In my house summer is made for adventure.
There are road trips,
and days spent laughing until we cry.
They are old enough now to maintain memories of their childhood.
As they age I want them to recall the feeling of wet grass on their bare feet,
the sharp contrast of a dark nights sky and the flickering of lightning bugs.
I want them to smell smoke and remember their momma trying hard to start a campfire and the taste of burnt marshmallows on their tongues.
Time here, in this place, moves so very fast.
I want summer to be their soft landing, for a few months the slower pace of life that lends itself to memory making.
In this world of immediate gratification, I am learning to live with longing.
Not the kind of longing that paralyzes you with fear, but the kind that tells you in the waiting you will find your greatest reward.
The answers won’t arrive with the speed of a freight train. They come slowly, with the pace more akin to that of a meandering donkey on the road to Bethlehem.
With each sunrise, I open my mouth in prayer, hopeful the answers will come.
I choose with that same prayerful breath to acknowledge the goodness to be had in the waiting.
The growth to be gained from the longing.
My daddy taught me to be grateful, to show grit;
to ask questions then listen closely to the answers;
to smile deeply and love without expectations.
He showed me that life, like riding a bike is more than just forward motion, it’s balancing on two wheels.
He chided me for tears that came from tantrums, but held me when the eyes were wet from things that go bump in the night.
He was my biggest cheerleader and my sharpest critic.
He was my love story before my heart grew wings.
For thirty years, I ran by his side at a steady clip.
But, it took loosing him for my legs to learn that they could fly.
Grace given in daily doses.
The amount needed to see us through those 24 hours.
If only we knew to live in the present; to accept grace in the manner given.
Instead we seek to hoard it, begging for more than what’s needed in the moment.
Grant me thy grace in advance, as if today were my retirement and I was cashing in the 401k.
But grace doesn’t work like that.
It is given freely.
It is renewed daily.
He knows what’s needed. He catches us in our moments of weakness and helps us to rise.
When we lose our temper with our children, fail at our jobs and doubt God, he steps in and doles out the grace.
We can live in the moment.
When I try to plan ahead, a prayer for a peak down the path of what my life will hold, I simply need to return to Our Father’s prayer-
Give us this day our daily bread.
His grace is there feeding me daily.
There is a wedding on Saturday.
In navy blue dresses my girls will stand in front of friends and family as they watch their father marry.
I want to be there,
to curl Sidney’s hair;
whisper words of encouragement in Audrey’s ear before her toast and
cuddle Ellery when half way through the evening her legs grow tired of dancing.
Saturday is important to them.
But, no matter how good the relationship is between their dad and I, there are simply days when the past does not get to participate in the present.
There is sadness in the missing of the moment.
When Sunday night arrives and they scamper though our front door, the moments will have become memories. Memories made without me present.
And that is the reality of divorce.
I won’t linger there long in my own sorrow.
Instead we will make ice cream tonight, watch the sunset and talk about all the fun they will have this weekend.
When our eyes grow heavy, we will climb under my blankets and I will wrap them in my love.
And in that I will find my joy.
I often wonder how heavy the load must be to love a women who makes her home 532 miles from yours.
And yet, he never makes it feel like a burden, only as if to know me is the greatest blessing.
Loving this women when she can’t be there to physically support you in the everyday ordinariness of life.
He’s found ways to be ever-present. Many days I feel as if there’s not a second he has missed.
Regardless of where we end up, I know I will love him forever.
I’m not supposed to tell you that.
I’m not supposed to tell him that.
But, I made a promise to myself a long time ago that never again would I live a life that wasn’t fully authentic. And this life, has been more joyful, more hopeful, with him in it.
So when Ellery asks him if he “loves her Momma?”, and his response is clear, “I love your Momma”, it seems only natural to acknowledge with words, the one who entered in.
I prayed for you.
You came when God felt I was ready.
We didn’t find this place, it found us.
As sometimes happens, the places you are meant to be, find their way to you.
School let out for summer on that Friday and by Saturday morning we were leaving behind our gray skies for the dry heat of the Arizona desert.
The days flew.
When there are horses to ride and bulls to lasso, there’s not much time for make-up, squabbles over meals or chatting on the phone.
You wake up each day at 5am, drink your coffee, don your cowgirl boots and head out on your horse.
When the heat of the day gets to be too much your lounge by the pool or find a cool spot to do yoga on the lawn.
There aren’t any TV’s.
Emails seem to find a way to go unanswered (especially when you hear that dinner bell ringing).
And on that last day, when you ride up the mountain for blueberry pancakes at sunrise, you realize this was the best thing you did with your year.
You know that nothing will replace the memories you made on this trip. And you are grateful for the sunset.