Where do I begin?
I've been a mess lately. Struggling with depression and anxiety, coming to grips with the difficulties of marriage, trying to understand how Christianity and politics can coincide, having a general identity crisis, and fighting feelings of loneliness and friendlessness.
When bad things happen to other people, I feel them extremely close to home. In 2015, my friends, Brittnie and Brandon, lost their child at 20 weeks pregnant. I attended a funeral for a 6 ounce baby boy. My friend, David, went through an unexpected divorce this past summer. People I know are being diagnosed with cancer, alzheimers, and I have a very difficult time compartmentalizing their struggles from my own. Call me a bleeding heart, but other people's hurts hurt me. There aren't many baby boys I look at without thinking of Chance. I went to my own brother-in-law's wedding and wept, not for his and his new bride's joy, but for the pain that divorce caused and is causing for David and his kids.
Compassion is called for, but my personality and mental issues take it to an unhealthy level sometimes. (I filled out a questionnaire at Peyton's doctor's office last week, and had to circle "yes" under "any mental illness in the family?" Ouch. Pride shattered. Oh well. Get over it.)
I also have a tendency to speak without thinking (those who know me well realize how much of an understatement this is). Especially when I'm feeling depressed. Instead of becoming sad, I fight with sadness, I fight back the tears, and become hardened on the outside, rude and hateful to everyone who comes in contact with me. I recognize it, often times even when it's happening, but it's like watching myself in a movie, and I can't change the script.
I wrote about this happening in my last post. Remember? The one where everyone asked if I had gotten a nap because I was in such a crabby mood? I eventually had to remove myself from the room to be with children who wouldn't talk to me, so I had a chance to cool off and not be such a b*%$! back.
There are so many things I don't like about myself. I wish I was slow to speak and quick to listen. I wish I was slow to become angry. I wish I didn't get so hot-headed. I wish I had more patience for people. I wish I could be meek and gentle. Instead, I'm wild, I'm stubborn, I'm outspoken, I'm loud, I'm boisterous, I'm inappropriate, and I get myself in trouble for it (Hi, Dad. I'm sure you're reading this. You and mom did as good a job as you could raising me. I'm just difficult. Love you).
Regardless of my flaws, I've managed to gather the greatest group of friends imaginable in what we call our "first family". Funnily enough, Brooklyn refers to her cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents as "second family". I guess that's what happens when your friends live in Houston and your extended family lives in Dallas. Our children are growing up with friends who act more like siblings and cousins. We have a support system here in H-Town that we never could have dreamed of before.
Two of these friends had planned a camping trip for our two families for this past weekend. I knew a weekend away with them would do my heart good. I was excited.
They, their three kids, and another sweet friend rang our doorbell on Thursday night, leaving these on the doorstep:
How cute. Our sweet friends are excited for our camping weekend, too!
Then the doorbell rang again, and they all walked in.
Me: What's with the binders?
Landon: It's work-related.
Lauren: Did you see what's in their (Mickey's and Minnie's) hands?
Me: Yeah- Disneyland tickets. But they're not real.
Lauren: Aren't they?
They went on to explain to our kids that we couldn't all go to Camp Allen, but that they would still get to spend the weekend with their friends. Mommy and Daddy couldn't go with them, though.
I'm still dumbfounded and clueless as to what is going on. In fact, things are very blurry from this point on. There was a lot of questioning, figuring out how we had been tricked and how long this had been going on (Lauren: The lies go deep!), and there was definitely a lot of laughing and ugly crying. The binders were, in fact, our itineraries for the weekend: plane, car rental, and hotel reservations, tickets to Disneyland, tips on which rides to do in which order, and the sweetest note I've ever read.
My people. They knew how much pain I was going through, and therefore, how much Brandon was going through, too. And they knew what to do to fix it. Not by sending us to Disneyland or Hollywood. By knowing us, and loving us.
I won't lie: I cried when Stitch came out during this show. I wasn't expecting it. I haven't seen this movie since I was a teenager, and I would never have called it anything close to my favorite. Except now it holds a special meaning,
Landon. Aja. Lauren. Aaron. Lauren. Brady. Wendi. Wade. Rachel. Matt. Jenna. Matt. Brittnie. Brandon. David. Kaleena. Raleigh.
I love you all. I will never be able to repay what you gave to Brandon and me this past weekend, and I love you because I know that you don't expect anything in return. You are my ohana. Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.