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“Nothing can be necessary that he withholds”

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Last Friday, I listened to Taylor Swift’s 1989 for the entire 9-hour drive from Denver to Kansas City. Collectively my favorite record I’ve heard in ages, it just might have the power to pull me out of athletic retirement and train for another half marathon. Running would probably be good for me, seeing as how these days I’m wound as tight as a guitar string one pluck away from snapping up and whipping you in the eyeball.

In the past month, I’ve been in a lot of airports – Denver, Minneapolis, Austin, Atlanta, Kansas City, Chicago, Rochester, and Baltimore, to be exact. Between work and my far-flung family and friends, I travel more than the average person – and I’ve found that the only way I can survive the aggravation of airline travel is to wear earplugs at all times. Not ear buds – I don’t want music. No, I want to drown out everyone and everything, even at the risk of appearing rude to my fellow passengers. Oh, you just introduced yourself? UNACKNOWLEDGED. You’ll get over it one day.

But despite the irritation, airplanes get me where I want to go – which, this weekend, was upstate New York for 24 hours. While I’ve been a bridesmaid more times than I have fingers, “godparent” is a new role for me – and there was no way I was going to miss Colin’s baptism. He is 6 months of chubby, flirtatious perfection, and I’m honored beyond words that his parents would choose me.

Colin1

When the service was over and the reception was in full swing, I stole away to the edge of Will and Miranda’s dock on Seneca Lake. Their property is beautiful – it’s been in Will’s family for generations – and I needed to be by the water. At the risk of sounding all woo-woo, water affects me spiritually. It cracks my hard heart wide open. It’s a shame that Denver is so landlocked.

There on the dock, I thought about the stories that the majority of my friends are living, and how different mine is turning out to be. I tried to tell myself that it’s okay, I’m okay, that not having a family of my own is actually far less complicated and I should be happy for the simplicity of my little life. After all, as some well-meaning friends have told me, it’s dangerous to love someone so deeply – because then you have so much to lose.

Well. I’ve never been divorced. But I’ve never been married. I have never lost a child. But I’ve never had a baby. Hope unrealized brings with it its own invisible grief, one that doesn’t fit into an obvious category, the kind that solicits cards and casseroles. Could it be that things that haven’t happened can hurt as badly as things that could?

Because it’s one thing for all of your friends to get married. It’s another when they start having kids. It’s entirely another when they decide to be finished having kids… and you’re not sure if you’ll even start.

I know, cue the sob fest and the weeping ovaries. Except.

Here’s what I’m discovering: joy is found in connection, and connection comes in all sorts of forms. I might not be a wife, but I’m a friend who can and will hop on a plane at a moment’s notice to fly across the country. I might not be a mom, but I’m an auntie, and a dog lover, and now a godmother. I’m a daughter and a sister. I’m a hard worker who cares about the well-being of the people I work with. I’m a writer and a wanderer and a hoper and a dreamer, and damn it, I want to be one who celebrates the things worth celebrating, even if they’re not happening to me.

And until those celebrations are my own, I’m clinging to John Newton’s words: “Everything is necessary that [God] sends; nothing can be necessary that he withholds.”

Given that, I’m really thankful that God has sent Foxy Brains and Colin Warder and Southwest Airlines and red wine and Taylor Swift.

Zion Lion

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

I won’t get a chance to go meet baby Zion in Kansas City until mid-August.

But they send me pictures like this:

And I’m already wrapped around his tiny, tiny finger.

While he’s still in the hospital, the little buddy is pushing 5 pounds now, and showing a lot of healthy signs.  Your continued thoughts and prayers are so appreciated.

It’s not lost on me that the same day that my dad moved to Austin, changing the face of our family, little Zion’s adoption process was officially started – also changing the face of our family.

The bitter and the sweet frequently coexist – I’ve seen this over and over in life.  I guess I could curse the hard things for interfering with the good – but I think I’d rather just be extra thankful for the sweetness.

You just never know

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Happy July 1st, my sweet and patient friends.

Come on.  You knew I’d have a video.

As you can tell, I needed a little bit of breathing room in June.  Things have been heavy and confusing and stressful, and I didn’t want to spew my emotional guts all over your internet each day (that would have been rude and, most likely, vile).

So I took the month to just hunker down.

But now?  Now, I am GIRDING UP MY LOINS.

July is shaping up to be quite a month, what with a skunk on the loose in my new neighborhood, spraying innocent bystanders and all.  Other upcoming events of note: the grand opening of Denver’s Ikea, a 900 mile drive in a Penske truck, more mountains, and who knows?  Maybe even a haircut.

Have a great holiday weekend – and if you just can’t wait one more second to hear about baby Zion – my new nephew! – click on over to read his story.  I am so in love with this boy already, and can’t wait to snuggle him.

All about Laura

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

When I was in 6th grade, I took an after-school dance class. On the first day of class, I met a girl named Laura. She was homeschooled, which was weird and AWESOME, because who gets to stay home from school all day? She was blonde and bubbly and totally at ease with herself, which, come to find out, is an anomaly when it comes to homeschoolers.

No offense – I was a homeschooler myself for a time.

That very first day, we found out that we had the same birthday (“Shut UP – MY birthday is August 4!”).

She became my very best friend.

We did everything together – sleepovers every weekend, family vacations, dance classes, singing for church, talking about boys. She was 2 years older, and so when she was 16, she taught me to drive in church parking lots and on dirt roads. We experienced joy and pain and drama and silliness side by side. I honestly believe that I would not have survived junior high if it hadn’t been for Laura.

In 2000, I moved to Seattle to go to college, and Laura got engaged to a Canadian. Our lives have taken us in very different directions, both literally and figuratively. We have lived thousands of miles apart, me pursuing a degree and a big-city life in Seattle and now in Nashville, and she living in small towns in Canada and Colorado. As a result of our circumstances, our priorities have been different. All signs point to the fact that we should not be friends. The discrepancies in our lives are vast.

But we are friends. We are wonderful, close friends. Despite the distance of miles and dreams and priorities, we remain cheerleaders for each other.

Yesterday, Laura had her third baby. Their first boy, Wyatt Jackson, joined big sisters Annabelle and Kate. An hour after the birth, Laura was on the phone to me, holding Wyatt on her chest and asking me how Nashville is, wanting to know about my love life.

She is selfless and patient and smart and supportive. She is an amazing mother to her three kids, and a loving wife to her husband.  She is capable and kind and beautiful. She is steadfast. She is living a life so different from my own, and yet, I deeply respect her life, and watch in wonder.

I love you, Laura. You are so heroic. I am amazed by your outlook on life, and the way that you are raising your kids to be excellent humans. I am impressed by your ability to keep everything spinning, even with Jack gone for work so much of the time. I am proud of the woman that you have become. I am grateful for your continued presence in my life.

And I am jealous of how good you look after birthing an 8 lb. 8 oz child.