Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Girl, recently diagnosed with bipolar, gets into a car accident and her injuries require finding a new job. Girl uses a temp agency and gets placed at Boy’s family’s company. Boy comes into the office to meet the new Girl one day. Boy and Girl talk for 2 1/2 hours. Boy asks Girl out. Boy shows up 2 1/2 hours late for their first date. To “end” their first date, Boy crashes at Girl’s house and never leaves.
Labor Day weekend of 1999 to October 23, 1999 would be the beginning of a really crazy, new chapter in my story. None of the other chapters seemed to really be over quite yet, but this one was starting regardless! 20 years ago, My Fave and I went on our first date, he crashed at my apartment and never left – we literally moved in together on our first date. I grew up with zero desire to live any longer than I had to, so love at first sight was never part of the plan. Yet, here we are – married, 2 boys, a dog, a house in the suburbs and dreams of one day living on the beach. If someone asked me, “How did you know he was ‘the one’?”, I’d say this: he didn’t judge my story based on the chapter he walked in on and once he really got into the whole book of Amy Miller and read chapter after chapter, he knew what he was getting into and decided to stay anyway. Bipolar, suicide attempts, body image and food issues, horrible choices in past relationships, etc., etc., etc. – looked at the heap of a mess I was, and still am at times, and said, “Yep, I’ll do life with her.”
20 years later, we’re churning out new chapters. J & C are in the same school for the first time in four years – we couldn’t wait for the day to arrive, to watch them play golf together and move from brothers to friends. It’s awesome – seriously amazing – and will be over in, what feels like, a very short 19 months. Earlier this month, their first of two seasons as teammates came to an end. Not the way any of us wanted but that will in no way take away from the experience of the season – it was better than I imagined it could have been. Now, we’re turning our attention to C’s basketball season and J building a list of “Where do I land after high school?” Maybe “couldn’t wait for the day to arrive” is something we could have waited for a bit. I mean, I don’t even believe I am old enough to have two kids in high school and all the people who say, “I can’t believe how big they are – they look like men!” don’t help – stop with that stuff, y’all!
If I’m being honest, I am struggling a bit with all the turning of the pages before I am ready: J got his license and is, so he thinks, ready to get out into the world and not look back. In some ways, he’s taking C right along with him, which is killing me – that’s my baby and I have a white-knuckle grip on that kid. But when your brother is just 17 months older than you and you’ve grown up with his friends, “freshman” is your class level, “sophomore/junior” is where you’re actually doing life. My pages are a tear-stained, hot mess because my babies can see The Launch coming and are running to get to it. Meanwhile, Mama is just trying to get them to stay home for a family dinner and maybe pretend like they are going to miss us. Then there is My Fave – example after example of how fathers revert back to their teenage years. It’s fantastic and exhausting and emotional and maddening all at once – I frequently threaten to leave but they’d starve. So here we are – pencils, pens, erasers, Sharpies and pages all over the place – doing our best to not mess it up in a million ways, quite certain we are and just figuring it out as we go along.
Back to that chapter that got it’s start in 1999; because Jesus has never met a solid “coincidence” He can’t use to be a show-off, last month My Fave and his family’s business moved their offices out of the building we met in 20 years ago. And of course the move happened on Labor Day weekend. I mean why not? I spent a lot of time during that move in tears. It was emotionally overwhelming to think back to 1999 and know that had I not nearly gone through the windshield of my car, My Fave and I don’t meet in the very offices we spent 20 years later moving out of. With the last box was loaded, we took a final walk down the hall to my old office, where it all began. One last picture and then we closed the door; it somehow felt like the very first chapter in the story of my 47 years of life was okay to end and give full energy to all the new ones to be written. The bonus: no more dark offices – My Fave got himself a big window with a pretty great view!
Every good story has 5 parts, the most intense being the rising action and climax. I’d imagined for 15 years that the climax of my story would also be the end of my story. Instead it turned out to be a pretty horrible car accident. I never had a belief that “good” could come from tragedy; goodness, I was so wrong. And if this crazy, awesome, maddening and purposeful life is what emerged from that mangled car, anything is possible. Without a doubt, anything is possible. ♥