Today Shelly and I walked into a Christian book store in search of a bible that I can actually understand. I looked at several bibles and decided I need to wait until I can afford one as they are not cheap if you want a good one. So I proceeded to look at all the gadgets they had in the store - crosses, key chains, bookmarks, etc. I got some great gift ideas and will be going back as my girlfriend's birthdays approach. I looked a books and read a few back covers, none of which screamed read me. Shelly and I were leaving and I said I wish they had some books on grief from authors that lost children. Well low and behold, they did. Shelly said they do and took me to the Grief book section. We sat down on the floor and proceeded to look through the books.
I found books for loss of spouse, how to deal with grief, becoming a widow - none of which I was looking for. A book title then caught my eye Roses in December. The author is Marilyn Heavilin and she has lost three sons. This book screamed "read me". I felt almost an instant connection just by her title since I lost Brett in December. The next book I picked up had a red balloon on it and is called Safe in the Arms of God (truth from heaven about the death of a child). This book also caught my attention, but not the initial title, but because of the picture on the cover. A sky with a cloud and a single red balloon. You see we will be doing a balloon release at Brett's Celebration - red balloons because it was Brett's favorite color. It seems ironic to me that both these books had some symbolic meaning for me. They screamed out my name. I decided to buy both. Maybe these books will give me some peace? Just not sure if anything will ever help answer my questions.
Andrew, my eight year old, was cleared to run and jump again after almost four months! We were very excited to hear this good news. It means that he can be "normal" as he calls it. He can play baseball, do karate, participate in gym class and just be a kid. For those that may not know, Andrew's leg was severely injured in the automobile accident that took Brett from us. He had four surgeries over a twelve day period with one more to go in about six to eight months.
I woke up this morning at 6:45 when my alarm went off and proceeded to hit the snooze button three times before actually getting my rear out of bed. I was extremely tired since I didn't get home until 1:15 a.m. from bunco with my hood girls. I had every intention of leaving at 11:00 until Maureen, Ann and I started talking and needless to say the time got away from us. It was probably a good thing as well since all of us had our share of alcoholic beverages that night. Gotta love bunco.
Ann offered to pick up Andrew for school this morning and to my surprise she was very awake and even going to the gym afterwards! Wow, I told myself to snap out of it and get yourself going. It was going to be a good day. I had to get ready for Andrew's award ceremony. He had no idea that I was heading up to the school in an hour to see him receive, not one, but two awards. It was going to be a great surprise!
I went to the school and sat there as I watched him search the audience of parents to see if I was there. He finally made eye contact and flashed that smile that melts my heart. The first award he received was for loyalty to friends and classmates. The other was for All A's on his report card. I am so proud of him! For a kid that has has his life turned upside down he has truly shown me that he IS strong.
I excused myself to go out and have a good cry in the car - after all, I couldn't leave as Danielle was looking forward to playing with her friends. That wouldn't be fair to her. I managed to get myself together - or at least I thought I had until I walked into the bounce house area. I sat down and begin to cry again. Some of the preschool mom's walked up to me as they passed out hugs. I said to them "What are the chances that I would be here on this day?" Seriously, I thought, God why are you doing this to me? I ended up having a nice conversation with Janice and Amy and talked about Brett's Blessings and how important it was for children in the hospital to know how special they are.
I made it through the rest of our time at the Zone, came home and put Danielle down for her nap. I was absolutely drained. Physically and emotionally. Just when I think things are good, I get thrown another curve ball. I picked up Andrew and William today from school and brought them back to my house and of course they wanted to play the Wii - their all time favorite thing to do together. Chris got home from a long road trip and he immediately knew something had happened. He put his bag down and was right there to talk about it. Since he was home I took the opportunity to take time for myselfe and go lay down for a while. I ended up taking a three hour nap, something I think my body needed.
I always told myself that I would never move out of the State of California. I was born and raised in California, I knew nothing else. I loved the beach, the mountains and the weather. My mom was there, my friends were there, my work was there. That was my life.
In April of 2006 Chris and I decided to take a trip to Texas because the house prices in California got so out of control that we "had to do something" with the impending arrival of Danielle. Eileen (Mom) stayed home with Brett and picked up Andrew from school everyday. We could not possibly ask her to take care of another grandchild - although I am sure she would have gladly done so. We had been renting a house for three years and it was only suppose to be for one - we were waiting for those prices to drop and they never did!
We arrived in Texas on a sunny June 100 degree day. It was beautiful. The wind was blowing and it was nice and warm. We were here to see if someday Texas would be a place we could call home. We wanted to check out the areas and houses and see if it was a match for our future. We came with the intention to "look".
We met with our realtor, Orlando at our hotel the day we arrived and he took us to several places and homes in Frisco. We were stunned to find that the huge backyard we had envisioned with space for a pool and lots of room for the kids to play was not an easy task. The yards were so little everywhere we looked until we found a house that we loved, with the perfect backyard - one problem it was already owned! Orlando mentioned several times that he wanted to bring us to McKinney. He said we would love it. It had lots of new, young families - perfect for what we were looking for. I looked at Orlando and said "Find us this house on this size lot, that's not taken and we'll talk."
That evening Orlando called us and said "I found a lot. I will meet you at the hotel lobby at 10:00 a.m. and take you to it." It was perfect. A third of an acre, where the house we wanted would fit nicely on it and it had enough room for a pool and lots of play area. The next thing I knew, a deposit was made and Chris and I spent the entire day picking out all the upgrades we wanted - the laminate floors, the double sink, the single shower and tub, the types of doors, the patios, the stoves, the carpet, the padding, the brick. It was so overwhelming. When Jerry came at me with the color of the grout for the tile in the bathrooms, I honestly did not care at that point. I said "pick what you like." I was exhausted.
Chris and I went to Stonebriar Mall and ate dinner at the food court. I was floored by how big that mall was. (Needless to say the malls in California are nothing compared to here.) Chris and I sat down and I burst out into tears. He asked me what was the matter and I said "I can't believe I am going to go home and tell my mom we are moving to Texas." It was really a heartbreaking thing to do. My mom is my life line, my best friend.
With mom's love and support, six months later we moved to Texas. I myself was scared to death. I would know no one and I had no idea if I was making the right move or if I would be wanting to go back to California in a month. Danielle was 3 months old, Brett was 2.5 and Andrew was 6. I was now official a stay at home mom relying solely on my husband's income. A totally new concept for us.
It wasn't until bunco started that I really got to know my neighbors and found that I was so blessed. You see, in my neighborhood, NO ONE judges anyone. There is no "keeping up with the Jones'". There is no talking behind someones back when they walk out the door. People leave groceries on their neighbor's doorstep when they know that times are tough. We watch each other kids. We vent to each other about life. We go to movies. We go to coffee. We play bunco. We meet at the park. We gather outside of people's home when tragedy strikes and are eager to help with ANYTHING. They sing Christmas carols on Christmas Day. These are women that I am so proud to call my "hood girls".
I am so grateful that Orlando brought us to McKinney, that he brought us to this neighborhood. Out of all the neighborhoods in McKinney, we got this one.
About six of my "hood girls" came over this morning and helped me put together Brett's Celebration invitations, stuff the envelopes and write the names of those invited. By myself this would have taken hours, with their help it was about 45 minutes. How awesome is that?
I can say, that without a doubt that "someday" is here. Texas is home. Maybe one day Texas will be home for mom and Paul.
Tonight I leave you with this: Follow your heart, you just never know when your "someday" will be.
Last night was a restless night for me. I found myself waking up every hour from 3:00 a.m. on. I simply could not get Brett off my mind - even in my sleep.
I went to Andrew's baseball practice last night and was talking to two other baseball mom friends. They both have sons that started tee ball. Their first game is this week. These boys are both four years old. Brett was suppose to be on that team, he was also suppose to have his first tee ball game this week. We had it all figured out last year. Peyton, Derek and Brett were going to be on the same team. They played together at every baseball game their big brothers had. Amy, Kara and I were always looking at them play and of course trying to figure out who hit who or who did what. All three were looking forward to when it was their turn to play on the field. I realized at that moment that my little man was not going to have his turn on the field - at least not where I can see it. I silently cried on the way home so Andrew didn't notice and I cried on my way to my friend's house for an evening out with the girls.
I manage to contain myself before heading into Marta's house - after all I didn't want to damper the evening. I even thought about cancelling, but thought a night out would help and it did for a few hours. I had a great time with some old and new found friends. We ate, laughed, drank, laughed, played Wii fit (wow that hula hooping really works those abs!) and laughed some more. One of my best girlfriends Meredith even took a road trip with Michelle to Walgreens to get a Baby Gender test and it said a GIRL. We are so hoping that test is right! Only two more weeks Mere until the ultrasound!
When I left Marta's house around 11:30 p.m., I found myself thinking about Brett's baseball team that he will never be on. How is this fair? I still ask myself "why me"? Why my Brett? I have so many questions and no answers. I am so frustrated!
I got home, went to the computer and pulled up this picture. This is a picture that I took on the way home from California from the airplane window. You see, I wasn't suppose to be on this 6:45 a.m. flight. I took an early flight home because Andrew was sick. I think this was something that God wanted me to see. This is Brett's view from heaven:
What a beautiful view. This in some strange way gives me just a little bit of peace. One day, my little man, I will be walking with you again and holding your sweet little hand. Mommy loves you.
As I prepare for Brett's Celebration of Life on April 19th, I have so many mixed feelings.
Brett's birthday is April 17th, he would be turning five. Normally about this time of year I have picked the location of the party, the invitations are done, Brett has chosen his character theme plates and napkins and he is bouncing off the wall with excitement. Instead, I find myself staring at an invitation with a picture of Brett and his contagious smile and the words "A Celebration of Brett's Life in honor of his birthday". Something is so wrong with this. He was suppose to be turning five. He was taken way too early.
I think Ann said it right - "It's bittersweet." I find myself stressing about every detail of this Celebration. I want it to be ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. Chris knew his wife all too well when he thought I would "stress out", but I am trying my best to keep it under control. I love you honey.
We have so many people that are helping with this Celebration that "thank you" just doesn't seem like enough, but it is all we have to give right now.
Today I sent an e-mail out to a lot of my close friends asking for them to dig through two years of pictures and send me any and all pictures that they have of Brett and his friends for the photo book that I am working on. My friends got to work and I already have received some e-mails and photos. Today I would like to share with you one of my favorites. I gasped as I saw this picture. I have never seen this picture before, but I do have to say it is beautiful. This is my little man last year at Halloween. Who could not adore this face?
This Celebration is not only for my immediate family, but also my extended family that loved Brett like their own. Chris and I have started - well I guess you could say foundation, but it's not there yet. We have called this yearly annual toy donation Brett's Blessings. I racked my head for days on what to name "it" and Chris came up with this in a minute and what a perfect name it is. Brett was a blessing. What better way to honor my child than to make other children, of all ages happy?
Brett's Blessings will help bring smiles to children in the ICU at Children's Hospital Dallas. My mission is to ask everyone that I know if they would be willing to donate a new, unwrapped toy for many children who are in the ICU. This year we have picked the ICU department specifically because this is where Brett spent his last few hours before passing away. I hope that next year I will be able to spread this toy drive to Children's Medical Center in Dallas as I have now been told by two people that they have nothing like this. Who knows, if this toy drive gets really big, I might just be able to do it this year. Wouldn't that be a blessing. Please spread the word.
So today I leave you with this: Open your hearts. Give to those you don't know. Someday you might be in need of the same.
Last night I went to the movies with Lisa, Meredith, Becky and Christie - four of some truly amazing women I am proud to call my friends. So usually we all trust each other instincts fairly well, especially when it comes to our Girls Night Outs. So I decided that I was up for something a little different. Not the typically comedy, love story kind of movie, something a little more suspenseful, a drama.
So I logged on to the Allen Cinemark website and see the movie "Last House on the Left". It looked good in the quick preview I had seen and it sounded like what I wanted - something different. Send out an e-mail, everyone is cool with the movie choice. Great!
Meet up at Starbucks at 8:15, talk the two hours away over memories, kids, husbands, stress, etc. - you know what we are good at - talking! We go to the theatre, buy our tickets, get our snacks, hit the potty (yeah you can tell I am a mommy) and sit down. Well as we are sitting there watching the previews and almost every single preview was a horror flick that was coming soon. I looked at the girls and said "This did not say it was a horror flick." We all had this worried look on our face. The girls were wondering what I had gotten them into and frankly I was thinking the same thing myself.
So the movie starts with a car accident coming from absolutely no where. And if you know me or have read my first blog, this is not a good site and/or sound for me to experience not even in a movie. I quickly covered my eyes as my girlfriends' eyes immediately went to me and asked if I was ok and wanted to go. Needless to say the scene was horrific and was very graphic. My eyes continued to be covered until the girls gave the go ahead to look. I decided I was fine and was going to continue to watch on - after all how much worse could it get. Let me just tell you without the details, it got ten times worse. The plot in itself was a good storyline (girl gets kidnapped and raped, left for dead, goes back to her parents house and her parents get the ultimate revenge). The one problem - it was extremely graphic!! Awful! I think they need to be more descriptive on those movie summaries.
After the movie, we all just sat in our seats and were like "Wow, what did we just watch." I was put on MOVIE PICKING PROBATION UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE as we stood outside the theatre and talked for another thirty minutes!! Sorry girls! But all in all we had a great night and I am sure that I have been forgiven by now - that's what friends are for.
Andrew left to go on a quick road trip with Chris to Southern Texas before the end of his Spring Break. They left at like 5:00 a.m. - although don't quote me because I was not awake enough to see the clock - all I could think was thank goodness I don't have to get up.
I rolled out of bed at about 7:40 a.m. to the sweet sounds of Danielle yelling "Mommy come get me out!" So it really wasn't that sweet since she was screaming, but hey you know what I mean. I got her breakfast, sat on the couch with my large morning coffee and sat and listened. My house was way too quite. I only had one child at home, which was one of my many "firsts". This was Andrew's first trip with his dad since the accident so all the other trips Andrew went on I had Danielle and Brett. Now for most moms, this would be pure pleasure, but for me not so much.
So I was grateful that I had invited my friend, Becky to bring her daughters Chloe and her new baby Laken over for a visit. It will help occupy my time as well as Danielle's. The day started out great. Becky and I have really not had much time for visiting since December so it was a great time to catch up. We somehow managed to talk about clothing for our kids - after all isn't it always about them? So I took her upstairs to show her some clothes I have bought for Danielle. Well of course, Danielle decided to take a poop just as we were settling in upstairs. I told her to go downstairs and get a diaper and the wipes. And this is what I she came with:
Yep, the powder and it was everywhere! Becky and I could not help but laugh out loud. Danielle of course started to laugh and shake the powder some more. I quickly ran downstairs to grab my camera, because after all this was a kodak moment. Danielle followed me downstairs and I was still able to grab a shot of this mess. Sometimes you have to laugh. The girls managed to get into their girly girl outfits and after FIVE pictures we finally got a cute pic with them both looking all ready for their party in the playroom.
I have realized after four hours of this happening that Dani didn't mean it. It was an accident. Although it looks like this now, my girlfriends that bought me this beautiful bench are looking into what the person whom they bought it from can do for me. Worse case scenario, I will buy another one.