June

June has always marked a time of transition for me.  Whether as a student or later, as an educator, or even during my time working at camp, June meant a time of shifting.  Finishing classes, saying goodbye to students, ushering in a new group of summer staffers.  June signified the closure of lessons and papers to grade or the arrival of campers, for whom we’d been preparing for for months.

In June of 2002, I had a time of MAJOR transition.  I was closing the sweet chapter of four incredible years of working with high school students at First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley as a volunteer youth advisor.  These students were so much more than “kids” I saw weekly.  They were deeply ingrained into every facet of my life.  I will always count these students as dear friends and their graduation and exodus from Berkeley was a very bittersweet moment.  {Oddly enough, Matt worked with these students during junior high, so they were stuck with one of us from sixth grade through twelfth grade.  Photo proof of the junior high years, below.}

Also, during that same month, my friend was getting married.  A good friend at that point, and now, ten years later….?  She is one of my closest and dearest friends.  For me, as an only child, she truly feels like a sister.  I remember her beautiful, celebratory wedding as a deeply painful moment for me.  A reminder that I was letting go of so many pieces of my own life, watching a friend move into a new stage of marriage, celebrating with dear friends, also attached to significant others.  And I was alone.  For some reason, it just felt so magnified that night.

Little did I know that just 364 days later, almost a year, I would be engaged myself.  Not to an unknown *Mystery Man*, although the teachers at my school attempted to set me up on MANY blind dates, but instead, to someone I had been walking along with for some time.

Perspective is such a weird thing.  One moment you can be so encircled with goodbyes, releasing moments and memories and transitioning into new ventures and unknowns.  Other moments can feel so foreign and unfamiliar.  Like walking into a dark room, filled with people, blinded by a spotlight on you and you alone.

Had I known, that day in June of 2002 that a year later, I would have experienced a few very intense transitions and changes, would I have felt so isolated and alone at my dear friend’s wedding?  Who is to say.  It was one of the most intimate, warmest and sweetest weddings I have ever attended.  Like many moments, though, you can be surrounded by community and still feel out of sorts and lonely.

There were many rocky, unexpected moments that brought June 28, 2003 to pass.  A wedding rolled around…this one for another  incredible friend.  And little did I know, the date would become a big one in my history too.

I remember standing for this photo.  It is such a visceral moment for me.  I had no idea the rigamaroll that was going on around me before and after this moment.  {the full story can be found here}  Phone calls to my parents from the parking lot.  Champagne being delivered to my doorstep back at home.  Balloons, once perfectly placed and planned and arranged, deflating, tangling and migrating as we inched home on Highway 101.  But nine years ago, all that did unfold.  And a question was asked, an answer given, champagne toasted, phone calls made and a new chapter began.

Perspective and June.  Little did I know that nine years later, I’d be sitting in a bathroom, watching two boys get cleaned up after a long day of play.  Littlest one singing “ma–MEEE—ahh—OOOOHHH!”, his **own** rendition of “Happy Birthday” belted at ear-splitting volume, while eldest watched on.

Little did I know the apartments and houses we’d have inhabited, jobs we’d stepped into and out of, children birthed, friends met and invested in, conversations had, arguments endured and worked through.

Relationship is hard.  Community is hard.  Family is hard.  All three are glorious as well, but hard.  As today unfolds like any other, I am so grateful to partner together with Matt.  We are still {young} in terms of marital years and hopefully have many more in front of us.  But I look at the pictures from nine years ago and think of all the events and moments that have transpired since—the many layers that have formed from our experiences–and I am filled with much gratitude.  I marvel at our completely opposite personality types, yet the way I feel so incomplete without him around this week.

One constant, despite the years that go by is change.  Transitions never really disappear from our lives.  I find that EVERY aspect of my life seems to morph just as soon as I think I have the perfect schedule, organizational strategy, classroom management tip or parenting secret mastered.  June itself, a constant in the yearly calendar, rolls around like clockwork each year, and though it is expected, it always brings the unexpected and change.

I’ll toast a glass of fizzy water tomorrow from California as Matt is camping out in Mexico with the high schoolers.  That glass will be raised to the start of a journey, raised to the lessons learned, raised to the unknowns ahead, raised to the gift of a companionship forged with a ring nine years ago.  

Here’s to June….

and to “Clear Eyes and Full Hearts”.  

Thanks, Coach Taylor.

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