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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Nine

On my favorite episode of my favorite show, there is a wedding.  Pam tells Jim that because wedding days fly by, they should take mental snapshots of moments throughout the day.  This morning I woke up thinking about some very specific moments of our own wedding day, which was nine years ago today.  You know - the moments that weren't captured by the photographer, and not captured by a smartphone (it was nine years ago), and are burned in my memory simply because of their significance - or significant insignificance?

Waking up at 4 am and spent the next two hours journaling, shaving my legs really well, just bidding my time till the bridesmaids woke up, too.


The moment my sister noticed I was awake way too early and got up to hang out with me.  We talked and walked laps around the hotel parking lot.  That just might be my very favorite sister moment.

Standing in the church bathroom with my mom, both of us dolled up, feeling the most beautiful I have ever felt, and hearing my mom affirm those feelings.


Waiting, nervously, in the hallway as the clarinet choir played.  Jocelyn came to fix my veil and when our eyes met, we both crumbled into a ball of tearful emotion.

Walking, arm and arm, with my dad, feeling all eyes on me.  Walking past all the friends and family who came to support us seemed so fitting - like every person had helped me along the journey which ended at the alter meeting Herb.  I wanted to hug everyone I passed and shout, "Thank you!"


Herb gently holding my hand at the alter and turning it over to see the terrible result of a spray tan on the palm of my hands.

Exchanging vows and choking out the words "in sickness."  How far we had already come at that point, and how much more we've endured since then.


Sitting in the chairs after the ceremony, waiting for pictures, my brother came over to admire my rings.  It was the first time I looked at them together.  We marveled at their beauty and had a tender moment of congratulations.

Posing for pictures and feeling awkward.  I just knew these posed pictures could not be looking good - I was right.  Our posed couple pictures are super awkward.  (Don't make big chested girls in strapless dresses try to sit on the lap of their equally sized husbands.  It's just weird.)


Hearing the jazz band at our reception and wishing I had offered to pay my friend and have them play for more than three songs.  In all fairness, I hadn't really been to any weddings that had dancing/music and wasn't sure how to structure the event.


Dancing with my dad and him remarking, "I had no idea this day would be like this.  This is so wonderful.  You did such a good job."

Trying to direct everyone who was helping clean up and my mother and sister-in-law telling me to just leave already - they had it handled.

Flopping face down on the bed at the hotel room while Herb carried in our luggage.  Tears of nervousness and excitement stung my eyes.

Sitting in Red Lobster later that night because of course we didn't eat anything at the most expensive meal my parents had ever purchased.  It was almost closing time and it was freezing.  But we were starving and it was the most delicious meal ever.



Feeling incredibly awkward the next morning when my in-laws drove us to the airport.  They knew what we DID the night before.  Haha.

Today I am going to hook up the VCR and show Levi our wedding video.  I wonder what moments I have forgotten?

Just last week, Lauren asked me how I felt about where God was leading our family.  Tears sprang to my eyes.  Remembering the fear of loneliness and the relief of finding the love of my life I replied, "I never thought I would be here and look what God has done.  I am happy to follow Him in whatever comes next."


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Oh boy. I mean girl?

There have been so many easter eggs, dropped clues, vague-gramming/blogging/booking, and secrets I've wanted to spill on social media.  How do I recover?  Where do I even begin?  How do I spill the beans that there's going to be a little bean?

Oops, I just did.


I remember when we were matched with Jen, I didn't sleep for about a week out of sheer excitement.  And at first, this match was exactly the same.  But there is no earthly way I'm going to maintain that for months. Yes, I said MONTHS.

In almost every way, this situation is different than Levi's adoption.  Not better, not worse, just totally different.  And isn't that just the plight of the second child?

The expectant mom (E-Mom) that has chosen us is a friend of a friend.  So, we did a little something I've coined "BYOBM" - bring your own birth mom.  She picked us to parent her unborn child, and then she met with a  social worker from our agency.  

When we were chosen by Levi's birth family, we had only three weeks to prepare (and ultimately actually only a twelve hour notice).  It was completely what I had been hoping for - spontaneous parenthood!  

This time - E-Mom made her adoption plan fairly early in her pregnancy, hooked up with us early in her second trimester, and seven weeks later, we met face to face.  That was yesterday.  If you're doing math - E-mom is currently 25 weeks pregnant and due October 2.  

Levi was seven weeks old when we brought him home.  He slept through the night and had a pretty wonderful schedule.  He was a content and calm baby with whom I was very spoiled.  

This time, I have been invited in to the delivery room.  Lord willing, I will be in her life from day one, minute one, second one, not to mention the joy of anticipation.  E-mom shares a wonderful amount of information with me as she walks through this pregnancy.  We have signed up for the bump weekly emails and we text each other, marveling at the new things the baby is developing.  It's almost like experiencing pregnancy, just without all the painful side effects.

Oh, and did you catch the other big difference?  Go back and read the last paragraph.

I said HER.

This time, it's a girl.  This time, it's pink and purple, fuzzy and princess-y.  This time it's hair bows and braids, glitter and dresses.

Oh friends, I can't even touch the tip of the iceburg with what it means to be "expecting" a daughter.  The work God has done in my heart and my life as a woman and the joy I feel knowing I can impart that on someone else.  OH man, that's a whole other post for another day.

A few months ago, we found out our social worker was pregnant with triplets and due in May. I said, "I fully expect when she goes out on maternity leave and the office is busiest, we'll get the call.  We'll get matched in May."  The first day I talked to E-mom on the phone was May 1.

And yet, we want to be sensitive.  I want to be guarded.  I want to remember that she's still got 15 weeks to go.  That's a long time in the adoption world.  This is the kind of match I dreaded for fear of the obvious, and yet, I want to continue to be transparent.  I want to look back on this time of waiting knowing I trusted God with my family's future.  If this is to be, I want to be able to look back on this time of expectancy with joy, knowing I celebrated our daughter from the moment I knew of her existence.  This is why I have not shared yet.  But as another adoptive momma reminded me, there is no amount of guardedness that can prepare you for a disruption.  If this falls through, it's going to hurt, whether I've been guarded or not.


So, instead of worrying or stressing, I'm thinking what an incredible opportunity it is to get to know E-mom and E-dad and their families.  Because, if I have learned anything in the last five years, it's that adoption is so much more than gaining a child.  It's a beautiful chance to gain a whole extra part of extended family.  And it's freaking amazing.

Monday, June 15, 2015

30 Rocked

On Friday I turned 31.  I spent the day reflecting on the days leading up to turning 30 (thanks Facebook memories reminder) and the actual day I spent celebrating last year.  I kept using the hashtag #30rocks because my oh-so generous family + friends threw me a birthday party with that theme.

Friday night, looking back on the last year, I felt strongly about the fact that, indeed, thirty rocked.  I was dreading the decade change, but eventually I embraced it.  Thirty brought a new found confidence in my abilities and appearance.  I started working out, I stopped wearing make up.  I decided that I liked wearing knit dresses and leggings better than jeans and a tee.  

On my thirtieth birthday, I prayed the bridge of "Oceans" - "I want this of my year," I asked.

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would guide me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior"

I got choked up when I realized how faithful He had been (why does this ever/always surprise me?!). This year I had the opportunity to expand my music studio.  I decided to take control of my weight (ugh, this is going so slow right now).  My husband began working on a Master's degree (that's a whole other topic entirely, but even though he's doing all the work, I feel like this has to be a group effort).   I found forgiveness.  We are doing pretty good on our budget, and really trying to get out of debt.  We continue to move forward towards adoption number two (isn't waiting, fun?).  Parenting, in general, is majorly proving to be a time where my trust needs to be without borders.

If I had set out to make all these changes, life steps a year ago, I would have been overwhelmed.  In fact, lots all of those things stress me out when I think about them.  I'm so thankful for God's grace and provision.  Thankful that in this season of transition, change, excitement, and preparation, that He has promised to sustain me.

Thirty rocked, but it's looking like thirty-one is going to be a pretty amazing year, too.