This is my first blog posting, so it is appropriate that I am writing it in remembrance of Liz’s birthday. I’ve wanted to do this for some time now – but as is so often the case with anything involving me and writing, it takes me a while to get started. So between my procrastination-derived writer’s block and my frequent challenge with doing “out of the box” kind of things, this has been a long time coming. Hopefully, better late than ever. I’m going to write this as a letter to Liz – you’re welcome to read it, but I figured this was the best way to say the things that have been on my heart and in my mind, the things that I wish I had said before the 30th of July but always assumed that there was going to be more time, that tomorrow would follow after today. Wow, how wrong I was. So here goes.
Liz – tomorrow’s your birthday. I’d give anything to be able to call you tomorrow and hear you answer “wazzup?!?!?!?!” – I can’t tell you how much I miss hearing that. I love that was our code word and reminder of the time you tricked me when I called your Mom’s phone and you answered instead – and had me going for a while that it was her, not you (I’m glad I didn’t say anything to mushy or inappropriate!). I made you promise that you’d always answer with “wazzup……” after that. And you did (although I was always a little bit worried you’d try and trick me sometime when I least expected it).
I am so glad that part of the package deal of marrying your Mom was getting 3 more daughters in the deal. From the very first, you welcomed me and my family into your family. No hesitation, no questions, no walls. But that was pretty much how you approached life in general – full speed ahead, eyes wide open, jump right in. Whether it was a marathon, making book mobiles for the boys, starting a business, learning a new craft – I was in awe of your energy and your persistence. Sometimes I was tired after just talking to you on the phone – you squeezed more out of each day than most people got out of a month. But that’s also why I so enjoyed being around you – and loved when you and the wild men would come by the house. It was amazing how quickly you all could drive the calm away and fill our home with joyous chaos!
I always wanted you, Jennifer and Lauren to know how much I loved your Mom – and that she was safe, would be cared for and adored, and that you 3 Apples were also loved and cherished. You 3 Apples – I never ceased being amazed at how each of you girls reflected different aspects of your Mom. None of you fell very far from the tree – and I am so thankful for that.
We had way too little time together – at least on this Earth. Too little time to do things and make memories – but I am so thankful for the ones I do have. One of my favorite starts with “I am so sorry I hit you at the Jeremy Camp and Francesca Battistelli concert at Shoreline”. Okay, let me explain for the rest of you: Julie, Jennifer, Liz and I had a great night worshipping out loud to the music of Jeremy and Francesca. I accidentally bopped Liz in the mouth with my Aggie ring as I was reaching over to hug her – I was afraid I’d knocked one of her teeth out! We had a pretty good laugh about that – after we made sure you were okay. But the really special part of that night was you telling your Mom how great it was to worship loudly, joyously, openly – exuberantly – with us. It was a very special night – and it was both awesome and comforting to know how much you loved our Lord.
Lizz and Jennifer with John and Julie at the Jeremy/Francesca concert!
Lizz’s book mobiles!
I’m sorry I gave you so much grief about turning those books into mobiles for the boy’s play area. They really turned out awesome – but you know how much I hate seeing good books folded, spindled and mutilated! But you know what – that was a really cool idea. And like all your ideas, you pursued it with energy and enthusiasm.
I wish I had the chance to thank you now – and will just have to do that on the next leg of this journey – for loving your Mom the way you did. For taking the time to call her and tell her how much you loved her and for keeping her up to date on all the comings and goings with you and Sam and the boys. It was always fun at the end of the day to see your Mom light up as she was telling about the latest adventure or project. You proved over and over again how important the little things are – a phone call, a text message, a voice mail.
Back to the welcoming me to the family topic. You didn’t have to – but I am so glad you did. I’ll always cherish the note you wrote me and your Mom when we did a little “on the down low” loan to you. You didn’t have to pay us back – helping our kids out is what parents are for. But you were so darned intense about making sure you paid us back and that we had cashed the check – and then wrote such an amazingly gracious note.
There’s so much more. Lots of great memories in 5 years. They’ll just have to last for a lifetime.
So, yeah. I’ve missed you. Missed hearing “wazzupp…..”. Missed wondering what the next big “thing” was going to be – what new project, adventure, or activity you were going to tackle. You’ve left a big hole in our life. But I know that this was all part of God’s plan – and God’s plan is perfect. And that life goes on – seasons change, years go by, we bid old friends good-bye and welcome new loved ones into the world. We’re a few weeks away from welcoming Nate into the world and a few months away from welcoming Keith into the family (oh yeah, another great memory was watching you 3 Apples dancing in a circle at your wedding – wow, pure joy!).
Your Mom and Lisa, Jennifer and Lauren are going to have a Spa Day tomorrow – I have to work. BUT – we’re going to have dinner at the Hyde Park Bar and Grill. Sorry you can’t be there – I know, those are awesome fries. I’ll eat some for you.
This was interesting. I think I’ll have to do it again. I’ll try not to wait until your next birthday.
Love ya. Mean it.
Lizz, John, Julie and Jennifer at Chris and Jessica Diem’s wedding!