I get to keep my Beatles CD's after all! But still. They say a will is really important and stuff. So at least we know we've got the important things covered (for the next time I fly in an airplane and all).
The trip was a raging success. We had so much fun and a truly magical time at Dad B's 90th birthday party. We are both so thankful that we got to be there for that. It was magical.
Benson had his first Halloween. Cutest pumpkin ever. KJ was Percy Jackson, Olivia was an angel, and Katelyn was a kitty cat. Busy night trying to juggle two families, but fun.
Basically the whole week was our little family trying to be two places at once. Sometimes we succeeded, sometimes we failed. Either way, we tried.
Katelyn took it upon herself to be Benson's right hand woman. She is getting so kind and sweet with him, and he truly finds her comforting. I love that.
Sneaking in as many snuggles as we can get!
I got to meet my beautiful niece, Bianca Marie * yes, she will get extra candy from me for the rest of her natural life! She is so beautiful, and it was so fun to bring the two tiny cousins together. Benson is about six weeks older and six times bigger. She is very feminine and petite, he is very masculine and big.
One of my very favorites:
I love this picture of my two Double B's and Grandpa. We are so lucky to have the parents we do. Even when we visit home, we don't really get enough time with them, but we love the time we do have and are thankful for it!
My sweet boy turned 11. ELEVEN!!! I do not endorse this decision. I had a great time teasing him about having to stay ten, because he'd just get so worked up about it. I love this gentle soul. So. Much. He loved having his birthday with family in Utah! And late that night we drove down to Las Vegas and arrived home at 6:45 in the morning, central time. Phew!
Flying was hard. I'm not going to pretend it wasn't. The flight to Utah was the smoothest ride the Double B says he has ever had. The ride back to Missouri was the roughest he's ever had. The turbulence was pretty intense and scared the poop out of me! Thankfully, I'd put another Xanax in my pocket and have never swallowed anything so fast, ha ha! I was so thankful for it, because it enabled me to help KJ, when before I took it I could not. Before that, it took everything in my power to not have a gigantic freak out. But it gave me clarity and I could then feel his tiny tears of fear dripping on my arm and could come back to myself -- we prayed, spoke the words to his favorite hymn "I Stand All Amazed," talked about our faith that the Lord could help us, and eventually were able to play a little Tetris... a game that will probably be in Heaven. I have talked it out with the Double B and I work it out a lot with myself, making sure it stays clear for what it was and doesn't build into something it wasn't. I WILL fly in an airplane again -- many times, in fact. As my brother Matt so wisely told me... you don't have to like everything you need to do.
I refuse to let the things I am afraid of stop me anymore.
But here is what is interesting. I have realized that I am getting less and less afraid.
I had some personal revelation on this trip, I guess you could say. I am learning something -- and that is that the Lord is a lot less interested in Marie being comfortable as in Marie becoming what I need to be. This transformation has been going on for years now -- and I guess will keep going for as long as it takes. As BB and I were talking on the couch the other night and I shared this discovery, he pointed out that really, it began in earnest when I became Young Women's president when I was 25. Which is true, really, that is the age when I took my weakness -- my fear and anxiety -- before the Lord and asked Him to help make my weak thing strong. He is doing it. He is working a mighty miracle in me. There has been great spiritual growth and nourishment, slow growth and fast growth. He seems to have been intent on throwing me far out -- completely out -- of my comfort zone and is helping me thrive here, out dangling on a branch. The tree is safe. But out here where the wind can blow me, I'm becoming something different. My mind is a different place. The things I was reliant on -- even the presence of my family -- was removed. My parents and siblings and friends states away and my husband working 60-plus hours a week and asleep when he's home. The two biggest terrors of my life, that I would do practically anything to avoid -- doctors and airplanes -- well, I won't avoid them now. I pretty much had a year of therapy growing Benson and then -- yep -- He put me on an airplane. Which I planned to avoid permanently. And I didn't die. It was hard, but it wasn't so terrible. I am overcoming my fears. And it is Him helping me do it. As soon as we landed, my first thought was "Lord, the glory is all yours" because I did not do that myself. The only credit I get for it is that I believed that He could get me through it. I'm not even afraid of tornadoes anymore, people! I am comfortable in my own skin. With my own company. I am gaining greater power to redirect my thoughts when my imagination goes wild. And I'm even reaching out and making ties here. That's right, folks. Even went to a little lunch get together today. I think maybe He thinks it's just time to move on and leave my debilitating fears behind me -- to become MORE -- and is rather forcefully helping me do that. I'm getting closer to becoming whole. HE IS MAKING MY WEAK THING STRONG. We're making progress. I don't think I knew what I was really asking when I said that prayer. I really don't. But I'm here.
When we woke up early Saturday afternoon in our own bed, the Double B looked at me and said "Thank you for being so brave."
I knew he meant it and that those words came from his heart. And I took those words into my heart. Because I was brave. And you know what? I've been brave for a long time.
And it feels pretty good.