August 1, 2022
I don’t know why you never seemed to like that song. It’s definitely one of my favorite songs about the goodness of God. You always said that the song seemed so depressing to you. But it has always reminded me of times I’ve prayed release of control over you knowing you are better off in God’s hands than in my own. I hate praying release, and I love praying release.
You’ve been through a lot in your life, which means your dad and I have been through a lot with you. Lots of reasons to pray release. You surprised us by being a preemie and needing to be in the NICU for ten days when you were born. You had your accident at three and needed cranial surgery and 8 days in PICU. A tonsillectomy wasn’t really a big deal until you were coughing up blood on Christmas Eve. Then the broken left wrist followed by 5 left wrist surgeries. That’s been a really big deal. And please God, if I promise to release Lauren to you again now, will you promise to heal her right wrist because we might be looking at surgery on her “good” wrist if physical therapy doesn’t work to correct whatever the heck is happening there?
You used to be the kid who could be bested by a hangnail, and who seemed to be a target for malady and malaise, and who loved to remind everyone that no one suffered like you. But somehow you’ve really matured into quite a strong bad ass woman who just doesn’t get rattled. You’ve never complained about your surgeries. You don’t turn your head away when getting an IV for anesthesia; you’d rather stare at the needle going into your arm, almost like you’re daring it to hurt you because it makes you feel more in control. Eeww. Who does that?
You were the kid who hid behind my knee and wouldn’t speak. You’re too tall and statuesque to hide now. At 5”10 and a half-ish, you stand out and you’re confident enough to know that no one overlooks you when you walk into the room. It’s hard to remember you not speaking. Dad and I are no longer prompting you to “use your words Lauren,” because now you express everything with your words. Everything. You’re the one who comes to sit at the end of my bed to talk about your date or how work went or the latest school drama. You process life by talking about your world, and you feel loved when you are heard. It’s never wrong to to quietly consider life in the private places of your own mind and heart like you used to do when you were little. But now you’re expressive and open like an adventure book, and aren’t we the lucky ones to get to discover what you’re thinking now!
So about that song…You didn’t care for it at all until we sang it over your Nana in Hospice. You held and stroked her hand, and I remember thinking to myself that I bet Lauren would never feel the same way about It Is Well With My Soul after that day. I was right. Thank you for inviting me to share your 18th birthday with you by getting matching tattoos. I can’t think of a more perfect way to spend a morning than driving up the mountain to make official what I’ve always believed about you…you My Lovely are always well with my soul.
Our tattoo artist was Eli’s sister Sue Gravely at Gypsy Moon Tattoo Studio, owned by Eli’s mom Andy McBride. Check out their Facebook page. It’s my only tattoo so far and they’re basically family, but I’ve waited 51 years to get my first tat, and Gypsy Moon did not disappoint.