Monday, January 15, 2018

Dear Mom,

I can't believe it will be four years this week. I remember lying in bed with you during your last days, wondering how in the world I could do life without you. How could I do motherhood without you to lean on. How could my babies grow up without knowing their incredible grandma. You were without a doubt the best person I knew, my mother, my best friend, my hero, the person in life I wanted to become. How lucky I was to have you on this earth for 33 years.

It's taken me nearly four years...and I'm writing it down for the days I still finally understand that I don't have to do life without you. You're still here. And you're still teaching me every day.

When the boys are fighting, or Henry tells a lie, or Sam has a meltdown, I find myself asking what you would do. You would be stern, but loving. Firm, but they would know you loved them "deeper than the ocean, taller than the mountains." In the mornings, when dressing Charlie becomes a wrestling match, I sing the song you wrote when you and I wrestled all those 30+ years ago. When Wade hits a nerve...because that's what husbands do sometimes...I channel my inner mom (you). When work challenges me, I try and respond in a way that would make you proud.

You made every day a special occasion. And you loved like Christ loved. You loved the least of these. This is evident by the box dad dropped off at the house last week. Letters received during your three year battle, all letters from lives you touched.

Charlie has your laugh. She laughs all the time. And it's LOUD. I imagine her running to you sometimes. And you, swooping her up in your arms the way you did Henry and Sam. The two of you laughing together. She's my angel. She reminds me of you. I've told her stories of you and the fun we had together. And now I get to recreate those memories with her. You'll be there too, of course. In my heart and thoughts always.

Do you remember our last conversation, lying on your told me that Ann would have more babies, and that I'd need to be there for her. Little did we know that I'd have another baby too. And now Ann is having her second baby since you've been gone. It's another boy. She's leveling the field. Two boys and a girl each. Dad will have his hands full.

We just booked our next trip to Disney. It was your dream to take us there before you left. And while you won't be there in body, I know you'll be there in spirit. Wade and I are trying to be more intentional with our time together, while the kids are young. You taught us how to seize every precious moment and live each day to its absolute fullest.

Thank you for your gifts, your lessons, and most of all, your love.

"I remember a time when you were about Sam's age. You were pulled in two directions - Dad had asked you to go "drink coffee" at the donut shop, or you could stay home with Ann and me. She was still just a baby. You cried because you wanted to go with your dad, but then, you wanted to stay with me. You ran out of the house to your dad, but would then run back to me. You finally ended up staying home. You wanted to be in both places at the same time...

That's kind of how I see me - I am excited about going to heaven. I can only imagine meeting Jesus face-to-face. I'll be with mom and Cloe, Ann's baby, and relatives I never knew. But...when I run into His arms, I'll be leaving yours."

-- an excerpt from your last letter

Monday, January 1, 2018

Vaca in Taos

Today in church, it was just me and the kids. Wade had to make a quick trip to Cushing, so the boys and I got to experience communion just the three of us. (Kids Church was cancelled for New Year's Eve.) I had to fight back tears as our communion time reminded me of how blessed I am. To have three beautiful children, a loving and supportive husband, and God, who loves me unconditionally. Today I am reflecting on His goodness and many blessings.

One 2017 memory flooding my thoughts is our family road trip to Taos, New Mexico in October. Regrettably, I'm just now going through photos from our vacation.

Love these little people to pieces.

Thanks to our friend, Deb, who told us about Twirl. The kids fell in love instantly and it kept them busy for over an hour.

As soon as the stars came out, we were in the hot tub star gazing.
"Momma, the moon!"

A morning hike in nearby Angel Fire with my clan. Never mind the first 1.5 miles were uphill and I was carrying a 29 lb. toddler on my back. Wade "rescued" me and carried her downhill.

At the end of the trail the kiddos collected bags of pine cones which we discovered were an excellent resource for starting a fire.


We enjoyed warmth from the kiva fireplace, roasted marshmallows, and swam under the stars...every night. It was heaven. 

Cheers to many more road trips and family adventures in 2018!

Sunday, October 29, 2017