August 10, 2014

In January, we're getting married

Really and truly, I was over here all set to be a consistent blogger once again, complete with blogs in the bullpen just warming up to go out. My intentions were good… but then this very exciting thing happened, and needless to say, everything that is not being engaged has gone swiftly out the window. Not to mention - fair warning - I'm gushier these days than I've maybe ever been.  So while I am still hoping to be back and better-than-ever, the obvious must first be addressed. Obviously.
[Yes, in January -] we're getting married!! The long and short of it is I couldn’t possibly be happier. When I really sit and think about it, I can hardly believe it’s a real thing! It’s one of those you look forward to for so long, if only in an abstract way - for what seems like forever, you think about what it will be like when someday the time comes, and that, in itself, is fun. Then you meet a wonderful man and just being a dater [and talking on the phone for a million dates worth of time because your dater lives in the snowy mountains there for a bit], being in like and then like-like and then love [!] takes your thoughts for a good while. Then you and that wonderful man start talking, again, in something of an abstract way, about your future. Admittedly, you might spend a few extra minutes on the Pinterest wedding boards at this point, but still it’s just an idea in your head of what could be.

But then said wonderful man gets down on one knee at the Denver Botanic Gardens and knocks you off your feet with the most beautiful ring and most ecstatic feeling you’ve ever felt in your whole life and you realize you had no idea what you were getting yourself into. It’s just more than you could’ve ever imagined. It isn’t Pinterested or from the script of a rom com or even the same as hearing one of your friends’ relay their own happy tales. There is nothing abstract about it. It is a human person you’ve grown to adore more than you even knew was available from within yourself, standing in front of you in all your messy, imperfect glory, nervously and perfectly asking you to hang out with him forever. Because there is no other person he wants to watch Seinfeld re-runs with until the end of time other than you. I laughed and cried at the same time for so many minutes because it was the most and best I had ever felt before and the laugh-cry seemed the most apropos response.  
There is a song I keep getting stuck in my head and the line that's on repeat is this: He’s always been faithful to me. It would be tempting to try to forget the times that required some waiting leading up to this loveliness, but I will try not to do so. I will try not to gloss over them because they were important. They were meaningful. In a lot of ways, they made me who I am. Most of all what I want to remember is even at my most frustrated with the wait, God was faithful always. This new place in which I am a fiancĂ© is no different. Nor will it be in 6 short months when I am a WIFE, and we are a family. [!] God has been faithful. He will be again. I am full practically to exploding with gratitude.
I am so overwhelmingly grateful I get to share life with these two. I truly can’t think of anything more fun.

I would also like to take advantage of this venue to thank all of you, our nearest and dearest, for your overwhelming support in the form of texts, calls, Facebook likes, cards addressed to the Future Mr & Mrs, lunches, dinners & toasts, flights already booked, offers of help and further celebrations and you-name-it, and the general outpouring of love we have received since announcing our super fun news. I truly couldn't have anticipated the degree to which you've celebrated with us and met us in our excitement with yours. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Meanwhile, I ask for your patience as I try very hard to continue to write things whilst planning the best January Wedding since the Avett Brothers, with the understanding that every few sentences or so I have to stop because there is now something shiny consistently in my line of sight and I am obligated by what I can only imagine is a deeply ingrained biological urge to then gaze off, dreamily thinking about my future husband [or practicing my new signature, or thinking of something new I hadn't even thought yet to be excited about] for 30-50 seconds before returning to my task.



June 27, 2014

kid lessons: fling yourself

I have always been a huge fan of kids. They are the best and cutest teachers. If we were to unpack this here blogsite I would bet the number of posts I have written about something I learned from a kid would outweigh any other topic I have ever delved into; and today is no exception.
Riddle me this, adults: have you ever been standing around, relaxed stance, maybe chatting with someone or looking at your phone or not doing anything at all, and had a small person leap into your arms without warning and without abandon? Little EG and I play this out on the reg, and other children throughout my years have followed this same pattern. It’s cute, and sweet, and of course in the end you’re thrilled to have their affections. But done in such an unexpected manner usually makes my heart skip at least one beat. I will likely give a flustered little “don’t DO that unless I’m ready and/or paying attention!” speech, not because I’m mad, but because I am acutely aware in a way they are not that jumping upon my person without my awareness can cause them (but probably me) actual bodily injury.
The other day as this very scenario played out, I thought, what a beautiful, tangible display of trust that is. I mean, it’s a teensy bit stressful and generally makes my heart do a little cartwheel. (Heartwheel!) But do you remember what that was like? Trusting a person so much that you would fling yourself recklessly into their general direction because you knew deep in your being that you were loved, and as such would be caught, protected, and following a minor scare, delighted in?
As Ella leapt on me the other day and I looked at her happy little face staring at mine expectantly, I had this moment of pure, poignant sadness at the fact that I don’t do that anymore. As grown people, we have maybe had our fair share of experiences where, if only metaphorically, we have gotten dropped. Fell on our faces. We don’t get a job. Somebody breaks our heart. We fail. And we're embarrassed. Ashamed by our recklessness.
Those things, throughout life, are bound to happen every once and again. And as a result, we maybe don’t fling ourselves around so freely anymore. We calculate. We assess risk. We worry and we develop anxieties we then require medication for. We pray and then pray again and we clarify and we ask a bunch of questions and then maybe, just maybe, with a harness so tight it’s cutting off the circulation to our legs, we will make a jump. And after we do, we will worry we made the wrong choice. We will stress about new and different things. The cycle continues.
At some point, we had to learn to do this to protect ourselves from the possibility of harm. I get that. It makes sense, in light of the experiences we have, that we’d be wary. But you guys, it’s no fun. It’s a good skill to have when you’re in danger, but after living with a certain amount of caution, it can start to “protect" us from experiencing the good parts of our lives as well. Good, wonderful things will happen and we will be stuck in a pattern of stress, worry, harness, repeat, and we will miss out. Trusting recklessly can be harmful. But it can also be good. Good that we're missing out on if we're too busy calculating the risk to just take it.
I struggle with this, because I like to be in control, and perceived safety is control’s best friend. When I find myself white-knuckling the ledge, it’s a big statement on how I'm doing, overall. Stewing in a pot of anxiety before I make any decision, big or small, says to me in big bold letters that I am not living in a way that is congruent with what I know to be true about God. Which is, as it were, that he loves me, and as such will catch me, protect me, and delight in doing so. And just because I’ve been hurt before doesn’t mean I should rob myself of the opportunity to be caught, or the people who are deserving of my trust and self being flung at them the opportunity to do the catching. Only maybe I’ll give a little warning so nobody throws their back out. We're getting older, after all.
And there's a good chance in there somewhere I'll fall. But I'll be damned if I'm going to miss out on another second of all the delighting and loving and catching for a little safety of my own careful crafting. It’s so much better as the gift of relationship (both with Jesus and each other) that I know, from experience, it can be. 

April 17, 2014

Dolly'll never go away again

A few things.

Did you even remember that I have a blog? I barely did. I have been a super-slacker.
I have been busy.
I have never been very good at change.

Spoiler! The three are related.

Part of the reason for my hiatus has been very simple. I have been busy. My life has undergone some changes and has continued to be in a state of change since, and that has created a schedule which is busy. Fun. Exciting. Loving it. But busy. I wrote a blog about it, actually, which I then didn’t post. Because I was busy. And, if I’m honest, I got nervous. But we'll get to that.
You see, when said changes arose, I had been an adult for quite a few years already, and as such, I became accustomed to a certain kind of living. One where I was in charge of me, and that was pretty much all. I had roommates I cared about and lots of pals to help account for me, plus I have a family like most folks, so it’s not like I was completely self-involved or anything, but my days looked like this: I'd (most days) oversleep, rush off to work, then I'd stay up late hanging out in dive bars or I'd watch shows and write blogs into the wee hours and then I’d oversleep the next morning and start all over again. It was both a schedule and a way of life - if not ideal, in the long-term - that I got good at.

And now. Now I have a new job I want to be really good at/ not be late to. Now I have this wonderful other person who wants to spend time with me and know what I’m up to and a smaller person who also wants to know that but to the power of infinity. See? How great is that?

And I want the same from them! I want to hang out and spend time and get there at least before 8pm so I can squeeze a quick Frozen duet out of a tiny, tired girl. I’m just crazy about those two. Which means a few things, time-wise: to bed earlier so I can get up earlier and go to work earlier and get off earlier and then we can be together and hang out and laugh and sing songs and talk about our days. There’s not a whole lot of ancillary time to work with, you see, once you factor in that I still like watching the Bachelor, being in Book Club, drinking wine with ladies on the reg, etc and so on. Like I said. Busy.

But there was also a part of me, I think, that up until now has been a little unsure about what this new version of my life would look like on paper. Not for any logical reason, mind you. And not in a bad way, either. But there has been a lot of change. A lot of good and necessary and grown-up change. And since the changes to my life have been so important, so meaningful, I think I wanted to do them justice. I think I wanted to know who I was within the framework of the change before I could really put it out there for the rest of you. Does that make sense? It only half does to me. But the half that does, does. And in the space I’m in now, which is comfortable, wonderful, and still new but the kind of new that also feels like home, the words are spilling out of me in a way I remember well. A way I recall being very gratifying, solid, comfortable, and simultaneously terrifying. A juxtaposition, as a writer, I’ve always been pretty ok with. 

I can’t promise now I’ll be back to bi-weekly blog posts about the haps and goings on, because being busy and important and in high demand of a nearly-6 year old will continue to keep me busy (and consequently sleeping during my formerly prime blogging hours), but I am here today as a show of good faith. I will try to say some things in a bit more regular fashion.
Now is the part where I admit to you that I have a very "Hello, Dolly" scenario playing out in my head presently where Louis Armstrong is crooning at me: it's so nice to have you back where you belong... You're lookin' swell, I can tell...

Which should adequately prove to us all that while my circumstances may have been in flux, I am still the same old weirdo I've always been. I'm myself. Maybe even more so, which is such a nice thing to say in the wake of change.  

And, scene!

January 12, 2014

a happy little recap

As I mentioned on my farewell facebook status to the Mental Health Center of Denver, this job provided me with stories like I could never have imagined. And as a story-teller, that is truly a gift! And so, in honor of my departure from a place I really loved, here is a recap of the blogs that came out of this job, these people, those experiences.

From the time I realized that, as a case manager, I would very much like to have one myself:
please, someone, manage my case

From the time I learned that sometimes people just need to sing a little Whitney Houston:
help isn't always professional

From the time I spent my day helping a client save a stupid little bird:
stupid little bird

From the time I locked my keys in my car and - thank goodness - the fire station was conveniently located right across the street from our office:
game changers

From the time it was insisted I take a handful of root beer barrels:
for just in case you get nervous

From the time I realized my co-workers really knew me:
I'm an easy read

From the time being known by a co-worker helped me start to be fine:
fine or not fine, here goes nothing

From the time I got licensed and started asking what would come next:
no but seriously, what do I do now?

From the time I realized caring began when mental illness had faces:
things that don't have faces

From the time I was in the Denver Health waiting room and, after feeling embarrassed by a client's honesty, I realized that honesty shouldn't be embarrassing:
honest does not = embarrassing

From the time I shared a thing about people:
the thing about people

From when I knew that my new co-workers were going to be my for-real friends:
I can tell that we are gonna be friends

I am not just me

This is a post I wrote in 2011 when I was leaving my old job(s) to start at the one I've had for the past few years. And now, as I have officially wrapped up my last days at the Mental Health Center of Denver, I am having all the same sadnesses. Though transition is necessary, this change is good, and I am excited to be starting a new job on Monday, I am having some emotions about leaving this one.

Back in 2011, I complained so much about being unemployed. Not just occasional whining, not just "I have nothing better to say" complaints but genuine, heartfelt, deeply rooted complaint. So as the deeply transitional part of my life wrapped up, as I quit nannying and working part time at a million places, it came as quite a shock to learn that I was actually going to miss some of the things I'd been whining about. I was going to miss the baby, even though he could be tyrannical in ways I did not know babies could be. I was going to miss the Hedge Fund even though I still didn't really know what it was and I hated loading printer paper and my hands were always paper cut from filing.

So I fully understood that I sounded ridiculous - after being ready for a change for so long, finally getting what I wanted. I was very excited to have a job. And to the people who had fallen victim to my whining, I apologized in advance for the M. Night Shyamalan plot twist I was about to throw at them.

Even though I'd been dying to move on, as it turns out, I was also pretty sad about moving on.

Here is a fact about what it is like to be me: I am an attacher. I get attached. After prolonged periods of time with other humans, I find myself often inexplicably attached to them. It doesn't matter if they are tiny and refuse to take naps or if they are brusk money-handling types or adults with severe and persistent mental illness and a lot of needs they are looking at me to help them meet. It doesn't matter if they are normal or exciting or a lot to handle or wah-wah debbie downers.

When it comes time to leave them, I'm going to have to give myself a second to grieve it.

The annoying part is that I always forget this about me. At each transition, then, I almost always find myself caught off guard by it. When I got sad 3 years ago about leaving the babe, I remember wondering to myself if this attach-y way of being was really good, in the end. Maybe transitions don't have to be this hard every time. Maybe I can fix this about me.

But the thing of it is, wrong or right, I like it about me. I like that I get attached. I like that I feel the absence of people when they're not around anymore because it means they meant something to me when they were. I like that when I say goodbye [even if it's just an I-won't-see-you-all-the-time-anymore goodbye], my heart feels a pinch that stings for a while. There comes a time to move on, and I usually can. But the person I am right now in this moment, this person who interviewed for and was offered and accepted a big girl job and then stayed for some years until it was time to interview for and accept another one, that wasn't just me as I am right now in this moment.

It was Suzie's mentor. Bodie, Andrew, Gabe, Sara, Christina, Micah, Lucy, and even Luke's nanny. The hedge fund's trusty paper stacker. The most paranoid part-marker Weaver Manufacturing ever saw. It was my childhood best friend and the girl who bullied me in middle school art class and a bunch of roommates and the kid I taught how to fist bump at First Pres. It was the old lady who wanted help deciding [for hourssssssss] if she should buy Matchstick or Bootcut cords at JCrew. It is 20-something people's case manager and bonafide mental health professional. It was everyone I've ever been attached to and it was a bunch of jobs I maybe didn't always love with a bunch of people I definitely did. My point is, I did not grow up in a vacuum, but surrounded by people [for better or worse] who meant something.

I am not just me. Or at the very least, I didn't get to be me all by myself.
And I don't think I want to change anything about that.