In the past few weeks I have had the good fortune to spend precious time with two families in the “bloggy mama village.”
First, I was able to meet up with Andrea, her husband and her teenaged twins Reid and Allie at Logan airport. They had just endured a red-eye flight from California and were on their way to the Cape. Meeting Andrea was like seeing an old friend; we have a soul connection. Wise, peaceful; the love of the Lord was shining in her face. Her life, her writing moves me in ways I cannot even articulate.
Reid greeted me with enthusiasm. “Well, hello Nicole C. Mullen!!”
In case you don’t know, Nicole C. Mullen is a contemporary Christian singer. She is a beautiful talent, and I was tickled pink that Reid thought I was her. I couldn’t get the silly grin off my face.
Finally, Andrea gently told me that I was not the first African American woman Reid had dubbed Nicole C. Mullen (in fact, perhaps many Black women have been re-named Nicole C. Mullen). 8)
No matter. It was one of the best compliments I’ve received, and I like to think that I’m the most special Nicole C. Mullen that Reid has ever met! We spent a very short time together, but Reid envigorated me. He seems to live life to the full, passing out hugs freely. When he dances, he dances. When he sings, he sings.
Every time I watch this video of Reid’s baptism and hear him sing, I am moved to tears:
My family got to spend an afternoon at Jess’s house with her husband Luau and her daughters Katie and Brooke (fortunately, we’re practically neighbors).
Katie and Brooke possess a beauty that you simply don’t get used to – I could not take my eyes off them.
Katie was her gracious, wonderful self. She selflessly indulged and entertained Hope all afternoon, chasing her, playing with her, assisting her on the Air Pogo and decorating her face like a clown. And Hope was… absolutely starstruck.
Luau brought out a glass pitcher of ice water. Rhema had been playing in the sandbox, but she made a bee-line for the water. On the way over, she picked her nose with sandy fingers. And then she picked her bathing suit wedgie. And then she dunked both hands into the water pitcher, chasing ice cubes.
Instead of dissolving into dry heaves, as one would expect, Luau and Jess laughed it off and projected a no-worries attitude throughout the day. It is so refreshing to be with people who get it. What a relief! Brandon said he could not remember the last time he’d been able to just sit and chat. With Rhema, we are usually too busy trying to prevent catastrophe to actually engage in conversation.
And Rhema felt free and joyful there. Both Jess and Katie were able to get words out of her (‘bounce’ and ‘boing’) without even really trying – and that’s no easy task! In a matter of minutes, Jess was able to capture more photos of my happy, laughing Rhema than I’ve been able to get in years. She knew, she just knew how much I would cherish those pictures.
Jess, Luau, and the girls had already had a full, exhilarating weekend. By the time we showed up, I knew they were tired and in need of some downtime. But they never made us feel that way. They still had a little something extra, and they gave it all to us.
Brooke was spent, but she stayed with us. For as long as she could, she played in the sandbox with the girls, she patiently shared her toys with Hope. She reminded me of her mama, giving everything she had in her to give.
Each one of them, that’s what they do. They give. That’s just their way.
I admit that I once wondered if this family was too good to be true. Let me tell you, they are more than good. Jess is every bit as genuine and loving and generous as she seems on the computer screen.
And her girls?
Even more wondrous.