(Me, brother Ted, sister-in-law Heather who is married to my OTHER brother.)
It never ceases to amaze me… the regenerative power of the heart. So astounding how it can be shattered and scarred and keep on beating. How it can be abused and betrayed and keep on loving, and how it can grow to accommodate all the ones you love and still have room for more.
My heart has impressed me this weekend. On Friday, it was pounding out of my chest with overwhelming stress as I drove to LAX. I was on my way to pick up my brother and sister who flew in for my son Evan’s 5th birthday– that was the good part. The bad part was every day last week some godawful event popped up to emotionally smack me upside the head until I was at my breaking point. So I was driving on the 405 highway in traffic, crying (who isn’t crying on the 405, seriously). Not knowing what else to do, I started to pray. Well, if you can call screaming at the top of my lungs over and over I NEED HELP, praying. And of course no one on the 405 found that unusual. I cried and screamed until I was at the airport, drying my tears, ready to embrace my family. And there they were, my Ted and Heather, angels sitting at the curb. I was so scattered I missed the turn-off three times and had to keep circling around the entire airport as they watched in disbelief.
When I finally got to them, we hugged like crazy, they jumped in my car and Heather told me about her journey that day. My darling girl had strep throat, but was determined not to let anything stand in her way. In Houston as she stood at the ticket counter running a fever, she got all woozy and puked in her purse, but still… she got on that plane. And here she was in sunny L.A. with her infected tonsils, little pukey purse and a smile, ready to go. Talk about a trooper.
(Family dinner at Monty's - where my oldest son Taylor was playing his Friday night gig)
For those of you who haven’t been reading my blog all this crazy year, let me introduce you to my family. Heather is married to my brother Ted, not the Ted that I picked up at the airport…the other Ted, the straight one. And they live in Texas with my dad, Ted, and my nephews who are not named Ted, even though my Dad pitched the idea. Heather is the glue in our family. If we fall out of touch, she’ll call and say “Talk to your dad” then put the phone on my Dad’s ear.
My other brother Ted, from Seattle, was the one who orchestrated the trip. He is the family organizer, photo director, party planner extraordinaire, and my twin soul. He wanted us all to be together for Evan’s birthday. We tried to get our other brothers Ted and Caleb to come too, but couldn't swing it. This is a new joy for us, spending birthdays together. You see, before I found out that my biological dad wasn’t dead, (seven years ago) we didn’t even know about each other. But now, we are as close and bonded (and crazy) as any family could be. So no matter what the cost, we squeeze in as many trips as humanly possible. No strep throat can stop us!
My loves, Heather and Ted. Doesn't she look good for having strep throat? Geez!
We spent the weekend laughing, dancing, eating, walking on the beach, sharing warm evenings with my friends, morning coffee on the deck, heart to heart talks. Then on Sunday we put together a homespun carnival for Evan’s birthday. And…wow…do I feel blessed by my amazing friends and family who pulled together to make Evan’s birthday so special. As I looked around - my chosen family, my sweet husband and kids- all laughing and smiling, everyone playing a role at the party, running the carnival games, helping set up, serving food…I realized – my prayer was answered. My lame backward prayer I NEED HELP, was answered beyond my wildest imaginings. I was surrounded by such mighty, fierce love all weekend. They not only helped me put on a party, they loved me, made me laugh, restored my soul, and glued all the pieces of my beat up heart back together.
It was a perfect weekend, and just what I needed. (Funny, I thought I needed a refill on Xanax…turns out I just needed love and laughter.)
Me, and Uncle "Spongebob" Ted, and Dani. We think Uncle Ted may have smuggled this costume in his luggage...can't find it anywhere. Hmmmm...
Today, the party’s over, my family has flown home, and I miss them so, but I am feeling strong. I am now ready to step back into the fray of my life with a full and grateful heart. So I today I say another prayer…and it goes like this:
(My girls! Heather, Cindy, me, Erin, Dani, Joy and Cristen who all helped me with the Carnival)