My Dad looooooves his new nickname, haha! Really though, he’s a good sport. And pretty much the best Dad that ever lived. He can build anything (coffee mug display shelves, for one) and he learned how to french braid hair when I needed it done for dance recitals and choir performances. He taught kindergarten and first grade for over 30 years and was one of the most requested teachers in the district, for his patience and his creativity. Most recently, he agreed to foster Sir Thomas when we had nowhere else to take him, and they’ve become the best of friends. Thomas just lights up and starts wagging his little stub tail whenever my Dad is around. It’s the cutest thing EVER. So anyway, we knew we wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate my Dad and the amazing father, friend and husband that he is.
Things are so, so good right now.
They are hard too, but good. Hard and good.
I’m smack in the midst of studying for my LCSW exams, which are a HUGE deal and if I don’t pass I have to wait 6 months to take them again. I take my first one in around 14 days. HOLY CRAP. I don’t really want to talk about it.
I also still work full time as a children’s trauma therapist, which I love but which is also sometimes/often/usually draining and all-consuming. It’s not a show-up-to-work-and-sip-coffee-all-day kind of job. (Where can I get one of those?!) This past Tuesday I was at work until 8 pm with an unexpected and completely out-of-the-blue crisis with an old client from 2 years ago.
Sometimes I feel guilty for only/mostly writing about the painful things in my life. I am currently in a really wonderful place in my life. Weekends filled with laughter and coffee and book reading and swimming and exploring and our incredible church and just this overwhelming sense of peace. Weeks filled with challenging but inspiring days at work, fun coworkers and the most supportive boss imaginable. I’ve always had a small, tight-knit family but this past year has brought us all even closer. But no matter how great everything is, I still have these black holes that the only way I know how to cope with them is to poke them with a stick and stir them around a little bit. It’s probably the therapist in me. I tell my clients all the time, “We can do hard things”. I tell myself that a lot too.
Today was my first day back at work after an epic four days off. Andrew and I decided to take a little vacation to Scottsdale, Arizona for the 4th of July weekend and also take Monday off. It was one of the best vacations of my life. I’m usually not a fan of long car rides (this one was 6 hours) but surprisingly I had a great time. We listened to a lot of This American Life, had car dance parties and just talked a lot. I am always laughing with Andrew. That shouldn’t surprise me anymore, but it still does. It’s a feeling I can’t get over.
I complain about being too busy or too stressed or having plans every single weekend from here until the end of the summer, but in reality I’ve never felt more balanced. This balance is something I’ve struggled with before – the fine line between the crazy-fun infatuation stage of a new relationship and getting in too-deep-too-fast. I think I may have finally gotten the balance right — and I’m bored.
AH isn’t that just like life though? The grass is always greener on the other side, right? WRONG. The grass is always greener where you water it. Not only is this just 5th grade science, it’s the plain truth. So now I’m sitting here with all of these wonderful things in my life, pretty perfectly balanced – my job, a fab social life with fun and loving friends, family time, and a new, fun relationship – and I’m missing the days when I was so scared I didn’t know what was going to come next. I can’t even believe I just typed those words. I’m MISSING the time when I was SCARED out of my mind about what was going to come next? Okay, so maybe “missing” isn’t the right word. I’m “remembering fondly” the times in the not-so-distant-past that I didn’t have everything figured out or planned on a calendar. Those days and weekends and months of not-knowing. Sure, it was a lot of Saturday nights spent at home doing laundry and watching Friends re-runs with my cat. But it was also a time of immense growth and a whole lot of faith. Because when you find yourself dumped and divorced at the oh-so-young age of 26, you don’t have much to go on other than faith. Nothing that happened over the course of the past year was anything I had ever prepared myself to have to handle. The learning curve was really high and my faith was all I had. And when you are stripped down to the bare minimum, a beautiful thing happens.
No matter how far I come, or how much I’ve learned and grown, I’ve come realize that I’m not immune to new pain. I guess I just thought I had processed everything enough. I’m so happy with my life. So beyond happy. And so so thankful. But I’m only human and sometimes I forget just what a liar fear can be. And so in my attempts to rid fear from my life, I am stripping it down to the basics. Good friends. A loving family. Good books. Hot tea. Kitty Snuggles. Reading for days. Community Service. My incredible job. My loving boyfriend. My kickass apartment. Good Music. Journaling. Jesus.
Growing up she had always felt invincible, for no other reason than her Dad had told her she was. Whatever she wanted to do, they did it. When she wanted to dig a hole to China in the fourth grade, they spent weeks at the edge of the property line with shovels and maps, talking about all the fun they would have once they got there. When that phase passed and she wanted to be an astronaut, Dad brought home boxes of books about planets and galaxies from the library. They poured over them in a state-of-the-art cardboard box rocket ship. Most of the best moments of her childhood were spent in a box or a hole somewhere, planning out her next adventure.
I’ve written about this before; this struggle with the popular idea that God has everything perfectly planned for my life. That God is so big and Almighty and all-knowing that he has every little blip of my life planned out, and He does this for everyone. The problem with this logic is pain. This would mean that every time a four-year old rape victim walks into my office, God PLANNED for that to happen. Every time a child describes hiding under his parents bed while Dad beat his Mom to a pulp, God PLANNED for that to happen. When one of my clients witnessed his Dad shoot and kill his mom and then turned the gun on himself, God planned for that to happen. In my own life, it would mean that God decided I didn’t already have enough trauma on my plate and that I needed to experience divorce too.
April of last year was no picnic either, as it was the month leading up to the day where my life fell apart. I still remember the feeling of my stomach sinking through my entire body and slamming into the hardwood floor when I was told, over the phone, some of the most painful and hurtful things from someone I once loved more than anything. I remember the screaming, and then the crying, and then the worst part – the begging