Thursday, July 30, 2009

Peter Pan

When Peter met Wendy, he knew he wanted to take her away with him to Neverland. There they could play and be kids forever, not having to consider the worries and responsibilities of adulthood. It often seems that people wish to be Peter Pan, longing for their younger days. The best days of their lives.

Today is my birthday. Many people would be bemoaning their proximity to 30. But, for me, today is the best day of my life. My birthday wish is that each year will be a little better than the last. I do have wonderful, hilarious memories from childhood, high school and college, but I would never wish to go back to those years in exchange for the joy of living this life now.

Every year, it seems, that as I get older love grows. Soon after my 25th birthday, I met Jose. We were both blissful as we learned about each other and fell in love. One night before Christmas he placed his hand over my mouth and told me that I wasn't allowed to say anything after what he was going to say. That's when he told me that he loved me. I thought--This is it! As good as it gets--but life has the capacity to overwhelm us with blessings and love if we're open to it. The next year we got engaged and married. This year we have been living in newlywed joy.

It astounds me that as time goes on Jose just keeps loving me better. He knows just when to be gentle, when to joke, and when to speak powerful words of truth. So, on this day that is, of course, all about me, I say thank you to my sweet husband for being mine, thank you to my parents for teaching me to be my own person, and thank you to my siblings for being my go-to people. I look excitedly forward to another year of learning about marriage, love, and what it means to make the most of the days we're given.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Lily and Finn. Finn and Lily. The sweetest of names, the cutest faces, a most uplifting week. Upon arriving in Charlottesville to meet my brand new nephew, my heart was filled with joy. Not only did I get to see my niece and nephew, but also all of my siblings. In one location. Truly a rare event. We laughed so hard that it hurt, shared our lives and made the days go by all too quickly. While the fun we had together reminded me of growing up together, it also made clear to me that we are no longer the carefree children that we were. Talking about kids, marriage, jobs and majors was never a part of the bedtime conversation on Friday nights after watching TGIF, sleeping on our pallets on the living room floor. So, being with my siblings was a realization that we all have truly taken steps into our futures. The little kids are adults and now Lily and Finn are the little kids.

Watching Court with her kids is a bit surreal. It's sometimes hard to believe that she is old enough to have children, but she is so natural with them that it also seems that she has been doing it forever. Which, I guess, in a sense is true. The oldest of a large family always becomes the stand-in mom. So, her years of practice have paid off. The questions of "Why?" or "What you say, Momma?" always get an answer. The opportunities for hugs and kisses are never missed. Lessons are always taught firmly, but with a gentle hand and voice. She makes it look easy, which is perhaps why leaving Virginia was so difficult.

Beginning to feel my own baby move in my belly has awakened a sense of urgency. I need to learn all I can. I need to figure out how to be a mom. I need to be living in a community where my child will thrive. I need to have a support team for my family. Being with Court made me consider that not only can I be a good mom, but I have also been training for this for most of my life. A feeling of comfort and ease began to settle over me as my almost week in Charlottesville came to a close. But, as my flight left, I looked out of the window and felt a sense of loss. We had been living life together and now we had to return to our lives on opposite sides of the Mississippi. It makes me hope that someday we can all step back into the world where we were all just a shout away and finding each other was never much further than a run down the hall.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Magic

My fate was sealed when I was assigned the role of Lucy Pevensie in our fourth grade radio show adaptation of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I had always known that discovering some magical land was just around the corner, just behind the next closet door. And, Lucy had always been my favorite book character. With her spunk, determination and belief in all things magical. I was certain that I was given this role because it was inevitable that I would, in fact, be the one to find magic in this world.

It is easy to understand why I experienced a high level of anticipation and disappointment. The bark on the tree outside the window that resembled the face of a wise sorcerer trapped among the branches was certain to speak to me someday or at least wink. The silver coin imprinted with letters that was embedded in our sidewalk really did send us secret codes, didn't it? And, there were the closets. Each new closet or attic held the possibility that I would indeed find my way into Narnia. Even though I believed in the possibility of magic existing far longer than I should have, I did eventually grow out of it. Until yesterday...

As Jose and I were seated in the waiting room of the radiology department, I shared my anxiety for the ultrasound and my hope that it was one of those new 3-D ultrasounds. So, when we entered the dimly lit room and gazed at the monitors, I felt the all too familiar anticipation give way to disappointment. It was definitely a regular, old ultrasound. I reassured myself that this still would be a good experience and settled onto the examination table, giving my husband a smile.

When the first image flickered onto the screen, however, I resumed my role as Lucy, stepping through the wardrobe and into a land so unfamiliar and magical that I was certain it couldn't possibly be real. The tiny person that I logically knew was growing inside me became real as I saw a face, ribs, an arm with a tiny fist curled up by the face. And, oh, the feet. As ten precious toes were captured on the screen in that stark room, something transformed inside of me. An entire land of possibility spread before me and I felt my heart expand to greet it all.