I get tired of smiling, of having the answers, of hiding how incredibly sad I am, of being strong, of protecting folks from my pain, of watching my son struggle without his sister, the confidence she gave him, the standard she set for him, the voice that isn't here to calm him.
It is exhausting - exhausting to the point of entertaining the idea of just drying up and blowing away.
I ought to be able to curl up in my own mother's lap and just rock until the afternoon sun turns cool.
But that's not how she raised me and that's not how I raised Taylor and that's not the girl Joey married and that's not the mom Wade knows - it's just the phantom from which parents like me have to run.
These are all truths -
So is the joy of the organic relationship between father and son and college football. Their banter fills the living room like the dishes they have emptied fill the kitchen sink - each living these man-size boys full of my love and theirs for each other.
So is the camaraderie of the wide receiver core as they line my table and converse about the competition-
So are the friends that never leave-
So is a mission field that is rich with children who need us-
So is this place of truth and affirmation - in which you still come to read and pray
So are any number of items - all good things- I have written about in the last three years.
It's just, in all honesty, that I don't want to feel guilty for wanting what I had instead of trying to be content with what I have.
It doesn't change the battleground - just helps me name another enemy.
I have never missed you more fiercely, Taylor Renee. You would think I could carry the tears by now - but I cannot.
As I child, I remember the hearing the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - and used to sing the song - "When put through the fire, we'll come out shining like gold..." but I don't think I understood those men's measure of faith, what the fire asked of them until now.
Here's to having the faith to withstand the heat that refines gold and allows just an ounce of it -once heated - to stretch for hundreds of feet.