I opened the photo envelope from Sam’s club. One by one, I pulled out 11×14 images of my daughter at different stages in her life and laid them out before me on the carpet. My thought was to string them across my living room as part of her graduation party decorations. As I lined them up in order, I was overwhelmed with emotion and suddenly started to cry. There was my baby growing up before my eyes. Her entire life reduced to 7 images. She was a darling baby and she is a beautiful woman. I’m so proud of her. I just don’t know where the time went. I know how cliché that sounds but there are many truths in clichés.
There were about 40 of our closest friends and family over the house last night to celebrate her graduation. My ex was chopping salad in the kitchen and hanging out with the brothers-in-law. My Harry was peer pressured into joining me and my friends in the pool ;-). My extended family all played nice despite the tension that exists between them. It was a great day.
At one point I stood looking at all the people milling about in my backyard. New friends old friends, family and neighbors. The people in that yard represented every period of my life. In many ways my life is what connected them and brought them to my backyard that day because many of them didn’t even know each other. One of my favorite movies of all time is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” And I imagined if any of their lives would be different if I hadn’t existed.
It was a very egotistical thought I entertained only briefly because I realized as little as I have effected these people’s lives, they have effected mine more.
I would be a different person if it weren’t for the time spent on vacations, long talks on the telephone, childhood pranks, fights, giggles, and meals shared. They were with me in moments in my life of tragedy, boredom, happiness, and triumph.
Some of them urged me to be courageous, others to be more careful. Some taught me compassion others to have discipline. There in that yard were the people who pointed me on my career path, my spiritual path, and the path that led me to having two beautiful children. They pulled my butt out of bed when I was depressed, told me I was beautiful until I believed them, and helped me find my true self once again.
Some of them infuriate me and I avoid but most of them God used to give me strength when I had none left.
As I greeted each one with a big hug and a smile I realized how blessed I am. How truly unique and special my life has turned out. Where once I was devastated and thought I’d never be whole again I now realize I’ve never been happier. Ever.
I have friends who got married six months ago and now the husband is dying of cancer. I know life can turn on a dime. I know that right now I’m getting a reprieve from struggle and toil. My heartbreak and sorrow have been replaced with sweet, pure, honest love. My children are healthy, happy and have their lives and all opportunities in front of them. Life is promising. The hope I clung to in the dark, I can actually now see.
I’m savoring it. I know it won’t last forever. I’m thanking God every day for the goodness and joy He’s given me. I don’t want to miss anything.
Sometimes you watch a movie. Lots of little subtle things happen that seem of little consequence and the plot just keeps slowly developing. It’s easy to pay little attention, maybe grab a snack or go to the bathroom thinking you won’t miss anything important. But the end of the movie starts tying all these pieces together and you realize how important the man sitting next to the lead at the coffee shop was, or the car seen pulling into the parking lot, or the package that was delivered to the home. And it all begins to make sense and get interesting and before you know it you’re riveted and then the movie is over. Just when it got good.
My fear is that will happen to me. In a blink of an eye it could all be gone. Over. Just when it was getting so good. I hate that my brain conjures this fear up. But that’s when I know that I’m happy. I don’t want it to end. And right now. I’m so stinking happy its scary.
For the last 19 years my main purpose in life was to raise my children to be competent, loving, godly adults. I never thought of them as mine. More like they were on loan to me from God who they truly belong to and it was my duty to raise them to honor Him. I took my job very seriously and in many ways it will be my job until the day I die.
What will my new purpose be? How will I settle into this new role as mother of two adults? Will I be changing my name soon?
Harry had to work up in San Francisco this past week for clients. They were an older couple who had been married for years and chose not to have kids. They told Harry how much fun they’ve had traveling and running their company together and helping their employees whenever there was a need. Since Harry doesn’t have any children of his own he and I have been discussing the possibility of becoming parents together someday.
But he came home from that trip at peace with our priority being each other and my two kids. He was inspired by this couple who have lived a lifetime and were still in love.
As much as I hate it sometimes. I know I’m not the author of my life. I can’t decide how this will all play out as if I am. There are so many other characters and influences on those characters. Things happen that change the story. Sometime subtle little things…sometimes big things. All I can do is write about it after they happen. I know the end of this story is getting close. And I love how all the pieces are starting to fit together. I see how I’m emerging from my past because of growth, because of age, because I refused to be a victim, as a new person. How things and people who came in and out of my life have shaped it. I’m definitely paying attention now…and I’m riveted to see what happens next.
I just hope it’s a good ending. SO good that there will be a sequel.