I sat down on the couch the other night and Judah snuggled up under one arm and looked at little Elijah and said, "you can snuggle my mom, too" and then looked up at me and said, "you have two boys who love you".
It is July. Almost August. And the last time I was here, I anticipated telling a very different story about my summer. I planned to tell you about an adventure far different than the one I came to tell you today.
Let me start with an expression of gratitude.
Deep, deep gratitude.
I am so grateful I don't tell the story.
I am so grateful I don't always know what's best.
I am so grateful my ideas are not the only ideas.
Saturday night, one little boy who looks like me fell asleep under my arm. Another little boy who doesn't look like me launched himself across the room to kiss my forehead, screaming "I love you!" with eyes bright and wide. And a little girl sat in front of my knees letting me comb her hair, while her big sister fell asleep by my feet. All while we waited on a daddy to get home.
There's a man, now. And I am so immensely thankful for him. And all his goodness.
Last night I watched him in the yard at his Oma's house. It had just stopped raining and our four had been playing outside throughout the shower. They were soaked. And there he stood, with baseballs in his hand, trying to juggle.
And I watched four, wet, little faces look at him.
And I wondered if his mama was watching him from the window. And I couldn't fathom how she could be more proud of him than I am, but I know she is.
And I wondered if his granddad saw.
I wondered if his granddad saw him standing there with the most beautiful smile on his face, juggling for four small humans who love him. Who look up to him. Who admire his strength. Who depend on him.
I wonder if a granddad or a mom could have imagined this for their oldest? Who grew up in that same yard. Who struggled in that same house. Who left and came back and fell and rose.
I know my pride can't match theirs.
But my whole heart was swollen with it.
Pride. And love. For the ones who are mine.
Sometimes, I suppose, we can't know things will work out for sure.
Sometimes, if you're told the plan ahead of time, you'd not believe it. You'd not do the work that would make you ready. You'd not heal in a way that was needed.
Sometimes, you just can't know.
But I sit here today because of a screw in a tire, waiting on him to come back and get me. And my eyes keep welling with tears.
Tears just like the ones I cried two days after I turned thirty. Two days after I expected life to change forever, when in fact it did.
Tears of remorse, of hope, of love.
The kind of tears that happen when you walk back into a house that used to be home... and find it still smells the same.
Find there's still room for you.
I had to come with a lot of grace, asking for a lot of forgiveness.
And these days I exist with so much gratitude in my heart for the forgiveness I didn't deserve and for something, while it looks like a second chance, is much more simply a story, which deserved to be told. A story, which deserved to be lived.
Joy and pride and thankfulness for a man with light in his eyes; who tickles me, who thanks me, who makes room for me. Who makes plans with me. Who asks for me. Who sees me.
I don't deserve it. This love that multiplied. This family that grew.
But I've made it my life's mission to not lose it again.
There my treasure is.