–be born (this part is non-negotiable but also out of one’s control) in a hospital in Montgomery, Alabama.
–grow up in said town and state as a teacher’s pet, stellar student, state spelling-bee-winner, regular church attender, and all-around Good Girl.
–go off to college, just not as far as you’d hoped (90 miles away in Birmingham, not 900 somewhere else).
–begin to tarnish your own sense of self and carefully-honed reputation by drinking before age 21 (GASP!) and taking off that promise ring you put on as a member of your high-school youth group back when no one was asking you out anyway.
–get into dental school, just not as far away as you’d hoped (still Birmingham. Which is a lovely town unless you’d planned on leaving after four years, not ten).
–get into a residency, just not as far away as you’d hoped (yep: Birmingham).
–watch your academic and personal life and plans be ripped to shreds as your stellar student image takes multiple hits, your successive roommates all get engaged while you’re living with them, and your love life remains sad and unflourishing.
–get a counselor.
–move to New York out of desperation.
–discover that you were wrong about God the whole time–sure, he exists like you thought, but he wasn’t judging you all those years; he was loving you. All the way to New York.
–meet a boy, fall in love with him, tell him this when you’re drunk, and finally get together a year later.
–move to Atlanta to FINALLY settle down and start a family.
–have your first kid quickly. Nice! Things are finally settling down.
–endure, alongside him, your child’s various surgeries and challenges in a turn of events that make your realize all your the struggles in life were child’s play compared to becoming a parent and learning how to truly love.
–finally have Baby #2 after a year of waiting, miscarriage, and medical intervention. (The second time you’ve waited a year for a boy. Like father, like son?)
–FINALLY settle down with family, friends, and church in what now feels like home: Atlanta.
–be told by a God who clearly has not consulted your plans that you will now be moving with your family to Sydney.
AND HERE WE ARE.