Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Us. It took me a while to tune into the show everyone else had been talking about. Last fall we even named a sermon series after it at church, and I had no idea at the time, who us was or why it mattered.
But finally now I’m in the know. Doing the opposite of binge-watching, which is to say every few weeks I watch another This is Us episode, just enough to be able to talk about Kevin, Kate, and Randall as if they’re real life people.
The fact is, I struggle to prioritize TV drama, living as I am with a family that provides plenty of its own. This is us and then some, if you know what I’m saying. A week or so ago I was having one of those conversations with a friend in which I was trying to both protect the privacy of a particular kid, and express some honest mom emotion. All I can say is the personality God gave me, and the life He chose for me, are not necessarily a perfect match. I think I also said something about God’s sense of humor in adding so much Spice to our Minnesota Nice.
So, this is us in real time. This week it’s love and travel. I’ll start with the travel. As I write, Felipe is downstairs sleeping a few hours after an all-night work shift, his last for a while. An ugly, outdated, and impossibly heavy suitcase is filled nearly to capacity on his bedroom floor, and later this morning I’ll head over to TJ Maxx to try to find more suitable luggage. (Last time the boy traveled to Colombia he had to pay an additional $100 to bring said-suitcase home.) It’s not so much his own personal items filling his bags, but a very generous assortment of gifts. Gifts for a foster family in Jopal going out, and for an adoptive family here in Andover coming back, and this is us, too. The boy has two families, and it’s a beautiful thing. Last summer his trip back was a graduation gift, and this time it’s his own splurge after laboring hard, full-time hours, and making good money. Looking ahead to being a poor college student in a few short months, and he’s thinking it’s now or never.
Felipe’s return flight will arrive just 24 hours before five of us pack up and drive south for our own spring break vacation. This year it’s South Carolina, assuming we get everything figured out from an online vacation rental scam that had Kyle on the phone with the legit booking agency as well as the bank for most of the evening last night. Long story. Most days my husband’s to-do list is almost non-stop trouble-shooting, and just when he thinks he’s got one fire out there’s another. I love my man a whole lot.
Lately I’ve been remembering our earliest days of in-love-ness, going all the way back to our very first date. February 1988 – thirty years exactly. (Hey kids–how’s that for keeping track of an anniversary?! Nailed it.) This first-love nostalgia is mostly related to Luke’s current status, and his obsession with making a quick roadtrip out to Colorado for a day with Ali. And it’s funny how 30 years makes you so much wiser and more responsible, and – What about your job? That’s a crazy lot of driving for a ridiculously short visit – and oh, yeah. That was us, too. Illinois to Minnesota, nonstop travel.
Later tonight I’ll drive Felipe and his overfull suitcase to Minneapolis International in the midst of Super Bowl hysteria, giving ourselves several extra hours. And then tomorrow afternoon I’ll pack my own bag and head south for a few days in Des Moines. Because us is in Iowa, too. Grant and Kiana and our grand-on-the-way, and just a week or so ago they moved into another “new” house. Their second in so many years, and that doesn’t count the apartment. Here again the wisdom of parents is checked by remembering. Our newlywed years in Illinois and this is identical, in fact, to what we did, too.
Love and spice. Spanning states and countries. On the move and growing. No season boring.
This is us.