Have you ever run into an old friend in Target and had to go about the gargantuan task of “catching up”? I’m not talking about an old acquaintance that you can appease by saying, “Wow, it’s been so long! You look great. I’ve been busy. Oh, gee, that’s my mom calling. Tell Delores I said hello!”
I’m talking about an old friend who used to know how you took your coffee and ham sandwiches but has no idea now that you’ve been gluten- and dairy-free for two years. Nonetheless, you have to catch up, so you invite her out to lunch at your old favorite spot (it’s probably Panera.) It’s kind of awkward when you order a turkey sandwich without the bread and broccoli cheese soup without the cheese (she’s all like, “Whaaa?”) You have to turn and explain that you tried a new diet that worked/read a new book that won you over/had terrible farts for 10 years before you realized lactose was the problem. And there, at the cash register, you realize you and your friend don’t know each other anymore.
This is kind of like that. The last time I wrote a blog post, Caleb and I were hot-off-the-griddle newlyweds living in a one-bedroom apartment. It had no central cooling or heating. We had cold feet and a really splendid big old bathtub and apparently a lot of money and free time, though I don’t remember it seeming that way at the time. He was in med school and I was a full-time magazine editor, which I liked to refer to as “working.” Life was tiny but grand. But as life tends to do (if you let it), it got bigger and more complicated and altogether brighter really quickly.
After about four months of boring wedded bliss (except not that boring because we watched three episodes of 24 every night), we were afforded the magical opportunity to become guardians to my niece, Gabby, who was 2. When I got the call–and I hope you’ll understand that this part is vague on purpose, since this is Gabby’s story, not ours–I was sitting at my desk at work. Since Caleb was in a lab, I knew he wouldn’t be available for a few hours, so I shared the news with my coworkers and my small group and asked them to pray for us. When Caleb returned my call(s), I was standing in the cookie dough aisle at the Piggly Wiggly, surprising no one. He interrupted me midway through my explanation: “Let’s do it.”
So we did.
We’d planned to wait until second year of residency for kids, so this was only four years ahead of schedule. She was much closer to potty training than your average newborn, which was nice once we actually made it through Potty Training (also known as the period in my life when the thought of just letting someone wear diapers until college actually sounded really, really good.) Somewhere before Potty Training, probably after Gabby said something cute, I said (to Caleb), “You know what’s better than a toddler and two cats? A toddler, two cats, and a baby.”
That’s how this happened. (it took some convincing at first–something about sleep–but once I showed him my baby pictures, he was in, and luckily, Emerson delivered on the cuteness.)
And honestly, the sleep hasn’t been that bad*.
Three weeks after this guy joined the world, we packed up and headed to north Alabama, where Caleb will finish his last two years of medical school. I stay home with the kids and the cats, and let me tell you, those cats are no walk in the park.
Oh, life. How big and wide and deep and exhausting it can be. How wonderfully and terrifyingly surprising. How mundane and extraordinary, all on the same day. How glad we are that the Father had these bigger, heavier, more joyful plans for us than the ones we had for ourselves (though we [obviously figuratively] kick ourselves for not enjoying all that free time.)
I feel like I’ve been talking this whole time! What’s new with you?