My husband and I have nothing of material value. Our home, furniture, car, and most of our clothes, are outdated. Even though we are grateful we are living indoors, have something to sit on, drive from point A to point B in, and keep us from public indecency, we care nothing for any of it.
If you own a lot of stuff, you're considered "rich." Actually, if we're real here, you don't own stuff, it owns you, if you think of all the effort that goes into paying for it, protecting it, maintaining it, and stressing over losing it. We have none of those worries.
I'll tell you what I do have--well, I have them, and I don't. I cherish them, but have to hold them loosely. And while there is no price you could place upon them, having them makes me staggeringly wealthy.
My family. Here is the lineup from first-born to last (but hardly, least):
Daughter, Jennifer, her husband, Jon Michael, and their daughter, Kate (aka Kate the Great).
Jennifer is, proudly, a stay-at-home Mom; the toughest job in the world. I know firsthand, she's doing a great job. Now that Kate is nearing 4 years old, Jen is moving back into the organizing business she enjoyed, pre-Kate. She is, no exaggeration, a multi-talented genius, and is wise for her years. She's crafty. Wait, I mean she's really good at crafts. Quick-witted, with a razor sharp sense of humor, I am no match for her. Her brother will take her on though.
|A family event--Jon's first marathon|
|Tinkerbell--never a more perfect fairy|
Daughter, Alison, and her husband, Chris, and their first child on the way, Claire Elizabeth.
Ali is an RN who works 12-hour shifts in a hospital PACU. From her first day on the planet she has been the most sweet, gentle spirit I've known. She loves Pottery Barn. And martinis (not while incubating cuteness). When she calls me, I answer the phone and hear, "Mutti!" (a hold-over from high school German class.) Like her mother, she's an idealist and she worries too much. A loyal friend, generous, other-centered. I love her easy laugh and upbeat outlook. You have to love her or there's something wrong with you.
Son, Justin, and his wife, Natasha. They have a fur-kid--Braxton, the cockapoo.
Justin is a Physician Assistant at a bariatric and general surgery practice. He works as many hours (maybe more) than his supervising physician and he loves what he does. He has brains AND common sense, has an incredible work ethic, and knows how to chill out with the best of them. I love his sense of humor. He can imitate any accent. He knows movie lines from childhood to adulthood and inserts them into conversations at just the right time. He loves golf. He's athletic. He's cute. And Chris can help him fix anything. Put Justin and Jen in a room together and enjoy the entertainment.
|At Laurie & Ross's wedding|
Natasha (or as we call her, Tasha), is a Nurse Practitioner in a coronary intensive care unit. She also has an incredible work ethic, working most days well beyond her scheduled 12-hour shift. Like her husband, she can work 7 days in a row (I'm tired thinking about it) and then relax into her days off. She makes it look easy, but I know it's extremely stressful work caring for such sick patients. She loves what she does. She has a huge heart for people. She's cute. Stand back when she gets out the pressure washer and the riding mower. She loves my son. She appreciates me...no small deal for a mother-in-law. 'Nuff said.
Daughter, Laurie, and her husband, Ross. The Newlyweds! No fur-kids, or actual kids, yet. They were married on October 20th, in a beautiful ceremony on a beautiful horse farm in beautiful Northwest Virginia.
Laurie is a CPA and she loves tax. What? The way she puts it, "Different talents and passions for our unique contributions to the world." You can't argue with that. As with all the other people in this bunch, we have another genius. Sailing through school, college, and a Master's degree, she stuns me with her intelligence and the beautiful woman she has grown to be. An independent girl from the start, she is fearless. Also heard saying, "Mutti!" when answering her call. What's the downside? She's too darn far away for me. And tax season makes her MIA. That work ethic thing.
Ross is a hopeless romantic. I love that about him. Ross is Laurie's Starbuck's crush. They met when he was Assistant Manager of the store Laurie frequented on her way to work as Senior Accountant of an area church. He is now Manager, but of a different Starbuck's. He works long hours...another one with a strong work ethic. He is incredibly sweet and gentle. He smiles a lot. He adores my daughter. I only met him 11 months ago, after they were engaged, and I hope to get to know him better. Ahem....move south.
And then, there's this guy I met in 2007. We were married 3 years later.
|Snowy, happy wedding day, 2/13/10|
Look at that. More love to add to the already overflowing cup. Leland loves big. He is my best friend. When we married and promised each other, "for better or worse, for richer or poorer," we had no idea how worse and poorer we were going to get. But the bottom line is, and I don't care how cliche is sounds, we have each other to hold onto. When we married, our purpose was to honor God, serve together, and trust him to enrich and prosper our lives. We're taking the circuitous route, but we're following God's lead, trusting he's with us always and loves us unconditionally. I won't lie--we hurt together. Better than by yourself.
Since taking stock of all things worldly--possessions and finances--I've realized how deep the hole is we presently find ourselves in, and from this perspective, I'm empty-handed. As a result, I found myself taking stock of what's left, and asking,
"What can't be taken away from me?"
- These people. They are forever with me. Being Mom to my children is the one and only job I've had that has eternal value. And my connection to my husband will never die. We are kindred spirits.
- These promises: For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.--Romans 8:38-39; And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. --Matthew 28:20
I get it.