Last night I walked into Avery’s room to tuck her into bed and found her propped up against her pillows reading a book…. to Comet. awww…
[gasp] “Mommy! I want to read you this book!” Oh Lord, I thought, I just want to go sit in my chair. Alone. Quiet.
“Okay! I would LOVE that babe!” was the right answer and the one I gave.
And so she began Dr. Seuss’ Hop On Pop Book. She loved reading it and I was completely captivated by her happiness. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and snapped a quick picture. Somehow my phone, dropped no less than 50 times, just doesn’t seem to take pictures as nicely as it used to.
I was walking a fine line…living in and soaking up this very moment with her. And wanting to capture it forever in a share-able format.
“I’ll be right back! I’m gonna go get my good camera!” I promised as I raced downstairs and swapped out the lenses. I ran back up and tried to drop back in to where I was emotionally with her just 90 seconds before.
I haven’t picked up my camera more than, say, five times this summer. It’s usually found as an appendage on me, and yet, this summer has been quiet. Mostly undocumented. Just as children gravitate toward a special blanket or cuddly animal, I think the camera has become my comfort item of choice. One that is easy for me to hide behind and observe from. My position of choice in any environment.
Avery continued reading her book and found it absolutely hilarious. So much so that she threw her body back and put her hand to her head after reading a specific portion. I thought my heart would explode right then. I was beaming watching her happiness and I was actually capturing it in the lens too.
My phone rang as she ended the book. It was Brian, who has been away this week. “What are you up to?” he asked. I walked out of the room.
“Ohhhmygosh” I whispered, “I was in the midst of the sweetest moment with Avery and I ran & got the camera and … I just… I love the picture I got! I captured the moment and…” I started to cry.
I can’t remember feeling simultaneously so excited and so sad. It was a perfect storm of emotion as I told him about the moments just prior, packaged with the reality of my camera left cold on the desk for the past couple months.
“What have I missed?” I asked him.
I suppose what I may have missed through the lens of a camera, I’ve found in experience and conversation and observation. And perhaps I needed that just as much. It’s a risk.
I am, however, freshly reminded today of the power that lies in the simple click of a camera. And even better than that, the reward of not crashing in my chair to have some “me time” a moment too soon.
Perhaps this summer will be remembered by me as the one when I stepped out from behind the camera and learned to live in the moment a little more. To just go and sit and hold my daughters hand instead of take a photo of her there alone. To study her face as she laughs and memorize the sound so that no matter what technology may ever fail me, my memory, I pray, will not.
I’m thankful tonight that I have a summer’s worth of these moments stored up.
And a couple photos too.
I suspect that I am what I recently heard termed as an Avid Indoorsman. I don’t generally ‘do’ outside unless I’m on a blanket with brie & jam. You’re not about to catch me frolicking ankle deep in some stream because I am most certain bacteria will swim up the bed of my toenails and take residency in my bloodstream.
One reason I like to admire trees from afar is that I can not stand the thought of ticks and how sick you can get from them. Although, until last weekend, I had only ever laid eyes on one tick. It was a year ago on Taylor’s neck and it sent me dry heaving into the sink and calling on two friends to help remove it after my attempts to do so left the head and front legs behind. The girls still talk about it. ((shudder))
Last weekend after a fun night playing outdoors, both girls woke up with them. After undergoing a first and then second checking and removing process, I asked Brian to check my head. This took only 1/100th the time it took to check Taylor’s head. My word, that child has a head of hair for three people. Even though I was in the clear, I could not shake the horrible creepy crawly feeling so I headed upstairs for a shower. I was checking myself over in the mirror, yet again, (OCD anyone?) when I saw a black spot on the backside of my outer thigh and called downstairs for Brian. “I need your help. I got a little tick on me.”
“What.” Not a question. A statement. This was serious news.
Upstairs he came armed with supplies: a ziploc, box of matches, paper towel, a lighter, tweezers…the whole nine yards. I bit my lip, worried about what was about to go down and not IF, but how badly it would hurt. The curiosity of it all, being my first tick, was probably comparable to wondering about your first tattoo. Don’t worry mom, it’s just wondering.
It was small. Would that make it faster? It was all the way in my skin too. Was it already a lost cause? I laid on the floor with my leg bent against me to make it steady. I was sure a game of cat & mouse was about to ensue between Brian & this uninvited bug. I occupied my mind by looking the other way and checking facebook and email on my phone, trying to ignore the sound of the match that was just lit and the fact that it was headed toward the surface of my skin.
I could cuss here, but I will refrain at my mother’s request. Let’s just say, my eyes were big and the match was unsuccessful.
Next came my very sharp tweezers being pressed into my leg in an attempt to pop that sucker out.
Brian started looking at it weird and sighing. He grabbed the lighter most often used to light our grill. The flame was open all the way and I dodged my eyes away from what my facebook friends were doing and around to what was about to happen to me. A 3″ flame was headed my way. Visions of very unhappy things raced around my brain, like the pennies circling that cyclone thing at the mall, except they were faster and angrier.
Why would this thing not back it up & out of my skin?
Brian tried a while longer. His head kept turning different ways to get the best light. He was so steady and I, in turn, grateful for how determined he was to get it. I tried not to breathe. I tried to relax. I tried to think happy thoughts of hydrangeas and new shoes and mojitos.
Finally, after the best effort ever given, Brian concluded, “Baby. I don’t think that’s a tick. I think… I think that’s a mole.”
Seriously. The one thing you should never EVER pick at we nearly just lit on FIRE and attempted to pop out from an inch beneath it?
Let’s just say, laying on your back is one of the heartiest ways to laugh out loud. Our lives…One part drama. One part sitcom. I try to keep him on his toes and be sure life with me is a little bit exciting.
We laid in bed Sunday night side by side, staring at the ceiling. Aside from the enflamed spot on my leg, all the drama of the previous day had faded. We talked quietly about the week ahead and what plans and goals each of us had. It got quiet and I thought he was drifting off to sleep.
“Mondays are the hardest days for me.” he said out of no where.
“What? Why?” We turned our heads to face each other.
“Because those are the days I miss you most.”
That makes them my favorite.
I was sitting in a cozy chair this afternoon reading through blog posts in my feed reader when I skimmed the title, “Intimate Modern Museum Wedding”
Sounds like something I would love.
So I opened it and saw a photo that looked very familiar. Of Brian and I.
I looked back up at the title and saw the end of it, “Heather + Brian”.
Well I’ll be. Our vow renewal photos, taken by the gifted Jenny Lindsay along with a few words written by me describing the planning of the party are being featured on Wedding Wire’s blog today.
You can see more of Jenny’s photos of the evening on her blog or in our home. Happy Friday!
A few weeks back after an emotionally off kilter night, I felt a nudge to go upstairs and tuck my oldest daughter Taylor, age nine, into bed. The door was nearly shut and the room dark, as Brian had already spent some time with her, prayed and tucked her in.
I walked across the room and scooped her up in my arms as she lay flat & straight on the bed staring at the ceiling. My face dove into the pillow next to her, our cheeks touching, her arms thrown around my shoulders.
It didn’t take more than 3 seconds for me to realize that my daughters face was wet with hot tears. I lifted my face of the pillow about an inch so my words could escape the space between. “What’s wrong!?” insert 3 second silence – enough for her to weigh her answer and … “Nothing.” she whispered.
I didn’t know exactly what she & Brian had talked about for that half hour before bed but I knew enough. I had passed by earlier and through the crack in the door had seen the compassion on his face as he sat Indian style on the ground with his hands folded under his chin and his heart on his sleeve as she talked.
I felt the burn rise in my face as she kept her feelings from me in that moment. I was okay with it and yet, I wasn’t. Why wouldn’t she tell me too? I welled up with tears and already being face down in the pillow broke down into ugly cry mode. It was quiet between us except that I began to shake ever so slightly, and there I was laying in my daughters arms, crying.
“What’s the matter, mama?” she asked me. She rubbed my back and patted me for a moment. I didn’t know what to say. I’m supposed to be the compassionate comforter here, and here she is, extending that to me. I cried harder knowing nothing was getting past this child.
“I just love you more than anything in this world and it hurts me when you are sad. I would do anything to take it away. But I don’t. know. how.” She squeezed her little arms around me tighter and whispered, “I love you too.”
Taylor has had a difficult year. She has struggled socially more than I ever did from 9 thru 19. Her heart hurts as she craves a friend who doesn’t share her same last name.
As I was out for a drive earlier this year wrestling with my feelings over her situation, the Lord dropped some thoughts into my heart to ponder; that nothing we go through is ever wasted. He will use everything for His glory. Everything. For years Taylor has said that she wants to be a missionary and a nurse, so while this year has felt dark at so many turns, I believe God can and will use it to cultivate a spirit of compassion in her. I’m not sure we can become something if we haven’t had it shown to us or had a real need for it. We are experiential people.
I’ve grown up in church, and never once heard about a heavenly garbage can where our hurts and things that didn’t work out – the scraps of our life – go to pile up. God doesn’t do experiments and just throw His hands up at the end and say, “Oh well.”
Even still, I feel like curling up in a ball and crying out, “Don’t waste it God! It hurts her too much! I beg You to make something really beautiful out of this!” She’s too precious. But He already knows that. All I can do is stand here with my hands open in surrender. I can’t control any of it. She was His before she was mine. I have to trust that He is speaking to her and protecting her in His perfect way. Ways that I, sleeping the next room over, am incapable of.
5-12 Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction. It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this.
Proverbs 3: 5-12 (The Message)
I do not do ‘goodbye’ well.
And I don’t like ‘see ya later’ much better.
Two weeks ago I turned onto my street and could not help but ONLY see the FOR RENT sign in the yard of the house across the street from us. I was certain that I was seeing things, so I slowed down to study it and utterly confused, I turned quick into my garage, jumped out of my car and clenching my jaw so as not to cry, marched across the street. The clenched jaw thing gave out. Chin quivering ensued.
My neighbor Beth, with her ugly new lawn accessory, saw the whole thing go down from inside her house. She later told me she watched me march over from the window wondering if I was mad or upset or how I would react. Of course, when she saw me crying, there was no denying, I was seriously unhappy.
“I should have told you before the sign went up! It happened too fast!” she told me. Arrgh. Now we were both crying. The tears were rolling off my face so fast I was relying on my forearm to wipe them. “I can’t even hug you because I have PINK EYE and my TEARS are CONTAGIOUS!” Ugh…we talked some more. “I’m going home to cry in private.” And as I turned to go home and do just that, she took the sign out of her yard and put it on the side of the house. Thats some neighborly LOVE right there. She told the other neighbors and then put it back out when everyone was up on the news.
Her husband got a great job. They are moving back into their old house. This is a GOOD thing! And yet, we wish if it were to be, that it were only just across town. But it’s not.
It’s a blessed thing to love your neighbors and live life the way we do. I hear how uncommon it is, but I guess for me, the truth of that fades because for the past two years, it is all that I’ve known. Toys, coffee, wine, leftovers, dogsitting, babysitting, bachelor & -ette viewing, prayers, time, advice, recipes, clothing and kindness. We share, exchange and give it all around here.
Tonight, we hosted a lawn party and neighbors from many surrounding houses gathered to spend time with them. It was pretty great. As the kids played behind us, the adults gathered near the table and we each began to share something special that we love or appreciate about our friends who are moving away tomorrow. I bet we stood there half an hour doing only that.
When different people say things that resonate with each other, you know it’s truth is abundant. This family is well loved. They have been an example to every one of us. We have been challenged to love people well and serve them joyfully and I am nearly positive that every person spoke of their patience as parents. I can only remember Beth being upset once, and even then she busted out laughing! That’s really something significant to have said of you.
Mark has an unbelievable memory and a gift for making conversation. It just seems so easy for him, and he shows such interest in everyone, every time.
Six weeks shy of two years as neighbors; I have only seen Beth hold a phone twice.
You can go ahead and read that again.
No joke. She’s always 100% there.
I wanna be like that. I need more of their example in my life. Although I’m not ready for a moving truck to be parked outside my front window 12 hours from now, I can smile because I know without a doubt that they are following God’s lead. No mistakes in His call.