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There was a time when my world was filled with babies, diapers, nursing, morning sickness, high chairs, toddlers, tantrums, and teaching little ones to read.

Then it happened. They really did grow up, go to college, move out, get married, start careers – and the children I thought would never sleep through the night no longer sleep under my roof.

 

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Yesterday I was going through drafts that I’ve written and not published. Some of them are full posts that I didn’t finish editing, while some are just a title or a few words which I hoped would remind me of a brilliant idea I wanted to follow up on.

I came upon this draft from a year ago and it made me laugh; maybe it will add a smile to your day too.

For months one of the boys was very afraid of dinosaurs. You would think I would remember which boy it was, but this important detail has slipped away.

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We made it to Whidbey Island last Thursday night and our first adventure took us off the island the next day. We didn’t want to haul too much food across the state, so on Friday we packed up the boys and headed north.

The island connects to the mainland via two bridges suspended high over Deception Pass. I have just a little, tiny fear of heights; actually it’s a big fear, and the thought of crossing those bridges is tough for me. There are two narrow lanes and I swear that if I don’t lean toward the center line, we’ll fall off the edge. Throngs of people stop to admire the view and walk across. I’m not among them. If I lived here year-round I would need desensitization therapy to overcome this – seriously.

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It keeps happening. The 27th rolls around again, and we count another month since the accident and Kalkidan (I’ve left this sentence unfinished for an hour – what do I say – passed away, died, went to heaven?)

Yesterday as Eby and I walked along the beach, he said, “I miss Kalkidan.”

“I know Ebs, I miss her too. Sometimes I still can’t believe she’s gone.”

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This morning we’re headed to Whidbey Island; the place I love most in the world. I grew up spending two weeks there each summer and it’s where many of my happiest childhood memories were made.  We’ve been tremendously blessed to continue the tradition with our own children, and I would venture to say that they love it nearly as much as I do.

We used to go on a family vacation; now as the children grow older, it’s becoming more of a family reunion. We’ve set the first week of  August aside to gather – it’s precious time. Hannah will fly in from MN, and the rest of the kids will drive to meet us. Annarose will return home from Nicaragua just in time. Isaiah can’t get away from his job in St. Louis, so he won’t make it this year; we’re going to miss him terribly.

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Last week my book group gathered for our annual planning meeting. We each brought two or three books to recommend and we organized our year. Together we decided how many nonfiction books (which we seem to prefer) and how many fiction, and then spaced them out over eleven months. We always choose a light, quick read for December and try not to do anything too hefty in May, which is always packed with graduations and weddings.

This year, for the first time, we’re also reading an additional book, The Happiness Project, over the course of the entire year (a chapter or two a month) in order to practice some of the ideas presented by the author.

My pick this year is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I chose it for several reasons, not the least of which is that Doerr is an Idaho author from Boise.

kalkidan tie

Last weekend we were in Oregon for the wedding of some special friends. As we packed, Russ asked me which tie he should take, and I immediately told him he should wear Kalkidan’s tie. Russ and our boys wore orange ties at Kalkidan’s memorial service in honor of her favorite color and vibrant spirit. She was so excited about Ben and Emily’s wedding; it seemed right to wear her color.

I love these roses in my yard.

I love these roses in my yard.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Ps. 90:12

This morning I began reading Pursue the Intentional Life by Jean Fleming, and I wish I could read all day. She asks,

What does it look like to live a beautiful life in a fallen world? How can I prepare my heart and mind for the challenges, opportunities, and transitions that will come? What does it look like to live Christ to the very end?

Beauty reminds me of God's good gifts.

Beauty reminds me of God’s good gifts.

It’s been a quiet week for me – I’ve had a hard time doing normal life, getting out of bed, and even being around people. It may have been more than three decades ago, but vivid details of Nick’s birth and the following days fill my mind when I least expect them.  I remember the sweet weight of him in my arms; such a precious memory.

When we lost Kalkidan, there was so much to do. I was physically broken and unable to care for myself, but life swirled around me. There were people in our home surrounding us with love, food, prayer. Our children gathered around us and we cocooned one another, staying close.

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On June 15th I published the post, Not Inoculated; I reflected on the realization that although we had suffered a terrible tragedy, we were not protected from future sorrow. One week later, on June 22nd, my son, Nick, died.

If you’ve read my Tell it Well series, you know that Nick was born when I was a teen and I was forced to give him up for adoption. It was the late seventies and adoption was just beginning to change allowing more openness, sadly Catholic Charities was not at the forefront of that movement. The adoption was closed and I was devastated.