Life has been big lately. Not big like, hey we’ve finally made it, they’re debuting our reality tv show next month! big (I’m not really even sure what kind of big that it), but more like life itself is bigger than I, offering more, showing me more, asking me to carry more, spilling more and more onto me and around me.
My family and I celebrated my grandpa’s 87thbirthday two weeks ago. With his recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s (if you’ve visited the Bob Project you’re aware of this), our goal was to not only celebrate another birthday (it’s amazing how us humans can lose ourselves in the monotony of gaining another year), but to celebrate the life my grandpa has lived, the childhood in Nevada, the masters work at MIT, the romance with my grandma, the six children they later bore. My aunt dug out pictures from all the decades of his life and hung them around her home. We also drew up a banner with the words “Celebrate Bob/Dad/Grandpa” on it, the concept of truly celebrating one’s life never more clear to me than then. Honestly we’ve been blessed within my grandfather’s disease. If we must experience it, the best possible result would be my grandpa’s case. He can’t remember the short term, requires patience and a lot of repetition. But his humor and wit are fully intact right now, and he can tell you about probably the last 80 years of his life in incredible vivid beautiful detail. A typical gathering usually overwhelms him. It’s embarrassing that he might call you the wrong name or have the same conversation with you five times throughout the night, so he often draws away and within, and finds himself a seat in a remote room. At his birthday party, his face was alit the entire time. He sat at the head of the table, narrating each photo, posing for photos and letting us take video. My mom drove him and my grandma home at 11. We had succeeded at understanding how to love him for a night, and that alone is enough to swell life into a size much larger than normal.
A couple of my very dear friends officially launched the beginning of their coffee business this past weekend. I have begun writing about this project about a million time, but it’s officially spilling over all lobes of my brain that I cannot any longer keep it from you. My friends Kelsey and Sam (20 and 22 respectively, crazy right?) set out last winter to create a coffee business. Not only are they similarly coffee snobs with a desire for better coffee in Syracuse, but have witnessed the way coffee brings people together. Having seen the importance of community in their young lives through an intimacy with anxiety and depression, they sought out to create a place for such community—with good coffee. And alas, Peaks was born. Their slogan is “dedicated to meeting people at their peaks and valleys with a freshly roasted cup.” I cried when I told my mom about it this weekend. I’ve never met such beautiful people. Furthermore, Peaks is officially my Cheers..or something. I don’t really watch Cheers, but it’s that in our life. More like a Luke’s Diner or Central Perk..but my friends own it, the coffee is free (it’s how they pay me), and they make their own hours. Whats up. Life is enormously big.
Moulter Street. That’s where we’re living right now. Actually, it’s home. It’s the place with a built-in specifically for my wooden things, floor boards that would’ve been the popular kids in high school, the greatest tiny kitchen, an actual nook with the perfect size for our custom table that fits everyone we know, a porch with fading blue paint that we ate dinner on most nights in August and that we have people pose on when they come over. Moulter Street, in the neighborhood I grew up in until I was six. Obviously, memory-wise this is more interesting to people like my parents and sister, but it’s familiar and safe and I walk Glasgow alone and stop and take pictures of people’s gardens and actually know families to wave at when I drive by. Moulter Street has been a gift—that’s all I know it to be, because it is good and perfect and has given me more mental rest than I have experienced in months. Moulter Street has engorged life, it has made it possible for John to talk me into having people over nearly every week, it has wrapped me up in my spare time and made being at home just because a real activity.
(Woah, this is going to be a long one..)—what you’re thinking to yourself right now
This summer we did some paperwork to be approved to take a foster care class this fall. We were supposed to start that tonight. We were saying, “maybe this is for us?” until we heard “perhaps, but later.” Big.
John was in Western Washington (the state, northeasterners, the freaking state) this weekend with his best friend where he joined him and the rest of the production company on a shoot. When I was 13, those two were the youtube sensations of my life. They made a variety of “films,” mostly comical, and continued to create together throughout high school. When he was a senior, John Louis was accepted into the same college as his best friend, a school in CA with opportunities to learn about film, as well as a small bible college (ahem, I was currently attending there). We still joke sometimes about the hilarity of what that choice represented in both of our lives. John Louis chose the latter, and is obviously married to me now, so yeah, I’m pretty cool with him making that decision. Three years post college though, his best friend tells us over the summer while visiting NY with his wife (ahem, one of my best friends) about how he’ll be building a team of employees in the fall for the production company he’s with. Fast-forward to October. Here we find ourselves. That huge giant larger-than-life life-sized (okay sorry couldn’t pass up the life phrases) life staring us in the face.
Here’s the big one. For the last three years I have knocked and knocked and knocked on the door of adventure and opportunity. Design school? Internships? A million more design schools? A couple have sort of cracked open..only to show us a dead end. This summer I was rejected by another school. I was done. Done knocking. I looked around me, got busy with Peaks, the possibility of fostering other people’s babies, family, friendships, work, random design stuff, MARRIAGE, my freaking toddler-like dog. There was stuff to be busy with actually, and it wasn’t an empty busy-ness. It was a busy-ness that created a great big life swollen with loveliness. I turned around for a moment from that life, and noticed this thing staring us in the face. Like a Jurassic Park T-Rex staring you in the face. But it was California, opportunity, proximity to our friends, a door swung open. I was sitting atop this enormous life, and saw it.
Here’s the thing. I really really honestly thought that when I was knocking, if a door DID swing wide open, we wouldn’t have a second thought. It wouldn’t be a decision to make. Aha, how foolish am I. It’s here, it is really here. And how different it is than I thought it would be. At the beginning of the conversation, we did say yes just like I thought we might. But from there there we endless ins and outs. Several major-ish decisions to be made (by me, ugh) to add up to our ultimate decision, and it’s been hard. I never knew how hard it would be.
One night John and I were walking and discussing details and I was crying because that’s what I do. Unable to make simple decisions (i.e. groceries, what to eat, if I really care about eating, what to say to that person), I typically become paralyzed or I avoid it all together. This decision I’ve had to make with another person though. “Lottie, this is going to be HARD, and we are going to have to keep going. That’s how we’re going to make this happen. That’s what you want me to tell you right? That’s the husband that you want?” Flip. Yeah man, that is the husband I want. But can I just take like three days to not have to make decisions? (Nah). Seriously though. Thank God for that guy.
November 1st we will officially be moved out of Moulter Street, and be residing with my parents. March 1st we will drive our Jetta out of their driveway with Glas in tow and make our way to meet our friends and future home in Los Angeles. We don’t know how long it’ll be our home. But we’ve chosen it.
How glad I am that this hasn’t gone as I’ve always pictured it. When you have to really choose something for yourself, it truly becomes yours. And dang does it feels good to have earned that.
This fall has been glorious so far. I have been treating myself to this weird sensation when I drive in which the windows are down and the heat is on. The sun is more present than it was all summer. Things are golden, and when it is high in the sky you can literally smell apples fermenting in people’s yards. Obviously I'm savoring the seasons I've been raised on and within. They are more than weather though. I have watched them demonstrate the positivity and necessity of change, and it's a lesson that allows me to choose this future voyage. And if you ask me, that is one hell of a lesson.