Friday, July 3, 2009

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

While we were in San Francisco, the girls were doing this with...MY DAD'S GIRLFRIEND. ooohhhh Do you like how I dropped that one on you? Yep, it's true. It's been going on for quite a while, and I haven't talked to you about it. So, pull up a chair if you care to hear, because I figure now is as good a time as any to let the cat out of the bag.

First, I'll tell you about Konie--which is her name. Konie Bryant, from right here in Birmingham. Her husband, who was an Orthopaedic surgeon, passed away (from cancer) three years ago. She has four awesome children--two girls and two boys. One of her daughters was my sister Taylor's grand-big sister in KD. Her other daughter, is pledge sisters with my sister Caroline. There are a lot more eery connections-- like her husband was in medical school with John David's (Taylor's husband) dad and they were good friends. My mom's best childhood friend was good friends with Konie and is actually the first person who mentioned her to my Dad...it goes on. But mainly, there is a good reason why she has such awesome children and so many great friends--she is wonderful. She is pretty on the outside, but even prettier on the inside. You cannot help but smile when you're around her because she is always overflowing with joy. She is laid back, take me as you see me, loves children...I mean, we (as in my sisters and me) could not ask for anymore than she is.

Saying all of that, and as wonderful as she is, this whole process has not been easy and seamless. Mom has only been gone a year and a half, and I have this grating memory that likes to play over and over in my mind of two Augusts ago, Mom being sick, worried she was not going to be healed, and sobbing these words into my ear, "Your Dad is such a good man, and he is mine. I can't imagine him ever being with anybody else. I can't bear it." And me reassuring her, "Mom the reason you can't imagine it is because it's never going to happen. God's going to heal you. Dad won't ever be with anybody else." And here we are, what seems like two very short summers later.

There have been two main hurdles that I've had to stare in the eye and say, "Ok, Abby, it's time to put your big girl panties on and deal with this." The first was the hopeless romantic me who felt that a person found true love once--something as rare and special as that can only happen one time...right? Before we had children that I knew would need their father, I told Jeremiah that I fully expected him to jump off a bridge if anything ever happened to me, and assured him that I would do the same. Surely neither of us could subsist without the other! (I hope you read my wry, and not completely serious smile, between the lines of those sentences.) For a child, I think there is always a little piece of your own happiness tied up in the happiness of your parents. And it hurt to think my Dad must not have loved my Mom like I'd always believed he had. (Why wasn't he jumping off a bridge? Or at least spending the rest of his days missing her?) And it hurt to remember how badly my Mom wanted him to be only hers forever.

How have I compartmentalized that one? First, I think there is a lot of truth in the idea that it is the people with GOOD marriages that remarry the fastest. If you enjoyed being married, then of course you would long for that companionship again. Versus, if you had a difficult marriage, you'd be much more inclined to steer clear of the thing all together. Second, I know that my Dad (and Mrs. Konie) did not choose what God dealt him. If he had his choice, Mom would still be here, but the fact is she isn't. So now, he has to make the best he can of what he's been given. And finally, that grating conversation with Mom that keeps playing in my head??? I just tell it to be quiet, because that was Becky before she was redeemed. I know that Mom now, who is playing tag in the tall grass with Abraham and Sarah, would be mad as heck to see Dad in secluded misery (or jumping off a bridge) because of her.
Second hurdle--The me who loves her Daddy. My Dad and I have always had such an open, true, sweet relationship. We stay up late at night, we sit for hours at a time, we take long walks--and just talk. It's always been like that. I feel like, for whatever reason, even when I was small, we each sought out the other's company. And then, after he started dating Konie, I realized that I wasn't as close to the center of his universe as I used to be, and it hurt pretty bad. There was one trip he made to Birmingham, that particularly brought out these feelings. I was being snappy at Jeremiah and the girls (and had no idea why, truly) when Jeremiah turned to me and said, "Have I done something to you for you to be so aggravated?" I whipped around and said, "NO! It's just that my Dad has been in town for almost three days and he has not so much as stopped by to see me or his grandchildren!" Woah!! I threw my hand over my mouth and started crying. It was strange to just have the truth tumble right out of my mouth when I didn't even know it was in there. But once I realized what the problem was, and once Dad finally did stop by, you can believe I told him how bad he was hurting my feelings.

Well, we both cried, but do you know what he said after I got it all out? "Abby, I am standing here listening to you say some of the exact same things I vented to your mother when Jeremiah came into your life. It was hard to see myself transplanted by another man--even though I knew it was right."

And just like that it came full circle. I not only saw, but felt the big revolving, see-sawing dance that is life. I had moved on...and so are all of my sisters. We have lives and business and distractions and love, that have helped us move through the gaping hole that Mom left. Do I want less for him? Would I rather think of him sitting all alone in that big house by himself--or moving on with his life too? He's ours (mine and my sisters) and nothing will ever change that, but he's too special for us to keep locked up all to ourselves.

So, if we're gonna share him, what better person to share him with than a lady who can say, "Well, we don't have a pool like they want, but we do have this bucket and some pitchers!" :) And look what a blast they had. Thanks Konie...
If this doesn't make you laugh at the end of this post, then I don't know what will. That Dapples :)

19 comments:

Kellie said...

Precious Precious Abby and your precious children. Oh, the growing up and LIVING you have had to do! God is working in you and molding you and teaching you some BIG Things. I pray you will continue to seek HIM first, as you have been doing. What a wonderful testimony you have! Thanks for sharing your heart with us!

Those girls are something else - they have a great time wherever they are!!!!

a word, a prayer and a little crazziness said...

Abby,
I have been meaning to comment on your blog for a while but have not taken the time until now.After reading thos post it is time to comment.You are amazing - Your authenticity and transparency are inspiring. I am praying for you as you journey through this new season of loving and growing.

Blessings to you, michelle

p.s you are pretty stinking funny too :) !

livingtotellaboutit said...

Wow, Abby. I haven't read in a while, and the day I come back...WHAM! Frying pan to the head. Really, I know what a wonderful person your father is, and I identify with every little feeling you expressed in this post, because it's exactly what I would feel and think if it were my daddy. But God is so good, and He smooths out the rough places and patches up the holes, and enables us to find joy and contentment in new packages. I'm happy for you all, because it seems God is blessing everyone in this equation in one way or another.

Fittsy said...

Now I only need to *see* Mrs. Konie!

Rebekah

Kelly said...

Hilarious picture at the end. We need to get her and John together---they seem like they both gravitate to trouble and hilarious situations equally. And, great post. I'll be praying for you. Not easy stuff you are going thru.

Abby Euten said...

Wow, that was a bomb! I don't even know what to say except that was a wonderfully honest and heart felt post. Though I cried like a baby and messed up my make-up as we are about to walk out of the door, but who needs it anyway, it too hot! Praying for you and your girls are just too darn cute!!!

Kendall Boggs said...

Hey Abbs!
I love your transparency and honesty on this post. Ever since I read this one I've been struggling with the words to write. So this morning I woke up and decided that I would write exactly what I'm thinking! You know I'm just weird about acting on instincts and things just sort of appear to me sometimes. So, the other night I was watching that guy the "chicken catcher" on America's Got Talent and I was so smitten by him and his rendition of Garth Brooks "If Tomorrow Never Comes". Well I just can't get the lyrics out of my head. When I read your blog, that song was the first thing that came to my mind. You know, your mom knew how much your dad loved her and visa versa. And Konie and Bill were the same. And so when "tomorrow never came" for both your dad and Konie, there had to have been a peace inside both of them that they knew they had done everything right in their relationship and in the care and love they gave both of them. That, I believe sets up the rest of your life filled with non-regrets and frees you to live your life to the fullest. I will tell you that (aside from your mom) your dad could not find a finer woman than Konie Bryant. And you know that Konie could not find a finer man than your dad. This is a new chapter in your life and I think you are handling this beautifully. I am so happy for both of them and though I miss your mom every day (right now as I say that tears are coming to my eyes) I know that your mom is dancing around knowing that your dad is so happy. I could not have not introduced them. It just felt so right to me that they know one another. I just knew that if anything else, since the two of them had gone through such similar situations they would become the greatest of friends.
Take care sweetie!
I love you!
Kendall

WhitneyG said...

Abby,

I am so glad you wrote this post because I heard about Mrs. Konie awhile ago from Kendall when I was in Auburn a few months ago. But I always wondered what it must really feel like because it's not your sweet mom. Thanks for your honesty....you brought me to tears!

Susannah said...

You are so blessed to have had a wonderful mom and still have a wonderful father! Thank you for your honesty, it is truly refreshing.

jj said...

Abby, I was so glad to read this post. My mom ran into Konie just the other week and I heard about her relationship with your dad. I admire you for how maturely you and your sisters are handling it. I think it is such a neat situation. Also, Riley Blair graduated highschool with my sister. Small world :) I love the pic of Pace hugging Mary Aplin in the bucket! SOOOO cute! Hope ya'll had a great 4th! Love ya!

KBroome said...

I could cry reading this post. I have struggled with the same thoughts in my family as to if your really in love and theirs only one match for each person, how could someone move on? You really made sense of it though. Your dad is sure lucky to have an understanding daughter.

Gail said...

Abby...You have my heart strings. I truly, think..I understand. My Dad, too, was left alone at age 50 when cancer took my Mom..He dated a lot, and I sure understand those feelings of lost and saddness. Like your mom and dad...mine, too, date since high school. I was happy when Dad found his soul mate in one of mom's best friend. She, too, had lost her husband. They didn't share the same type of love my Mom and Dad had, but it was sweet, good and loving. It felt strange at first, but she was a good woman and I loved her. Not like my Mom, but different. Thanks for sharing your heart with so many. Life is full of good surprises and finding out we can indeed....live through what we thought we never would or could...is truly a gift from God-- to our hearts. I am happy for Ken. I am happy for you girls. I understand the entire change thing. It's daunting, dear. But, knowing her, and seeing how special this woman is such an honor to your Mom. I know that sounds really strange, but you will see in time how true it is. God Bless. Gail

Erin said...

I am a friend of Kelley Brown's from childhood and stumbled upon your blog from hers. We lost my wonderful mother-in-law a little more than a year ago so I can relate to the many emotions your family must have gone through in recent years. May these good, kind, caring men find future happiness while keeping the memories of years past very close to their hearts.

Konie said...

Sweet, thoughtful, and heartfelt words. I appreciate you and your sisters, sweet Abby : )

Love,
Ms. Konie

GranJan said...

Abby, Hello!!! I just read your blog which was sent to me by sweet Konie herself! (Konie and I met for breakfast this morning and ended up staying at Cracker Barrel well past LUNCH! LOL!!)!...First, let me say, I LOVE your blog! I'm so glad she told me about it!! I LOVE to blog, too, and if I miss more than a couple of days, Konie will send me an e-mail saying, "OK, it's time to BLOG! WHERE ARE YOU?!?!!" haha! So, right away, after reading your entry, I was hooked b/c not only do I love to blog, I love to READ blogs! What a gift of writing you have! I savored every word! And your children ? They are just adorable!!!!I can't wait to read more about them!!! Your dad sounds AMAZING (yes, Konie has told me all about him and I'm dying to meet him! SOON, I hope!!!).What a special blessing that yall are such a close family!... After reading your entry about Konie, I was moved to tears. You wrote so courageously and compassionately and from the heart. It was very moving and I know it must have been tough to write, but you did it so well. It sounds like your dad gives amazing advice and love to you and your sisters and that yall all respect and love each other and trust each other explicitly. Most importantly, you have Christ as the head of your entire family. It seems as if 2 incredibly wonderful people, your dad and Konie, have collided in a wonderful way b/c of faithfulness to God/ deep faith/loyalty to family and love! I believe, with all my heart, that God led your dad and Konie on the same path! To say she is an amazing: Christian ; Mother; FRIEND (and on and on!) would be an understatement. And, from what I've heard, the same must be true about your dad b/c Konie told me! :) ..... AND how weird is this? just today I blogged about Konie!! I wrote about our friendship these past 20 years. Konie and I lived across the street from each other in Riverchase for 10 years ,(we have since downsized and moved further down in Hoover), but I miss having her across the street every single day!!But, we are still sooo close and always will be. Our children grew up together, (I have 5), and we share SOOO many wonderful memories together.I can tell you quite honestly that Konie is TRULY one of the most special people in all the world. Most certainly, in MY life, and the life of my children, too!( My kids ADORE Miss Konie). I know you don't know her that well ,(YET!), but soon you will feel like you've known her all your life! She is that kind of person. Truly self sacrificing and the most generous soul I have ever known (not to mention she is the sweetest person I've ever known as well!).AND, she's FUN!!! I have more FUN with Konie! We love to laugh and TALK and TEXT and she's just , well, I could go on and on but I'll stop now! LOL! Please check out my blog to see how much she means to ME and even the little practical joke I played on her while she was visiting your dad! haha!(I stayed at her house with my daughter to "dog sit" while she was gone!).She's going to be mad that I posted some of those pictures of her, but, I'm also a big practical joker, too! Anyway,I am so thrilled that MY Konie has found all of you. And that your dad ,(and all of you), have found Konie!
God is so good! ( BTW,I GUESS I can share her)! LOL!!!!
....Blessings and joy!
Jan Fry <><
Here's my blog spot if you want to read more about Miss Konie!:
http://iamgranjan.blogspot.com/

Cathy said...

Abby,
I am a friend of Konie's, in a Fri AM bfast/prayer group...she was so excited about this blog that she shared it with our group. Please know that I (and all the others of our group) am keeping your entire family and hers in my prayers as you go through this transition time in all of your lives. Read over Psalm 139...God knows us before we are even born...He knows our very needs even before we can imagine what our needs will be. (139:16) Continue to seek God's counsel on this...He will answer you...and say with the Psalmist: "But as for me, I will trust in You" Ps 55:23b
Keeping all of you in my prayers,
Cathy Benton (AU 1978)

Jessica said...

Hi! I just found your blog through a friend of a friend & wanted to tell you that your girls are absolutely precious! Also, I can't say that I know what you are going through with your dad, but it sounds like he is a great man & even though Konie will never replace your mother, she sounds pretty great too. :0)

Kendall Boggs said...

You know Abby, I've read this blog again and again and again. I think you are really one special person. I just want you to know that.
k

Darby said...

Abby, I'm a little behind on my comments... I hope you get this via email! Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you and your transparency through this all. I simply cannot imagine and you handle it all with such grace. Thank you for sharing your feelings with us. I hope we get to know more about Ms. Konie... can we please see her and hear more about her soon!? We all know if your dad finds favor in her she must be absolutely DELIGHTFUL! Ok, back to Mom's house which has been destroyed by 3 small children!