Thursday, August 28, 2008

nostalgic for norman

this is sad, i know.

this first lump in my throat of longing and sadness finally came.

thinking about the amazing church and dear friends thriving in the beauty of familiarity and closely-knit relationships?

not so much. not to say that i don't intensely miss those things, but it works it way out in a strange way. i am boyish about that kind of thing and don't really deal with it, i guess (no offense intended to boys).

thinking about the great town that offers almost anything a young family could desire? safe-ish but not really small-towny. teds, tarahumaras, chelinos, any good mexican food (a real dearth of such food here, regardless of the fort worthian arguments otherwise. "uncle j's is okays", that's my rhyming motto. in my opinion it doesn't touch ted's).

not this one either. also missed, but not really bringing out the nauseous sadness.

a few days ago i had to check schedules to plan the tykes' birthday parties and one of the schedules i needed to consult was the ou football schedule. going to almost took my breath away. i literally felt like i couldn't breathe. lump in throat, burning eyes, angry butterflies in stomach. check, check, and check. i officially miss norman in the fall. i even miss the sooner schooner and my definitely awkward moments there (totally initiated by my dad). i miss waking up on a home game day saturday and going for a nice long run around the stadium and the campus. as i run i see everything being put up and all the excitement beginning. the crisp air and the promise of a great day of fellowship, food, the babies (that's the ou football team in my house, or maybe just my head), and victory (we usually win, people, it is just the truth).

when i realized the profound emotion associated with this trivial thing, this game, this four hours of staring a the idiot tube, i was ashamed. ashamed at not feeling this way about these things: people i have left, the community itself, the intimate bonds that i have because of the really only important thing in life, the gospel. i had to think about it for a couple of days.

then i realized what was probably an easy thing to realize. ou football is completely wrapped up in these things. the two things in my life that i love the most are the bookends of this event. my biological family and my spiritual family. i have very little memories of growing up; the ones i have, sadly are almost completely the bad ones. my family was essentially very strife-ridden and broken with no gospel to heal it. but what i do remember was watching this sport i didn't understand and feeling gleefully happy that my family could enjoy this thing together. and then of course, when my parents bought the sooner schooner shop on lindsey, ou football was our means of bread. as the years went on, ou began making a comeback and began to look like the team it was in my youth. better, good, great. i remember working at the schooner the year of our 2000 national championship. wade came to help that morning as we unloaded the boxes of garb. the store was a madhouse and we were working, but it was so exciting. people would yell, "boomer" and others shout back, "sooner" so loudly that it forced goosebumps onto your skin. and there was my family (and a member of my soon-to-be family!) happy together; and really happy after counting down the register that day.

during my college years, ou went to three national championships. i forget the outcome of two of them ;) but i relish the memories of silly things, like my mom and me wooing over kirk herbstreit as he came in to interview shoppers and my dad. we were like teenage girls; we were happy, and at that, together.

the other bookend on this shelf of memories is located at our various homes in marriage. after i quit the schooner we spent those saturdays at home watching college gameday all day. as you may know, our babies were all born in september, and i would often leave the living room, full of beloved friends there to watch the sooners, to go to my room and nurse a baby. i remember nursing whit while kirsten nursed aiden and we would try to hurry so that we could head back to the living room before the game started again. i remember passing norah catherine, or paco, around to various staffords as her brother bounced around with aiden. i can see curt with one of our children sitting on his lap as he intensely watched the game. they always love mr. stafford, even as he watches a game! i can hear wade and curt and josh bantering and chuck "prophesying", if you will. i remember dan smith staying late after games and having great talks with us as i made smores in the fireplace. i remember leaving during half-time to get ice cream with chewy and some RUF girls. of course, that lump is sitting in my throat, now, as i write this, bigger than ever. which saddens me. but it also comforts me that i am sad about these people; my family that i miss- my mom who is gone; my sisters in christ and in my heart, kirsten, chewy, steph, karla...RUFers crowding our house to spend time with their covenant family. having my babies during this season. our children all playing together as we yell, laugh, eat, and sadly, cry over this game.

i love fall. it is my favorite season of all. i am nervous about fall in fort worth, without all of these longed-for things that fall seems to really conjure. it isn't a great start since we can absolutely not get the game, not even if we offered our organs, which might not be asking too much. we think this is the only one we won't get, but i just don't know how to deal with it. we will still have people in our home, but other than wade's family, they won't be our people, and they won't even be ou fans. but, on the other hand, they will be our people, in the church with a capital c way. and God is always good, even if fall starts without my people and my babies (in the sooners being my babies way).

Monday, August 18, 2008

gulf shores...ahh

the dolphin cruise was tremendously exciting. whit loves the camera obviously.
bennett boy enjoying the view.

the biggest sea jelly i have ever seen. also, the locals were quite impressed with this big fella.

knox after a nice snack of sand. lovely.

aiden looking like a little doll.

the jewkies posing for mommy's many pics.

all of the children after some ice cream at a cute little shop.

good times, for sure. plenty of God's small blessings; a breath-taking dolphin cruise, a hands-on experience with a blue crab, good times with friends who are more like family. a legs-on experience with a sea jelly for whit (he was very brave) that was perhaps less blessingish, yet still God's good providence.