“Mommy?!?” As my sweet little crazy bed head wide eye girls pops up in bed last night as I make my final night time routines…. “I want to go to Grandad and Baby Madden’s Party now”. As I just start to release myself to the need for sleep, I chuckle and tell her “Oh Baby, it is still nighttime, we will go to the party tomorrow….” She accepts this answers snuggles back down into my bed and drifts back off to sleep. Such a little moment…. in fact in true momma fashion, I wonder “is she getting sick?” as most nights that have disrupted chatty sleep for her means a little sickness is brewing. But once it passed I realized this moment is not only about what she is dreaming of…. this is a moment of my dreams coming true. A little girl who wakes looking for me with that sweet call “mommy” and can’t wait to be with her family, celebrating moments that make up a life. I stopped, looked at our little home tucked in my parent’s basement, a space we have made our own, with our sweet pup snoozing right next to us. I glance at the wall that I spent time adding memories from last last two years too just this evening….. and I counted my blessings.
Today we celebrated as a family two special days: my Dad’s 65th birthday and Sweet Madden’s Baptism. We ran around the house getting ready for mass as a big group. Making sure today I made the extra time to really get dressed up and be ready. Shannon’s little dress was carefully selected with matching bow and little girl tights (an exercise often lost in the rush that at one point in my life I thought my heart would burst from wondering if I would get the chance). To a new dress of my own that is a different style for me and I carefully selected the other parts of my look. This was the first time I was becoming a Godmother after my quite extensive recent faith journey…. first after my recent consecration to Mary… after my tattoo and dedication of my life to Thy Will and fighting as best I can to let go of my own “supposed to” tendency. It is such an incredible opportunity to see the start of a faith journey, to stand and join a faith on behalf of a little boy, who I know will find the Lord pursuing him in his own crazy, unexpected journey that is life. And on a day that we will honor our father – the head of this family and one of the greatest influences of my spiritual life. I made sure that all morning I made time to reflect… pray… even if mostly while getting ready as the day would be more full and loud and crazy…. just as God intended with our crazy bunch.
Mass was a delight… with a most perfect homily. Father reminded us to seek God in the unexpected: people, places, and to pray that we always have eyes and hearts searching. The Baptism was led by a priest who has walked along my journey for two years…. my parents who have gifted us with this faith… and my sisters who have been some of the largest examples of love, faith and hope in my life. Forgiving me for hard years…. walking with me in my hard years…. and showing how God can make true beauty from the mess created by us humans. And of course surrounded by the little ones we have brought forth in the world… in the faith.. and in friendship already so strong between them. What a gift of this life and how far we have all come, I had to stop thinking about it all so hard for fear of tears and luckily had the distraction of Shannon’s insistent on a “snack” of her new chapstick to keep me from being too weepy.
We then spent the evening just being. The kids ran in and out of the house shrieking, playing and fighting the demand/plea/bribes to please wear shoes and put on jacket! My dad, brother and brother-in-law got the fire pit rolling, the football turned on, and we laid out the snacks, pizza, cakes and cocktails. Then we just let it all just play out. God provided the backdrop of beautiful fall colors, light chill in the air, and the sweet treat of what changing season can be. And I marveled….. a little girl with the deepest dimples, the brightest blue eyes and the biggest smile would run by laughing or asking me to help with some toy (with a few sneaked in kisses and “I love you” to each other)…. my pup wild and free with the kids and helping himself to every open plate, lap, and hand for a pet that he passed. My little loves weaved there way between the family – filled with other loves of my world- and we all just laughed or rolled eyes and even the occasional jab at each other. The kind that comes from deep down place that we know in 20 years will still be telling the kids to “stop it” and wondering if the Washington team can do it.
Life up until this point was filled with many beautiful things. Often the beauty came in the format of hard work, dedication and a love that I had chosen and committed to for over 17 years. I was proud of what I had made possible, of finding and having love in hard circumstances and in the moments with my extended family I could see the growth of learning to meld our life with this one. But the truth, I always wondered about the next season and chapter. When would we have the kids to join the little ones? When would we be able to host like this? What does the future look like? I can’t say I wished anything away because I live in a place of positive and gratitude…. it is how I am built and never have I had a season without silver lining. But still the twinge of longing was always there. I thought this was a gift = the twinge was the thing that would give me the ability to keep walking, to keep working hard, to keep having hope. And it did propel me forward and actually I made it. My world now involves a little person and a life that is not just meshing…. but being ingrained with my full family. They are Shannon’s world, my support, and Oliver’s happy place (even when everyone yells at him just like they are his own wild pup). I have made it to the place I wanted to be and with more joy and more delight than I thought possible through the chance to share it. Shannon is so darn happy – a happy I never factored in or wondered about when I was asking Lord for an update on my “when is it my turn?” It feels like a blessing I am not even close to worthy of…. a blessing that I never asked for, prayed for, and yet is the one that has shown me the most important thing: I am right where I am supposed to be. This time, right now had fulfilled my heart’s greatest desire: true family life and motherhood. It is not how I imagined it…. a lot of it is born out of a partner who has walked away (and having to deal with that grief)…. but most unexpected is how it was also built with the plan for a person who walked in …. who made it better…. and her little dog too. If I was not in this exact life… in this exact moment… had to walk the hard to healed – would I feel the same sense of peace? Overwhelm of blessing? Is it possible I would trade this little bit of bliss for the wondering of what will be? I can’t bear the thought and so instead I pushed deeper into the hear and now.
It is not often in life you feel you are right where you are supposed to be. For me it is rare to not wonder about the next chapter. But today was a day that brought incredible power and beauty to the present. On a day that we celebrate my dad no less, who has always warned me to soak up the good parts because none of the chapters last forever (I remember conversations with him on this very thing in high school…. college… early adult life….. and what is really cool is some of my friends remember his advice too). Today was a gift…. I am excited and hopeful tomorrow will be the same (kids have a way of demanding being in the present – especially on holidays and with costumes:) ) and my family has a gift to remind me to embrace it…. but nothing more, I want to remember to say thank you Lord for today: I know I am right where I am supposed to be… and you are here too.
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!
One thought on “Right Where I Am Supposed To Be”
Thank you Jackie for reminding me to enjoy the day rather than make it through the day. Yesterday was right up there as a top 5 in my lifetime. I join you in thanking God first, my beautiful wife and family second and friends who reached out with wishes third. We only were missing Grant and Kelly but they will come in November and we will do it again !!