It was almost ten years ago. Every Saturday night, my roommates and I would watch Austin City Limits at midnight, and friends were welcome. This night it was either Willie Nelson and Family or George Strait– accounts vary. Some of the girls who lived two doors down were coming over. We’d been hanging out with them for a couple of weeks, and there was one of them in particular I was enjoying getting to know. I had sort of forced her into going to a show downtown with us a couple of nights before and we had a lot of fun.
After Willie (or George) finished, the crowd gradually thinned out, leaving me and the girl in the living room. We sat and talked for a while. Then we went to the kitchen for something to drink, and talked a while there. Then back to the living room. Talked a while. Then some more. I was doing whatever I could to keep her from leaving, so Lord only knows what I talked about. At one point we were just rolling a baseball back and forth across the floor.
We talked and laughed and hung out until 7:30 Sunday morning. We’ve been talking and laughing and hanging out ever since. And she is still as enchanting and funny and alluring as she was then. She still commands my full attention.
If you’re reading this, you probably know that Melissa is great. You know that she’s beautiful and kind and easygoing and creative and fun to be with. You might have seen how passionate she is about sticking up for the underdog, and how well she cares for people. You might know how seriously she takes the Bible and that she’s a really good teacher. You’ve almost certainly seen what a great mom she is, and how she pours herself out for her boys (all three of us).
But there’s a lot you don’t know. You don’t know how much she pushes our family to live for the kingdom of God and not our own comfort. You might not know that she got excited about Prague before I did, and that even though we doubted that it would happen, and even though all these changes terrified us, she never blinked about bringing our family here. You haven’t seen her pray for a child like I have, or seen how completely she devotes herself to loving our boys. You haven’t seen how deeply she hurts when others hurt, or how she rejoices when they rejoice. You don’t know her like I do.
She’s even better than you think she is. She is a gift to the world, to everybody who knows her, and especially to me. And today her husband loves to “sing her praises in the city gates.”
Yesterday was M’s first birthday in Prague, and it was as typically crazy as every day is for 1) a family with 2 small kids and 2) a family who just moved to another country. But we did get to do some celebrating, and there’s more to come.
Breakfast for a Queen: Blueberry-lemon scones, quiche and kid-friendly mimosas. (Real life intrudes: this was actually eaten amidst 2 cabin-fevered children and a husband who was sidelined by sudden and really awful neck pain. But the picture is very serene, yes?)
And the big moment:
We do like to spread out a birthday around here, so there’s probably more to come. Happy birthday Melissa!