I hear laughter. And giggling. Both are music to my ears. My boys are smiling. All of these are incredibly big deals, considering our circumstances.
Ben, especially, has made great strides since school has dismissed for the summer. Dealing with the harsh reality of Daddy not coming back, he was suffering at school, stifled by the constraints of his schedule and deadlines. All three of us breathed a collective sigh of relief as I picked them up on the last day of school.
I’ve seen his bubbly sweet personality more apparent this month. His dark brown eyes look more clear to me, as he studies me up close and personal, looking into the very depths of my soul. He did that the day he was born–not one cry, just checking out his world with those huge eyes. The boy didn’t sleep the first 24 hours he was here. Mark joked he didn’t want to miss out on anything. I will never forget holding my baby during that first night, his never sleeping, never taking his eyes off of me. He looked like he had all the world’s answers in that baby brain, as his gaze tried to take in this new world and strange surroundings. We did alot of talking that night, well, me more than he, but with his little hands folded, looking at me as if I were the most wonderful creation in the world, he made me feel like there was nothing that I couldn’t do.
Fast forward to today. He and his brother still have that kind of faith in me. It overwhelms me. They trust me with their lives. They encourage me whenever they sense that I am down.
Whenever I received a late night email from the She Speaks Conference last week, telling me a handful of spots had opened & that I was invited to attend, they were so excited for me. Ben couldn’t quit grabbing my arm, telling me how awesome it was, how awesome I was. AJ, although a bit more subdued, also gave me his support. I want to be that person they see in me. That’s what keeps me going.
We made it through Father’s Day pretty well. I asked them what they wanted to do, and they chose bowling. I stink at bowling, and had only bowled once before in my lifetime. But it’s what they wanted to do, so bowl we did. They both requested bumpers. I needed them worse than they did. AJ went to see if he could get them for me, too, but the proprietor told him they were only for kids or folks with special needs. I told the boys that she might reconsider once she looked at my scores 🙂
Afterwards we went to one of Mark’s favorite sports bar and grill, one we frequented BC (before children). We sat and toasted the best dad ever. As I asked them what they missed the most about Mark, AJ said his laugh, and the enthusiasm he had for everything. Ben, thinking while AJ was talking, exclaimed that he just missed being with him, no matter what we were doing.
I miss him taking AJ to baseball practice for sure, as I taxi him to practice every night this week in anticipation of the Little League area tournament for the 10 year old All Star Team. They begin play next Tuesday, June 26th.
The She Speaks conference sounds tailor-made for me. It will give me the opportunity to meet and learn from some of the most respected female Christian writers, bloggers, and speakers in the U.S. It’s a dream come true that I’m going. We will drive to KY, I will leave the boys with their Nana, I will fly to North Carolina for three days, then head back for family time in KY, and later in KS, with the Howell side of our family.
I am excited about the future God has planned for us. He’s giving me glimpses, like opening up conference space for me next month, to keep me encouraged and moving forward. The possibilities of this path into writing/blogging/speaking astound me. I feel so unworthy and unprepared. But I know if I keep my focus on the “Big Three” (God, Jesus, Holy Spirit–golly, I hope they don’t mind me calling them that!), I will persevere.