Months of heartache have trailed us.
The job loss, the pandemic, the struggle that seems to have us always in the waiting.
My love, I can’t imagine these trials without you beside me.
When this world has been turned upside down, I find myself grateful that you came along. Your presence makes possibilities endless.
I long for days when porch swings and miles up mountains fill our moments. But until that day is here, as we raise young women and watch the everyday beauty unfold, I will feel more hopeful then blue.
I will find peace in our persistence.
There was a former work colleague who lived a life of faith.
Invitations extended to daily mass, philosophical debates about the eucharist and eternal life, all while sipping coffee at Clementine’s.
“So I should thank him for you and I meeting?” Matt spoke last night.
Instantly reminded of the role others played in leading us to this life lived here.
The connections that covered me in love and brought me a husband and three more beautiful girls.
In a world that teaches us to wear independence as a badge of honor we ignore the truth- it is only by walking with others that we are able to understand who we are called to be.
The question asked.
“Are they all yours?”
We were in line waiting to use the restroom.
My smile and head nod, not enough of an answer for her.
“Were you trying for a boy?”
Thankful the stall door opened and my “no” could end the conversation.
The truth is the story of our family cannot be shared in three second sound bites.
The girls know that. They don’t discuss details with curious strangers.
If asked they tell of their five sisters.
Yes there are six of them, no twins.
They often throw in a line about how the dog is a girl too.
It doesn’t matter they didn’t all come from one womb. They are woven together.
In those brief interactions with others, I struggle with the desire to summerize all that is our family.
Yet, these fierce, loyal, loving young ladies have come to understand what is taking their Momma year’s to accept -nothing needs explained.
Next time maybe I need not wish the inquiry away.
Joy in the knowledge that my daughters know what family is.
She dreamed of a man who worked hard, loved Jesus and lived a life of service. One who would desire a women and three beautiful babies to walk through life with.
Each night praying for him, not by name but with descriptors. Every morning awaking hopeful hearted that today he would appear.
One day it was as if it all made sense.
The man in the pew in front of her with his own three beautiful babies.
The Sunday’s spent watching as he patted heads, tenderly held hands and shepherded souls though mass.
Grateful that she had not missed it.
Through the loss, her God had led her here.
Now nearly two years since that date, she can hardly remember a moment he wasn’t a part of her peace.
As he turns the page to 40 she dares to dream what 40 more will look like by his side.
The babies they will raise.
The mountains they will climb.
The love that will be multiplied.
Tonight she will thank God for answered prayers, for her hallelujah.
It’s not a fairytale.
It’s dirty socks found on kitchen chairs, next to toilets and in the dog’s cage.
It’s six lunches needing packed.
It’s scooters left out behind parked cars and its cold showers.
It’s the sounds of little girl’s laughter creeping through closed doors well after bedtime.
It’s tears by the tub-full and grace upon grace.
It’s “I love you” spoken when least expected.
It’s the desire of a man and a woman to live out this vocation with sometimes painful honesty which means it’s acceptance that what was broken can’t be made whole again.
It’s the understanding that no amount of family meetings or vacations can bring back what six girls lost when their biological parents parted ways. But, it is the belief, that while not perfect, not a fairytale, it is a home.
An engagement, a wedding, two homes sold and one purchased, a year come and gone since that evening.
A good Friday service, then to a local bar for dinner and music, and twelve months later we sleep with our six girls under one roof,
nearly six months into our marriage.
On that night if you were to have told me where we would be today, I would have believed you.
My heart knew.
It wasn’t just that evening of laughter and good conversation that led me to know he was the one.
Four years of work lead up to that date.
Relationships with others that helped me to learn.
Nights of prayer.
Lord, I give up. I place this in your hands.
When it was time, Matthew arrived.
Finally unencumbered by the “stuff” that weighs one down, we only needed the minutes alone together to know this was the start of the grandest adventure.
Many a night now I fall asleep mid prayer. He and I whispering words while children sleep in rooms above.
Matthew says I take a deep breath and he knows then he has lost me to slumber. On those nights he finishes the prayers for both of us.
A broken women’s prayers all those years ago, answered now in the form of a man who speaks her prayers when she cannot.
I’ve been their tour guide for the first piece of the journey.
My job to try to point out the potholes as they toddled.
They are now beginning the walk away.
I’m not going anywhere, at least I have no plans to, but the road ahead feels much more pilgrimage then it does all-inclusive guided tour.
Their own trails to blaze, their own words to write.
Adventures to be had with and without me.
The desire for this year is that they know themselves in a way I didn’t.
And that they and their new companions on this journey are led by the gentle promptings of God.
Happy 2018. Happy trails.
These are my people now.
They love on me and my tribe in such an effortless way that it teaches me how to give more generously.
After five days together, in a sea of Disney, they still love me (I think).
A case of the “hangries”, meltdowns and tired legs (all of which were mine) and yet they have kept the invitation open for Christmas Eve at their house.
They are pretty special.
Not to mention they raised this boy into the most incredible man, husband and father.
I look forward to more of everything with these people.
Grateful that they are now mine.
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.