Thousand Acre Heart Part Six

I’m Back!!!

In case any of you were uncertain about the relationship between Mike and I, whether it was still strained or all was forgiven I actually had a little moment of worry today that Mike may take something out of context but rest assured he is fine but he expressed concern for me. He told me that people are concerned about my blogging that I might be losing my mind and that by sharing my stories I was making it look worse for myself. He asked me not to shoot the messenger. Well I let him know that I was pretty certain that the “concerned” and the messenger were one in the same and thanked him for his “concern” but let him now that I was doing great. I get it, some people think it is absolutely ridiculous to talk about your feelings and put all your vulnerabilities and mistakes in black and white. Mike and I are actually able to stay in touch more now that he has finally learned to text and I think when you look back on our conversation you will agree that if anyone should be worried about their sibling…perhaps it should be me. Love you Mikey!!


Mike and Michelle

At this point of my story I want to say that I grew up as a regular girl. I dreamed of Grand castles, flowing gowns and Prince Charming. I didn’t keep a wedding scrapbook but I certainly had my dreams. My teenage walls were wallpapered with every imaginable Prince Charming. There was my all time and still favorite Jon Bon Jovi, Ralph Macchio (Karate Kid) Vince Neil (Motley Crue) Slash, Rob Lowe…you get the picture. Picking the ideal Prince Charming is not as simple as going through the drive-thru and ordering a burger. “yes I will have a Jon Bon Jovi in a Ryan Gosling body with a little dash of badboy Slash and can you throw in a good amount of Liam Neeson because I want him to be able to take care of shit!! Real life doesn’t work that way! So your best bet is to go out and meet people and experience life and not focus on who you will settle down with in your grand castle or double wide trailer, sometimes what is meant to be will be.

I met some interesting characters over the years and to be clear when Jen (Po Po) and I went out I didn’t pick up guys at bars. I preferred the ones that were already there working. Number one reason is that they had a job and it was great to have friends that were in a position to help your position. Bouncers are great friends to have because you don’t have to stand in line and mess up your hair, waiters to bring you drinks way before your glass is empty and DJs to play your favorite songs. I did have a really enamored DJ friend until an unfortunate incident where his speaker landed on top of me. I would tell you the details, I really would but my mind has blocked the memory! I truthfully didn’t date the guys from these different bars in these different positions because that would not have been smart.The good relations were kept by flirting, but not dating. I didn’t have a problem dating people that worked at the bar but not as bar staff. I dated a guitarist/singer once who had the craziest hair. He was a cross between Slash and Lenny Kravitz. He was a talented musician and sweet as apple pie but so painfully shy it didn’t go anywhere. He had the look of a bad boy without the bad boy. I found out that this is more common then not when I met a “dancer” at a best buns contest. His stage name was Michael but his real name was Peter. I couldn’t quite keep that straight. He really HATED me calling him Michael which was understandable because it wasn’t his name. The problem is I wanted to date the strong and sexy Michael. I did think it was great that he lived out of town though,except when he came to town he had to spend the ENTIRE weekend at my house. That was an ENTIRE weekend with a guy that I kept calling the wrong name and no time with my friends šŸ˜¦
Things fizzled but I still have an 8×10 black and white glossy of him in a box in the garage. So in thinking I wanted a bad boy I dated a Portuguese guy that I disliked intensely. I guess at first we mistook it for a chemical reaction but we just really didn’t like each other. I think maybe he was a nice guy who was trying to be bad ass but he was just an Ass. It was cool for about five minutes. Then there was the guy who was perfect in every way, good looking, great personality, smart, independently wealthy but he snored, really incredibly loud. I know people snore but this was like a sonic boom. He was also very political which wasn’t my cup of tea so I had to tune him out a lot. He was working on this political campaign that he was so excited about and we would chat casually and that dominated our conversations for a significant amount of time. He called one night wanting to go have a drink. He said he would take me to eat if I was hungry but he had already eaten with what I thought was “Shari” Now we had a casual relationship, I liked and respected him and he was all the things I should have wanted for myself but neither of us ever pushed for a commitment or got jealous. That miffed me though. “Shari” gets dinner but I get drinks. I blew him off that night and then he called the next day to ask if I had seen his picture in the paper. A picture of him and Jean Charest. Not “Shari” Jean Charest served as the 29th Premier of Quebec from 2003-2012. So from all of this I determined that my perfect man would not snore or be into politics, he should be smart but I should be as smart, he should be a little bad ass but not just an ass and dammit if nothing else I should be able to remember his name.

I moved home to Nova Scotia in my early twenties and it was a huge change after living in the city. I missed everything but the creep jerking off at my bedroom window.

Being back with my family was great but I was gone between 18-22 and it was a small town and everyone seemed to have their little cliques. I had to take the time to reconnect with some dear friends and make new friends. I still felt like “the girl who gave the baby up for adoption” but enough time had passed that I figured everyone had moved on. When I lived in Ontario I opened up to people I trusted occasionally but back home in Truro unless you were a super friend, family or someone who was close to me at the time it was simply not discussed. It was a defense mechanism I built around my heart and very few people were allowed in.

I wondered a lot about my son though and being back in that small town I searched for him in every 7 year old boy. I learned fairly quickly that not everyone had forgotten nor were they wiling to let it be. It seems pretty ridiculous looking back at it now that anyone would throw that in my face to hurt me or to make me look like a bad person but it happened. I would learn about the power of forgiveness and friendship. I would also meet the person who changed my life and was instrumental in making sure that one day my life would feel complete. You can’t run from your life and your mistakes. You can forgive yourself and become someone you are proud of. Fall in love and you can see the stars, love yourself and you can touch them!

I am blessed to have a beautiful family and I have struggled every step of the way to get here. More often then not the struggle was with myself.

To be continued…..

Thousand Acre Heart-Part Five

Kirk and during our month long tenth anniversary celebration!
Kirk and I

One of our songs….
This has a very valuable message, to be loved, you have to love yourself!!

I wanted to share this and my thoughts on it and how it really helped me this week reflect on my life, my choices and my changes over the years that have made me the person I am today. Cheryl is a mother, a grandmother a wife and a beautiful friend to many. She is someone I truly admire and I am proud to know her.

Conversation started Thursday
Cheryl Paris

Cheryl Paris

You probably have received hundreds of responses to your story. I donā€™t even really know what I want to say so this will sound like somewhat a ramble Iā€™m sure. Iā€™m not sure how or why we never became close friends back in high school because I swear sometimes when Iā€™m reading your page I think my god we are A LOT alike !
I wonder if I ever made you feel any kind of way back then, as I remember watching your life and having mixed emotions like a mafucca ! As you know, I kept my son at 15. I vaguely remember at one point thinking that you were selfish but I recognized fairly quickly that I was secretly jealous. Jealous that you had the courage to admit you were too young. Jealous that you were given choices that I wasnā€™t. Jealous that you appeared to have resumed your life and I was home changing diapers and clumsily raising a baby. At 15. Wtf.
Maybe that is the reason we never became close friends. Your life reminded me of the life I might have hadā€¦and perhaps mine would have reminded you too much of the child you loved enough to let go.
At almost 40, I have finally accepted that every choice I made was the exact right one for me. And I can see that you are on that same path. Every choice you made was right for you. I can tell you already know that.
Having said all of that what I really want you to know is that I admired you then, and I admire you now. I love seeing pics of you and your family. When Shelly (Stone) told me you had connected with your son I was ecstatic for you !
Your stories almost always bring me to tears and I am anxiously waiting for this one to continue.
Until today I hadnā€™t realized how young your Dad was when he passed. That is truly shocking! Your Mama is clearly one strong lady.
Much love from the East !
Cheryl xo

Those were such powerful words and they really got me thinking. My life did resume. The cute guy from the beach stayed with me and helped me through some terrible times. He taught me how to have fun again. He came from a Pentecostal family and I never felt they approved of me but it didn’t change how he felt or treated me. With him I felt special and brand new. I didn’t get along very well with my older brother Mike after my Dad died. I understand now that he felt he was the man of the family and was trying to protect us but I felt like he was being a controlling asshole and I didn’t like it. On my seventeenth birthday in January we had a huge argument and he held me down in a snowbank and I was pretty annoyed. My boyfriend and I got a little place and my brother and I didn’t talk for months. I think we are both well over that foolishness. As an adult I now know that he wanted the best for me. He just didn’t know how to express himself in a way that didn’t sound like he was being an asshole. Kirk and I were talking with a couple from back home on a recent vacation to Grand Cayman Islands and we got talking about my brothers. Kirk was telling him about “Mikey” enthusiastically and I chimed in, well yes Mike is cool, he can be an Ass though. Priceless reply, “OMG Mike Watson. Mike and Sherry. We love them! They have a cottage by us!” Then preceded to tell us a drinking tale about Mike convincing the husband to wear a shock dog collar. Yeah. That’s my brother Mike. He is smart, disciplined, organized and I respect and love him lots. He did have a habit of starting arguments and then leaving, in turn leaving my brother Gerry and I to look like the jerks. I remember the time Mike and Gerry got scrapping and took out my mothers entire garden of Gladiolas, then Mike left. Gerry and I stayed, there were cocktails left! I always take Gerry’s side in a fight because at 11 months 363 days younger then me he is my baby brother!! Gerry and I are in fact the same age for two whole days.

I couldn’t have lived in that little place very long because I moved to Ontario when I was 18. My boyfriend very much wanted to be a cop and was accepted for Training in Toronto. A week before we left he got a letter saying there was a moratorium on hiring. We didn’t tell anyone at the time, we were excited for a change and planned to go anyway. I was excited to leave the small town of Truro for the big city of Toronto. I rather liked the idea of being anonymous. I didn’t have to feel like I had anything to hide. I could live a little easier not looking for my son everywhere I went. EVERYWHERE I went I looked for a dark haired boy with eyes I was certain would be unmistakable to me. If I was at the grocery store, Park, McDonalds I was searching, scanning the room. I am not sure what I would have done had I found him but that didn’t stop me from looking. Leaving was as hard as it was exciting. My Mom was sad of course and my baby brother was devastated. Mike had moved to London, Ontario about a week before I left so Gerry was feeling abandoned. My Dad actually fell into my brothers arms the day he died. A very traumatic thing for Gerry to try to overcome and both his siblings leaving him behind was hard on him. So Mike led the way to Ontario but he didn’t stay long, Mamas boy :). I stayed about six months in Toronto and then moved over to London. Mike and I both lived there for a short time before he drove home at break neck speed. Gerry came up at some point and lived between London and Toronto for at least a couple of years until he went home for a visit and never returned. My boyfriend and I had a charmed life for awhile until I started working at Great West Steakhouse and met some amazing friends. I liked to stay at the bar after work and chat with the girls. My sweet boyfriend would walk to get me and I started to really resent it. I missed a lot of time with girlfriends and I missed my friends from back home. Nobody knew I had had a baby that I gave up. I was normal and not damaged. I had some of the very best times of my life with that guy, he taught me how to live again but when things started to get sour he got very jealous and protective of me. He would tell me I was nothing without him and I couldn’t do it on my own. We drove home together when his mother was dying, things were already tense and we got home he was focused of course on his Mom but shut me out completely. Back home was full of memories and my comfort and my weakness was my baby’s father. I was quite simply an adolescent who wanted what I wanted when I wanted it and I made bad choices. I wasn’t grown up enough to be in the grown up relationship that I was and luckily we were smart enough to end it when we did so that we remained friends. My brother moved in with him after I left so we had a lot of contact. I know there were a lot of times that we could have easily gotten back together but it was not right for either of us. He was an Incredible guy but I wasn’t ready for him. I needed to find out who I was. Even after I was married, he contacted me when a mutual friend of ours died and we chatted for a long time and cleared the air, owned up to our mistakes. It was nice. I never felt we left anything unsettled. My friend said the other day that she thought we were fantastic together and we were for a time. I thought back and I couldn’t recall any bad times. I just wanted to spread my wings and he wanted to prevent it and so we struggled. He is married now with children and I hope his wife is as great as him!

Insert my years of partying here and you can ask my friend PoPo for the details. I had lots of great friends in London but Jen (PoPo) who remains one of my closest friends to this day was most certainly my partner in crime. The two of us worked hard and played hard. She taught me a lot about life and a lot about having children because she was a mouthy bratty child that required a lot of patience and would cry if she was yelled at. Mouthy, yet sensitive. It sounds a lot like my thirteen year old daughter. She is exactly what I needed in my life. Most girls were looking for Mr Right but PoPo and I were looking to learn about life through parties with the occasional Mr Right Now thrown into the salad of our youth! We did however decide to prepare for the future by becoming responsible pet owners, I had a budgie and a dwarf rabbit and she had a cat.

I had gotten a promotion at work from Waitress to Manager. We worked at a large Steakhouse that was housed in an old Rail Roundhouse (where they turned the engines). The owner decided to make me Public Relations Manager. This basically meant that after my work day I was to schmooze with the regulars in the lounge. I ate and drank for free. We had great regulars, most of them businessmen that hung out at the bar to talk bullshit with the other regulars and avoid going home to watch TV with their wives. I cant complain, for a girl who loved to socialize this was a damn good gig. I did however have one goal, on Mondays I wanted to make it home in time to watch Melrose Place at nine. In three months I only made it home once and I was so tired and probably a little drunk on Black Russians that I fell asleep. This one night I came home exhausted and I was just putting my nightie over my head I saw a flash in my mirror and a tap tap at my bedroom window. I loved my apartment, it backed onto the Thames River, and in back where my bedroom was there was a pretty row of rose bushes. I had a big window in my bedroom and two sets of blinds, there was maybe an inch between the two sets. I guess that was enough because when I went to my bedroom window and pushed my blinds apart there was a man pleasuring himself. Disgusting! I mas more then disgusted I was terrified. Paralyzed with fear. I don’t know how long I stood there frozen before I went to call the cops and my friend PoPo!

This period in my life became the source of many a joke but it was scary and it caused me a lot of anxiety. I wasn’t able to sleep at night and if I was alone I would stay up until it started to get light outside. There were nights I would be exhausted and I would force myself to stay up. The sleeplessness started to get to me and I started to have anxiety attacks. I feared falling asleep. At this point I had had to call the cops on several occasions. They had been trying to catch this guy for a long time and had other area complaints but the search dogs kept losing his sent because they figured he was crossing the river. I recall the horrible day they cut the pretty rose bushes down in back of the apartment so that the offender would have nowhere to hide while he was seeking his prey. I never feared the creep outside my window, I feared coming home or waking up to him in my bedroom. I have watched enough horror movies. The cops “assured” me that he PROBABLY didn’t want to hurt me!!

One Saturday night at the Steakhouse it was a zoo ,we were always crazy busy on the weekends! Staff kept telling me that there was this strange guy hanging around who wanted to talk to me, apparently he said it was snowing hard outside and he wanted to shovel the steps to keep them safe. I sent one of the bussers outside to shovel and he came back and told me it hadn’t snowed. I checked myself and it was clear…weirdo. He didn’t leave and insisted he speak with me. I firmly told him we were busy, we didn’t need his services and asked him to leave. A couple of days later he walked in to be seated at lunch. He was ill kept and not very clean. I was on the phone at the front desk and called the waitress over to explain that she may have problems with this guy because he was in Saturday night bugging me. A couple minutes later she returned and said he wouldn’t give her his order and insisted on seeing me. I huffed and sighed but went to his table and he was sitting there in the middle of our lunch hour with his pants undone stroking his penis. Lovely. He ignored my order to leave so I called the cops. They came and questioned him in the parking lot and then spoke with me. I told them about the guy that was coming to my window and that I was pretty sure it was the same guy. The female cop told me they probably were not connected and she thought it was a waste of time for me to press charges because he was a deviant of no fixed address and it wouldn’t go anywhere. They figured this guy had seen me walking to and from work because I used to walk right by a Men’s mission. This is on Michelle’s top ten list of “where NOT to pick up men” The sad thing about this is some of the cops I spoke to during this time were so passionate about catching this guy. They told me to call 911 so the dogs could track him immediately but when I would call 911 they would tell me it wasn’t an emergency and to hang up and call the regular number. It was frustrating for me and I can only imagine how frustrating it was for the cops that had been sent out countless timesĀ only to come back empty handed.

A few days later I put it my official resignation. I needed my Mom, I needed sleep, it was time for me to move home to Nova Scotia.

For my Mom. xo

To be continued……

A Thousand Acre Heart-Part Four

There is so much angst involved in adoption and I think just as much in a reunion. If affects everyone involved in a different way. I worried a lot about the wonderful woman who raised Jeff as her son. As a parent myself I couldn’t help but put myself in her position and that caused me a lot of stress. I was happy for me but sad for her. I also worried about his sister Natalie. Natalie is Jeff’s younger sister. She came along four years after her big brother. What a blessing to a family that had had problems conceiving and adopted and then four years later were blessed with a pregnancy and special baby girl. I have two brothers and I think the relationship between a brother and sister can be so full of love but also fiercely protective so I worried about how Natalie would react to not only finding out that her brother was adopted but also to finding out that he was going to meet a whole other family and two little sisters. Jeff has always spoken so highly of Natalie and though we have never met I feel that she is a part of us and I adore her. Proving herself to be such a remarkable young lady Natalie sent me a very sweet message this morning and agreed that I could share it.

Natalie Matthews

Hey michelle! I just read your blog. I just wanted to tell you it is absolutely beautiful. Its also very courageous of you to share. I want to thank you for blessing me and my family with jeff. Hes the best brother I could have dreamed of. I can’t imagine what life would have been like for me without him..he has taught me the meaning of kindness,positivity,friendship and so much more which are all priceless and will forever be a part of my heart. I also cant imagine the heartache you must have felt… I know you know everything happens for a reason, jeff has been lucky enough to experience love from not just one but two families and I thank you for that. I have a huge amount of admiration and respect for you, and just felt the need to tell you. i hope this brightens your day because you deserve it. You’re a great person michelle, i look forward to meeting you in april. Xo


To continue somewhat how I left off my Dad’s death was obviously a huge blow to my family and one thing right after the other for me. A lot of that time seems like a blur to me. I can only describe the feeling as numb. The days seemed so long and I longed for bedtime but couldn’t sleep. When we were planning the funeral we really pulled together as a family. I remember silly stuff like picking out the casket and my oldest brother Mike wanted the most expensive one. He wanted to send Dad out like Elvis. The reason this struck me as funny is because Mike is the frugal one in the family. We all put different values on different things and for some reason that was very important to him. We did not buy the $17, 000 casket…sorry Dad! Funerals are an odd business. I think people should spend their money in life and not so much on death. It is pretty damn expensive to die. It seems to me that focusing on the funeral was the only thing that really kept us together. I was overwhelmed at the funeral. We had an open casket and my Dad was wearing his signature grin. It looked like he was playing a silly prank and he was going to open his eyes and say “just joking” because he looked so lifelike (at least to me) I remember putting a rose on his chest and trying to hold his hand. It was cold and hard. Not at all like holding your father’s hand should feel. I remember a lot of people were there. I saw a lot of friends there. They had all those little side rooms open and full of people. Seeing my baby’s father there near broke me. We had always remained friends and I needed him there that day. I know the songs they played were that Old Rugged Cross and Amazing Grace. My dad loved those. His family was very musical and though my Dad didn’t play any instruments he liked to sing. What else can you say about a funeral? You get to see a lot of special people at the same place that say wonderful things about your deceased loved one and then when it is over and everyone goes back to theirĀ  everyday lives there is this huge void. It’s ironic the memories that are triggered during this process that you don’t normally think about. It was a sunny August day so the burial was immediately following the funeral at Pine Grove Cemetery in Stewiacke where my Dad grew up. The family stands in a line and people walk through to pay their respects and a relative of my Dad stops to talk. She mistakes my friend Cheryl for me. I know Cheryl tried to correct her but the lady wasn’t catching on. She raved about my Dad and how she hadn’t seen me (but it wasn’t me) for years and how beautiful I was (but it wasn’t me). It was a little thing but I remember feeling upset by it. I think in that moment I wanted be recognized as his daughter because I was proud to be that and I wanted to hear all the glowing things she had to say.

When the burial was over a lot of people came to our house to mingle. My brothers and I just disappeared. I just went to my room. I was done with niceties. Till this day I apologize for leaving my Mom to deal with all those people. If it was up to me I would have told them all to get out. Maybe my Mom got some solace out of their company but I just had an overwhelming need to be alone. Then when I was alone I was numb. If you recall I had started dating a guy the day before my Dad died. You would think that it wouldn’t have worked out but it did for over four years. I was talking to a friend today and she said she thought we were fantastic together and we were for quite some time. I was thinking back to some of the times we shared and those first couple of years must have been hard for him. I had migraines. I had them before dad died and they just got progressively worse. The doctor misdiagnosed me with depression and gave me these pills that made me so messed up that I had a hard time putting my socks on for school in the morning. My Grampy Miller, my Moms Dad was a godsend. My Mom didn’t drive and he drove in several times a week from Noel ( about forty minutes from our house) and he took me to all of my appointments in the city (another forty minutes away). They finally got the migraines under control and not long afterĀ  I went through this spell where I just wanted to sleep constantly. I couldn’t get enough sleep. That was probably the depression kicking in but the doctor suggested I might have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and recommended that I get lots of rest. Ironic. How I ever kept a boyfriend through this I will never know but writing this I feel like I owe him a HUGE amount of thanks.

Shortly after Dad passed away my Mom called me downstairs and this lady from the church was there and wanted to have a talk with me. The first thing she said to me was something about god. Well I wasn’t happy with that. I told her that I had given up a baby and then GOD took my Dad away and I didn’t want to talk about GOD! I said to her “How can you talk to me about God. I am sixteen. I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye. What kind of God would do that to me” There my problems with God were born. My poor Mom. 32 years old and dealing with threeĀ  grieving teenagers and her own pain. Thank God she had her family. They are the most amazing people and they are all very close. In the fall my Grampy sat everyone down for a very polite and direct conversation about how he was dying of cancer. I was in disbelief , he seemed perfectly healthy to me. I didn’t really believe it was true. The events all seemed to happen really quickly. His last days in the hospital were rough. I got to see this man who symbolized strength to me, who served in two wars, who got up at the break of dawn everyday no matter what,reduced to skin on bones and he couldn’t communicate. For three days he was in and out and he rambled. Very rarely did you pick out anything coherent. I assume it was the drugs they gave him to keep him comfortable. I wanted to be there every waking moment. As much for me as him. I was going to say goodbye properly. I was sitting right beside his bed, I didn’t want to leave even to pee and the nurse cautioned us that we were not to show any emotion. Then after three days of rambling my grandfather grabbed my hand, looked me straight in the eye and said as plain as day “It won’t be long now!” I bolted from the room in tears. How could I not show emotion? My grandfather just told me he was going to die soon. My mom asked my boyfriend to take me home to get some rest and somewhere between the hospitalĀ  and my house Grampy passed away. It was really hard to see someone you love suffer and deteriorate. I think in seeing that my damaged relationship with God and faith was a bit restored. I felt that god gave me that opportunity to say goodbye but also showed me that sometimes the other way is best.

The strength and love of my Mom and her family is the only thing that got us all through that time. We were already grieving and now we were trying to cope with another huge loss. Grampy was laid to rest in November, as per his wishes had a very simple, private burial. The family gathered together at Grammies’ house for Christmas that year. It was a nice thing for us all to be together and share “remember when” stories and memories of Grampy and Dad. My Dad loved Christmas. He always had us up bright and early so it was a day we really felt his void. After the present opening was done we all retreatedĀ  to our own quiet room to be by ourselves. We were a family with a lot of love to share but we were facing a lot of sadness.

To be continued.

Jerry David Watson
My Dad as a boy
Jerry David Watson
My Grampy Harry Miller

For my brothers. Live your life for today, not for someday. Love you xo