  He has full custody of five children.  This is never going to work.

32 year old Bonnie running down canyons and skiing down mountains and swimming in oceans.  Doing everything it takes to heal heal heal this broken heart.

32 year old Bonnie seeking out friends, making her book club her life support, going on trips and doing everything it takes to stay connected.  Connection is why we're here.  Connection means she's still alive.  Heart still beating.

32 year old Bonnie who clings to God for help.  Who seeks a deeper, wider spirituality than ever before.  More faith, fewer answers.  Who wanders into the temple week after week, sitting on a white couch in white clothing looking up at the bright bulbing chandelier and asking, "What do you want me to know?  What do you want me to learn?"

32 year old Bonnie who allows herself lots of mistakes.  Who shows herself grace when she struggles to get out of bed, when she arrives late again for Sunday family dinner.  Who doesn't beat herself up when her house is almost always messy, who tells herself it's ok that the garage is cluttered and impossible to walk through.  The neighbors can look all they want.  The state of a garage does not equal the state of a heart. 32 year old Bonnie who allows herself a trip without her children, who weekly pays for a pedicure or a massage without guilt.  Who buys an expensive swimsuit full price without looking for a coupon and doesn't feel one ounce of remorse.

And I ask myself,
Am I being nice enough to myself?
Am I being nice enough to myself?

The answer.
A resounding YES!
If there is anything 32 year old Bonnie has learned it's this.
Finally.  For the first time in her life.

How to be nice to herself.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

one year

a year ago he left
said this is never going
to work

begging for it to work
I'll do anything
to keep
this marriage
sacrifice who I am
and what I need
to keep us

he was firm
I'm sorry bon
this just won't

then broken
hitherto before
unfelt and

hot summer days
can't stop crying
can't will myself out of

the babies need me
the jewelry must be sent
a living must be made
but how
do I heal this broken

swimsuits and jumpers
showing up at my door
new plates
new towels
maybe a new bed
left me

then acceptance

a new plan
running with
a half marathon
training, bolting down
canyons, early mornings,
sore feet and muscles. strong
strong mind

cute boys willing and wanting
to kiss me
telling me I'm beautiful
seeing my worth
chasing me
reminding me that I don't have
to beg
to be loved

then renewal

another new hobby
skiing down mountains
as she goes
feeling free
feeling fast
feeling safe
on an

huntington beach
golden gate bridge
macchu picchu
colorful san juan
las vegas casinos
balloon fiesta in new mexico
airplanes and beaches
hikes and

see the world
meet new people
travel to see
that everyone feels
and somehow
emerge from
their pain

finishing the basement
picking out
hardwood floors
a jewelry space just
for me

I earned this
earned this business
the privilege
the joy
the honor
to work
and live
so close to my kids

finally strength
and joy

friends who text and say
what do you need at Costco
I'm going today and
are we watching bachelor
tonight? and
how are you holding up 
today? do you need anything and
oh, that one is cute swipe right swipe right!

babies' fingers and hands all over
do you want to play princesses?
more cookies!
can I have friends over to play please
please please

a home,
a cocoon,
an oasis

created by myself
for my children
and for

to be safe
to feel loved
to heal
to recover
to emerge

one year

broken heart

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Three of us

It was Sunday.  It was raining.

We woke up from a long afternoon nap.  All three of us. 
(That's what we are now.  Three of us.)

It's not our pattern to sleep all afternoon on Sunday.  Usually there's a family dinner to go to.  Or a neighborhood get together.  Or June wants to stay up and do puzzles or watch show or use her artistic license to draw all over the walls.

But this Sunday we are all tired.  Hugh goes right to his crib after a full day of flirting at church nursery.  June and I turn on an episode of Jeopardy, her patiently waiting for me to be done with "my show" so she can watch hers.  I look over at her during final Jeopardy.  Her eyes are drooping.

So I carry her up to my bed.  "You're tired, baby, take a little nap and we'll all watch a movie together when you wake up." 
"But I'm not tired..." she protests weakly.
I tuck her in close to me, her four year old body instantly breathing deeply.
I look at my phone as I'm drifting off.  3:04
I hear Hugh crying.
 I look at my phone.
The three of us sleeping the afternoon away in the warm cocoon of our little townhome.
(That's what we are now.  Three of us.)

Now the issue of dinner.  What to feed one reasonably hungry adult and two unreasonably hungry toddlers.  German pancakes June suggests.  We blend it up, throw it in the oven, set the timer for 25 minutes.  We wait.

Maverick does something funny and I say "He's done that since he was a puppy." 
"I want to see a picture of Maverick as a puppy" says June.   
I sink down to the floor and pull up pictures on my phone.  Immediately she is in my lap.  "This is when we first got Maverick" I tell her.  "This was his first Halloween."  "This was his first Christmas and you were just barely in mommy's tummy then." 
Hugh, never one to be too far from June or mom or an opportunity to cuddle, wrestles his way in.

"This was the day you were born, June. 
Look at the way I cried when I first met you. 
I missed you so much." 
"This was Hugh in my belly. 
Look how big and round he was." 
"This was the day Hugh was born.
This was when grandma brought you to the hospital and you saw Hugh for the first time."

Both June and Hugh are smashed on my lap, eagerly devouring the pictures of themselves.  What a funny thing, I realize, in this instagram, photograph saturated world that my phone-less children are starved for photos.  Hugh points to himself.  "Ball!" his favorite and only word.

John Mayer is playing in the background.  "Love on the weekend, love on the weekend
Like only we can, like only we can"  
Our backs are pressed up against the pantry door. 
We are all limbs, my children and I, their bodies touching every part of me, desperate to see pictures of themselves, to learn their own history, to see their own faces. 
Our arms, our faces, our fingers smushed together. Any personal space completely sacrificed in only the way that young children can.  I can't tell where my leg ends and where Hugh's begins.  We look at so many pictures like this.

I begin to cry.  The top of Hugh's head is getting wet from the tears and I rub them off on June's arm and I can't stop crying but what a gift what a gift what a gift to have these children. 
The moment feels big.  As if everything stops for just a minute in that kitchen. I know it will not last.   In four minutes the timer will go off and then it's time to eat and do dishes and after we'll pop popcorn and watch a movie and then jammies and teeth and stories and bedtime and I'll put a load of laundry in and attempt to pick up railroad tracks for the eight hundred and forty sixth time and stare at my phone mindlessly and collapse into bed and then we will start another week of go go go.

But for right now it's just the three of us in a heap on the kitchen floor, looking at pictures and waiting for the pancakes to cook.
(That's what we are now.  Three of us.)

It was Sunday.  It was raining.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

break up

I broke up with my boyfriend this week.

Was he my boyfriend?

I don't know.  He called himself my boyfriend.  He was my take me to dinner, talk about basketball, call me every day, miss him when he's gone, tell my worries to, make plans with, watch scary movies together, help me pick out tile for the bathroom, pick up my prescription, kiss me late at night friend.

The breakup happened quickly.  Almost instantly. 

My heart- already cautious and scared- trying to take baby steps but finding it impossible to keep up with his long, confident strides.  A wobbly baby giraffe trying out new, shaky legs being asked to keep up with a 70 mph cheetah.

I asked him to slow down.  He tried his hardest.  Maybe wobbly baby giraffes and 70 mph cheetahs just don't mix?

With time, a few concerns developing.  Blurry under the water, but rising to the surface.  And in one 24 hour period, on a weekend trip, back to back concerns and it's a "Hey, I'm out" from me.

"You haven't even given us a chance to work through any of this." He says. "This is the first I've heard of these concerns."  It doesn't matter.  My brain is in protection mode.  It perceives danger.  You are not safe. It tells me.  Run. It tells me. Fight or flight.  The thing about fight or flight is when you chose fight year after year after year and that fight left you battered and bloody and almost dead on the side of the road with your two babies you don't choose fight anymore.  You fly.  As fast as you can.

I'm still reeling from the shock of the breakup.  Shocked by the end of a relationship that I chose to end.  Even as I was saying the words, I was surprised.  It happened so quickly.  We were talking summer plans.  Trips in the camper with kids.  Jackson Hole.  A road trip to Canada to meet his mom. And then the next day I hear myself saying actually this isn't working for me.  I need a break . I need space.  I can't do this.

I have my space now.  What do I do with my space?

I question.
I doubt.
I worry.
I cry.

Did I pull the trigger too quickly?  Is my brain accurately perceiving danger?  Will my heart ever feel safe again?

All week long I repeat the mantra my therapist has helped me with,

I am in control
I can trust my judgment
I can get what I want

If I say it enough times maybe I'll believe it.


Thursday, March 21, 2019


How do you process a divorce, a family disrupted, years of struggle that finally culminate in an abrupt ending?  How do you accept that your children won't live with both their parents, that the man you have children with is now a stranger, that you are on your own on your own on your own?

Jump to an early summer morning in a therapist's office.  Can we make this marriage work?  The therapist has kind eyes.  She wants us to succeed.  She gives us so many suggestions, so many tools to save this sinking ship.  Option after option.  He dismisses them.  Says instead "I just want a fresh start."

Jump to my first date post divorce.  I meet a cute, outdoorsy guy at Aubergine in the middle of the day for lunch.  He is built, he is short, he is shy.  He wears a bold, green shirt.  I scan the restaurant over and over.  Will someone see me?  Will someone know?  He talks on about Canadian politics. My subconscious tells me I'm not supposed to be here.  This is wrong.  I'm married.  I have a family.  I already did this dating thing.  Oh wait.

Jump to New Year's Eve.  My kids are not with me.  I am alone.  One hundred percent alone on a holiday that represents new beginnings, fresh starts, family and friends and so much hope.  A year ago we bought $70 worth of sea food on this holiday and said that would be our new New Year's tradition.  There is no lobster tonight.  I write in my journal.  I read my scriptures.  I search for peace.  I cry and I cry and I cry.  Is this what healing looks like?

How do broken hearts get strong?

Jump to a day in early September.  Fall promises she's coming, but the temperatures continue to rage.  I take my perfect, beautiful children to my brother's apartment complex to swim.  The sun begins to set, and we load up in my worn, ten year old Toyota Corolla.  The most faithful car, always dependable, never disappoints.  The kids' bodies are cold from swimming and I buckle them up in the warm backseat, chlorined swim towels and wrinkled toes.  It is past bedtime and they are tired.  My phone buzzes.  A notification shows me an email from my lawyer brother who handled all the legal matters for me.   I read it at the traffic light.    "Bonnie, Not sure if this is good news or not, but the Judge signed the Decree of Divorce today.  Here is a copy.  Let us know if there is anything we can do for you.  Love You" Tears come immediately to my eyes. I am divorced I am divorced I am divorced.   I look in the rearview mirror at my sleepy kids, blissfully aware only of their satisfied late summer day.  I am divorced I am divorced I am divorced.

Jump to a taxi ride in Peru.  Esteban, the kindest tour guide has been taking me and Mandy around to see all the sacred sites.  This land, these mountains, this rain, these people are spiritual.  A deep spirituality that encompasses everything they do.  A spirituality so profound that I can only understand the tip of it.  Esteban tells me in Spanish I need to return to Peru with my spouse and children.  I tell him I have no spouse; I got divorced this year.  He says "I'm sorry.  I will pray to the mountains for you."   "Thank you" I say.

Jump to a game night at my mom's house.  All my siblings are there with their kids and their spouses.  Not me.  I only get my kids for half my life now.  I have no spouse.  I feel alone in a crowd.  How can it be that I am completely surrounded by my family but I'm not with my family?  A petty disagreement with my mom opens floodgates that I didn't know were waiting to emerge.  I am embarrassed by these sudden big tears, hope nobody will notice them.  I sneak out unannounced and cry myself all the way home.

Jump to a Halloween trunk or treat for my church.  In the parking lot with my two children, cat whiskers painted on my face.  I see an acquaintance I haven't seen in months.  "Where's your hubby?!" she asks cheerily  "We got divorced."  I blurt it out. I do not mean to say it so abrupt- it jumps out of my mouth of its own volition.  "Oh my gosh I'm so sorry I had no idea."  She says.  She is embarrassed and red, shuffling uncomfortably.  I walk away.  I can't be responsible for her discomfort.

How do broken hearts go on?

Jump to the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  I am working on orders.  Jewelry.  The thing that keeps me going going going, forces me to get up, sell earrings to provide for my children, to keep my life going on.  When I don't think I can possibly do today, orders are waiting for me, 3-5 days promised shipping time.  He calls.  "Will we ever be together again?  I want to fight now.  Is there hope for our family to be reunited?"  Silence on my end. The thought makes me feel panicked, unsafe, on the edge of a cliff.  I whisper back, "I'm sorry, no.  I could never trust you with my heart again."  This is too painful.

Jump to a conversation with June in the car.  "What am I doing tomorrow, mommy?"  "You're going to daddy's house" I say.  Feeling the injustice of it, I try to smooth it over, "You are so lucky you get two houses.  Some kids only have one house but you get two houses."  She bursts out unannounced in tears, "But I don't want two houses!  I just want one house!  One house with mommy and daddy and all my family in one place.  Why don't I get one house?"   I can't respond.  I just drive.

Jump to the days immediately following when he left.  I sleep at the foot of my king sized bed under the ceiling fan.  Those summer days are stifling hot; it is the only way to get cool.  I listen to a Deiter F. Uchtodrf talk on hope every night to fall asleep.  His German accent lulls me to sleep, promises me my future is not my past.   "No matter how bleak the chapter of our lives may look today, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we may hope and be assured that the ending of the book of our lives will exceed our grandest expectations." He tells me.  I do my best to believe him.

Jump to training for a half marathon.  Sarah convinces me to do it with her.  We train so hard and I learn how strong my body is.  My leg muscles get lean, my endurance builds, I can run and not be weary.  My body shows my spirit, "Look.  We are strong.  We can do this.  We will survive this.  If this body can survive miles and miles of running your spirit can survive this heartbreak."  Sarah and I run the half marathon on a beautiful 65 degree day in October.  All the way down the canyon, mile after mile, I ask her to tell me the details of the courtship with her now husband.  Will I have this again?  I wonder.  I cross the finish line in a flurry of adrenaline.  Sarah's husband and kids and parents are there to greet her, congratulate her, tell her how proud they are of her.  No one is there for me.  I just ran 13.1 miles and no one to share the feat with me.  Instead I stretch under a tree and eat the pizza and drink the chocolate milk they give me.

Jump to last week.  Swimming in Rincon, Puerto Rico.  Dallin is tired of the sun and stays back at the hotel.  I drive by myself to a quaint beach.  Ask a stranger to put sunblock on my back.  It's 85 degrees.  I swim in the ocean.  The waves feel kind and gentle to me.  I float and float on my back.  I feel the waves, the sun, my body in the water.  I feel peace, I feel joy, I feel warmth.  This moment means everything to me.  I am healing.

How do broken hearts get strong?

Jump to a group text to my seven siblings and their spouses two weeks after he moved out.  It's time to tell them.  I can't process this all alone.  "He is gone and we are seriously considering divorce" I say.  My brother calls immediately.  "We'll come to pick you up" he says  "Let's go up the canyon" he says  "Let's eat dinner in the mountains and get you some room to breathe" he says.  He picks me up in his truck, loads the kids' carseats in the back, buckles them in. I don't remember what I'm doing.  One foot in front of the other.  He talks to me all the way up the canyon.  What a gift to have family like this.

Jump to a first date.  Dinner at an expensive Italian restaurant.  Online it seems like a match.  In real life he is overbearing, nervous, talks too much, makes me want to run away and hide.  On the way home from the date he texts me again, asks me if I still want to hang out longer that night.  He'll come pick me up.  We can go for a drive.  "No." I say "I need to prioritize sleep."  I don't want to see him again.  My heart is hurting bad tonight and I don't know why.  I am scared I am overwhelmed I don't know how I got from where I was to where I am.  I call Sarah.  I call Kendra.  "I feel so overwhelmed I can't do this" I tell them.  They come over to my house.  Pop popcorn and cuddle with me in my new, smaller queen sized bed.  My bed that is all mine.  We watch The Office episodes until I fall asleep nestled up against Sarah's warm body and they sneak out quietly and lock the door behind them.  What a gift to have friends like this.

Jump to my mom insisting we get Christmas lights up on my house this year.  I was going to bag it.  Didn't have the mental or physical energy to be festive. She says she will do it.  She is taller than me.  She can reach the top that I cannot.  She stands on the ladder and works the lights and the hooks in frigid temperatures with numb fingers while I hand her the hooks.  When she finishes it looks like light and beauty and joy.  What a gift to have a mom like this.

How do broken hearts go on?

Jump to a California family vacation in July.  It's been a month since he moved out.  This is a vacation he was supposed to come on with me, but now it's just me and two babies.  I have to drive my own car down- there is not enough space for one adult and two car seats in anyone else's car.  My mom insists someone always be driving with me.  I scoff at this.  I can do this by myself.  I cannot do this by myself.  There is a two hour delay getting over the California/ Nevada state line.  111 degrees outside.  My little Corolla, working as hard as it can, the engine too hot, the A/C not blowing cold enough air.  Hugh is sweating, sweating in the back seat.  My mom, riding in the passenger seat, puts water leftover from her lunch on his body to try to cool him down.  Another hour passes at 4 mph.  Finally I am at my max.  Can't handle this delay, this disappointment any longer.  I drive out of the lanes and around traffic, on the dirt strip beside the road, quickly passing car after car.  My brother in another car sees me breaking the rules and texts me that passing other cars like that is not okay.  No, it's not okay.  So much about this is not okay.

Jump to calling my best friend in Seattle to tell her the news.  We had planned to be moving to Seattle in just a few months.  We were going to live in her neighborhood.  He had accepted a grad program there, June was enrolled in preschool there, I was hunting for apartments there, living miles from my best friend for the first time since we were 20 and living together in Hawaii.  "Akasha, we're not moving"  I can't hold back the tears.  "We're getting divorced instead."

Jump to my birthday.  32.  Seventeen days since he left.  Only my family and close friends know.   I want a birthday cake- something, something to make this day feel kind of happy.  Only there's no one to make it.  So I make it.  I borrow a kitchen-aid from my neighbor.  "I hope you're not making your own birthday cake!" she jokes.  "Make Greg do it".  My family wants to make me feel surrounded and loved on my birthday, but instead they overdo it.  This is not their fault.  This is their first "We have a sister who is going through a divorce on her birthday and we want to make her feel loved" experience.  Forty of us at an outdoor concert surrounded by hundreds of strangers and there is chaos and noise and I feel so lost so alone so absolutely all by myself on my birthday.  It's too wild for the cake I made.  So we drive 30 minutes and do it at my mom's house instead.  But now my kids are tired, they're grumpy, they're crying, it's already 9:30 almost 10 pm and the day has slipped far past madness.  "Mom, I can't do this anymore, I need to go" I am choking back tears.  "What's wrong?" she asks.  What's wrong what's wrong what's wrong????  This is all wrong.  They scramble to do the best they can to make me happy.  My family sings to me around the birthday cake I made for myself and I hold my babies on my lap and can't stop crying.  Happy Birthday make a wish.

Jump to a chair lift a few weeks ago.  Skiing with a college best friend.  "My husband jokes that he doesn't like when I hang out with you because I come home and want to get divorced.  That I'm jealous."  The word takes me back.  Jealous?  Jealous of heartbreak and a broken family and only seeing your kids four days a week and meeting at the Maverick gas station to switch off kids like they are some kind of bartered good and dating psychos again trying to find someone someone out there to love you?  No.  I'll take the stable, happy marriage any day.

Jump to announcing online that I am getting divorced.  What a weird world where I have to announce to 5000 strangers that the fun, easy breezy marriage was not fun was not easy breezy.  In a burst of bravery on a Sunday night in August I post a picture of us.  "It's with a broken heart that I let you know that we have decided to end our marriage..."  I cry all the way through the post.  As soon as I hit post I turn the phone off and retreat to the basement.  I cannot handle to see the comments coming in, the disappointment, the "Oh my gosh I'm sorry I had no idea."  I work on jewelry.  Take pictures of necklaces for a summer clearance sale the next day.  I cry I process I take pictures.  I cry I process I edit pictures.  I cry I process I list necklaces online for a business that must support me and my two children and pay for our mortgage, our insurance, Hugh's diapers.  At 1 am I emerge from the basement and turn on my phone.  Texts and comments from people from every stage of my life come pouring in.  From college, from Argentina, from previous students, from BYU Hawaii, from high school friends, from childhood neighbors.  I lay at the foot of the bed in the hot room under the ceiling fan and read them all.  I cannot reply.  But I read them and I cry.

How do broken hearts feel strong?

Jump to three days ago coming home from Puerto Rico.  I leave my car at a friend's house while I'm gone, a more than a friend.  When I get in the car it feels different, it smells good, it is vacuumed.  A note is on the steering wheel.  "I had your car detailed and filled up the gas while you were gone.  Hope that's ok!"  I am floored by this.  I've never been in a relationship where someone was capable, was wanting, was willing to take care of me on this level. I've always done everything on my own.   I don't know how to receive what he is giving.  I feel grateful.  I feel scared.  I leave the note on the dashboard to remind myself that I am worthy and that I deserve to be taken care of like this.

Jump to my 65 year old mission companion visiting me in September.  She is taking her granddaughter up to BYU Idaho for college.  She stops and takes me to dinner and stays the night in my townhome.  We stay up late talking.  She is the best storyteller.  I could listen to her all day and all night and all the next day too.  She tells me about her daughter's recent divorce. "She got married for hope" she tells me "She got divorced for the loss of it."  I understand this.

Jump to June asking me "when am I going to have a baby sister?"  "I have to be married for that June."  I reply.  "But why aren't you married to daddy?"  I don't know, June.  I don't know.

Jump to Valentine's Day.  I drive around and around and listen to Kesha's Praying. "I'm proud of who I am"  she says.  "The best is yet to come"  "I had to learn how to fight for myself"  "We both know the truth I could tell"  I'm supposed to be going to a dumb boy's house but instead I drive and drive.  I text him that I am lost and instead I drive and I listen and I cry.  Yes, indeed, the best is yet to come.


How do broken hearts go on?  Tell me how do broken hearts go on?

-"How do broken hearts go on, How do broken hearts feel strong"  from Ingrid Michaelson's song Drink you Gone.
- "Jump to" structure from Chuck Palahniuk's novel Invisible Monsters
- Deiter F. Uchtdorf talk 2008 "The Infinite Power of Hope"

Sunday, February 10, 2019

I thought I lost this blog.

I thought I lost this blog.

The domain name expired.  I didn't move fast enough.  And when I did move it was overwhelming and confusing and complicated.  Three hours on the phone with blogger and godaddy and blogger and godaddy and no answers left me crippled.  I paid godaddy $140 but nothing connected still.  They needed DNS settings and blah blah blah blah internet talk.  It was beyond my capacity to understand or fix.

My blog is gone
My blog is gone
My blog is gone

I tried to accept it.  An era of time lost.  Maybe an era of time I wanted to lose?  No.  Because yes there was a hard and lonely marriage in between the lines of this blog but there was also babies and teaching and faith and things that meant something.  Things I couldn't bear to lose.

It was the middle of the day on a Tuesday.  I got in a hot bath.  You've lost before in your life I tried to tell myself.  You've lost a dad.  You've lost a marriage.  You can lose a blog.  And I cried and cried.

A few weeks later my friend Sarah said "come over and I'll try to help you with your blog."  I didn't have a lot of hope. I had already said goodbye.

But I went over.  We logged onto godaddy.  Somehow.  The email and the password found in archives of screenshots.  She followed the completely nonsensical directions from blogger.  It didn't work.  She redirected things. Typed in code. It still didn't work.  I started to feel panicky and anxious.  I couldn't figure this out.  My brain wanted to explode.  I have to pick up my groceries I said.  I can't deal with this right now.   I'll keep dinking around with this Sarah said.  I took my kids and we left.

I picked up the groceries and went home and put babies down for naps and worked on orders for Hey June and started making dinner.

Picked up my phone to find a recipe, clicked on my internet browser and just like that, my blog popped up on my phone.  Restored.  Not dead.  In the flesh and alive.

I started crying as soon as I saw it.  I texted Sarah HOW DID YOU DO IT?!?!?!?

I just kept playing around with it after you left and gave it some time she replied.  I'm glad I could help.

I was overcome with gratitude.  I am overcome while writing this.  How do I deserve someone who will help me like this?

I've lost a lot in my life.   A dad.  A marriage.  Almost a blog.  But I've gained too.  A best friend who loves me like a sister and cares about my problems and sees ways to help me that I cannot even see myself.

Yes.  I've gained.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018


The first time I felt it was in July.  I was on vacation with my family in Southern California- my mom and her (really great) new husband and my seven siblings and their spouses and all the accompanying children and babies and dogs.  Not the dogs.  They stayed home.

We'd been split 6 or 7 weeks.  The world did not know.  My family carried the brunt of the knowledge and support. They surrounded me with love, with care, with every way they knew to convince me that I would make it out alive.

We were playing pickleball at night.  My massive mormon family taking over the courts and playing two, three games at a time.  Players switching in and out.  Winner stays.  Davy needs a partner.  Are we playing until 11 or 15?  Wow, that's a mean serve you got there, Trav.

I was on a team with my 14 year old niece, Lizzy.  Pickleball is not a hard game, but it is new and different and maybe we didn't quite feel secure yet with our abilities.  And we were playing my brother and my nephew- tall, athletic men.  But we held our own.

The game was so fun.  My mom was watching my kids.  I felt a complete release of responsibility, of burden, of care.  The pressures of saving a marriage, of working two jobs, of trying to manage everyone else's happiness but mine own were gone.  Weightless.  Free.

"Smash it Lizzy!"  An energy and enthusiasm burst out of me.
"Oh, girl, it's all good, I know how it is.  We're going to get them on the next one!"
"Yes, that's what I'm talking about!  We're killing it!"

Pieces of the old me.

A life, a personality, a person.  Inside of me.  That's been hidden.  Buried under pressure, cracking under the weight of being in charge of every.damn.thing.all.the.time.  Coming out again.

I felt it again a few weeks later.  With my book club friends at Bear Lake.  At the insistence of Sarah, we rented a trampoline for an hour.  I would have been fine to sit on the beach and stare into oblivion.  Sometimes taking charge of your fun is work, and I have no more energy for work.

But she insisted and pushed and so we paid the money and swam out to the trampoline and there we were- six grown women, in our 30s and 40s, jumping on a trampoline, dancing to Beyonce's Single Ladies on the blue tooth speaker, playing games where we tried to knock each other over, human bowling pins getting bruised and jostled and stamped on.  Jumping in and out of the water.  In and out.  Laughing and dancing and feeling so free free free.  Feeling so me me me.

That life, that personality, that person bursting out of me again.  The person I was before.  The spunk, the laughter, the silliness.  I was doing ridiculous, wild things.  Yelling absurdities.  Trying to get a laugh from my friends and succeeding.  Feeling the energy I felt when I was 23 and the world was only full of possibilities and joy and opportunity and laughter.

Pieces of the old me.

That feeling is coming and going regularly now.  The old me venturing out again. On Saturday when I was hitchhiking up the canyon with my friend because we left the key in the car and I felt no fear, no intimidation, just boldness and excitement sticking my thumb out and waiting for them to pull over.

When I went to a Weezer concert and a midget sized and totally high man started dancing on me and my friend and I laughed and went with it, circling him, shaking our arms all around him, singing "Oh, oo, ee, I look just like Buddy Holly..."

Last week when I sent my friend a series of ridiculous and good looking and probably inappropriate memes and pictures of Antoni from Queer Eye.  (Oh heavens, has a more good looking human ever existed?)

Today when I made dinner and was dancing and cooking and screaming the music to Hamilton, "I'm just like my country- young scrappy and hungry and I'M NOT THROWING AWAY MY SHOT!"

That old me.
She's still in there.

Monday, September 10, 2018


Sundays are the hardest days for me.

I feel it from deep inside.  A desire to hide.  To crawl into bed and never get out.  To cry and cry and cry.  To open up some valve inside of me- the valve that protects my pride, that tells me not to cry in front of people, that says, "Alright now... keep it together."  To just open up the floodgates and allow the outside to match the inside.

Instead I wear a full face of makeup, heels and an ironed dress.  Fresh dyed hair and shaved legs.  Maybe if the outside looks good enough I can almost trick the inside.  We got this!  We are bold!  Beautiful!  Confident!  This doesn't hurt a bit!

Sunday is a long, tiresome, lonesome day.  A day where I worship, where I plead for help from God, where I am surrounded by my church, my community and friends.  A day where I have a mandatory napping period (self imposed!); a day designated for rest, understanding, and healing.  Why is this day the one that sends me reeling, crumbling, begging for it to be over?

Perhaps I feel so strongly on this day the hope of what could have been.  The hope of a life together built around family, God, community, love, forgiveness, growth, healing.  A life of connection.  A life of belonging.


When I feel my lowest, help arrives. My friend who takes my baby in the hall during church so I can at least catch one nugget of truth from the speaker. Help arrives from my sister who calls me and asks me if I want to come over last minute for dinner.  Help arrives when I come home from that dinner to a slice of chocolate cake on the porch.  Help arrives when my friend comes over to borrow some nutmeg and she asks me how my day was and I burst into tears and she gives me a big hug and then goes down to the jewelry basement with me and helps me crank out 40 orders so I won't be behind tomorrow.

A life of connection.
A life of belonging.
Thank you, friends, for carrying me through this Sunday.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Hobby Lobby.

It happened today at Hobby Lobby.

Everything was innocent.  So regular Tuesday morning, so easy,  so not "Oh my gosh I'm getting a divorce and everything about my life is going to be different and I don't even know where I am anymore."

I went with my friend Sarah because I needed her minivan to buy a tv stand for $139.99.  At first I thought the price tag said $1399.99 and I thought "dang, I can't afford that but I love that tv stand."  And then I realized it was $139.  And I talked to Sarah and said "I need your van for Hobby Lobby right away before someone else buys this. " And she said ok.

It was Sarah and me and three of our combined five children.  Heavens bless school.

We yanked the price tag on the tv stand.  I picked out two standard drawer knobs.  None of this bright turquoise or moon shaped door knobs that Hobby Lobby has going on these days.  We strolled down the party section where Sarah was looking for tickets so that she could open up her very own "Mommy Store" for her children.  Oh, parenting.  The kids touched everything in sight.  There was lots of "No, you can't have that, put that back before it breaks, DON'T OPEN THAT PACKAGE."

We rounded the corner from the party aisle and all of a sudden there we were, smack in the middle of the world's largest Christmas selection.

The memories came rushing back, like a flood- urgent, steady, swift.  The day after Thanksgiving, him and me and our two babies at Hobby Lobby picking out all things Christmas.  We need new decorations!  Fresh decorations for a fresh start!  What kind of ornaments on our tree this year?  I'm kind of tired of the gold.  Ok.  Let's add some color.  Do we want decorative Christmas pillows?  Oh that would be so fun.  I kind of want to put new lights on the front of our house.   Oh my gosh we have to get one of these silver Christmas trees with the snow.  Let's do all new stockings this year.  Red for the girls and green for the boys so they all match.  Should we buy extra just in case we have another baby?  You devil you.  Maybe three extra stockings?  Oh stoppppppp.....

A marriage rocky, hard, and troubled-seemingly finding its smooth sailing.  At last.  We can do this, I thought.  We're out of the rough patch.  Gosh we're so tough, and we've been through so much, but our marriage is stronger than ever and we got this.  It felt so good to be coming out of that storm and to feel safe, secure, invincible.  Hope bursting out the doors of that Hobby Lobby Christmas section.

We loaded up the babies and the Christmas decorations and picked up a pizza and went home to eat the pizza and put the babies to bed and decorate the home to be Christmas.

But the storms came back, the rocky got rockier, the invincible, suddenly, so heartbreakingly vincible.  A clear realization that we would never need those extra stockings.

And I'm left in this Hobby Lobby, looking down a row of tacky Christmas ornaments wondering when these memories will stop assaulting me.  When the hope that we are strong enough to make this marriage work will finally give up and die already.  In my head the hope is dead.  Put to rest and sleeping peacefully six feet under.   But in my heart that hope is more tenacious.  Still yearns for life.  Frantically tries to jump out of my chest and begs for another chance.

Leaving my marriage is essentially the painful job of forcefully saying goodbye to that hope.  Of knowing that giving the hope life again and again and again will not ulimately give me the life I want or deserve.  I tried.  For seven years.  Oh how I tried.

Letting hope die.

Who would know that's the hardest part?

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


Sometimes I wonder.

How will I look back on this time in my life?

When I'm 64 what will I think of 32 year old me?

32 year old Bonnie, going through a divorce, trying to keep it all together, making french toast for two babies in the morning, taking pictures for a jewelry sale in the afternoon, taking kids to a birthday party in the evening, putting kids down to bed, going to Rich Crazy Asians with friends, staying up until 1 am making cookies and editing jewelry pictures, doing what it takes to provide for herself and her babies.  Sometimes feeling so overwhelmed with sorrow that she can't possibly go another day and sometimes feeling so overwhelmed with relief that this life is hers hers hers and she can make of it what she wants.

What will I think of this Bonnie?  My now Bonnie that won't be now Bonnie for long, that in the blink of an eye now Bonnie will be past Bonnie who was once going through a very hard time.

I'm not 64 yet.  So I don't know 64 year old Bonnie.  I hope she has a lot of money and is having good sex.  I hope she's not on any kind of lame diet.  But mostly I hope she's kind and compassionate and patient.  I think she is.  I think she's looking at me and this experience and saying "Wow, Bonnie.  You were so strong.  You were so brave.  You took such great care of those babies.  You were kind and you were beautiful and you were tough as hell."

I think 64 year old Bonnie is saying those things to me.
And I think 32 year old Bonnie is too.