Today’s guest author has quickly become a part of our Roma family. Gina Crovetti has worked with Mike as a Student Life Assistant for the Resident Life Team since the Fall of 2011. We are so glad she is signed on to work for the JFRC for another year. We love having her around. Not only is she great with the students and super at her job, she is the best chef/baker, a wonderful babysitter, and an enormous friend. Last year while she was rigorously training for the Rome Marathon, Gina approached me with tears in her eyes telling me Annie’s been such an impact on her that she would like to run the Marathon for the charity of our choice. Last March, Gina raised almost $4,000 for our favorite Down Syndrome Organization, Gigi’s Playhouse Chicago. As the three of us watched her cross the finish line with an 8X10 photo of Annie pinned to her back, I was overcome with emotion. Annie’s impacted so many in the short time she’s been here already, but because of her interactions so many more have impacted ours. We love you Gina!
Wow, contributing to this blog holds quite the expectation. I have only read the most beautiful and awe-inspiring things from those who have left their mark here for baby Annie. And add to that the endless talent of a writer such as Colleen. When Colleen first proposed the idea of posting everyday and including guest-bloggers, I knew I wanted to write but knew that words don’t always flow onto paper (or electronic documents) quite as easily for me. It wasn’t until I was with some co-workers in her apartment and Colleen was telling some of the best stories in her arsenal, how she met, fell in love with, and married Mike, that some light was shed upon my motivation to write.
I know for a fact most people do not get to know as much detail about their boss as I do, and I have Colleen to thank for most of that. Her gracious ways with words have left me many places on the spectrum from laughing on the floor to choking back tears.
Although we’re only going on 2 years of knowing each other, I’ve gotten the chance to hear Colleen tell the memories of her past to new people in her life all the time. We live in an ever-changing environment, with students coming and going in quite cyclical patterns. Yet her stories stay the same, and bless her heart, so does her delivery. Every time she starts the story of her engagement, how they found her on her wedding night knuckle-deep in cake, her pregnancy, Annie’s birth, and her first birthday, I break out the popcorn kernels and sit back and enjoy. And each time, I get to see the faces melt off her listeners. They “aww” at every kiss, laugh at outrageous moments, and smile bigger than I’ve ever seen when it’s over.
Then I realized one day, this immense love between Mike and Colleen, this connection of lives and hearts, this ability to retell the same story with the same passion, could only create something as beautiful and wonderful as baby Annie. It only makes sense that this butter-ball of energy and light would come from the relationship of unquestionable love between her parents.
To me the Beazleys make perfect sense. Everything just fits and the bond is so secure. No one thinks twice about how wonderful Annie is. It is fact. There’s not a person who can disagree with her smile, turn away from her laugh, frown at her excited clapping. And I’m writing today to insist that there is no other possible outcome to Mike and Colleen’s love than this little girl we have all come to know and love. (And by love I mean become obsessed with – because that’s the level the student’s reach. I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a thousand times.)
Colleen has taught me to never settle until my heart is full to the brim with love for another person. And that person will feel even greater towards me. The best part is, it’s not something you look for, it’s something that finds you, knocks you off your feet, and proves to be something you can never run away from. This is what I cannot wait to feel in my future partner, but it is also exactly how I feel about Annie.
I had no concept of what my boss’s family would be like when I took this job in Rome. I did not know how many meals we would cook together, how many homesick days we’d spend watching movies, how many pots of kettle corn and bowls of oatmeal we’d eat with no shame. And I absolutely had no idea I would meet this little girl who would change me forever. I didn’t go looking for someone like Annie, didn’t know that’s what my heart needed, until she found me. She knocked me off my feet, opened my eyes, and made me feel unconditional love. She absolutely has proven to be someone I can never run away from.
I haven’t told Colleen this, but I know there will come a day (but I secretly hope this won’t happen) where we won’t be able to see each other for long periods of time, with life picking up and us continuing in different cities, and we’ll set up a date at some local coffee place. Annie will walk through the door, as a teenager, as a girl, as a woman, and I will loose everything. The tears will stream and I’ll be baffled that for once, I’ll be the cornball telling her, “I used to hold you before you sat up on your own. I used to try and teach you new signs, attempt to put shirts on you, watch your parents wedding DVDs after you fell asleep.” And she’ll be beautiful, with the same gorgeous blonde hair and those big blue eyes will stare at me while she tells me about what she did over the weekend. And I will melt.
My job is temporary, and in fact will be done next July, but there’s no going back from what I’ve built with Annie, with Colleen, with Mike. No way it can be undone, no way I can feel less love, no way it can revert to how it was before I knew them. My hopes for love are through the roof.
If I could look through a crystal ball to see what was ahead, I never would. I would only hope it would knock me off my feet the way Colleen describes meeting Mike, and the way I met Annie.
Oh to be as blessed.