Today Madeline had her Spring Fling program at school. When she started the prek program in August she was very timid around her teachers and her new environment. Madeline does NOT like new situations and we have to work very hard with her to help make her comfortable and trusting. Her teachers Mrs. Lawo and Mrs. Robinson have had her number this entire year and have been tireless in working with her. In January they started working with her getting on the stage and made such a big deal when she was brave enough to do it. Well the months of preparing her paid off today:). She marched up on stage and performed like she always loved it, such a special moment for her, not scared one little bit. Her teachers were so proud of her as were we:). Nobody in there knew what a big deal this was for her:)
What a nice day! The only bummer was that Gardner and Kendyl had to work:( so they didn't get to spend it with us. Madeline was totally into it and loved her pink dress, not ONE problem getting dressed this morning:)
Kendyl got some awesome pictures of Madeline the other night. We were taking some pics for the clinic and a small family one for our dossier. Of course Madeline would not have anything to do with the family pic.... oh well!
just pure joy!!
I love this child!
really hard to believe Madeline was having a melt down minutes earlier because she did not want to take part in the family pic!
How about just sending this picture to China; the poor child would have no idea what is in store for her until she is accosted by her huge family:)
this picture kinda scares me that she will think her grandparents are adopting her, ahhhh can't stop age!
love this boy!
love this crazy dog!
and this one!
I don't think I ever added that kitty is now Ralph, not Mew or Tron:). We love him too!
This time of year always sends me reflecting over the past years in my life. From April 17th until the 27th I relive Jeff's last 10 days on this earth and the changes that came after. I can't help but think about what each of those days held and exactly what happened each day. I can remember them perfectly yet I can't remember what I did last week. The most profound of those days was that I finally gave in to God and accepted his will for Jeff's life and mine.
On April 17th Jeff had a stroke caused by the chemotherapy most likely. I remember just not "getting" it and being frantic that the doctor give him TPA to stop it, not realizing that it was not an option because of the tumor and chemo. By the time he was transported to Baptist Central it was dawning on me that this was the beginning of the end. He had lost ALL movement on his left side in a short 30 minute span and the resident who came in said the tumor site looked "bad". It had looked "bad" for years so I still wasn't totally getting it.
I lay in bed that night feeling so totally alone, Jeff could not speak and had fallen asleep. I lay there in a sterile room feeling homesick like never before. The picture of Christ came to mind of him asking His Father to "let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not as I will but as you will". I prayed and prayed this verse as I did not want him to die yet I had to trust in God; I begged him to pass the cup from me.
The aftermath of loss changes us forever. I had already grieved the life that Jeff and I lost over the years that he was sick. There was not a time that if the kids and I were alone somewhere, it flitted across my mind that "this is the way it will be". I guess somewhere along the way I became willing to follow God no matter what. I learned to not be so afraid of the unknown and know that God would be there and that He does whatever He wants. I learned that through suffering we grow and change. As hard as it is, suffering is the only way we can truly relate to God. It usually takes suffering for us to have that intense NEED for Him. We can't understand His ways but He knows what He is doing all the time. We just have to accept and embrace what He has for us. I finally did.
It is still so strange to see Jeff's name written out with his birth and death dates next to it. It is hard to wrap my mind around the fact that "IT" really happened and what "IT" did to our lives, the bad and the good. Jeff had such a way of having fun even if he was about to undergo brain surgery or the gamma knife. One of my best memories of him was our trip to Pittsburg with Uncle John. I don't think I have ever laughed so much. Jeff and John were so funny together and started referring to the Gamma Knife machine as "Sir Gamma"; really strange that the trip holds such wonderful memories:).
Ok my sweet kids I am listing some of the qualities your Dad had:
-paid attention to others, details not so much
-trusted God's plan for his life
-LOVED Mystery Science Theater
-cherished his family
-accepted God's plan for his life
-LOVED music, always had it playing (Yes, Pink Floyd, Beatles, Counting Crows, David Gilmore)
-said NO to most of Allie's animal requests
- when he got mad, he got REALLY mad, which was rare
-great movie maker
-loved to play
-never grew up:)
-did not know how to fix a thing that was not electronic
-Made awesome tapes(CD's in today's world) music and movie quotes
-loved to run
-watch out if he said "trust me" when he was fixing something
-protected me from all his fears
-LOVED water skiing
-wonderful husband and friend
-hated cats until Punky
-LOVED to mess with his dog
-was a kid
-adored his kids
-never gave up
-greatest entertainer of children
Of course I will forever wish it had just not happened, but that wasn't God's plan for Jeff's life or mine. I don't regret one day that we spent together. The bad just made the good better. As children I don't think you all were aware of all that was going on because your Dad was so fun and did his grieving when you were not aware. We just tried to live our lives as it was handed to us and make your childhood meaningful even though we were facing scary days. Your Dad was determined to make his life matter and it did. Even before he got sick, he was so aware of others around him and paid attention to the little things that most of us don't. I've always wondered if God gave him that gift since his life was short??? He had a way of making people he did not know feel that he cared about who they were. Gardner you have a lot of that in you as well:)
Just last night Hank said he was so sorry for all that we went through and I said there was so much good too, I'm thankful for who I am now and scared of who I might have been otherwise. I'm sad for what you kids and I lost but I'm thankful for who you have become through adversity and sadness. I think you live fuller lives having known great, deep loss. I think you will always strive to be better for your Dad whom you may have taken for granted if you had had "normal" lives. I certainly would not know God as I now do if we had not gone through that. I am thankful that I got to have the life I did with Jeff and our family and will forever miss him. I am also thankful that God blessed me so abundantly after his death with more family. I am thankful that God gave me Hank to lead our family and for being so willing to take me and you all on (we are a handful:). There are very few men in this world capable or even willing to do so. People say that when someone losses a spouse and had a wonderful marriage, they usually marry again.......
So my sweet kiddos, I know when you see your Dad's name next to his birth and death dates it is hard to wrap your minds and hearts around as well. I do know how very proud he would be of each of you in your own special ways. You all are such a team together, yet you have been willing to let others in. You have accepted the life that God has given you and have lived it in such an honoring way to your Dad and me. I am so very thankful for each of you, you were my driving force to heal and be the mom you deserved to have. John David's and Madeline's lives are so much richer because of you....... I am thankful.....
I can't believe you are 9 years old! Here are a few things about John David:
-love your family
-love that your family is BIG
-look out for the underdog
-LOVE to fish
-great big brother
-heart for orphans
-don't like to have homework , like to get it done as soon as you can
-love to read
-conscientious of others
-will build legos forever
-does not like to do things wrong and is sad if you hurt someones feelings
-whiner when you are tired (so is Mom, Dad just falls asleep)
-love to go to movies with Gardner
-love doing anything with your older siblings
I'm sure I have left alot out!!!
Today was your BEST birthday EVER as you said since you got a kitten!!
You have named him Mew after a pokemon:) UPDATE: already changed his name to Tron:) he thought Mew would be wierd for a really big cat! haha
Madeline wants to call her Lunchable!
Mom wants Milo or Gus
Dad wants Lunchable
Allie wants Harold
We sure are weird!!
You had a great time at your Glow in the Dark Pump it Up party last night!!
Happy Birthday sweet boy. We love you so much and are so very proud of you!!