I’ve always had a plan. 5 year plan, 10 year plan, 20 year plan. Starting from the time I was a small child I would write down lists and plans for my lie, determined to suck every once of joy and happiness out of life as I could. For most of my childhood and teenage years, that plan included getting married at 21 and having my first child no later than my 25th and a half birthday. Why 25th and a half? Because I wanted to have a banging 25th birthday and I didn’t want to be fat for it. This, decided at 7 years old. If you were to spend a single day inside my head, I promise you would get worn out and exhausted. My mind just never stops. Never. And it, really, has been that way for as long as I can remember. But, try as I may, none of my plans ever turned out the way I envisioned them. None. At 18 I decided to move to FL and, instead of going to traditional school, I went to a bible school where I studied leadership and had a ton of hands-on training both in leadership and working with the less fortunate. After spending 3 years in FL I was offered a job in Copenhagen, Denmark which I took almost without hesitation. At 21, instead of being married I took a huge step by moving out of the country where I was certain there would be any guys that fit my expectations. And come year 25, I had my incredible birthday party, but was still single and certainly not 3 months pregnant. 3 years later I’m now 28…not married, not pregnant, not at all in a place that I ever thought of, imaged, or planned for. Yet, still, a place that has far exceeded the expectations I had for my life.
Last year my parents adopted 3 children who have since become the loves of my life (well, beside Adam….who may or may not be a bit jealous of how much I love these kids). They weren’t in the plan. At all. Not for my parents life, and not for mine. Yet, somehow, as time has gone by, it is evident that this was God’s plan all along. These kids show me everyday about the beauty and grace of God Himself….just by being who they are. Each with their own [very different] personality, gifts, strengths and weaknesses. It so, so fun being a big sister to three little kids and watching them grow up. I’ve taught them how to ski, ride a bike, and swim. I was there when they rode a roller coaster (the big ones) for the first time, and I convinced my 9 year old sister to do the Skycoaster with me. Next year I plan on taking her to Ecuador with me, teaching Bruce how to snowboard, and getting Brandon to jump into the deep end without his life jacket. None of this was in my life plan but, somehow, it is the most fulfilling plan I can think of right now.
When my parents started fostering the 3 kids I began taking them for something we have since called “sister days”. A day where I take them out one at a time (or sometimes two at a time with the boys) and we do something fun that is just for them. Last week I managed to get in two sisters days, both in NYC. I took Bionca to the city where we met up with my good friend, Angie, and her daughter. And while we had a great time eating rice pudding, walking the streets of Manhattan, and paying an ungodly amount to get her American Girl dolls hair done, the real treat came late in the night on our drive home. She was dozing in and out after an exhausting day but somewhere in between trying to count sheep she began asking me about boys, about sex (apparently 10 year olds these days know what that is!!), about why she should wait as long as she can to kiss any boys or to date, about dreams and goals, and about how beautiful and special she is. Every penny I spent that day was for that 25 minute car ride home from the train station because that is where the magic was made, and that is where our close bond was strengthened. A bond that I hope and pray lasts for the rest of her life.
Two days after I took Bionca to the city, I turned around to head back…this time with two rambunctious boys in tow. Armed with every piece of Yankee gear we owned and a cooler filled with snacks, we made our way through the crowds on two trains, eventually ending up at Yankee Stadium. And there we sat, for 3.5 hours in the pouring rain as we watched the Yankees crush the Orioles with Brandon shouting “HOME RUN!” every time the ball got hit. Over hot dogs and peanuts, sweedish fish and juice boxes, we bonded with a mutual love for the best baseball team in America.And although I may have been absolutely exhausted at the end of the day, hearing Brandon say “This was the most awesome day EVER!” made it all worth it.
All this to say that although life has never gone according to my plans, I wouldn’t trade it for life itself. I am blessed beyond reason, grateful beyond words, and delighted beyond measure. Here’s to 20 more years of unsuccessfully planning my life…