Girl world

Yesterday was one of those days where it threatened to rain all day, but it never actually poured down rain until the minute I walked out the door to pick up Caroline from school. I was so glad I was wearing a white shirt. Nothing like a peep show at the elementary school.

After we got home and changed into dry clothes, I emailed the soccer team to let them know we would still have practice unless it was pouring down rain at 5:30. If we’re going to continue at our current level of mediocrity, we need all the practice we can get. Especially since I missed last week’s practice and P reported that he’d basically spent an hour being beat up by a bunch of six year old girls. To which I replied, “Oh, that’s too bad. Did I tell you that I chose a color called Bubblebath for my toes during my pedicure today? Wow, I’d love to hear more about soccer practice but I’m on my way to eat delicious sushi with grownups at Nobu. Love you.”

We checked the radar around 5:00 because we are big meteorology nerds and determined that practice could go on as scheduled even though there were definitely some showers to the south that appeared to be heading our way in the next hour or so. But we decided a few measly showers wouldn’t stop the Cheetah Girls. The Cheetah Girls are warriors who may or may not occasionally cry when one of them falls and scrapes her knees.

After about twenty minutes of practice (insert picture of P and I herding a very cute group of feral cats), the skies opened up and the rain came down. Most of the girls’ parents were there so we called practice and everyone ran to their cars to head home.

But there were two girls left whose mothers weren’t there yet because they had to shuttle other kids to other various practices all over town, so we told those girls to hop in the car with us and we’d just all wait in the parking lot until their mothers arrived.

A little over seven years ago, I was pregnant with Caroline and P was in Colorado chaperoning about sixty high school students on a ski trip. Normally I would have been on the trip with him, but I had a host of issues with riding a bus for seventeen hours with high school kids before I ever got pregnant so there wasn’t really even a remote possibility that I was going to attempt that kind of torture while carrying a child. He’d arranged to have a few other female chaperones on the trip, but they’d all had to cancel at the last minute.

P, bless his heart, ended up being the chaperone and small group leader for ten fourteen year old girls during that trip. He’d call me every night after he got back to his hotel room and report that they’d put gel in his hair or that they’d used something called a “straight iron” on him. On the last night of the trip he called to tell me that someone had a pair of scissors and he wasn’t sure what happened but the girls all started cutting each other’s hair and, the next thing he knew, three of them were crying in the bathroom while the other girls gathered outside the door and tried to console them with loving statements like “it will grow back” or “it doesn’t look that uneven from the left side”.

In short, he was slightly traumatized by the whole experience.

He arrived home from the trip on Wednesday afternoon and I was scheduled to have an ultrasound the following Friday. It was the big ultrasound. The ultrasound that can tell you if you’re having a boy or a girl. And if you think I was going to wait to find out that piece of information then you don’t know me at all. Of course it wasn’t like I really needed the ultrasound to tell me I was having a girl because I’d known that for a long time thanks to the science of peeing on some Drano Crystals and seeing them turn a lovely shade of seafoam green. Not to mention that I felt that God was speaking to me through Neil Diamond every time I heard “Sweet Caroline” come on the radio.

On the way to the doctor’s office that Friday morning, P looked at me and told me he knew we were having a girl. I thought maybe Neil Diamond had been speaking to him too, but he said that he knew when he was on that ski trip surrounded by all the chaos and squeals of those girls that God was preparing him for life with a daughter. And as much as he didn’t understand all the drama and the high pitched voices and the nail polish and why they thought it was a good idea to cut each other’s hair, he knew that it was exactly what he wanted.

Fast forward to a rained out soccer practice seven years later. We pile in the car and we’re all soaking wet. The girls are all squealing in their high pitched voices and I put some Taylor Swift on my iPod because I know the love language of six year old girls. And from the backseat, all three of them start singing “Our Song” as loud as their little voices can sing. The fact that they didn’t know the majority of the real lyrics didn’t dim their enthusiasm and confirmed why I never realized that “Greased Lightning” was a really dirty song until I was in my twenties.

They sang their hearts out and laughed and tickled each other. And in between they were all yelling “COACH P! COACH P! DID I TELL YOU ABOUT THE TIME THAT MY MOM TOLD MY SISTER SHE WAS GROUNDED FOR A WEEK BECAUSE SHE STAYED ON THE PHONE TOO LATE?” and “COACH P! COACH P! DID YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE AN IMAGINARY FRIEND NAMED ZUM ZUM?” and “COACH P! COACH P! DID YOU KNOW THAT ‘WHITE HORSE’ BY TAYLOR SWIFT IS MY VERY FAVORITE SONG IN THE WHOLE WORLD OR MAYBE IT’S ‘PARTY IN THE U.S.A.’?”

At one point he asked me if Taylor Swift had been a contestant on American Idol and I replied, “No, she was just a seventeen year old girl who got struck by lightning.” (Because I like to mix metaphors.) And Caroline yelled out, “MY MOM JUST SAW SOME GIRL GET STRUCK BY LIGHTNING!” All the girls screamed and I had to explain that no one got struck by lightning, I was just using an expression that ultimately didn’t even make sense.

P just looked at me in amazement that so many different conversations and activities were taking place all at the same time in the backseat of our car. It was like his official welcome party to GIRL WORLD.

And I don’t know if anything has ever made me happier in my whole life.

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Gone fishing

While I was on my tour of the United States, P and Caroline headed to the ranch to do a little fishing.

I think they had a pretty good time.

We won’t talk about how long it took me to get all the tangles out of her hair when I got home.

Because what’s important is the size of that bass.

And the size of those smiles.

*Caroline’s shirt says “A bad day huntin’ with Dad beats a good day shoppin’ with Mom”. Personally, I think that’s debatable.

It’s a long story

Yesterday I spent most of the day trying to adapt to being back in the real world. A world full of dirty laundry, floors that needed to be swept, bathrooms that needed to be cleaned and groceries that didn’t magically appear in my kitchen cabinets. To make matters worse, when I finally emerged from a huge pile of laundry and made it to the grocery store, I went to pay for my groceries only to discover that I’d left my wallet at home. Long story short, reality made me her circus monkey.

But enough about my grocery store woes. At least until tomorrow when I may feel the need to talk about them ad nauseam.

On Friday morning I woke up in New York. Sophie and I had a few hours to walk around the city before we had to head to the airport. So, naturally, we ate some breakfast and then treated ourselves to cupcakes to sustain us as we walked the streets of Manhattan. I took a couple of pictures that seemed to exemplify all that is good and right about the city.

Dear H&M, I think I’ll miss you most of all. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time together. You have my heart.

But I had a plane to catch.

Sophie gently pulled me out of H&M and we grabbed a cab to take us to La Guardia. I felt fairly certain there was a 42% chance that I was going to die in that cab and deeply regretted that my last moments would be filled with the smell of old garlic and body odor.

Thankfully, we arrived safely at the airport and I boarded a flight to Dallas because one of my dearest friends and college roommate was getting married. Gulley and I had originally planned to drive to Dallas together, but when the trip to New York came up we decided that I’d just fly in to Dallas and then we could ride back to San Antonio together at the end of the weekend. I don’t know why I feel the need to include all these travel details because they really have nothing to do with anything but I can’t stop myself from typing all the words and already erased an entire paragraph where I detailed what I bought at the gift shop at La Guardia. (Gardetto Honey Mustard Snack Mix, US Weekly, and People StyleWatch!) I have a compulsive need to overshare meaningless details.

But I will tell you about the bride because it’s a lovely story.

Jen, Gulley and I lived together for two years in college. Gulley didn’t actually pay rent one of those years because her true place of residence was the dorm, but we felt it was our duty to spare her from having to go home to the dorm every night so she just became our unofficial roommate. Jen was everything Gulley and I weren’t. She was known to actually study for exams and even miss football games to work on projects. She managed to make it through college without knowing all the characters on Saved By The Bell or having a VIP card to any of the bars in College Station.

After graduation, we all remained close friends. Jen spent the next several years pursuing her career ambitions and I spent that time doling out questionable financial advice to unsuspecting clients until P and I got married in August 1997. Then I switched careers and doled out questionable pharmaceutical advice to unsuspecting doctors.

Eventually all of our college friends settled down, got married and started having babies. Jen remained single. She’d call and tell us about an occasional date, but the right one never seemed to come along. But instead of pouting over her singleness and distancing herself from her married friends, Jen always showed up. She came and rocked our babies and invested in our lives. She took mission trips to Africa, taught Bible study at her church, and began doing inner city ministry work.

About two years ago, she brought a guy named Scott to spend the weekend at AJ’s ranch. They’d been dating for a few months and things seemed pretty serious. There was talk of marriage.

But they broke up. He didn’t know if he was ready to make a commitment and things just fell apart. She was heartbroken, but trusted that God must have something else for her life.

Eighteen months later, on January 10, I received a text message from Jen that read “Scott and I just got engaged!” And I texted back, “Did I miss something? I didn’t even know y’all were dating again.” (Because, listen, if anyone is going to miss some kind of major detail, it’s me.)

I hadn’t missed anything.

Scott and Jen had spent the last eighteen months apart, but he never quit thinking about her. Ultimately, he decided he didn’t want to spend his life without Jen. So he went to her mama and asked for permission to marry Jen. He bought an engagement ring. And then a few days later, he showed up and told Jen he needed to talk to her. He said that he knew she was the girl for him, placed the ring on the dashboard of the car and said he was ready to put it on her finger the moment she was ready.

And in typical Jen fashion, she began screaming, “I’M READY!! I’M READY!!”

IT’S LIKE A SCENE RIGHT OUT OF A MOVIE.

So he got down on one knee, placed the ring on her finger and they got married this past Sunday at 2:00. It was a day filled with love and close friends and family. It was a day that we’d all been waiting and hoping for.

Since Jen’s dad passed away when we were in college, she walked down the aisle alone. As she got to the halfway point, Scott left the front of the church, went to meet her and walked her the rest of the way. And everyone broke into applause. It was one of my favorite wedding moments ever.

This is Gulley, Jen, Jamie and me after the rehearsal.

And here’s the bride on her big day.

It’s hard to tell from the huge smile, but I think she’s pretty happy.