I burst out of Mr. Warner's choir room, down the hallway and into the courtyard tackling my best friend to the ground for any small audience to take in. I was free. Some amount of days later I graduated high school, stayed up all night and thought I was a rebel without a cause. I had my first little broken heart and thought I lost my best friend to a school some hundreds of miles away. My freedom felt a little empty, but old friendships grew stronger and new friendships began.
It was love at first sight, six months earlier that is. He had no idea I existed, but he was my guitar playing dream boy. Big hazel eyes and the same MySpace song -- it was meant to be, or at least to my 18 year old bleeding heart. Our friendship grew into a little seedling, and soon we were inseparable. At the start of 2007 I prayed a dramatic prayer that went something a little like "Lord, if you want it to be just you and me the rest of my life, please help me to be ok with that." And I believe there was an added thought of "but if I'm gonna be with somebody, can it please be David?" and that was the first big prayer of my young adult life this undeserving girl was blessed to have a "yes" with. Less than a week later David let his little love secret out, and I was swept off my feet into a first date of roses, candles and Augustana -- it was perfection.
December 2007 God gave me another big "yes". My Gramma was in hospice, with the nurses letting us know in heartless tones that once the patients stop eating they don't have much time left. Well, I knew God was bigger -- and He showed His power through my Grandmother's life. Let's back up, she wasn't just the ordinary sort of Gramma that sends a lovely Christmas card and that's where the relationship ends. No, she was one of my dearest friends. She loved me in the best way she could, and she made sure I knew I was important to her. Her health quickly deteriorated and so did I. I was completely lost and helpless, but God said yes to more time with her, and we were blessed to have her in our home for 8 more months.
She gave me my last granddaughter gift with the words "I love you sweetheart." My dad gave God the credit for the extra time at her funeral, but that loss did much to change me. David was there through everything, my dream boy held my hand through it all. I started school as an official art student hopeful to be accepted into the photography program, but it didn't make sense to me. Professors talking about "tensions" between this and that were just ridiculous terms improperly used for something attempting to mean something. I was in a place I didn't belong.
The new year started off well -- a New Year tradition was born and all felt right for the moment. I graduated with an associates and was cheered on by supporters for life. My 21st birthday was brought in with those I loved most, and I felt as though I had found contentment in my little world. That year I found myself in a garden lit with lanterns and candles having a song sung to me accompanied by a ring given by the love of my life, and everything had just gotten better. David and I started off with little, an ironing board for a table and a weekly serving of chili mac, but happiness wasn't in the things, it was with the people I shared special little moments with.
He cried so loudly my parents heard it during David's phone call to them, and 8.4 pounds of loving perfection had just filled my heart. A semester off of school to learn about being a mom, tears from 2 am exhausted feedings, and a fall of figuring out what it was like leaving my little one for a darkroom all occupied my time.The first year of parenthood is a little bit of a blur, but I was blessed. A conversation with a friend helped me realize that photography didn't have to be my everything when it came to studying, and so I made my first big grown up decision and left a dream behind -- or until further notice I should say.
Art Studies student. What does that even mean? To me that was a poor excuse for someone that gave up a dream and wanted to finish early. It was a sad title for an even sadder term: failure. I took the mandatory classes to graduate and learned to live with the fact that I'd be an artistic invalid. I celebrated Christian's first birthday, took my husband and son back to my birthplace of Serbia, and grew up just a little more. I learned about the art of letterpress and bookmaking at school, and realized school didn't end my dreams, it helped start new ones.
It's been six years since I collided with my best friend in the courtyard. It's been some time grieving the loss of my Gramma with the hope of seeing her again. And I'm learning that being a wife and a mom means sacrificing for a greater good. Last night I sat in a stadium with peers listening to some speech about the future while feeling some various array of emotions -- relief, joy, and a little sadness at what's been left behind. I loathed the study of art and now it's all I understand -- the emotion captivated within a single piece of beauty. Six years ago I knew everything I wanted, but ended up receiving everything I needed. I didn't want to be a mother -- at least not yet, and each morning I'm reminded otherwise. I look to a future that's all planned out yet completely unknown and I embrace it. If you've stuck around for the end of this story I appreciate it, but it's not the end. Just another chapter eloquently crafted by a Writer who says things much better than I. I think, as it would seem, this is truly just the beginning of a new chapter, one to look forward to the plot lines, mysteries, heartwarming details and characters that will make their way in season by season.