Hope all y'all stateside had a happy Thanksgiving! We drove out to Phoenix to spend the weekend with my mom and her husband Ralph. They throw a great Thanksgiving dinner… I'd drive to Phoenix for Ralph's stuffing any day frankly! Anyhow, we overcame the urge to try to cram in a bunch of visiting with friends as well, and just made one quick stop in to a friend's home on the way out of town to see their new baby. The rest of the time, we were pretty successful at NOT scheduling anything and letting the mood drive our plans.
What a nice change from the past.
We used to book a lunch with this person, coffee with that couple, and dinner with this family, et cetera, and it would wear us out. Cheers to slowing down and enjoying leisurely walks with mom's springer spaniel, Max. Cheers to enjoying a beer on the back patio with Ralph while the ladies shopped. Cheers to sleeping in. Cheers to leftovers. Cheers to watching Ali sew on Nanny's sewing machine. Life is good.
On the ride out and back, we listened to Malcolm Gladwell's latest book, "David and Goliath." I've read all his other books, and his formula is beginning to become a little predictable for me, but there are some interesting stories in this one (like all his books).
Here's my question for you, and please honor the community here with your comments if you will…
"What single thing are you NOW thankful for, that when it happened, you never imagined you would be?"
For me, it's probably pretty obvious:
Bella having EB. So many people's lives have been powerfully, positively, and permanently impacted by her journey, and I only dare say that because they tell us. It is an honor to be her daddy, and her storyteller. I struggle A LOT with some pretty heavy self doubt, and she gave me a gift by being our daughter. I had to "show up" as caregiver, wound care expert, daddy, advocate, etc. day after day, and in that journey, I became someone I didn't think I could. I didn't think I "had it in me," and now that I know I do, I have a lot of confidence in being a bad ass daddy for Julian and Ali for the rest of their lives and mine.
Several times a week, I experience some sort of anxiety or terror inside at the prospect that somehow I'm a grown up now and am somehow supposed to have answers for my kids, when I still feel like a kid walking around in a grown up's body (trying to) fool the world that I'm really not just an overgrown 8 year old.
Bella gave me a chance to dispel all that disempowering chatter. I could have blown it, I could have run, I could have fallen apart, I could have shrank, but as it turned out, I didn't. In those times of dark self doubt, I can look back and see who I really was when the chips were down. Crisis can really reveal a lot about a person. Watching the way Angelique showed up, day after day, watching the grace Bella showed day after day, inspired me to have the best version of myself show up every day as well.
Best line from Gladwell's new book?
"Courage isn't some thing that you already have, that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you EARN, when you've been through the tough times and discover that they aren't so tough after all."
There are still scars and sadness in my heart on multiple levels from the journey, but I am thankful for the scars. Bella helped me see that I can be more than my doubts.
Yet if I could just wave a magic wand and entertain one fantasy, it would be to have all three kids together at the same time… here. I would love to see Ali loving all over both her younger siblings as she is a love machine to Julian and was to Bella. I'd love to see Bella giggling and laughing her big belly laugh at Julian, and Julian smiling his giant grin at her and hugging her. It's so cute when he says, "HI ALI!" when he sees her in the morning. The genuine excitement in his voice is just adorable. What I would give to hear him blurt out, "HI BELLA!"
Still, while I go to bed tonight with a sad heart, I am still thankful for ALL OF IT.