• Jeremiah proposed to me on Christmas night 4 years ago, and one of the first things out of my mouth (after saying yes) was to make him promise that we could spend Christmas Eve at my house the next year. How romantic 🙂 I just couldn’t stand the thought of losing our whole Christmas ritual…piling in Mom and Dad’s bed Christmas morning while we waited for everyone to wake up, Dad going downstairs first to “see if Santa left anything for ya’ll this year” (really he just needed to be the first downstairs so he could set up the video camera), the anticipation as we waited at the top of the stairs (in birth order no less), and then racing into the den to see what delights Santa had perfectly arranged (like he worked for the Price is Right). Not only did I not want to give this up after marriage, I wanted to share it with Jeremiah. My poor grown-man husband went through that entire ritual with grace and excitement, just like he was 12 years old.

    This year, however, I felt the need for our own family’s Christmas. Maybe it’s because of Pace, and maybe it’s because I didn’t have much of a choice this year since Jeremiah had to work, but I just knew that this year I couldn’t line up at the top of those stairs. It makes me cry now to say it, but it’s true. Peter Pan lost out at my house this year. So, Pace and I made a quick trip to Dothan and came back late Christmas Eve so that we could wake up in our own home on Christmas morning. When I woke up, I started cooking a big brunch instead of piling in Mom and Dad’s bed. Instead of walking around in my pajamas all morning, I gave myself and Pace a bath and got us all gussied up. Then Jeremiah got home from work and our true Christmas festivities began. Fortunately/Unfortunately, it was time for Pace’s nap, so we put her down and Jeremiah and I were able to spend a cozy brunch together by the fire. We were able to talk about how we had grown over the past year and reflect on how sweet Pace had enriched our lives. We shared the kind of words of encouragement that are hard to say unless you are caught up in a magical moment like this one was. The kind of words that require constant reminders from your mind to your eyes to hold that eye contact and not look away in embarrassment. We exchanged gifts, and Jeremiah’s were so filled with thoughtfulness and love that it made me cry. I think that all of these moments were great blessings, but the greatest blessing of all was the realization that WE were enough. We love our family, and we missed them and all of our normal Christmas rituals, but in the end all we needed to make Christmas full was each other.

  • I have always considered myself something of a hopeless romantic. It was a term I liked; a term that inspired visions of maidens wearing flowing nightgowns and looking longingly into the night after a promised love. A term that whispered of unrequited loves and starry nights filled with prayers for one true aspiration. However, I recently took some time for introspection, and I realized that my term, hopeless romantic, contains the word HOPELESS–without hope. So, if you take the term at its word, then that damsel I’ve been envisioning never finds her promised love. That unrequited love would remain just that–unrequited, and those prayers for one true aspiration would go unanswered. So why would I want to be a hopeless romantic?

    I think the answer to that question is that, for me, anticipation is everything. I love to dream about events to come; I love the feeling of being that damsel in waiting. When the dream is realized, it’s over, but the anticipation is marvelous!

    Last night I went to a party in Atlanta with Lauren. The thought of leaving Pace behind for an evening and embarking on a girls adventure could have offered enough excitment in itself, but this party we were going to was something I’d heard about and tried to imagine for over a year! The hostess was Lauren’s friend Lanier, and this lady is the person I would aspire to be if I were brave enough. I think I have completely weirded her out by my unabashed ardour, but she is so talented that I just can’t help myself! I am sure that she has her faults, but I honestly don’t want to know them. I am satisfied with the illusion. I could go into the reasons why I think she is so great, but that would take up this whole blog, and it is not the point I am driving towards. What I will tell you is that she is the type of person who throws an Antebellum Christmas party every year (with period attire!), and the entire house (which is a mansion built in the early 1800’s that she and her husband have completely restored) is lit by fire and candlelight. A party where the decorations include holly she trimmed from her own yard and draped lovingly over each picture frame. A party where mistletoe hung enticingly from discreet doorposts, and little girls in sweet dresses collected silver punch cups for re-washing. Heaven forbid we have to use anything made out of paper! It was a night that can best be described by my feeling of wonder when I awoke this morning truly questioning if it had all just been a dream. This was a party created for a hopeless romantic, but as I’ve mentioned before, the hopeless romantic should never be capable of being satisfied by the actual event. The hopless romantic is doomed to be always hoping and never satisfied.

    My Dad has been sorely concerned that my life would be one big disappointment that could never live up to my dreams. However, I haven’t found that to be true at all. In a small sense, Lanier’s party last night far exceeded any expectation I had, and I assure you those expectations were high. I even went so far as to call Lauren yesterday afternoon to be sure she was savoring the anticpation like I was. I tried to heed my Dad’s warnings and think of all the horrible things that could go wrong at the party, but that romanticism was still there, assuring me that THIS would be a magical evening–and it was.

    On a grander scale, my marriage was something that could have never met up to my expectations, because marriage was something I had been dreaming about for around 20 years! Just think of the potential for being let down! While there are some days that Jeremiah and I make each other want to pull our hair out, there are also those days that create a melody so sweet that only God could be the composer. There are times that we let each other down, and there are times when I couldn’t have imagined such a sacrificial love.

    So, I would now like to rename myself. I am no longer a hopeless but a HOPEFUL romantic. I am a person who loves being hopeful in life–loves waiting expectantly for the joys life may bring. I hope that all of those hopeless romantics out there find that there IS promise in whatever they are waiting for, and that there are days in their lives when reality exceeds their dreams.

  • I am kind of busy this morning, so I am just going to post a story a wrote about a year ago. It’s funny to look back and remember how miserable I was!

    If you are pregnant, I want you to stop reading this immediately. You have quite enough to concern yourself with, without adding post-pregnancy concerns to your list. Maybe just clip this out and hold onto it for later.

    When I was pregnant, I took some time to read a few books to try and cope with what I was going through and to prepare myself for what lie ahead. There was NOTHING, however, that prepared me for the way I would feel for the weeks following my daughter’s birth. I think it is safe to say that the process of having a baby does not end after nine (actually 10 if you consider that pregnancy is a 40 week process) months.

    Pregnancy has its positives. When you are pregnant, the whole world is sweeter to you. People offer to open doors, carry things, and perfect strangers offer you words of encouragement. One of the best positives was the way that people would occasionally cock their heads to the side, look dreamily at you, and give you a slight smile. I personally took this as a “thank you” for furthering the human race. Even that guy at the coffee shop (yes, I still drank a little coffee while I was pregnant and my baby turned out just perfect in spite of it) with his dread locks and sandals in the dead of winter was able to appreciate the natural wonder of pregnancy. He actually spoke to me for the first time when I began to show.

    So, you endure the pregnancy with all its positives and negatives, and then you have the baby. It’s time to finally shed that frumpy figure and saddle right back into your old clothes…right?? I mean surely you, like me, had spent plenty of time convincing yourself, that you really hadn’t gained THAT much weight besides the weight of the baby. That extra 30 (or 40 or 50) is just fluid…right?? WRONG. Oh, how wrong we are.

    Suddenly you have no excuse for your plump shape. Those sweet, nurturing smiles from society have faded right back into the everyday mundane. Not only are you not special anymore, you are chunky too! It’s true, your chest has grown, which you thought you always wanted. However, suddenly you notice that, with no waist to pinch below it, your chest only adds to your otherwise frumpy figure. Not to mention that you are now prone to leaking! There are medical issues, which I need not venture to describe in detail here, that make you feel like you should be locked away in a dark closet until everything has a chance to sort itself out. Your hips are still stretched out and your ligaments are still loose, so you continue to have a touch of that pregnancy waddle. If you take these and other physical maladies and pour a big heap of crazy hormones and the life changing event on top…well let’s just say you need some support from somewhere.

    My support came from two different places. My mom made an initial attempt to cheer me up by taking me shopping to “buy some clothes that fit you right”. I finally consented to take a trip to TJ Max. After all, I could just buy a couple of cheap outfits until my clothes all magically fit me again. Unfortunately, I forgot an old truth that I have proved to myself time and again–People who make cheap clothes are also stupid. A size 8 in cheap pants translates to approximately size 2 in more expensive clothes. You see, people who make nice clothes seem to understand that women want to fit in the smallest size that they possibly can. So, here I am in TJ Max, trying on clothes with my mom, and she is constantly leave the dressing room to get the next biggest size. Before I know it, I have reached a digit that I never imagined would be tight on my body, and yet there I stand, with fat spilling over my pants and tears spilling over my eyes. I grab the closest bulky sweater and tell my mom it is time to go. This is the critical point. We get in the car and Mom looks over at me, my mom who has always been bluntly honest with me about my weight, and I am expecting some little talk about diet, exercise, and not letting myself go. Instead, she looks straight into my eyes and says, “Abby, I PROMISE your body is going to come back.”

    What a blessing those simple little words were to me! Then, to make matters even better, she told my mother and sister-in-law about how down I was and they went on a secret shopping spree for ME. They worked some kind of magic that I could never have done for myself and bought me some beautiful in-between clothes from some people who knew something about sizing for sensitive ladies! Pregnancy is physically hard. Post-pregnancy is mentally hard. Take the time to encourage a woman in your life who is in her baby-making years…chances are, she needs it.