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Feeling Sentimental

So it’s the start of a new year (ish), and that always prompts a little spring cleaning around the office. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting my little corner of cubicle world – you know that I have very little blank space on my gray walls. I mean, who wants to look at sad, drab, gray walls all day?? When not busy working, of course. I prefer to look up and see things that make me smile; happy mementos of fun times, pictures my favorite kids have made me, photos from awesome places I’ve been, certificates of accomplishment (both professional and personal) which inspire me, all sorts of things which remind me of the countless blessings in my life.

For a long time – seven years, to be exact – I had this picture of Matt and me from vacation 2005. It was his 30th birthday and he had caught that really awesome walleye, while I had caught a couple small perch. I’ve posted this picture before – it’s definitely a favorite…special in so many ways. I used to look at the picture longingly. Pining for the way things were before. Looking at that picture, I could feel, hear, and see how Matt was before. I could picture his easy walk…and his cute butt in his Levi’s. I could hear him yelling and recounting the fishing adventures with his Dad. I could picture his hands, strong and tough – capable as they handled the fish. I could feel his strength as he helped me in and out of the boat…and the smell of his favorite fishing hat. It was a great picture from a great day that I had developed only days later as he lay helpless in a hospital bed. I looked at that picture endlessly – hoping desperately for another day like that. And it never came…not exactly.
It would be easy to look at that picture and be sad. No one would blame me for comparing all the differences between then and now and feeling low. We lost a lot. But this year, when I was cleaning up my office and looking at that picture…I realized something. We’ve both changed tremendously since that picture was taken. Our lives, our marriage, our bodies, our future completely altered. But oh, what blessings we’ve known in the midst. How many wonderful changes have we known and celebrated these past seven years? Endless. Countless.
I was looking to put up this picture of Matt and me from the Chicago Cubs game we went to last fall. It is easily, hands down, one of my most favorite pictures of us…ever. We were blissfully happy…having the time of our lives even though it was only days after the miscarriage. We had the family weekend planned for months and didn’t want to back out – so we went. And it was a really great weekend, despite the grief we held in our hearts. Matt was over the moon excited to be at the game and we had the best treatment, best seats, best time. I look at that picture and I see our lives now. I see resilience. Faith. Commitment. Strength. Love. Joy. And I realized it was maybe time to put the old picture away. Time to replace it with this new picture which I loved equally as much – if not more – for what it represented. And so I did – and now when I look up, amongst all the other pictures and mementos – I see our smiling faces and remember the sheer joy we shared that night. I have only one other picture on my desk from our ‘former’ lives…from the night we got engaged. I’ll probably keep that one up for posterity’s sake…we’ve come a long way, baby and we should celebrate that!!

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