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And Just Like That


Last weekend I had the great good pleasure of flying up to Raleigh to surprise my youngest niece for her high school graduation. I wrote about one of my flights here. I love love love to fly. It's always so exciting to me. It used to be way better before 9/11, because you could witness all these fantastic reunions right there at the gate as one flight deplaned, and you could see, sometimes, tearful farewells as another flight boarded. I loved the human drama and emotion of it all.


This is Abby. Isn't she absolutely gorgeous? But don't think it's just her electric smile and stunning choice of footwear. There's a depth in this one that you don't often find in folks her age. She's going places. She's already done really good things in her primary educational career, but she will do much, much more. Remember her. Abby Pender. You'll hear that name again. I just know it.


As her family and I visited over the weekend, it took us forever to remember when the last time was that we were all together. My sister in law finally narrowed it down to Thanksgiving of 2016. FIVE YEARS AGO. Not cool. My brother, his wife, and the their two girls, traveled from Raleigh to Birmingham for Thanksgiving. My family drove up from Geneva, Alabama for a fun, old-fashioned family holiday celebration. Abby would've been in the 8th grade, and Anne Ross, now a sophomore at NC State, would have been a sophomore in high school.


There haven't been nearly enough visits over the years. As we reminisced about that Thanksgiving, I could easily recall the handful of other times that I've made the trip to North Carolina to see them. And I can remember the first time I met Abby. She was an absolute doll baby. I loved holding her and making her laugh. That gut level joy of being able to bring forth a laugh from a baby is magical.


On this particular visit, my brother was at work and my sister-in-law needed to run an errand, but it was naptime for Abby. So Jan took big sis Anne Ross with her, while I stayed with Abby. We ended up laying on Anne Ross's twin bed, my body carefully circled around Abby's little one, to make sure she stayed put and didn't roll off the bed.


I marveled at how tiny and yet complete she was. I counted her fingers and toes, smelled her sweet baby smell and gave thanks to God for this little child, so sweet, so pure. And then, just like that, she's all grown up and about to head off to college.


I stayed at my brother's house for graduation weekend, which was perfect because it gave us extra time to catch up in person. Ted Lasso dropped into the conversation, as he does, and before I knew it, we were bingeing the entire first season in one sitting. If you haven't watched Ted Lasso, I highly recommend it. Get a free trial to Apple TV. You won't even need the entire 7 days to finish the first season because you too will want to binge it. It's brilliant.


My favorite scene is the dart scene. Ted is playing a high stakes game of darts with a truly nasty man. In his way, Ted made it clear that the truly nasty man had made some assumptions about Ted that were untrue. Instead - Ted schooled him - the truly nasty man should have been curious. Be curious, don't jump to conclusions and thus, form incorrect judgments about others. You know what it is to assume something, right? It makes an ass out of you and me. Think on that.


Because it's never just like that. It never is. Whether you're talking about an eighteen year old who seems to be all grown up and ready to embark on the larger world when clearly, just yesterday, she was barely a one year old snuggling down with you for a nap; or whether you're talking about what you think you know of someone else.


There's always so much more to the story. So, I say to myself, just as much as I would say it to you, be curious. Ask questions. There's so, so much we don't know about another's experience in this world. Why do they behave the way they do? Ask them. Talk with them. Give them space to share and, in turn, share your own stuff. I truly believe there are untold blessings in it for you both.


Now, I gotta go. Because, you know. There's laundry on the line.



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