First reunion in the books

Well, my first Davidson reunion is in the books. Now, for those of you not in Lindsey’s family you have to understand this is a very big deal. I think I heard about it for the first time on our first date. So, in any terms this was monumentous.

The day was good, and I was reminded what family traditions are like, from the outside. Every change from the past is noted and opined upon. Fond memories from the past are the prime topic of conversation and every idiosyncrasy is on display. It’s wonderful.

It was good to have time with Lindsey’s family. We haven’t seen them much lately so it was very nice. That part of Oklahoma is just beautiful and I love being down there. It really was a blast.

Oh, Lindsey created a Mad Lib for me to commemorate the occasion, my results are below. Enjoy!

Davidson Family Reunion Mad Libs

The Davidson Family Reunion was (interesting). We woke up early in the morning and made the (too early) drive to the (beautiful) (place where bad guys hid). When we got there, I couldn’t believe my eyes! (Multiple unknown family members) was (rocking) the (sweet mullets)!

I (voraciously) went through the potluck buffet. (Fried) (chicken) and (tasty)(meatballs) (filled) my (tummy). Then, I met (a ton) of (Okie) family. The most intriguing family member was (name) who I found out has (interesting factoid). The craziest moment was when (name(s)) (past tense verb) the (adjective) (noun).Nothing crazy happened, but everybody talked about being inside instead of outside as in years past. Lindsey was (thrilled) about the whole thing.

All in all, I had a (excellent) time and I think we’ll (happily) be at the reunion in the future.

Sweet recollections

Brian and I watched the Kentucky Derby today.

Watching the Derby was a tradition that Brian had with his Grandpa Downey. His grandfather had been a jockey at one point and loved horses. He instilled this love into Brian as he taught him to ride and appreciate these amazing creatures.

Later in life the two of them would watch the Derby together and talk about the horses and the potential outcome. Even after Brian moved to Texas, they would talk on the phone multiple times that day as they watched the coverage that precedes the race. This is a precious memory that Brian holds dear.

In true Derby fashion, the race should be accompanied by a mint julep. But when Brian asked the produce guy if he could look in the back for more mint, he discovered the store was sold out– something about a horse race. Hmm. I suggested he try buying a mint plant at the Home Depot next door, and in true Brian fashion, we came home with our own herb garden and will now be growing our own herbs. That way, when the mint sells out next year on Derby Day, it will not affect the Lundin household 🙂

The actual race wasn’t scheduled until 5pm, but there is all day coverage that leads up to the race. There are touching stories about the horses and their owners and trainers. There are history highlights and interviews. My personal favorite was when they would talk about the hats– and I decided that I need an occasion to wear a ridiculous hat. Pretty excited about that.

As the race approached, I stopped piddling in the kitchen to come sit in the living room with Brian. He made mint juleps for the both of us. I am not a whisky drinker in any shape or form, but I took mine gladly and took tiny sip after tiny sip, trying my best to not made a face after each.

The Derby was a very exciting two minutes. I got into it much more than I had anticipated (I’m sure the emotional stories I watched about the horses had something to do with it). But more than anything, I knew that Brian wanted me there– it was important that I experience this with him.

This day brings back memories of so many of these days for Brian. He loved his Grandpa Downey so very much and often tells me how much he wishes I could have known him. But I feel like I do, in a way. Every time Brian talks about horseback riding, I learn more about Grandpa. Every time he talks about Derby days past, I learn about Grandpa. When he showed me his grandfather’s Bible with all of the notes and cards and pictures stored inside, I learned about Grandpa. With every story and memory, I begin to see Grandpa Downey even more clearly– through Brian’s eyes. And I can’t think of any better way to get to know someone who is gone, than through the sweet recollections of a grandson who loved his grandfather so dearly.

I know that one day I’ll meet Grandpa Downey. We’ll be in heaven praising Jesus together forever. I hope that in the same way that Brian tells me about him, I’ll get to tell Grandpa Downey about the Brian that he wasn’t here for– the Brian who got married and made me the happiest woman in the world, and the Brian who makes mint juleps on Derby Day with the mint in his herb garden. I hope he gets to see Brian through the sweet recollections of the one who loved him dearly.

We do it together

I was on Google Chat today talking to my cousin, Mara. She asked me how things had been going, and my response was “tough but wonderful.”

Things have been tough.

Moving is tough. I’m still not finished. And it is difficult to move two houses worth of stuff into one house worth of space. There are boxes and piles and hidden junk everywhere. Things have to be thrown out. Decisions have to be made about what to keep, how to organize, whose artwork gets to hang on the wall and whose goes into the attic. And how in the world am I supposed to decorate with a bright orange, plastic stadium chair? But we’ve done it. We’re still working, but we’ve compromised, carried heavy loads, and organized to the best of our current capabilities.

Going to the hematologist is tough. He’s located in the Texas Oncology building and that makes the trips a little scary. I’ve already been told that I’m clear of the “C” word but sitting in that waiting room is heart-wrenching at times. And I never know what the doctor will say– levels are up, levels are down, get a biopsy, give yourself this injection… But we’ve done it. Brian and I have done it. We go, we sit, we wait, and we walk out together. We do all of it together except my injections– my husband does NOT do needles. And the doctor says I’m good now, but even if I weren’t, I know that I can go through any medical issue with Brian by my side.

My commute has been tough. Sometimes it’s two hours getting home. It sucks. I just sit there on MoPac thinking about everything else I’d rather be doing. But when I walk in the door and my husband hands me a glass of wine and has crafted a delicious home-made meal, things get better. Brian will prep the coffee-maker to go off in the morning so that even though he’s not up that early, there’s a little love brewing when I wake up. The commute stinks, but we’ve made it work.

Work has been tough. I have been out a lot this year and my absence has caused some problems. It’s also just that time of year– state tests, kids that don’t want to be here, and the slow slump into summer. I’m stressed– always needing to grade something (it never ends…), constantly worried that my kids aren’t prepared or that one is going to fail, worried that I’m letting a coworker down or about a relationship at work. This one has been tough for Brian. I get all up in my head and sit and am not much fun to be around. But he prays for me and with me. He offers up solutions and, most importantly, holds my hand and cheers me on. We’ve done it.

So, yeah, it’s been tough. I’m always behind, always tired, and always running through my mental to-do list. And still, the last 5 weeks have been incredible.

Mara said it best when we were chatting– “The best part about being married is you have someone to go through all the tough times with you!”

She’s speaking from experience. Mara married my cousin, James, in October. And they’ve had their own share of tough times. Everyone does. Tough times are an equal-opportunity aggressor. But now that I’m married, I have this whole new approach to struggles: we do it together.

But we can’t take all the credit for making it through. In fact, I take none at all and I’m sure my husband would feel the same. Though it is such a blessing to have my husband with me through all of this tough stuff, Brian and I entered into a covenant relationship with God. It’s the three of us now. And though we’ve helped to carry each others’ loads, we couldn’t do it without God giving us the patience to deal with one another’s moods. We would not have gotten through if God had not given us the love to bless each other and forgive each other constantly. God had to give us the desire to serve one another and we had to be obedient to pray for the other and together.

“And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” -Ecclesiastes 4:12

We do it together. Just the three of us.

Update on Brian’s Dad

I know we are doubling up on posts today, but several people have asked about my dad’s progress and I wanted to give you guys an update.

David was released from the hospital yesterday and he is at home now. He is progressing really well and has made significant progress towards every goal the doctors have set for him. His breathing is improved and he is up and active and meeting all expectations for moving around at this point.

The doctors and nurses at the hospital were great, and we all really appreciate how well they treated him. It’s good for him to be home and it will help his recovery accelerate, but we are grateful for the great staff at the St. John’s Heart Institute.

Also, thank you so much to our family and friends. You all have been wonderful and your prayer and concern have certainly been felt within our family. We could never fully express how much we appreciate you. Please know that we have been thanking God for your thoughts, prayers and your presence in our lives.

Easter

What an incredible day!

Today we spent our first Easter together. Our church does Easter at The Erwin Center in order to have a venue large enough to bring all three campuses together. It was a wonderful service– powerful worship and a truth-filled message. My parents and sister joined us for the day and it was was a treat to have them with us.

After the service, we came back to the house and Brian and I prepared our first holiday meal as “the Lundins.” Brian made an incredible ham, and we whipped up some fantastic sides: crackeroni (my mac is so good it’s like crack!), creamy garlic mashed potatoes, and asparagus. I had the opportunity to play hostess and had a wonderful time doing so.

There was such joy in everything today– in the church service, in playing in the kitchen, in serving my family, and even in cleaning up. No exaggeration. It was joyful.

After my family headed back to Dripping Springs, Brian and I lounged and rested and enjoyed our first downtime since he got back into town Friday night.

It was when everything calmed down that a strange thought struck me: I am married. I am married and I have a husband and I have a house.

I know that you’re probably thinking “no duh, Lindsey,” but it struck me like a new idea strikes you. If I were a cartoon, a lightbulb or exclamation point would have shot out of my head. In fact, I then had to say the thought aloud to see if it sounded any different out in the world rather than up in my head. It made Brian look up from his book. He smiled and replied, “Yes.” I think he’s stopped thinking I’m crazy and just accepted that I’m his. It’s a wise move on his part.

Much of the passing of time in our lives is marked by holidays and special occasions. This time last year, I had not even met Brian yet, and today here we are side by side in our kitchen making a meal for our family. Sitting here tonight, I don’t even remember last Easter, but I know I’ll never forget this one.

There is a line from worship this morning that I can’t get out of my head today, so I’ll close with these words: “Oh, praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead! Oh, praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!”

Missing My Wife

I was going to write a long post about the hospital and what I have learned and thought about while spending so much time there over the last few days. I have a lot of thoughts on it (no surprise there), but I’ve decided not to share them tonight.

I changed my mind because I just spent 15 minutes talking to my wife over FaceTime tonight and something struck me.

I really miss her.

Tonight will be only the second night we’ve been apart since the wedding– and I don’t like it at all. Sure, I’ve needed to be here for the last few days and it was a good idea for me to stay longer than her. But still, I miss her.

So tonight, with my Dad doing well and making his way towards recovery, I can lie here and think about her– and how much I wish she was here.

Home Run

I’ve had one memory in my head for the last 4 days. I’m around 10 years old, I’m in the dugout at a softball diamond at Haikey Creek Park in Tulsa, and my Dad is at bat. On the first pitch he takes a big cut and the ball leaps out of the park. My Dad hit a lot of home runs playing church league softball, and I saw most of them.

* * *

As I write this late Tuesday night, it’s been roughly 36 hours since my dad was taken away by the hospital staff into the OR for his bypass. Its been a crazy ride.

He is doing well. He looks good and it talking to us, but everyone is still watching him closely. Lots of things can happen right after a surgery, and he has plenty of folks dedicated to making sure none of them do. He is being well taken care of, but that doesn’t eliminate the nerves.

The doctors saw him several times today. There were lots of discussions and questions. Everything is moving in the right direction. We just have to keep praying they continue to do so. We’re praying and waiting. Always waiting.

* * *

Watching my Dad snooze his way through the first few hours of his recovery I could not get the image of him smacking that softball out of the park from my mind. It was so clear, so important.

The red dirt of the infield. Sunflower seeds. Gatorade. Running out to pick up his bat. Giving him a high-five on his way to the dugout. The sickly sweet smell of one of the guys illicit chew. Being asked to go back behind the fence to fetch the ball. Running hard back back because all I wanted was to talk to my Dad about what he just did. Pride in being his son.

Now the task my Dad has ahead of him is tougher than any Baptist softball league game. I know he will work hard and rise to the task at hand because he always has. Over the coming days and weeks I know he will make the pride I felt on that day feel insignificant.

The day after

It’s the day after. Everyone got some much needed sleep last night… everyone but David. David was reawakened every hour last night for some form of treatment or movement or procedure.

He is not himself today. The anestesia has obviously not worn off. He falls asleep between every bite, every interaction, and every dreaded blow on the respiratory torture device.

Everyone just wants to see David awake and to experience some semblance of a normal interaction with him. He is so loved.

Here are some images from the day today:

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Here at St. John’s, Jesus appears a lot. He’s stuck on the cross in every room. I really want to tell someone that He got off.

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Where we come every day…

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Brian coaching David through the respiratory torture device. He was a great cheerleader 🙂

I’m flying back today. My first flight leaves here at 6pm and I found out my second flight is way delayed, so it will be a late night. Brian will stay until later in the week. I wish I could stay, but I’ve already missed so much school this year with my own medical stuff and then the wedding.

I’m learning a lot about being a wife through all of this and I’m sure there will be a future post once I work out all of these thoughts and we remove ourselves a bit from the situation at hand. I’ve seen a few different sides of my husband as well– emotions and reactions that there simply hasn’t been opportunity to display or witness until now. This is all part of the journey.

Please continue to pray for our family and for David’s recovery. We really appreciate your prayers and support.

 

Wait

Today is a waiting day.

We sit. We wait. We get an update. David hits a goal. We wait some more.

It’s been a long day. The surgery scheduled for noon was moved to 9am and we rushed to get here to see him. We waited with him until they took him to pre-op. Then we waited as a large family unit sprawled across a section of the waiting room. We got updates along the way– always positive– and waited some more. The group dwindled, but still we waited.

David is currently in recovery in the ICU. His breathing tube was just removed, but he isn’t awake yet. I think we’re all just wanting to see him awake before we go home tonight. Brian and I sit in the waiting room while Karen and Sarah sit with David. The hospital is quiet– it’s late and things move slower now.

I’ve watched Brian and Sarah as their father goes through all of this. They’ve been through so much in the past 18 months– and hospital visits have not been positive experiences for them. They struggle to remain positive and to remember that this is a different situation, when parts of it feel so familiar.

These are the people who are supposed to be taking care of us and watching over us– when did we get old enough that the roles began to reverse? These are our big, strong giants. These are our heros. And now our heros are vulnerable and need us to be the strong ones.

So, we wait. We wait for David to come out of the haze of the plethora of drugs within him and to let us see his strength. And the children within us wait to see a glimpse of that big, strong hero. Please keep praying.