Beckett David Johnson arrived at 12:56 a.m. this morning about thirty seconds before Chelsea was to be rushed in for an emergency C-section. He emerged on the last-chance push with the help of forceps, so well done Chelsea, coach/dad Brian, the entire medical team and of course Beckett for finally agreeing to move out of the cozy womb.
He’s 8 lbs. 2 oz. and 19.5 inches long, so we’re not sure what he was waiting for, but he’s here at last. The last few hours were tough on both Chelsea and Beckett (so, of course, worried husband/dad Brian, too), and all Beckett wants to do today is sleep. We all know that feeling, but please pray that he will begin to wake up enough to nurse, which is necessary for many reasons, but at the moment to keep his blood sugar up to healthy levels.
Just wanted to share this good news!
*I promise to pass along any well-wishes you leave in the comments.
My travels are over for the moment, but what a summer it has been! If you’ve read this blog much or know me at all, you know gratitude is one of my favorite things. It anchors me in the peace of God when worries and sorrows try to knock me down, and a few are trying at the moment, I’ll be honest.
Serenity is seeing a sunset and knowing who to thank. ∼ Unknown (some say Amish Proverb)
Count your blessings, we’re told. So here’s a visual list of some of the blessings I’m counting.
Tiny moments of peaceful beauty:
Long afternoons and longer evenings of joy with dear ones:
And always, forever, my beloved David . . . . I’ll never stop being grateful for him!
While I’m counting up my blessings, we’re also counting down the days until Chelsea’s baby, Beckett David Johnson, is born. He’ll be my first grandson, and the first grandchild who will live nearby. Any day now!
Baby Beckett, of course, will be one of the best blessings of all. Please keep him and Chelsea and Brian in your thoughts and prayers.
My sun sets to rise again. ∼ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Wishing you peace and beauty and dear ones to share them with!
I’m temporarily back in Colorado, but certainly have more photos to share of beautiful France, I promise you!
Whether home in Colorado or here . . .
. . . I am officially back in the states after spending six and a half very busy weeks in France. I loved it, but I love being here, too.
The first morning at Sunapee, I woke very early. I don’t see many sunrises, since I’m more of a night-owl, but 6 a.m. in New Hampshire is noon in France, so for several days after my return, I was able to catch a bit of this beautiful serenity . . .
, , , before the more active lake life begins. This place, like La Rochelle, is a home away from home for me, which is fortunate since I’m headed back soon for yet another wedding in the family.
I love sharing times of celebration, but I also deeply appreciate serenity and the two don’t always go together. Sometimes they do, though. Soak in the tranquility of this view from the top of the Dune du Pilat, near Cap Ferret in southwestern France . . .
Here’s what was actually going on when I took the shot . . . .
. . . lots of people celebrating this marvel, not to mention the fact they made it to the top!
And another shot from on high . . .
. . . which was more about celebration than serenity, since we were VERY high up on a chairlift, so not feeling completely serene as we headed down from Nellie and Stefani’s wedding to their reception, but look how beautiful it is!
After the festivities and a few more days enjoying the lake, people started heading back to their regular lives and peace took the place of parties. It was then that I had another wave of missing David so much the sadness threatened to overwhelm the serenity. And I suspect it will continue to do so sometimes. I know I’m “allowed” to miss him and to still feel sadness, but sometimes the sharpness of it catches me by surprise. When I tried to take a walk up the road, I remembered this . . .
. . . and I had a choice to make. I could be sad he wasn’t walking up the road to greet me–and I was, I have to admit–but I could also choose, even while feeling sad, to be grateful that he had introduced me to this beautiful place, and even more, that he had chosen to spend the bulk of his adult life loving me. What a gift.
So I’m finding that sadness, serenity and celebration continue to dance through my life, at times politely taking turns like newcomers at a church picnic, sometimes weaving in and out and joining together unexpectedly, forming intricate patterns more complex and beautiful than the contra dancing I enjoyed at the Folk School. But the music continues to play, and I guess all I can do is dance.
After our tour of Bretagne, it was time to give Pascale and Jacky back their own space. We returned to La Rochelle on Sunday the 26th of May. I was moving into Le Patio on Tuesday, so Monday we had a chance for a long walk around Les Minimes, the larger beach and port of La Rochelle.
It was blustery but sunny and we walked all the way out to the end overlooking the new port and the channel into the vieux port.
A channel is absolutely necessary, because here when the tide goes out, it goes OUT.
So I’m now on the other side of the port. It used to be about 10 minutes by car, but now much of the central part of town is restricted to buses, bikes and pedestrians, and it’s a LONG way round by car. I can walk to Pascale and Jacky’s in about 40 minutes, with lots of people watching on the way. They pick me up for adventures involving luggage or events happening on my side and beyond, like our day on Île de Ré (next post).
This, by the way, is NOT where I’m staying, as you know if you read the first Bretagne post. But this gorgeous place IS in my neighborhood, only about a block away, so I walk by it all the time. Most houses come right up to the narrow sidewalk, but a few have a bit of garden in front. It’s more common to save the garden for the private space in back. Still there are lots of tall roses trémières (hollyhocks) growing up from the tiniest cracks where the pavement meets the walls. Excellent reminder to never give up.
David and I used to love the huge marché in the center of town. We rented an apartment about three doors down from it the last time we were here in May of 2017. This year I walk around the corner and inland a few blocks to the cutest little grocery, about the size of my kitchen at home and not much larger than my kitchen here, actually. But it has everything I need, including all the fancy French cheeses, a surprisingly sizable wine selection, produce so amazing I’m always tempted to buy more than I need, and dozens of fascinating little jars of soups and sauces and who knows what.
I treat the place like a museum. I spend so much time perusing, eventually someones asks me if I need help. I don’t. I’m just enjoying myself too much to leave.
So like the roses trémières and these roses from the patio, I’m trying to bloom where I’m planted, no matter how temporary. Wishing you the same!
Apparently, yesterday’s post was not well thought out. Now my girls are apologizing for neglecting me, which was NOT my intent! I was trying to let everyone know I was doing well and had a good day. Plus, I was doing so well yesterday, I wanted to share some love with all of you, with the photos of our family, including a couple fun ones with two of David’s brothers.
I know some of my dear ones may have worried about me today, but I actually woke up happy and am doing rather well so far. Last year I had a massive bouquet from our daughters, as well as lots of calls and texts from others. Today, I think everyone knows I’m better. Not “over it” by any stretch of the imagination. I won’t ever be “over it,” exactly, but today I’m celebrating love.
All the love.
I’ve just spent the past few hours looking through photos, and there are so many great ones showing so much love, but I’d be here until tomorrow if I tried to include them all. And I’d certainly miss someone, so I’ll leave you with these, my two current favorites:
David 2010? Who knows, but isn’t it great?
David and Sunny (duh) September 2016 by Clayton Jenkins
Wishing you much love, even when it’s not Valentine’s Day!
I almost let January get away from me, but here I am. I haven’t forgotten you, my dear ones! I/we had a number of significant anniversaries and firsts to get through on the wretched grief calendar, but they’re all done now, at least the first anniversaries of all the hard stuff. I’m officially into my second year of widowhood. Yippee.
It turned out the 26th of December was the hardest one-year anniversary, surprisingly. Neither Christmas nor the 27th was as tough, I think mostly because both those days were spent with plenty of dear ones close at hand. The 26th was quiet and I spent possibly too much time alone, remembering David’s last full day with us, the last time he spoke, the last time he told me he loved me–in person anyway. I still hear him so clearly sometimes.
Then the first couple weeks of January I was kind of in a funk, not that I ever love January. Once the anniversary of the celebration of David’s life (January 19) was past, I started to come out of it. I really think that was the last of the “firsts.” I’ve heard from a number of widowed people that the second year for them was even harder than the first. That the first went by in a blur, and the pain really set in the second year. Yikes. I don’t know if these were people who suffered very sudden, unexpected losses, so had that also to deal with, but the first year for me was plenty painful, and not really a blur, not from this vantage point at least.
So I’m cautiously optimistic that the worst is behind me, not including the occasional stab out of nowhere. Those still happen. I still sometimes weep all over friends at church, and the other day, I felt ambushed at the doctor’s office when I had to update my emergency contact info. That was emotional enough. Who is 100% available to me in an emergency, like David was? No one. Everyone else has things to do. Places to be. Then I was faced with David’s name in the spouse blank, which I was NOT emotionally prepared to erase, so I didn’t. I did delete the phone number for him, but then the system wouldn’t let me go on without his phone number. The receptionist was understandably startled when I stumbled back up to the front desk, sobbing, and basically hurled the tablet at her and said, “I am NOT doing this now! And probably not next time either!” At least she offered me a box of tissues. That was kind.
Mostly since Christmas I’ve been spending a lot of time writing for the eight-week workshop I’m doing in Denver, and at the moment I’m working on a memoir of my life and adventures with David, so we’ll see how that goes. It feels right and good to write it, no matter what I eventually do with it.
It has me reminiscing about so many of our adventures. Since I haven’t been out with my camera in a while, I thought I’d share a few photos of other winter days, other places. Remember this?