I’m not wearing that bracelet anymore. I wanted it to do something more. Something different than just becoming a thing that I wore or a keepsake in my jewelry box. Her memory deserves something special.
The answer started with a huge puddle of mud.
Which would soon become a playground, but we had a long way to go and a lot of work to get there.
There was a mountain of mulch
This hole seemed like a good spot
Mud and all
A little help from some friends.
And a swing-set is born.
Add some concrete
And a little on your host.
The overcomer bracelet became a permanent part of a place built for laughter and joy. It rests in the concrete at the base of the swing-set.
Thank you. Thank you for allowing me to share your burden for a time. The only thing worse than watching your tender heart crushed under the weight of so much would have been to think you’d carried it all alone. I’m so sorry it wasn’t enough.
These last few days, I’ve sat and reread years of conversations with you over text and instant messages. Yes, even the one from 5am on a Saturday. You shared your heart with me and trusted me with struggles I can’t begin to comprehend. I’ve always been far more comfortable in my skin than you ever were in yours. But I loved you just the same.
We shared a love of shooting stuff, both with guns and cameras. We shared random Dr. Who references and discussed deep philosophical concepts. I knew of your heartaches and your moments of joy. You spent so much time caring about everyone else, that I think you forgot to care about yourself.
I lied to you. I said, “Love you too. I think you’re going to be just fine.”
I didn’t think you’d be fine. I hoped beyond hope that you would, but I was so very afraid that you wouldn’t be. Sometimes, I hate being right. I wish you could have seen yourself through my eyes. Maybe, in some moments, you did. Compassionate and funny, smart and creative. And most of all, my friend. I don’t waste my time with worthless people.
Thank you for being a part of my story and allowing me to be a part of yours. Thank you for reaching out to me when you were hurting and giving me the chance to speak love into your life. I had hoped to share more chapters in our stories, but it wasn’t meant to be. Even knowing how the story ends, I wouldn’t trade our time together to be spared the pain of your loss.
But I got to hold his granddaughter before he did. It’s what bratty little sisters have to do.
I don’t know when my brother got old enough to be a grandpa, but there you have it. Hilariously, he’s going to be a daddy again in about 9 weeks. But we all know it’s the aunties that are the favorites anyway 😉
Grace Marie entered the world on Saturday, April 9th weighing in at a mere 5 pounds and 6 ounces. Haven’t held a baby that small in just over 17 years.
He’s grown a bit since then, but Teenbot was only 5 pounds 12 ounces when he came into the world. Sometimes it seems like just yesterday.
She even wiggled out a tiny foot just like her big cousin used to do.
Just wait until she figures out that her great uncle is actually the EvylRobot.
So as you may have seen elsewhere around the interwebs, we spent our weekend with our tribe. Our chosen family. Phlegmfest.
Saturday night sitting in OldNFO‘s living room, I was reminiscing with Christina. I remarked that here in this room sit some of my very favorite people on the planet and it all started with a little shindig she threw some years back. We’d never met, but since Jim suggested she invite us, she did. I think he may have left out the part where he hadn’t met the Evylrobot and me.
But we figured, what the hell. Let’s take a road trip. What could possibly go wrong? I went to my boss to request the time off. He granted it and conversationally asked, “So what do you have planned?”
“Oh, erm. We’re going out of state to meet people from the internet. With guns.”
He gave me the look. You know the one.
Best crazy idea ever.
Never in a million years would I have thought that party would lead all the wild places that it has. Because of that weekend, I have since found myself dressed in a vinyl catsuit standing in a room cheering on the waxing of a friend. We’ve presented a pink gorilla to none other than Lawdog, himself, and we’ve traded puns with Peter and Dot. We’ve killed and eaten some of FarmDad‘s chickens. We’ve spent our lives south of the Mason Dixon, but it took GayCynic to make grits we actually enjoy. I’ve had my intoxication levels evaluated by Matt G, and gone antiquing with the divine miss Phlegmmy.
It was a pleasure, as always, to spend the weekend with this ragtag group of mischief makers. My soul is replenished by the laughter of my friends. Those of the tribe that didn’t make it, know that you were missed, and we look forward to being in your company soon. Hopefully no one will wind up in the emergency room next time.
If I choose to engage in a debate with you*, take it as a compliment. I have already decided that I respect you enough to honestly consider your point of view. Sure, I disagree and even believe you are wrong. But I do not believe you are an idiot. Misguided, maybe. Or maybe I am.
You see, although I believe I have taken the best possible stance based on what I know to be true and the experiences I have had, I am always willing to increase the dataset I am working with. Provide enough information and/or a perspective I hadn’t considered, and you might even change my mind. It’s happened before. Even if you don’t, you will increase my understanding of your point of view provided we can have an actual conversation coming from a place of mutual respect.
I do not engage idiots. I have, and it only ends in frustration. It often descends into name calling and adds nothing to the overall discourse. I have no desire to add to the animosity and division in the world. I want to come away from debates enlightened, not angry. I think we’ve all spent too much time getting angry at the image we hold of various people, and too often we forget that it’s a person behind the beliefs they may hold.
I believe you are better than that. I believe you are capable of considering my point of view as well. I may not change your mind, and that’s okay. We can still be friends even if we disagree.
*I bet you think this post is about you, don’t you? Don’t you? Naw, you’re not vain. It might be. You aren’t alone. Please tell me you’re singing now.
I’m sure you’re a super nice guy, and yes, your kid* is freaking adorable with those bright blue eyes and long camel eyelashes, but your game could use a bit of work. For one, although I’m sure the family pool at the Y is a great place to get to know some local ladies, you should probably steer clear of the ones with rocks on their hands. Particularly when the guy with the matching ring is just a few feet away.
Also, I don’t know how it’s possible that I could smell your body spray from 3 feet away in a chlorinated pool. That’s some serious dedication. At least we all know you aren’t afraid of commitment, but you and that bottle might need some time apart. Honestly, I’m kind of fascinated. Does that require a brining process to get the full saturation? Hmm, maybe I don’t really want to know. I suppose it could be related to amazingly well-manicured stubble.
And by the way, the cute little lifeguard is probably younger than your swim trunks.
*I assume it’s your kid. I suppose that could be your nephew or just some random toddler you picked up on the way. Either way, he’s got that flirtation game down.
You know what, ice storms suck. Ice storms that come before the trees have dropped all of their leaves come with extra special suckiness.
This is what we woke up to Sunday morning.
Sigh. Thankfully, we notified the neighbors that they might just want to move the car before it became one with the tree.
We owe her an antenna
Yet still, we are blessed. We’d been hearing the news of the storm since Wednesday so parked our own vehicle on the opposite side of the driveway.
We spent Thursday with family sharing good food, good stories, and lots of laughter. With the freezing drizzle on Friday, we decided we felt like a swim so headed to the local YMCA and their indoor pool. After a nice swim, we tossed Die Hard in the DVD player which turned into staying up and watching the first three movies while the storm rolled in.
Woke up Saturday to more freezing rain and the first of the branches in the yard. We decided the most appropriate course of action was to stay indoors and watch the next two movies in the franchise, interrupted periodically by the sounds of snapping branches and them crashing to the ground.
Thankfully, all fell to the ground. Nothing of any consequence hit the house or the cars. We don’t have any power lines near the house and aside from a few flashes, the lights stayed on for the duration of the storm. Some of my neighbors weren’t so lucky. Just across the street, they lost power for around 6 hours. We offered to run an extension cord.
Sure, this is going to be a lot of work, but we’ve got a chainsaw and we’re all able-bodied. Several neighbors have offered their assistance as well. We’ll all help each other, and together, we’ll weather this storm and the next.
See? We’re starting to get it cleaned up already. No shortage of firewood in my neighborhood!