While growing up, I never talked much about getting married or having kids. Occasionally, I would talk about what it would be like having kids but I NEVER pictured my life with a spouse or children. I never had a plan or idea of what my wedding would be like because I never thought I would get married. Ever. I pretended so I could fit in but in my mind's eye, nothing seemed to add up the way it added up for all of my friends.Read More
I have always seen myself as a hopeless romantic. A believer in storybook romance and star-crossed lovers. Now...at 40, not so much.
I think it exists. But it exists in the ways that people are born into extreme wealth or geniuses or prodigies. It's not for all of us AND it's rare.
For most of us we have to bust our asses just to keep our existence together. Life's curve balls are more like sucker punches to the groin. You must become a champion of quality time and you fight. You fight for your spouse.
One of the most difficult things to watch is my friends and family go through a break up or a divorce. It's hard to watch the relationship deteriorate. It's hard to watch one spouse harden their heart or not believe that the sucker punches are hitting while the other spouse quietly grieves the death of their relationship.
Watching someone close grieve the loss of their spouse is gut-wrenching. It's one of the loneliest things I have even seen. The one person they had to rely on, to lean on during such an intimate loss is the one who is "gone".
Today while sitting at my desk I was listening to some random playlist on Spotify. John Legend's All of Me started playing.
What sappy lyrics.
Here's the chorus:
Cause all of me Loves all of you Love your curves and all your edges All your perfect imperfections Give your all to me I'll give my all to you You're my end and my beginning Even when I lose I'm winning Cause I give you all of me And you give me all of you.
But here's the deal...it's a beautiful song. I've heard it a million times probably. Today though...today I HEARD the lyrics. And as silly as it may seem, I am falling back into love with the idea that romance exists.
So...if you're struggling with the belief that romance exists here's John Legend and his song All of Me. Someone somewhere felt these words enough to write this song. Someone. Somewhere.
Here it is...the announcement of the day. Hold on to your butts...it's a doozey.
I'm not perfect.
There it is...in all its glory. Announcement #2? I don't know how to spell "doozey" but...well...hopefully, you get what I'm trying to say.
I have been reminded everyday how blessed I am despite my awkward existence. Last week I was reading posts about one of my unwitting music mentors, Amy Grant, releasing a new album next month ("How Mercy Looks From Here" will be available May 14). This of course, reminded me about the time my sweet friend, Eric worked diligently with my friend Lionel to arrange a meeting with Amy. A meeting that was so surreal and meaningful to me that even today, I can not be reminded of it without having to wipe a "happy" tear from my eye. I am so grateful for the thought and work it took to make that moment happen. I thought about Amy and her music. Her strength...that pulled me out of dark and sad times during my childhood. I know that I've said this before but to see a woman so young writing and commanding a stage...it changed my life. It changed my direction.
I will be ever in debt to my friend Angela Calhoun for introducing me to "Angels Watching Over Me" and the Straight Ahead album. :)
This led me on a two week course of gratefulness and reflection. Something that I have spent hours a day on as of late. The more I got to thinking about how blessed I am, the more faces I could see. People who have impacted me in such great ways. People who pushed me to be better and raised the bar of compassion, intellect, thoughtfulness, and encouragement, the list is infinite.
From arranging lifetime meetings, buying cribs, car seats and stollers, replacing stolen Christmas money so I could buy my daughter's first Christmas gifts, hugs and laughs, unexpected letters of encouragement, kicks in the ass that I really need, a surprise coffee, smiles galore at just the right time, a look in the eye that says, "you can do it", a job, Facebook messages that say, "you're better than that.", teachers who make leaving my daughter every day just a little bit easier, French lessons just because, to cleaning my backyard because it looks like a ghetto zoo exhibit <<<yes, that's true, and did I mention laughs? Your random and not so random acts of kindness and genuine love for me and my family have built a better human being. Not quite a bionic Jaime Sommers but SUPER close.
And do you know what I love about these people? If any of them were to read this, they would ask themselves how they got on this list. These are the humans that act out of goodness. They show selflessness and without a thought of what anyone else may think, they just do because they can.
Vicki Peters, Steve and Lori Nance, Michelle Davis, Eric Himan and Ryan Nichols, Erika Hardin and Natalee Pendergraft, Julie Nikel, Lionel Vargas, Stephanie and Joe Christiansen, Cheryl Lawson, Michael and Catherine Ray, Barb Hauxwell, Joel and Kelly Russell, Stacy Acord, CC Lawhon, Kristi Perryman, Virginie Gill Dejour, Staci Walkup, Michael Shoopman, Travis Jackson, Howard Stump, Jessica Butchko, Billy Sauerland, Steven Nix, Kimi Hann and Chris Lieberman, Miranda and Phil Kaiser, Missy Wilson, Chrystal Kelly, Betsy Chase, Courtney and Casey Nichols, Michael and Amanda Mitchell, Janice Sawatsky Sahr, John and Jane Ray, Rebecca Smith, Deke Coop, Stephanie Schrepel, Caleb Taylor, and Jennifer Jako.
To my Hall of Fame: You have been rocks to lean on and hands to pull me up. You have been a crutch, a counselor, a clock, a mirror, a party, an icepack, a rope, a map, a compass, a hope, and my teacher. I have been changed forever (for the good) for knowing you.
Thank you all for your compassion, kindness, and grace. You give me courage and I will never be able to adequately thank you...but it's a start.
n. A relative by marriage.
I was sharing a funny story today about the video below with a friend of mine and some of the details were about a drive from my house to my in-laws house...which is a pretty good distance.
Now, I know that when I say "in-law", we all get different pictures in our heads and we've all had quite a bit different experiences as well. There are jokes galore.