Thursday, July 12, 2018

find someone else

dear rude and impatient I-75 motorist ---

i’m sorry i didn’t react much today to your angry horn honking. i realize you were looking for a little engagement when you gestured wildly and yelled something (most likely) obscene from behind your steering wheel. you’re exactly right, i didn’t move quickly enough and you were only letting me know how important and busy you are. trust me, i understand. and i'm sure, you probably desired much more from me than my weak wave. i have no doubt my lack of interaction disappointed. 

i get it. some times i feel like that too. i only want acknowledgement for how frustrating my frenzied days can sometimes seem. and, clearly, i was in your way: in my car singing ridiculously loudly to my john denver. “take me home country roads …” while driving, ironically, through the middle of a city. how completely inappropriate. i, too, was experiencing that rush hour horror. hard stuff. and what’s more, it had probably been a hard day for you. (i’ve had them too). and, dear (rude) one, i know, in your mind, it would have just felt better if you could have roped someone like me into your road rage. 

but today you picked the wrong woman for a vehicular altercation. or maybe—depending on one's perspective—you picked exactly the right woman.

either way, you could have no way of knowing. 

you didn’t know that, today—not every day, but today—i was feeling pretty unflappable. it’s not always the word i’d necessarily associate with my world, but this day you crossed paths with a woman who was actually somewhat serene. you intersected with a girl not willing to engage; with a person not needing to express her pent up emotions from behind her steering wheel.

you see, i’d just come from my annual oncologist appointment where my doctor and i had a moment of real, true rejoicing. seven years ago, when i was diagnosed with cancer, one of the things he said to me was, “jody, we are going to get you on a plan to keep you around for awhile. you’ve got too much life ahead of you. let’s make that happen.”  

for me, "too much life ahead" meant being around for the milestones … for the big moments. when i was sick and afraid of what the future might (or might not) bring, i remember pleading with God to make me well so that i might someday watch my children grow up … get married.
seven years ago when i was scared and wondering about my future, i remember finding the thought of not being present at my kids’ weddings unbearable. something about that specific image—more than anything else—rattled me. completely.

but, today, at my appointment, i was able to waltz in and announce to my doctor, that in just a couple more weeks, i’d be attending my first child’s wedding. i’d made it. that gruesome time 7 years ago full of mastectomies and medication has allowed me to be here today enjoying the final days and details before emily’s marriage. is that overly dramatic? perhaps. but, for me, it’s about perspective.

and dear rude and impatient I-75 motorist, no one—not even you with your incessant horn blowing and ugly expressions—is going to steal the joy i have on this july day seven years after cancer.  

there are no guarantees. i realize that. cancer or random street-crossings … we can’t ever be sure. here today and gone tomorrow. just like that. in a blink of an unexpecting eye. 

when i come across people who get caught up in the petty or allow for great impatience in the present, i realize i am typically dealing with someone who has never had to live in fear of dying. they’ve never been told cancer. they’ve never had to question the future. 

don’t get me wrong. i don’t mean that to sound condescending or in any way superior. trust me, even a cancer diagnosis 7 years ago has not completely changed this woman. i wish it had. but, the truth is, i still have plenty of pettiness and a ridiculous amount of impatience. i often forget how precious life is. and, even with that altering experience 7 years ago, i still don’t always make the most of every moment. i forget. i take things for granted. i expect to live forever. 

but today, in my good-report-appointment, i had the chance to be reminded of the gift i was given. and, thinking about the fact that in 16 days i will watch my girl walk down her wedding aisle, i’m sorry, but i just can’t get into it with you out there on the roadway. i’m sorry (not sorry) to say, you’ll have to find someone else to wrangle with. 

please don’t read this as superiority, but as serenity.
don’t view me as graceful, but see me a grateful.
it's not about pride, but all about perspective.

you’ll just have to find someone else. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

3 months: from proposal to processional

i've really wanted to sit down and write this post since april 27th. but seriously, y’all, i have yet to sit down. or at least that’s kind of how it feels: april 27th happened and we haven't taken a seat or a breath since.

that was the day our oldest girl got engaged.

and though i’m sure all of this not-sitting and not-breathing stuff might sound rather alarming, i have to tell you, we couldn’t be more thrilled. 

back in april, when austin drove to atlanta to ask our blessing, we gave it with enthusiasm. we love this boy and have confidence that God has brought these two together in His perfect timing. what's more: they both love Jesus. that day having lunch with him and hearing his heart will always hold a special place. what parent wouldn’t want to hear how much their daughter is loved and adored. (by the right boy at the right time, of course). 

austin even brought the ring along to show us. now, i’m not saying that was the thing which swayed us—rings have very little to do with what makes a marriage—but, i have to admit, it was pretty darn sweet when he pulled it out of his pocket wanting us to see it even before he would slip it on our daughter's finger that next weekend (if you happen to be a young man thinking about proposing, i’d highly recommend taking the ring along when asking her parents’ blessing. it is just a nice touch). 

some people might think “asking for the blessing” an old-fashioned and even archaic practice. and while certainly entitled to their opinion, i disagree. wholeheartedly. there’s nothing like listening to your future son-in-law articulate his love for your daughter. it meant the world to us to hear his words of devotion and love for this girl we’ve, ourselves, been so smitten with these past 22 years. the joy, well, it’s pretty much indescribable.

we were also honored to be included on the night of their engagement a few days later. austin worked to have his family and ours present afterward for a time of celebration. he did this because he knew out of every engagement scenario he could come up with, it would be most important to emily to have both of their families close by and included. “she would want that,” he told us. hearing him explain his decision, i thought to myself, “gosh, he’s on exactly the right track.” not that he, as her future husband, must give her her way in everything. nope, not that. but the idea that he must always consider her, her heart, her wishes, her desires … above himself. yes, that. that is the special ingredient which proves vital in marriage from first days to final breath. and it goes for her as well! it works both ways: consider your spouse above yourself. not exactly what the world tries to tell us, but God's word surely does. when that combination happens in relationships, miraculously more love can grow.  “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  ~ philippians 2: 3-4.

so, that was april 27th.

today is july 1st. 

the months of may and june became quickly preoccupied with planning a wedding. 
especially when, one week into her engagement, emily said, “mom, we can get married in 3 months, right?”  
i swallowed hard. “well, it’s possible,” i agreed. "not easy, but possible ... i guess." and i began immediately making mental lists in my head.  

though they originally talked about a wedding in late fall, when they started to put together the potential dates for austin’s officer training and flight school, it became clear the choice was either a quick wedding or a pretty long engagement. 

and after looking at all the different scenarios and schedules and timelines and options … they landed on having their wedding this summer. july 28th. 3 months from proposal to processional. 

and now today, less than a month away! 
[please enjoy a few photos from their (brief) engagement photo shoot ... while i go pour a glass a wine and practice my deep breathing]. 

okay. i'm back. and calm again. these pictures, kind of cute, huh? 

seriously though, with most of the "big" wedding decisions made, i am finally this weekend finding some time to collect my thoughts. i know it's just a brief lull before the matrimonial storm comes blowing in, but it's been nice and has allowed me to finally pound out a blog post. i do know, however, this is only a short pause before we begin to really wind up for wedding week. 

but as her mom, i am incredibly thankful for this pause. so thankful to have a little time this weekend to sit on my porch and ponder the blessing of what God is doing and has done in her life. i’m not sure exactly where two decades have gone, but i can tell you we’ve been praying about the boy God would bring to her for a very long time — since before she was even born.

this is a picture of her first nursery. as is typical with eager first time parents, we had her room ready and waiting well before her arrival. and just like it was yesterday, i remember sitting in that white glider rocker praying (and gliding)! praying for my soon-to-be-born baby girl. praying for her arrival. praying for her protection. praying for her future. praying, yes, even for the man she would someday meet and marry. 

i know that might sound kind of crazy. like that was maybe a couple of decades too soon, right? but not really. if i could tell you how fast these 20+ years have gone, you would understand how important it was to start praying right away. there was no time to waste. 

that’s kind of what i have learned in all these years of motherhood: there really is no time to waste. we don’t have forever. the future arrives fast. the days might sometimes feel awfully long, but the years and seasons pass quickly. one moment you are kissing boo-boos and cutting up waffles and the next day you are watching your girl pick out her wedding dress. it’s the commonality of motherhood. i am not alone, i know this. but nothing--absolutely nothing-- prepares us for it. 

it’s the sweetest thing ever. it’s the swiftest thing ever.

in these past couple of months we’ve watched our girl graduate from college, get engaged, start her career, move out of our home and plan her wedding. in less than 30 days we will watch as she walks down the aisle and commits her life to that boy we prayed for all those years ago in her nursery rocking chair.

yes, for sure, i'd love to press that pause button, but, clearly, that option is not available right now. and so, like in many seasons of motherhood, i press into what i know best-- prayer. 

whether life seems to move oh-so-slowly or at the speed of light, prayer is the thing which is always available and always the best idea. when we realize the limitations of our control there is nothing more comforting than to remember the limitlessness of our Lord.

i’m not doing a terrific job expressing these emotions in this blog post tonight, but you’re just going to have trust me on this one. 

something about stepping into july this morning — into her wedding month — really put me into some kind of tizzy. in fact, with the house empty this afternoon, i sat calmly at the piano to play one of my favorites, pachebel canon in d. it is such a soothing piece of music. it is also the song i walked down the aisle to …  and will be the song emily walks down to as well. i've played this piece 100 times, but today it didn't quiet me, instead it got me ... and, yep, i cried. and since i am not skilled enough a pianist to both play notes and wipe tears, my only choice was to stop.

it's true, emotions are running a little high around here these days. should you come to visit, be warned. my boys took off today for a week in minnesota and i know they were beyond thrilled to escape both my "wedding project list" and my crazy-mother-of-the-bride emotions.

it’s going to be a big month ... a busy month. i hope to be able to share a little bit more of the excitement or details as these next few weeks unfold. but, i know you’ll understand if you don’t hear from me again until august.

did i happen to mention that a puppy also showed up on the scene in the middle of these past couple of months. rick surprised me on mother's day with this little hunk of love. meet bentley! he's a newfoundland puppy which seems to gain five pounds a day. rick thought it might help alleviate the stress of wedding planning. lol. that's another blog post for sure! bentley, though not exactly alleviating stress, is a pretty darn awesome addition to our family. =)