I’ve been gone and out and about. Here’s a quick summary of what has happened in the last two weeks.
1. Goodbyes are hard when it feels like you just said hello. A good friend of mine from college and her husband came to live in our fine state but then sadly were relocated a few months later. As much as I hated to see them go, I was so glad for the short time we had together to reunite and be a part of regular life for a time again.
2. Lots of work makes for lots of long days. That sums it up, right? Jobs, freelance work, side projects, additional work commitments–you name it. It’s not super awesome to blog about, but it’s what life has looked lately in our house…which means our actual house looks like a disaster, and we’re just hanging on one day at a time. So, if it’s been in awhile, I’m sorry. Everything feels hard to keep up with right now. I’m tired of that being the case (and tired of being tired), but it’s the reality. The little time we have in between we try to, you know, see each other and talk but even that we seem to be behind on lately. It all feels like too much, but work things seem to be the hardest things let go thanks to a desire to do good work, to provide financially, and to achieve our potential.
3. Faraway family is better in person. As much as we’re grateful for Skype, you can’t hold a baby, hug a niece, or play catch with a nephew over the internet. While it’s definitely time to be done with traveling for awhile, it was good to see these relatives on the West Coast this past week.
If you haven’t watch the Parenthood, the tv show inspired by the movie, then you should. That, or you just shouldn’t read this post because that’s all it will be about. I promise it will be heartfelt (and also completely void of spoilers).
Like many people, I watch my tv in a delayed fashion on Hulu or Netflix. Normally this is no big deal, but on (rare) big occasions I have to shut down my social media accounts to avoid the spoilers. On Thursday, I had to walk away to from all the tweets about crying through the series finale of Parenthood. To be honest, I’ll likely cry through the whole thing, too.
Sure, it’s a good show and it’s a drama so there’s intense family situations that can manipulate your emotions. But I’m about to get real sappy here and tell you why else it’s special.
Parenthood is special because it is a show that at one point or another covered a family situation everyone has experienced. Maybe within a given week it seems like too many situations are happening at once (true) but at the same time, it feels like so many of the moments come from a place of reality. We all have that “discussion” with our spouse, friendship with our sibling, conflict with a parent, chaos at a family dinner and day where we question what is happening in our lives.
I was first introduced to the show during the commercial breaks in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Parenthood was to debut on NBC soon after the games, and something about it pulled me in. We watched the first episode (it might have even been during primetime…Hulu was still a new thing back then). A couple weeks later, we got engaged. From that point on we found ourselves discussing the situations during the commercials and pausing it in the middle of the big moments.
It was our pre-marital counseling in a sense (we did also go to actual pre-marital counseling where we read a book together and talked with a pastor). Potential life situations were unfolding before our eyes right as we were about to commit to sharing a new life together. How would you handle that? Would you allow your daughter to do that? How would you tell your son about that? What would you do if…? Is that a healthy relationship? How do you maintain that? You see his side of the argument? But what about hers?
We could feel the emotion and intensity of some of these experiences, but without the pain of it being our own experiences, we could talk through it logically. We watched this family face trials as well as thrive these past five years. In a small way, we did the same. Our life should hardly be on tv, but we had our share of new experiences, monumental moments, difficult decisions and everyday conversations the past five years as well.
We’ve watched it from the very beginning and simply dread the end. I know it has to end, everything comes to an end at some point. But I will genuinely miss it and hate to say goodbye. I don’t want to overhype its significance, because in truth, it is still merely a tv show. That said, it has had an impact. I can honestly say that it had a part in shaping some of our young marriage.
Farewell Parenthood. Thank you for showing us the dramas or hardships life can bring by forcing us to feel the tension but keeping it light-hearted enough that we kept coming back. This was a story about family learning together how to live together. A good family but never the impossible “one big happy family.” Regardless of critical acclaim, you created a show that many will cherish with their own families. May you stay, forever young.
It’s that time of the week. The time when I talk about three random things that have either happened or I have been thinking about in the last week and call it the Thursday Three. Because, come on, who doesn’t love a little alliteration? Ready? Go.
1. I’m thankful for Thanksgiving. We headed out to the mountains for time with the hubby’s family. This meant, we had a great meal with his grandma, hung out with our niece and nephew, did a little bit of hiking, found a few Black Friday deals (I know, it’s been years since I’ve gone shopping that weekend), ate way too many tasty snacks and started thinking about Christmas.
2. Ever burst into tears just because life wasn’t going the way you wanted? Yeah, well, that happened this week. I’m not particularly proud of that, but we can’t have you believing my life is all about holidays and an overload of awesome. To be honest, there are things I wish were different in my life right now even though I have a good life. I’m learning what it means to be okay with life not going how I planned, and that’s not easy. Thankfully there are no photos to show here.
3. Christmas is coming. We have officially entered into the month of December and are starting to prepare. When we were out in the mountains, we bought a tree, and last night we spent some time decorating. I was reading another blog the other day that talked a bit about Advent and how it meant “coming” in Latin. It really stuck with me, so I am going to try to instead of just thinking about how Christmas is coming to also think about coming closer to Christ this year.
Never did I think this would be a topic I would write about, at least not until maybe after the fact. But talk to any stranger in the grocery store all the way up to your best friends and suddenly it no longer feels like a personal matter. Everyone is quick to ask when we plan to have these sweet little cherubs.
If you had asked me in high school what I wanted to be when I grew up, I usually said something along the lines of “being a mom.” I’d start out by talking about college or maybe some sort of career in the meantime, but that wasn’t the real goal in my mind. When we got married, we told people we were on the “five-year plan” (why people feel they need to know that is beyond me). A couple years ago we joked with people that we were on the “nonstop five-year plan” meaning we were always five years out from having kids. The great thing about saying five years is that it is close enough that people are assured we think kids are in our future but far enough away that people hopefully stop asking us about it for awhile. Lately it feels like the questions have grown more serious and our “five-year” response isn’t doing the trick anymore–but I don’t really know. I’d still say give it time. Plenty of time. We’re in no real rush.
To be honest, sometimes I am overwhelmed by the weight of it all. The idea of raising someone in this world. Our world that’s full of hardship and disappointment, wars and disease. The thought of navigating all of life’s pitfalls through the eyes of the next generation.
I find myself rushing through so much of life right now. Rushing to secure my next job and settle into a career path. Scrambling to live life to its fullest by hardly ever saying “no” to spending time with friends. Hustling to establish a blog that reaches people beyond my immediate circles. Pushing to plan a trip of a lifetime out of the country somewhere with my husband. And over the weekend I realized why–I feel like I have to fit it all in before kids. I want to make sure I accomplish so many of these goals before I have another major priority in my life. I think that’s why there’s this huge sense of urgency in me.
In all actuality, I want kids and so does the hubby. So don’t you worry your pretty little head. One day we’ll add a few littles to this household, and it will be messy, loud, crazy and wonderful all at once. But as the reality of that creeps closer I wrestle with what that might mean. Am I overthinking it? Or worse, underthinking it? (Is that even a word?)
Maybe every potential parent has these fears or feels the magnitude of such things. Or maybe instead they were thrust into it before having enough time to really think it over yet somehow they seem to manage just fine. I suppose time (and a kid or two) will tell.
p.s. Sorry if I got your hopes up…this is clearly not an announcement.
What’s a vacation without coming home to a camera full of photos that won’t be printed for years, an overstuffed suitcase of dirty clothes and a happy heart bursting with fond memories?
Seriously, the last week has been so great. And then sadly came to an abrupt end as soon as we got home. Apparently between the time change, day of travel, lack of food with substance and the start of a cold, everything in me decided to fall apart and be quite sick for a bit. But was it all worth it in the end? Absolutely.
I don’t even know how to put it all down in a Thursday Three. (Don’t I say that every week? Clearly I should blog more…) Here’s my best attempt at the rest of the week after we left Portland. Believe it or not, the good photos off the camera have yet to be sorted so these are just what we’ve got from our phones.
1. Having family in cool parts of the country has its benefits. Obviously if they live somewhere cool, yet far, that can be a bummer, too. After Portland we drove through the gorge and up and down the Oregon landscapes to visit the hubby’s brother and his family. We had so much fun playing with our little loves (our four-year-old niece and two-year-old nephew). They have grown and changed so much since we last saw them in May. I love being an aunt! Plus, it was great to spend time with his brother and sister-in-law…a bit like old times before we all moved different directions.
2. Weddings bring the happy couple’s favorite people all into one room.When we got married we thought it was so fun to see people we loved getting to know each other for the first time. Part of our reason for heading out west was to attend the wedding of a good friend of mine. When I studied abroad in Greece, we traveled together every weekend and she was my closest friend there. I was so glad to get to see her again and attend her wedding. But what ended up being an unexpected bonus was meeting all of her other friends. These are the friends I heard all about while we hiked mountains and ate crepes. It was as if I was meeting long-lost friends for the first time and we hugged as our friendship came full circle.
3. Driving the coast and exploring was unbelievable. There are so many different parts of Oregon and changes in scenery within a few miles. We went to a tulip farm, drove through mountains, played on Cannon Beach, visited a cheese factory and even spent a day hanging out in Seattle, WA to see the hubby’s uncle and the gum wall. This is clearly the catch-all of the three so I can throw a bunch of photos up here. At least I’m honest.
When you have some spare time on your hands and a special birthday is coming up, you can have a little more fun with it. Here’s one of the many things we’ve done in the past two weeks that would have been more difficult to do while working a job. Allow me to introduce you to a family of hams (and wonderfully creative people).
Purpose: Happy Birthday (to hubby’s dad)
Main Players: Sister-in-law, brother-in-law, hubby and myself
Cameos: Niece and Nephew
Final Outcome: Big Laughs
Over a month ago I blogged about why we were moving and on that list was to be closer to family. It had a star clarifying that while we’d be farther from other family, we still wanted to be closer to family. Beyond that, I think more clarification is needed.
Right now, we’re real close. I’m talking packed in the same house with a sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. I get to hear “Auntie Sam, Auntie Sam” all day long and talk late into the night with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. There’s an added sense of community and ownership with your family. Without kids of our own, our nieces and nephews are definitely people we want to invest in and see grow up into wonderful, giving people. It’s an awesome thing to be a part of, even in small way.
Today we’ll go visit the hubby’s grandma who recently celebrated her 80th year. We’re excited to be a part of her life and visit more than once every two years. It’s hard to know I’m so much farther from my grandparents, but I’m glad to be able to visit one of our grandparents.
All of this said, being closer to family was one part of this move. Family is a great and beautiful and even challenging thing. But it isn’t the thing. Only one thing can be the thing to plan your life around. The thing to put all of your faith, hope and love into is a relationship with Christ. When Jesus first starting calling disciples, they were in all different stages in life. Some left their family (Matt. 4:21-22), some left their jobs (Matt. 9:9). He called others to leave their wealth (Mark 10:21) and I’m guessing many left some friends, dreams and goals as well.
Family is a blessing and a gift, but it can’t be our main priority. Jobs are a great thing, and we’re called to work hard. Leadership and volunteering is an admirable thing. Growth and learning is awesome. All of these things are good, but not one of them is the “main thing.” Each of these can be important to have in life. But if you focus too much on one thing, what if you’re missing the bigger picture? What if following God means there’s so much more in store for you than a great job? Or weekly meals with extended family? Or another certificate to hang on the wall? What if these things, as great as they might be, hold you back from an even greater life of following Him?
I think I’m learning to value what we have in this life, yet be willing to let it all go. That statement alone is terrifying, but we can’t hold on too tight. It’s not ours. It may be a good thing and a helpful thing, but unless it’s the thing, we have to be willing to let it go.
Trust in the Lord with all your heartand lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6