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spotlight isn't on you So. I met a man. And we're not talking about Husband.

Calm down. Many months ago, I met a fellow intrepid in these blogging waters and it happened to be a man. A husband. A father. A writer. I'm not sure how he found me, or me him, but finding did occur. I remember that we had a meaningful email exchange after I wrote a birthday letter to Mom. This man told me he loved this letter and that it made him cry. This man is the kind of man who would not care that I am telling you this.

John Cave Osborne.

His story is remarkable. Truly. He was motoring through life, a good life, as a bachelor. He spent a decade in the white-collar world before striking out to pursue his dream of being a writer. (Don't you love this story already? It gets much better.) He met a woman who had a young daughter. He fell in love with this woman. They married. They decided to have a baby.

But then they got three. Yes, three. Triplets.

And so. This once-bachelor was suddenly awash in tiny creatures. A family man. A family man with a unique and exquisite story to tell. And so he told it. John published his book Tales from the Trips: How Three Babies Turned Our World Upside-Down in the past month. After spending months reading his words - heartfelt and hilarious - on his blog, I was thrilled when John sent me a copy of his book. And so. In no time, I lost myself in a story, his story, which is at once so personal and so universal.

One little part of the book struck me. Stayed with me. It's toward the middle of the book and John compares his wife's delivery of healthy triplets to a marathon he once ran. (No, he was not equating the two! That would probably not have gone over very well, huh ladies?) Anyway, John talks about something in these pages that resonated profoundly with me. He writes,

I left my daydream and opened my eyes and stared at my beautiful wife -- the one who had just run the marathon of a multiple pregnancy. Against all odds she made it thirty-six weeks, shattering her initial goal of thirty, and had done better than anyone thought possible... And now she, too, was in a funk.

Granted [she] had a total physical meltdown that aided and abetted her funk, but even before the physical element came into play, she was nowhere near as euphoric as I would have expected her to be the day after crossing her finish line. Why? She was supposed to be happy. She was supposed to be relieved. She had done something incredible, something great. Why didn't she feel that way?

It's seldom if ever the obvious tells you who you are. That's too easy, too surface, too shallow. The obvious usually gives you nothing more than instant gratification. It's what you do when the spotlight isn't on you that tells you who you are - that shapes how you feel about yourself. If you rely on the big-ticket moments, you're relying on the wrong thing...

What do I love about this selection? Well, many things, but two in particular. First, there are "spotlight moments" in our lives when we feel this immense pressure to smile, to celebrate, to be euphoric. (Engagement, Wedding, Birth, Job Promotion, Book Publication.) But the reality is that it doesn't always work this way. We are complicated creatures and sometimes our purest joy manifests at odd and unpredictable times (bagging apples at the grocery store, PJ dance party with little girls, waiting on line at Starbucks). Second, who we are and how we feel and act in our "spotlight moments" does not truly define who we are. Rather, and as John points out, it is who we are between these big milestone moments of grandeur, the more subtle moments, that matters, that defines who we really are.

Ultimately, John's book, well-written and moving beyond measure, is a love letter to the family he never he imagined he'd have.

trips

And what a beautiful family it is.

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  • Do you agree that it is not our "spotlight moments" that define us?
  • Have you ever experienced moments when you felt you should be happy, but were instead in a funk?
  • Fellow mothers - how did you feel immediately after the birth of your children?
  • Has life surprised you in any way comparable to the way the triplets surprised John?
  • Do you agree that the world needs more men who are not afraid to gush about their families?
  • Is John's family maybe the most adorable family you have ever seen? (Next to your own, of course!)

****GIVEAWAY: Please leave a comment here before 6am EST tomorrow (5/7/10) for a chance to win a signed copy of John's new book Tales from the Trips! or if you are not inclined to leave a digital trail of words, just go ahead and order it! Come on, guys, this good man has four little mouths to feed :) ****

ILI DAILY CHARM: WANT FRIENDS?

Whether new to blogging or a veteran in this world, you can never have too many digital connections and comrades. I met so many of my lovely and loyal blogging buds via a wonderful event called Five for Ten over at the incomparable blog Momalom. The fantastic news? This sister duo is at it again! Please click here for details on Five for Ten (starts Monday 5/10, so sign up now!) I will elaborate on the amazingness (nope, not a word) of Five for Ten tomorrow, but head on over today to check it out. Just do it! You won't be sorry.

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