With the recent fire nearby my friends were packing up belonging from their ranch in case the wind direction changed and I began to think about what I would take if I had to leave in a hurry. I’d probably grab my photo albums first….and my journals…..Boo’s blankie. But then the thought crossed my mind: wouldn’t it be nice to have nothing to haul around? There so much clutter, and baggage and things that I think I can’t part with. It makes me feel so heavy sometimes.
Every year….on about the same day (mid year in July)…Mr. LBB and I go to dinner to hold a “STATE OF THE FAMILY” meeting. It’s our chance to discuss how we are living….what could we be doing better….what changes we should make. And we daydream about selling all our possessions and traveling the world, or disconnecting from it all for a while and living out of an airstream, spending a year in a different country etc. And we reduce our lives to the very bare minimum of essentials…..and it makes things seem amazingly simple. We really don’t need much to be happy.
You know what my kid wants? Me. She doesn’t care what my job is or how many friends I have. She doesn’t care what clothes I wear or what part of town we live in. One of Boo’s favorite things that we do is to lay in her bed at night and I tell her random memories from when I was a child. I tell her about dinner time. I tell her about my friends in school. I tell her about my dad letting me roller skate in his photography warehouse. I tell her about the crafts I made out of paper clips and index cards. I tell her about the time my mom caught a baby duck. I tell her about the time I was mean to a girl named Melanie and I still regret it to this day. I tell her about the Challenger exploding. I tell her about when I got 3rd place in the science fair. I tell her how my grandmother took in foster kids. I tell her how I always had the worst school photos but that they are so funny to look at how. And she hangs onto every. single. word.
I’ll never forget when Boo was about 2 years old and we had just moved into our newly renovated house. We had just installed brand new carpet in all of the rooms. I put bleach in the top of the toilet in her room and left her for about 3 minutes to play. In that three minutes, she managed to flush the toilet…..so that all the bleach was transferred from the tank to the bowl. She found a cup and emptied the bowl one cup at a time onto her brand new carpet leaving a huge orange pool. When I discovered what she’d done I went ballistic…I angrily snatched the cup, screamed for about 5 minutes straight about how she’d ruined the carpet. And she just smiled at me the whole time with adoration and love and gibberish….and it made me so mad that her little innocent mind didn’t comprehend what she had done and I grabbed both of her little hands to yank her close…..probably hard enough to crush her little fingers….and only at that moment did I realize that her sleeves were damp and her little fingers were blistering with bleach. And she just continued to smile at me with pure love and I burst into tears and pulled her close as I ran her into the tub to tend to her. I kissed her little face and smelled closely to make sure she hadn’t tried to drink any of the bleach….and I realized how much worse it could have been. And I’ve never thought twice about that carpet since that one moment. It reminds me that the carpet can be replaced, my precious child cannot.
This video would have been taken about the same time….I watch it and tear up at her spirit. I can learn so much from my child….that wonder, and curiosity….and the naivety about the past and future. Her gasp and excitement at the phone ringing…..I find myself groaning when the phone rings most times. I rarely answer it….I like to be unreachable for most of the day.
Watching that video makes me a little sad…..I always thought for sure that we would have another sibling or siblings for Boo by this time. She asked for a sister last night.
Boo: I know Mommy can have a baby. She has eggs.
Mr. LBB: But she’s missing the house for the eggs.
Boo: Why’d they take her house?
Mr. LBB: So she could stay alive and stay with us.
Boo: Well then I’m glad they took her house.
I’m guessing “house” is Mr. LBB’s code word for uterus.…..
I keep a running list in my head of small vs big stuff. Infertility falls on that big stuff list for me:
But I also know that God has plans for my family that I don’t completely understand yet. I know that I’ve have been blessed with the gift of Boo. I know that I’ve been blessed with my wonderful husband and a roof over our heads. And I’ve been blessed with life. And I’ve been blessed by all of you….I could never have imagined years ago that anyone besides my closest friends and family would read my little corner of the Internet. And I think what I want you to know today is that my life isn’t perfect. I hear repeatedly: you are amazing, you are so talented, you are so put together. And nice as that is to hear….the truth is….I’m just a human. Some days I don’t leave the house. I wear the same thing almost everyday. I’m in an awkward hair stage. My face broke out this morning. I lose my cool. I worry about the mortgage. But I want to send it back to you….you reading this post right now….I want you to know that YOU are amazing. YOU are so talented. YOU are perfect the way you are. I won’t say you are so put together because I don’t think there’s anything so great about that….I’ve started to take pride in not being so put together…it keeps the expectations low when I’m out in public. Keep expectations low and life turns out to be a lot less stressful. And it’s mostly small stuff we worry about right? Until the big stuff comes along. And if we can’t choose joy in the midst of small stuff, how can we ever expect to choose joy with the big stuff?
Oh, and we are just starting to enter into the world of surrogacy to see if that’s the right route for us. Yep that’s when someone else carries your baby for you. We’ve found a doctor that specializes in rare cases like Choriocarcinoma. And only God knows where we’ll go from there. It’s just one day at a time. And don’t worry….I’ll share with you as I know.
Last night a friend emailed me to say that she’d attended Rick Warren’s first weekend back at Saddleback since the death of his son…and that I needed to check it out….that Rick talks about his wife Kay showing him her Choose Joy necklace on that terrible day. I opened up the iPad to watch but it was in the live streaming loop and my OCD prevents me from watching a program unless I can start it from 0:00:00….but I saw her wearing my necklace and I was a little overwhelmed. I shut the iPad and waited until after church today to watch it. Then I let Boo watch Kay’s message. You should have seen Boo’s face light up: Choose Joy! Yes. Wow. Thank you Rick and Kay Warren for sharing your story with the world.
Here’s the link to the video. It’s a raw, painful, hopeful, inspiring thing to watch. Rick starts talking about Choose Joy to introduce Kay at 18:57.
And it’s funny how life aligns itself because I was just recently sitting on the pool edge re-reading the last section of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Drive Life. And Boo would ask me to read to her as she swam. And so I found myself translating The Purpose Driven Life into the 6-year-old’s version:
Well….it says here that only you can be you. God designed you so that there would be no one else like you in the entire world. Oh…and listen to why it takes God 100 years to make an oak….
Boo: Oh look at the veins in your legs.
Me: It means they are still working.
Boo: Ohhh….so if you can’t see your veins, you are probably not living?
Me: Yep, the body is wonderfully complex. You get an A+ on this lesson.
When I first finished The Purpose Driven Life earlier this year….I had this big moment….where I realized that I needed to be more vulnerable. I pulled out all those old journals and diaries piled up high in my cabinets and wondered where to start. I know some people don’t like it….a comment last week said that I was unprofessional for writing about sensitive issues. I didn’t know how to really react to that until I looked up the definition of unprofessional:
God loves to use weak people.-Rick Warren
And I’m always learning lessons along the way:
Nothing in my life will ever be exactly as I expected. No timing will ever be just right.
Sometimes the joy in life can be hard to find.
But I can find the good….anything good….and praise it.
I choose joy.
We can have joy even in our troubles because we know that these troubles produce endurance. And endurance produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will not disappoint us, because God has poured his love to fill our hearts. Romans 5:3-5
I think some of us might have enough endurance now.
But if you don’t think so….then I guess bring it on?
You’re in charge.
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