Do you remember how it felt to really like someone for the first time? Do you remember how your tummy started flipping and your face hurt from smiling every time you thought about that person? Do you remember how your hands would shake when your sister said the phone was for you and there was no doubt it was HIM on the phone? Or, how you could never eat a bite on a date because you might choke or spill food on your new shirt? What about listening to the radio and hearing the perfect song that described exactly how you felt about that special someone in your life? Do you remember when the boy you really liked asked you to “go steady”?
Sitting here today, I realize that I am that young girl again. I have found myself racing my girls to the phone on numerous occasions here lately! I feel myself smiling a whole lot and laughter comes much easier than it used to. I look forward to dates and seeing this man who has made me believe life really can go on and be good despite the sadness that still invades my heart a lot of the time. I can’t even wrap my own mind around the fact that I feel 14 again!
Only, I am not 14…I am 37 and life is not as easy as it was back then when I was innocent and naive. When you are 14 you don’t know that the love of your life is really out there somewhere. You don’t know that the man of your dreams is waiting to meet you too. You have no clue that you will fall madly in love with a stranger, get married, have babies, and then one day he will suddenly die leaving you completely heart-broken and alone. You have no clue how bad life can get…or how sad you can truly be. When you are 14 all you know is that there is a boy out there that makes your heart flutter and stays on your mind 24/7. You giggle with your girlfriends about the cute things he says and you look forward to getting a note from him between classes. Then, you get into trouble for reading it during Math class instead of focusing on a + b = y -x.
Being 14 is awesome…and should totally be enjoyed while it lasts! Trust me.
At 37 it feels really weird to feel 14 again. I mean, who would have thought that I would be so distracted by a man who I just met a few weeks ago? Who would have thought that I would even have enough life left inside of me to dare to even dream that I could actually have feelings for someone besides the man I loved for 17 years? I surely didn’t…that’s a fact!
I have been so confused and so unsure about a lot of things over the past 6 months. I have literally had to learn how to live again. I have tasted death and I know first hand how devastating it can be. I have longed to just have my person back. I still want him back…and the life we had. Why wouldn’t I? It was a really good life…and that is the thing I struggle with the most now.
I never intended to date anyone…ever again. I had made up my mind that I had been given the love of a lifetime once…and I could not see ever finding anything remotely close to that again. In fact, in my mind it wasn’t fair to anyone else that I might meet…because I had married my one true love of a lifetime and someone else would always be second. Boy, was I wrong!
It’s funny now how I put limits on what God can do. I guess that’s the human part of me though…I rationalize everything through my small, little, limited brain…and then God showed up and I quickly realized that I am helpless in the big scheme of things. I don’t care what kind of plans a person makes or how much they think they are in control…none of us are really in control of anything. God showed me that I can do anything I want to do…but He has plans for me that I can’t even begin to imagine and He will reveal them to me in His time…not mine.
Y’all know that I’m a huge believer is what God is capable of doing in the little things, but even I get amazed when I see what He has actually done. I’ve written before about the fact that God loves the small details in life. I see those small details a lot…but, I fail to connect them to the big picture. Surely, one day I will learn to connect the two…surely!
See, I have spent so much time trying to figure out how to fall out of love with a man who isn’t here anymore that I completely missed the fact that God had prepared another man for my heart. It is so weird to me that I can have feelings for two men at once. I am still trying to figure out how to seperate…yet combine the two. It doesn’t make any sense to me at all!!!!
One night, Bo and I were talking and all of a sudden I got my answer: I don’t have to figure it out, because they can’t be combined.
I am a black and white type person. There is no grey area in my mind. Either it’s wrong or it’s right…there is no in between.
Enter Bo GRAY! LOL!!
Does anyone else see the irony in this besides me and Bo? We laughed and came to the conclusion that sometimes the Gray areas are the best…and not everything has to have an answer or make perfect sense. Life never makes perfect sense…because life is not perfect.
Since that night, I have done a whole lot of praying…talking….and thinking. I have come to the conclusion that God is in control…and He just might have made my heart big enough to handle two loves of a lifetime. He might just plan on blessing me more than I ever dreamed possible…and He might do whatever He wants to do in my life despite my best efforts to stop Him. I personally think that puts God up there on a pedestal that is totally awesome!! And, that’s exactly where He should be!
Today, I see my life in a whole new way. I see that 14 year old girl with her first crush inside a 37 year old wounded, beaten, and torn body. I see the happiness that I have lived and I see the sadness. I cherish the memories in my heart that will never leave my mind…and I realize that I have room for more. I understand that Greg will always be with me and my girls. I know that it is up to me to keep him alive in their minds and remind them always of what a great daddy they had and will always have even though he’s not here anymore.
And, I see Bo.
Bo understands that Greg will always be a part of our lives. He totally gets the fact that no one will ever replace him. And…he doesn’t want to! Bo is his own man…he beats to his own drum and he lives life his own way. He is stinking hilarious and isn’t afraid to act silly or crazy. I should have known when my girls kept asking if he was coming over again soon that I wasn’t the only one who liked his craziness!
Yet, he can also be very serious. One night we were having a pretty in depth conversation. During that conversation, he had the confidence to say: “I am not Greg…but I want to know about him. I want to respect who he was and I want to hear the things you want to share with me about him, but I am not him. I won’t ever be him. I’m not even gonna try to fill his empty shoes. I know who I am and what I am about. It would be real easy for someone to walk in and just pick up where Greg left off. I’m not that man. If you want me, then choose me. Just remember if you do choose me…that Greg’s memory is always welcome here; but I won’t live his life. I’m gonna live mine.”
When I heard those words come out of his mouth…my heart stopped.
Here’s why. About three months after Greg died, I sat here in my chair one day and wrote in my journal. I had written for a while when I found myself thinking about what I would look for in another man…if that ever happened. I was building a wall around my heart and the list that I wrote out specifically designing the man that I thought would be perfect for me was WAY past anything I dreamed possible. I was creating someone who didn’t or couldn’t possibly exist…in my mind anyway.
In fact, the list had 27 specific things that I wanted in someone else if that day ever came.
Here are a few of them:
#10: Will understand that Greg’s memory will always be with me and the girls.
#16: Likes to laugh a lot
#23: Won’t back down on what he believes
#27: Will be honest to a fault. Won’t mind saying what needs to be said and can take that from me as well.
Yeah…it blew my mind when I heard him say those things that night. It also blew my mind when I pulled out my little list and checked off EVERY SINGLE THING ON IT! Y’all…really?! I mean really…how is that even possible?!! And, the funniest thing is…I’ve added about ten more things to the list since I met Bo! Things I never even realized I would look for in someone…and yet here they are! God has a GREAT sense of humor…I am not even kidding! LOL!
Last night out of the blue, Bo informs me that he has changed his relationship status on Facebook. For a second, I kind of panicked. I mean I hadn’t even changed mine from married yet…and now here he was telling the whole world that we were officially going steady! My 14 year old heart skipped into overdrive…and I found my 37 year old self grinning like a Cheshire cat!
At that moment it hit me that yep…time goes on. Life doesn’t always have to be sad from here on out. I don’t have to tiptoe around Greg’s memory around someone new. I don’t have to pretend that what we had wasn’t a big deal…and I don’t have to settle for that being the only big deal in my lifetime. Bo Gray is a pretty big deal himself…and I know without a doubt that God helped us find each other…so He must intend on using us in a pretty big way in each other’s futures.
I’m just gonna be over here 14 year old dancing in my living room and saying 37 year old prayers of thanks for this unexpected blessing in my life. Oh…and I’ll be listening to Earl Thomas Conely radio while I dance…because doesn’t every thirty-something year old person say that Earl Thomas Conely is the best station on Pandora? No?! Huh…well, I guess there’s one more thing to add to the list!