In God’s house,
on bended knee,
he asked for my hand.
These girls, this man, this beautiful life and the journey that brought us together – yes.
When the giggles subsided, with tears flowing, we joined our hands and bowed our heads in prayer. Gratefulness poured out of me as I promised our heavenly father I would seek each day to be the wife, the mother, the women, he is calling me to be.
Our lives now joyful, together.
Born on this day 71 years ago.
A decade passed since the last celebrated with him.
His favorite pie, steak’s on the grill, a side of dry rub wings while we sat on the patio watching the deer dance down the hill. Daisy dog by his side.
Looking at the well-worn hands, holding the beer, you wouldn’t have guessed him a preacher.
Years spent weaving words together for his “day job” yet true joy came from moments spent in his yard on that hill or at his beach house, the constant battle with the encroaching prickly bushes.
Two days before he passed, as we stood around him, I rubbed his thumb. The low hum of the medical devices keeping him alive became the background music as I stared at those hands, flooded with a lifetime of memories.
He and I on our knees inspecting my work done with hand shears trimming the lawn. Gentle correction to cut the grass shorter next time.
His hands on the steering wheel, another road trip adventure to some far-flung battlefield. His baritone belting out You are My Sunshine.
His hands a reflection of his message, of how he choose to live his life;
battle-scarred, worn rough from working and loving hard.
One day these words will fade but I hope its my hands the girls will remember, may they resemble his.
Each evening before sleep our prayers are joined.
Whispered words over the phone after little girls are tucked away.
The routine born from a desire to put our faith at the center of our relationship.
Before the I love you’s to each other were spoken, we had chosen to share our love for him.
108 nights have now passed.
Vacations, work trips, weariness and girls unable to sleep, but not one night interrupted; not one evening missed.
Our foundation on which we build this house.
Seems silly that with the end of July we face the end of our summer, the start of school around the bend.
Seventeen sleeps before our carefree days are over.
I’m simply not ready.
The summer camps, the trips, the lazy nights lingering with friends will soon be replaced with homework, evening activities and dinners eaten on the run.
As Matt and I talked last night about the impending end, a large part of me wanted to revolt, to grab those babies and leave it all behind in favor of a never ending supply of cotton candy.
But, we are called to be in this place, moving through our days, preparing hearts and minds for a lifetime of more adventures.
So I will pull out the lunch bags and begin the school prep, but if you find I am slower to return your emails or your texts go unanswered, know I’m just busy soaking up a few more summer days.
Its’ been a pleasure.
On this day a year ago all I wanted was to peer around the bend, just a snippet of what lie ahead.
No looking glass that night or the nights after, more uncertainty unfolding one day after the next.
But, at some point, living with the uncertainty became ok.
I stopped orchestrating.
I started listening.
And now 40 is not a single bit like I thought it would be.
I’m not who I thought I would be.
I don’t have to be finished.
I don’t have skip ahead to know the end to this chapter.
I can believe.
I can trust.
I can look back now to see that all along this 39th year was designed to lead me here.
In his time, in his way, answered prayers.
Thank you for all that you were.
If you don’t mind, could you put in a good word for me with 40? You’ve built a great foundation for her to work with.
So you’ve walked 1200 days alone before he enters.
One would think it would wreak havoc on a life.
Decisions now made with input of another.
Days that dance by, one fuller then the next.
Yet, somehow, it all just works,
our stories blending.
Those three girls and their daddy, my three girls and that dog, the group of us, all eight meandering through life together.
Dear Lord help us to continue to love each other as we should.
This is the way this life’s meant to be lived.
The way that little girl always dreamed it would be.
We live our lives with the applause meter on.
The channels of social media feed the human desire for acclaim.
But, to live an authentic life, one in which we force ourselves to acknowledge the pieces that are less than show ready, that’s a challenge.
I was tired.
Really, really tired.
I needed coffee or a nap or both.
Little girls scurried.
Please Lord, next time prompt me to warn them when these things are brewing.
This is the piece of me I’m learning to love.
No one else to blame, just a recovering perfectionist who cannot rest before it’s all complete.
The woman who simply can’t manage when something is left undone.
Apologies were whispered, when really they should have been exclaimed.
Little girls tucked away for the night will soon forget the mistakes made.
The best of me sometimes comes from the worst of me.
Tomorrow we’ll go at it again.
When the school year ends the girls and I pack our bags and head out.
The kick off to summer break always begins with a trip.
This year we headed to Chicago for three nights with beautiful friends who have become family.
We love them with all our hearts (so does our Anja girl).
It was Anja’s first road trip as a part of this tribe,
and each night she was worn out from the cuddles.
We’re so grateful for these people who love us when they aren’t required to;
who open their home and their hearts, and
whose wisdom and counsel is always shared with our best interest in mind.
If there is one example my girls remember from their years with me, I hope it is of friendship.
Chose wisely my girls.
When you find the women who will willingly go all in,
hold on tight.
There is nothing better than a life lived with others whose only desire is to see you soar.
Sometimes I think I don’t tell her enough how proud I am of her.
This girl with her smile as open as her heart.
The one who works hard,
keeps her promises,
and loves without condition.
The two of us, we have learned together.
A million and one mothering mistakes I’m sure I’ve made.
And now as she stands 5’9 and full of forgiveness for all of my failings, I am supremely proud of the young women she has become.
It began with our Priest.
His words to Matt a summer ago.
The gentle nudging that Matt should pursue that women across the aisle. The one at daily mass, alone or with her girls. His urging that both Matt and I were on the same journey.
But as often times happens we each sought others, because, after all, what does your Priest know about love :)?
But that wise Priest prayed and his intentions soon joined with others who noticed God’s hand in the story. Hundreds of days lived as we continued to move separately through this life.
That is until one day, when the experiences were had, the moments lived apart, we were finally ready to come together.
So it turns out our Priest, our friends and our little girls, both Matt’s and mine, knew a whole lot more about love then what we imagined.
They knew that love was built on a foundation of faith.
They knew that shared goals, the desire for growth, were an essential.
And they knew that our Holy Spirit works in the most wondrous ways.
Yesterday, as I looked down the table at the gaggle of six girls enjoying their post church Mexican buffet and being entertained by the Priest who prayed for it all to happen, my heart danced.
This love story begins.