Once upon a time there was a young woman who dreamt of a family.
This family included a loving husband and a gaggle of children.
Those children wore frilly dresses and pink ribbons.
She imagined a life of braided hair, fashion tips and boyfriend advice.
It never occurred to this young woman that her future would include blue layettes and hockey sticks.
Imagine her shock when she went in for her sonogram and discovered a little something she didn’t expect.
She was a taken aback.
This was not the plan.
Her life was a “No Boys Allowed” zone.
But you came anyway.
In a perfect world she would have taken one look at you and known that it was meant to be.
But that wasn’t the case.
She knew you were coming.
She bought the clothes and the bedding to prepare for you but still she wasn’t ready.
What was she supposed to do with this foreign creature?
It didn’t take long, however, for that young woman to realize that you were exactly what she needed.
You were quite possibly the easiest baby in the world so when you cried you broke her heart:
As you grew she came to realize what a happy, content & pure soul you had:
And then you went to Kindergarten and you both grieved:
As much as she prayed it wouldn’t happen, you grew:
…..until suddenly you became a young man:
…and in the blink of an eye the young woman wasn’t as young as she thought.
She was once again put in a position where she wasn’t sure how to deal with this alien creature who was thrust into her world.
But she had enough experience under her belt to know that this, too, was a phase and that the two of you would get through it together.
She knew that although you might pull away from her for now you would always remember the days when she gently tucked you under her wing and tried to show you that even when the world seemed hurtful and unfair you would always have a soft place to land.
She knew that even when you didn’t want to admit it, nothing could replace your mother.
She knew enough to take a step back and allow you to dive head first into the deep end of puberty & watch you flail your arms and gasp for breath, knowing that you would eventually resurface and find yourself.
And maybe, just maybe, you would wipe the water from your eyes and see her standing on the sidelines, cheering you on, waiting patiently for you to return.
And you would smile.
She knew that eventually you would realize that she loved you more than anyone would ever love you.
She knew that at some point you would have enough clarity to see that although she wasn’t perfect as a mother her love for you was infinite.
And in that she found peace.
This one is worth five minutes of your day. Trust me.
And a couple of images of my best girl….the one I live for, breathe for, love….
I was cleaning out my hard drive tonight & came across this picture. I have almost deleted this image a hundred times but something stopped me. From a technical standpoint this picture is worthless: the highlights are blown & the shadows are clipped. The lighting is bad and the composition is for crap. But guess what? I don’t see any of that. I see a perfect moment in time.
My dad has been an absolute rock star as a grandfather. He will drive two hours one way to see his grandchildren play any sport. It doesn’t matter if they win or lose. It doesn’t matter if they are the best or worst player on the team. It doesn’t matter how they perform. It matters that he was there.
I wasn’t close enough to hear the conversation in this photo but I know *exactly* what was said:
“Did you have fun?”
“Did you do your best?”
“That’s all that matters.”
For the record, they won that game.
And my dad was a fiercely competitive high school football coach for 15+ years.
And that’s why I love my dad……..and this picture.
In honor of our thirteenth wedding anniversary I thought I’d share 13 things I have learned from my husband.
1. Despite my belief to the contrary, I am not always right.
2. Anything worth having is worth fighting for.
3. Everyone’s journey is different. Just because someone else’s story is different than ours doesn’t make it better.
4. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. Bitterness is not.
5. I’m not perfect so why should I expect anyone else to be?
6. Marriage is a roller coaster but the ups last much longer than the downs. And they’re more fun.
7. Instant gratification is not all it’s cracked up to be. Waiting & working for it is much more satisfying. (I’m talking about finances, people. Get your minds out of the gutter!)
8. Vikes rule.
9. Quitting is not an option.
10. Just because we disagree doesn’t mean one of us has to be wrong.
11. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
12. Balance is key. My weaknesses are your strengths & I think the opposite is also true.
13. Love isn’t what you see on TV or in the movies. It’s hard work. It’s messy. It’s complicated. It’s not what you expected…it’s so much more. It pushes you to your limits. It makes you question all you thought you knew to be true. It makes you examine yourself right down to the core of your soul. It forces you to be a better person. It makes you who God meant you to be.
It has been a long, hard road but it has been our road. It might not be a perfect life but it’s our life & I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I understand now why God gave you to me and I can only hope & pray that you feel the same way. I wouldn’t be who I am today without you.
Here’s to the last 13 years and to the next 30×3 years!
(Courtesy of Chris Lommel Photography)
I love you, Mr. Johnson-
As summer comes to a close I was looking through photos I’ve taken and realized I haven’t done a very good job of documenting our everyday life & an even worse job of editing and printing them. It is partly due to the fact that the kids are getting older and are doing their own thing and partly due to the fact that I once again got caught up in the mindset that every photo has to be perfect. I forgot that sometimes it’s OK to just snap the shot and love it for what it is: a moment of our lives that we will never get back…moments I don’t want to forget.
So, here is a sampling of Summer 2009: highly imperfect, sometimes blurry, mostly out of order and largely unedited, but all taken with love….
As you enter your high school years I have such mixed emotions. I love the woman you are becoming: compassionate, talented, intelligent, and beautiful. I love that we are able to laugh, talk, and spend “real” time together. I love that you still confide in me (as you see fit). I love our inside jokes, our silly moments, and our unspoken bond. There are still times, however, that I miss my spunky little girl:
You have had a mind of your own since the day you were born. I know that there are many parents out there who will say the same thing, but I can tell you with all certainty that no one is quite like you.
I will never forget your first night in this world. Your blood curdling screams brought the nurses running. They thought that this first time mother didn’t know how to console a newborn. They soon discovered, however, that you were not hot, cold, hungry, tired, wet or needy. You were just Kayla. You expected perfection and would settle for nothing less. I pray that you never let go of that instinct.
As a young mother I made (and continue to make) mistakes. I expect too much or accept too little. I demand instead of request. I talk when I should listen. I punish when I should protect. I undermind when I should understand.
All I can tell you is that my journey is parallel to yours. Everything I do comes from my fierce, unshakable, inexplicable, unconditional love for you. Every decision I make originates from my desire to protect you from all of the heartache I experienced. Every lecture you hear was written on one of the thousand tears I shed.
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago I was you. I was young, innocent, unstoppable, and invincible. The world was my oyster and all I needed to do was pluck the pearl when I was ready. I know you don’t believe me but I have pictures to prove it.
Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I am shocked at what I see. In my mind I am still the girl in the photographs. When did I become the responsible mother of 2 with crow’s feet, laugh lines, and thunder thighs? When did I become someone who worries about curfews and carpools instead of clothing and cliques?
I think it was a gradual progression. I think that with every day that you grew I was forced to grow along with you. I think that just as I have shaped who you are, you have shaped who I am. I think that you have taught me more about myself than I could have ever learned on my own.
Somewhere along the way you changed from a chubby cheeked, curly haired, feisty little girl into a almond eyed, confident, influential young woman.
As hard as I try, I know that I will never be able to protect you from all of the mistakes I made and all of the pain you will feel. I need to accept that this is your journey, not mine. I need to step back and allow you to experience the consequence of your choices…both good and bad. I need to trust that I instilled in you the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. But most of all, I need to hope that no matter what happens you know that you can come to me and trust that I will guide you, understand you, and love you.
If I could tell you only one thing it would be this:
No matter what you think, say, want or do I will always love you. Nothing could ever erase my love for you.