Tuesday, October 26, 2010

on a balcony in summer air

the first time i laid eyes on him i was skateboarding to a party with my boyfriend.  i didn't think much about it when we were introduced later in the night.  in the days that followed i put two and two together that they worked together as i went to meet my boyfriend after he got off work.  we exchanged hello's and off we went.

it wasn't till he started coming round for lunch that things changed.

he claims i made excuses to bus the outside tables while he ate. i claim that it was my job, and i'm no slacker.
but the truth was, something clicked.  something physical at least.  who can resist a boy with white blond hair and eyes the color of the bluest sky?  he quickly became known as CCS 2, simply because i was dating CCS 1.

CCS (central coast surfboards) 1 and i were going nowhere very slowly.  he was not interested in being 'tied down' to anything serious and i was rebounding from a failed three year high school boyfriend.  so when CCS 2 invited me to go on a hike, i hesitated for merely a second.

strangely, i remember quite a bit about that trek up bishops.  i remember that he told me he loved surfing and mountain biking and that he had an interesting, and sometimes strained relationship with his mom.  he remembers i took my shirt off and hiked in my sports bra (strangely he can't remember anything we talked about).

i also remember that night i came home and he had left three messages for me.  all of them cute and disheveled.   i remember feeling like samantha baker as she waited for jake ryan to call.

of course i'll never forget the first time he took me to his house.  i was shocked.  never had i seen a house, let alone a college boy's house, so strikingly clean. counters wiped, bed made with hospital corners, and all of his shirts folded like the GAP does.

we got real serious, real fast.

i quickly found out that as much as brandon loved surfing and girls, he loved smoking weed.  it took me longer than it should have to realize that it would someday be our demise.  but in the meantime i held fast to 'if you can't win em, join em.'  let's just say i really sucked at being a stoner.

our first year was filled with sweet notes under my doorstep and on my windshield.  flowers for no reason at all, and long drives holding hands as we listened to music that moved us.  there was no doubt i had fallen head over heels for a tow headed boy from santa cruz.

i remember the first time i realized i was falling in love.  he took me home to meet his parents.  his only warning was, 'my dad is a cop, my mom hated my last girlfriend and my brother is developmentally disabled.' i was prepared for a long, challenging weekend.  but instead, as he navigated his way through the mountain roads to his childhood home, i started to see a side of b i hadn't yet.  the brandon i saw that weekend was the brandon i knew that i would marry.  sure it helped he was stone cold sober, but to see his respect and admiration for his parents made me realize that he would someday love his own family that much.

the next year was scattered with some really fun times.  but as the year came to a close, the down's began to far outweigh the ups, and both of us knew that something had to give.

i was living downtown with a bunch of girls from high school at the time.  my best friend was gone for the summer and i started working at uptown espresso. b would spend the night at my place, while i would wake up at the crack, and open the shop.  b would roll out of bed, smoke a bowl and skateboard down to uptown for a coffee. my once sweet and romantic boyfriend was becoming increasingly annoying.  i couldn't compete with the smoking.  meanwhile, i began to spend more time with my new friend lealah and her boyfriend (now husband) jon.  i saw something in their life that i desperately wanted.  it wasn't just the stability, it was the peace. no changes i tried to implement in my own life or b's for that matter would last.  i began to feel a pull towards something bigger and greater.  so one sunday, i drove over to b's house as he was getting ready to take a load to the dump.  we joke now that i dumped him at the dump. even though at the time it was one of the hardest decisions i ever had to make, it ultimately proved to be one of the best.

b and i took about six months apart to really work on ourselves.  b got rid of his bong, threw his pipe out the window and finally ditched my biggest competition.

it was a hard six months, but so necessary.  b found a faith that he knew fleetingly as a kid, but now in his early 20's was finally able to find his identity in.  i found what i had been looking for my entire life-- a faith in something way bigger than myself or my boyfriend. our journey's were separate, but real.  we went from drinking, smoking, and having sex to nothing.  there were months when we didn't even hug, cuz it was just that hard. we started hanging round more with the "christian's" as we sought to redefine our idea of fun.  slowly but surely, god poured his grace upon us until one day we found ourselves at a private table at the gardens of avila.

and then before i knew it, you got down on your knees, carefully removed the shoes i had colored with a sharpie on the way to dinner, and began to wash my feet.  you shared that this act was a symbol of your love for me.  that you would always serve, love, cherish and protect me.  that as you wash my feet clean we are reminded again of how we have been washed clean and forgiven. that we have been given, by grace, a new start and a new beginning.  and will. you. marry. me?

b, i love that you smell like lemonade in the summer time, and that you call me at least once a day to check in. i love that just last week you cried when our social worker talked to us about our future son, and i love that even after 8 years i still laugh with you every single day.

thank you for being my very best friend.  i love you b.  today and always.  happy anniversary.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

and then she was one

i remember it was a sunny day.  

part of me was craving the marine layer.  but it was fall, and the fall in october in los osos always delivers.  not only was it sunny and bright, but it was the middle of the day.  not the morning to get organized, or late afternoon to think about dinner and bedtimes, but smack dab in the middle of laundry, lunchtime, two anxious toddlers and now seven pounds of newborness. 

all i wanted to do was wave a wand and have it all disappear.  the raging pain when i sat down, the demands and cries of the older ones, and the chaos of a house full of guests.  i wanted to lay on the couch alone and let her breathe on my neck while i lost myself somewhere east of eden.

instead i grimaced as i stood, placed the baby in her bouncy seat for what i knew would be the first of too many times, and clocked into the life of my 2.5 and 4 year old.

the day i brought tali home was a hard one.  

to say i was under prepared for three kids would be an understatement.  people kept telling me the change from 2 to 3 is manageable, and really not much different than two.  i'm still pretty sure they were wrong. three kids means you don't fit in most cars, you get invited way less places, and the realization that most of america was designed for a family of four.  

i don't remember much of that first week. there was a lot of trial and error.  it felt like there were too many needs. so many so, that there really was no time for wants. it felt oppressive, and like a haze had descended upon fearn ave. and just when i was beginning to think this was my new reality, one night it clicked.  dinner wasn't chaotic and the kids weren't being babysat by the tv.  we had music on, fall was in the air, and it felt like everyone i finally took a deep breath.  

i was reminded of that night when i turned our calender to october and saw this picture.


the other day i saw a baby that small and i suddenly felt light headed and short of breath.  not in a fearful way, but in an exciting sort of way.  since i'm not a baby person, it was weird for me to want to reach out and hold that newborn.  i thought of tali and her little hats and hunched over back and slanted eyes and flailing hands, and i thought, i might actually miss that.

i knew tali would be the last baby i would birth.  as i mentioned, b and i are not newborn sort of people.  we like a good 12 months or so under their belt.  consequentially, i find myself in uncharted territory to have these feelings of sadness over her growing up.  i've always been a what's next sort of parent.  no time to wallow in what has left, the future is just going to be better. but now i find myself telling tali almost daily that i want to fold her back up, put her back in my tummy and do it all over again, cuz she really is JUST. THAT. CUTE.

when i tell people i like her the best or that she's the cutest, they just laugh awkwardly -- and think to themselves 'you are really not supposed to say those sort of things.'  and even though i think i feel that way, don't ever try and tell me she's the cutest, cuz my momma bear will come out claw you for calling my other kids second best.  shelley said it staright to me one day. she told me i don't really love tali more, its just that she can't talk or move much and she's really cute, and the fact that she is going to be my last birthed child creates a unique sentimentality.  it was nice to have that clarity cuz i'm pretty sure your not supposed to have favorites.

so tali june, this little post is for you.  you have brought me more joy than i knew i contained.  i can't imagine life without you.  the fullness you bring my heart as we spoon each morning for your first nurse of the day, the way you light up when i walk in the room, and even the way you pinch the back of my arm till i bruise.  you are your own crazy minitaure person and i pray i'll really be able to relish every moment, of every day i have with you.

you have my heart junebug, today and always.  

Friday, October 8, 2010

first comes love...

this last summer b and i were part of two weddings.  

two very different weddings.  

it had been a long time since we had been in weddings.  it seemed like our first three years of marriage were sprinkled with them every few months.  so much so, that i think we got a bit jaded.  i found myself more caught up in the trivialities of the bridesmaid dresses, the flowers, the food, etc instead of the actual celebration itself.

i got married when i was 23 years old.  to say i understood what i was embarking upon would be a vast understatement.  three months before i graduated from college i found myself engaged with a fiance who was anticipating a wedding a mere six months away.  i threw myself right into the planning.  at the time, i'm sure if someone asked me if i knew what marriage meant and the commitment i was making i would've said yes.   but it really wasn't until just recently that i began to get a sense of an even bigger meaning.

about a week before my good friend jenny's wedding i had this crazy dream. 

i was standing out in front of a high school friend's house that had a huge courtyard in front of it.  jenny and jonathon came around the corner in a black car. they parked and started walking up the courtyard.  they didn't know i was there, and as far as i could tell no one else was around.  they were holding hands as they walked the lengthy and winding pathway to the front door.  suddenly on either side of them these angelic beings appeared and began to sing.  not like hear comes the bride, but a sort of heavenly chorus-- a melody that brings you to your knees in awe, something that doesn't happen this side of heaven.  jenny and jonathon just kept walking as these angels surrounded them almost not really noticing.  i, however was blown away.  

i never have dreams like that. my dreams usually involve my teeth dissolving, or the odd flying dream and once in awhile a good LSD dream (those acronyms our known by only a select few).  so to have this crazy spiritual dream that really was just normal enough to be potentially real, i knew it had to mean something. 

the crazy thing was, was that in the dream i knew it wasn't so much about jenny and jonathon.  cuz it has always been obvious that god was pleased with their union. i, on the other hand was privileged to understand what it really meant as i stood watching them walk amongst these angels.  it was as though for the first time in my life i saw how much god LOVES marriage.  

god loves marriage.

saying that god loves marriage to some of you may sound pretty strange, to others of you its totally obvious.  the way god and jesus talk about marriage in the bible leaves very little room for interpretation.  god esteems it in a way that is almost supernatural.  it is something to be treasured and protected at all cost.  when brandon and i made our vows we included the phrase, 'i will never divorce you.'  at the time making that vow to one another, our family, friends, and god honestly didn't seem that crazy.  we were in love, why would we ever get divorced?

but time goes on, and life gets a lot harder. kids, money, temptations - all of it can seem suffocating.  its been hard to see our friends struggle, its been even harder to walk through our own struggles.  

but after that dream, and with a little help from the ol' love dare, i feel like god has given me a picture of marriage like i've never known.  in that dream, to see god so pleased and so glorified in 'man's union' humbled me.  as a christian, it is our life ambition to glorify god, to know that he is glorified in marriage is revelatory to me.  it inspires and encourages me...  and especially challenges me.  so as i embark upon eight years with brandon, i want to celebrate not only our milestone, but marriage itself and how it can glorify the god we serve.

watch out, i may just slap an ol 'i love my wife' bumper sticker on b's honda.  cuz that's totally hot.  and i'm just that crazy.