Gabe’s, not mine. Typically, when you run into an old girlfriend of your husband’s, the encounter would be awkward at best (perhaps even hostile). But when I saw Mindy and Dustin walking toward me at the zoo this afternoon, pulling all their kiddos in two wagons, I was so excited!!
I don’t think I’ve seen them since their wedding. Yes, we went to their wedding. And I’m pretty sure they came to ours.
I think I’m in the mood to tell a story…
Picture this. I’m in my sophomore year at Cedarville. I’ve decided to be a counselor at Scioto Hills Camp the following summer. All the counselors meet for fellowship and prayer (at school) several times before the camp season begins. One of the girls, Rachel, becomes one of my dearest friends–traveling mate to Okinawa and maid of honor in my wedding. Another girl, Mindy, and I also hit it off.
I don’t remember much about those meetings, but one thing stands out in my mind. Mindy asking for prayer because she and her long-time boyfriend broke up. And that boyfriend was going to be at Scioto that summer as a counselor as well. Ouch, I remember thinking. Stinks to be you.
The summer begins. If you’ve read Is That All, you might remember a story about me meeting 2 guys on a basketball court. They happened to be brothers. One named Gabe, the other Tug. Not long after meeting them, Rachel and I (we were cabin mates) were unpacking in our cabin when a woman flings open the door, all out of breath, and says, “Have you guys seen Mindy Miller?!” Uh, no, we haven’t. Sorry.
Yeah, so you’ve figured out that Mindy’s ex was a guy named Gabe. And the lady looking frantically for Mindy? A gal named Janelle Taviano, also known as Mother-of-Gabe. My first encounter with my future MIL involved her ignoring me in her quest to find Gabe’s old flame.
Long story short, by the end of the summer, I was in love with Mindy’s ex-boyfriend (who had already moved on to someone else in between–a few someones actually–and had to dump her to start dating me). And Mindy and Dustin (also a friend of mine) were pretty tight. Ironically, I got to know Dustin from running into him and Mindy while I was taking twilight walks around Cedarville with the guy I “dumped” for Gabe. I hesitate to say “dumped,” because Dan and I never should have dated in the first place. We were really good buds, gave dating a whirl, and bluh. It was like kissing my brother. (well, I haven’t actually kissed my brother) He (Dan, not my brother) ended up marrying my roommate. (oh, I’ve got some Cedarville tales!)
So, in January of ’98, I married Gabe. In May of ’98, Mindy married Dustin. And Mindy and I both got pregnant around the same time in 2000. I had little Olivia Joy on December 2, and a couple weeks later, I believe, Mindy gave birth to little Preston (six weeks early, I think). Gabe’s mom called us one night (I will remember that night forever) and told us 1.) the baby had been born and 2.) he had died soon after. I held tiny little Olivia in my arms and bawled and bawled. Why, God? Why did you take their baby? Why?
From what I heard, Mindy had such a hard time (who wouldn’t?) after Preston died. I kept waiting for her to get pregnant again, but years passed, and she didn’t. I wondered if maybe she couldn’t bring herself to ever go through that again.
Four years later, I found out she was pregnant. And wow.
Fast forward almost four more years to today when I saw them at the zoo. With their four kids. In two wagons, remember? I turned to Jamie and all our kids and said, “Do you see these four kids? They were all born at the same time!”
God gave them quadruplets. Quadruplets. And if I’ve got my story straight, there was no fertility intervention of any kind involved. A modern-day crazy-miracle. God took their baby to heaven and four years later gave them four more. WOW. 1 girl. 3 boys. They all look different, yet so adorable. Dustin said he tells people that they have “3 boys and an attitude.”
So, it was awesome to connect with my friends again. And so great to meet their babies (they’re 3 now). And like Dustin told me when we parted ways, “See you again in 10 years!”
I just think that anyone who can’t see God’s hand at work in people’s lives isn’t paying a lick of attention. What an awesome God we serve!!