...penny for my thoughts...

On a cold day in December, the 19th to be exact, I literally ran through a parking lot at my full speed. As I ran, something shiny caught my eye and I stopped, for a brief second, to pick up the penny that lay heads up on the cement. David grabbed my hand and urged me along and I said "I just grabbed this penny, it was heads up and good luck." and I tucked it in to my pocket, gripping it tight. The door that we ran through was to the emergency room, and what lay behind those doors was my father - in a state that was a complete mystery to me. I had been on a frantic call with his husband a few minutes earlier, and we got in the car as fast we we could go. I was supposed to be at a concert in Tacoma, and David was supposed to be working but was sick. It was not just a coincidence that we were both home when I got that call, I'm sure of that. We drove the 5 minutes across town not having any clue what we would find. I speculated aloud, and David just squeezed my hand and told me to think positive thoughts. As we drove to the hospital, I couldn't stop thinking over and over again that this could be really, really bad. So it seemed only natural to grab on to any shred of hope and luck that I could possibly find as I ran in to the complete unknown. Less than one hour later, I found the penny in my pocket and angrily gave it to David, declaring "take this stupid thing, it was not even close to being good luck." Words had been said to us that even now I'm having a hard time typing... A strange person had walked in to the room that we were waiting in, on the edges of our seats, and told us "I'm sorry, he's gone." It was numbing, and I felt the walls and the reality come crashing down on me. And when I found the penny awhile later, I felt my anger flare up at the sight of it, and tossing it aside for letting me down was the obvious solution.

Fast forward to two weeks later. Christmas and New Years had come and gone, and we had all gathered to say goodbye to my father. One of the hardest days of my life had gone by in a sort of blur, but I'd been surrounded by more love than I'd ever experienced. My family and best friends took such good care of me throughout those two weeks, making sure that I was safe, and comfortable, and reminding me just how loved I was. They let me cry when I needed to, helped me laugh when I needed to -- did everything perfectly. I could not have asked for more. After the dust had settled on my house and I was sitting down to write some cards, I felt reality and the quiet heavy on my shoulders. David was cleaning up, and he approached me at the table with something in his hand -- the penny. He told me that he knew that I was angry, and that the penny had not done what I had hoped, but that he was holding on to give back to me so I could have it. I took it from him, and sat holding it, reflecting on how much my life had changed in just under 3 weeks. I cried and cried and cried, which I'd come to realize was going to happen a lot (and had happened a lot already) and sat in the living room to think.

It was then, looking at that penny, that I thought about my dad and his connections to this coin in my hand (besides the obvious that I've already mentioned). My mind drifted to a story that my dad had told me often... when he was young, he had a Cocker Spaniel named Penny. He adored Penny, and told us frequently growing up that Penny had saved his life once. He had gotten lost in the woods and it was Penny that got him home. The way that he spoke about Penny was always so tender and loving. I loved that story.

One of my favorite things that I liked to tease my dad about throughout his life was about candy. He had told me once that the only thing that he had ever stolen was a piece of penny candy from a candy store near his house in California. He had said that he felt so guilty about it, and that if he could go back to that store and give them a penny, he would. I always teased him about that, joking that they closed down because of that one piece of candy.  It was one of my favorite things to needle him about.

Not to mention the fact that he went through a huge faze of decorating with copper. There are lots of copper decorations and whirly-gigs hanging in his house. He fell in love with them years ago and went through one of his phases, and ended up getting a bunch to put around the house.

So as I sat there and cried thinking about what I had lost, and holding that "stupid penny" tight, I realized that things don't always present themselves for the obvious reasons. And that even though that penny did not bring me the luck that I thought it would, it reconnected me to parts of my dad that I hadn't thought about in a long time, and I'm sure will resurface many more times throughout my life. And it's these little memories that I'm so, so lucky to have gathered and held on to for when things get hard, and when I can't hold back the tears any longer. Memories like these will pull me through anything.

I'm holding on tight to this and all of the memories that it brings.
I'm holding on tight to this and all of the memories that it brings.

A (tiny) friend(ly) reminder...

Things are slowly transitioning into adorable around here. It's that time of year when the holidays are coming, and more and more special days are popping up in our daily school calendar. The days are getting shorter, it's getting colder, and it's starting to feel like Christmas is just around the corner (although this could be since it exploded on to the commercial scene the day after Halloween -- sorry, Thanksgiving!).  With that, comes the feeling that my heart is basically consistently wrapped up in a soft fuzzy blanket. Everything makes me go "awwww" or swoon a little bit, and a lot of things tug at my heart strings so quickly that tears spring to my eyes. DISCLAIMER: Not pregnant, before that even comes out of someone's mouth or gets typed!!  With all of this being said, you will understand completely when I tell you about a moment that I was part of yesterday when reading to the JrK kiddos that completely melted my heart into a little puddle... We were reading a story that was beautifully illustrated, a Native American legend story about the Sun Arrow. We turned a page and there was a drawing of a mama cradling a baby. I pointed it out to the class and one kiddo (who may or not be a favorite of mine if I was picking favorites but I'm not supposed to be I'm just saying he is the sweetest but again I don't have favorites) breathed "oh, I just looooove that!" To which my heart soared a bit.

But wait -- there's more....

There was a quiet conversation between kids after that, and I suddenly heard the same above-named (but totally not one of my favorites because I shouldn't have those right????) say strongly "Don't say that you don't like that. It's beautiful. It's LOVELY!"

You guys. My heart just about burst open right there. I walked away with the warmest feeling in my heart, and I could not wait to share it with my boss, and his parents. Every time I even think about what he said, my hand flies to my heart instinctively as if to say "you're going to hear it again, heart of mine -- prepare yourself so that you don't explode right now."  But I also think I do it because it's my way of containing myself a little bit. If I let myself, every time I thought of that story I could possibly burst in to tears at the sheer sweetness of it.

We can complain left and right, up and down, backwards and forwards all day long. But the beauty of knowing that some of those things that we are complaining about are things that someone else finds beautiful and lovely? To me, it's just plain magical. They say that one man's junk is another man's treasure, and that's so true. That bold reminder from my little friend yesterday jump started my brain into overdrive and has me thinking pretty deeply about the idea of not being so indifferent. And also about seeing the beauty and lovely in everything around us -- even if it's just a drawing on a page. We also must be bold and alert each other of this fact whenever possible. Not to be smug, or to shame, but just like my friend did yesterday -- to simply remind them about the beauty in things that others are so quick to dismiss. 

And so I'm making it my charge to embrace this notion, that there is beauty in everything for someone, even if it isn't me. And I'm also remembering to grant grace when someone doesn't find something lovely like I do. But never being afraid to be the one that loudly breathes "awww, I just love that" when I cannot possibly contain myself.

It's beautiful.
It's beautiful.