Michael’s Second Heaven Birthday

     It’s Michael’s second heaven birthday! Two years ago today, Michael departed this world for his forever home. This morning, I carefully navigated across the deck and down the icy stairs to the hot tub. As I sat in the hot tub listened to the ice crackling on the tree branches and the wind chimes creating a beautiful song, I took the opportunity to reflect on the two years since Michael’s passing. Our family was so very fortunate to have the gift of time….time to live like we were dying and time to prepare for what was to come. The last three months of Michael’s life afforded him with much less energy and his overall quality of life quickly deescalated. As tough as this was to watch, Michael wanted us to have no doubt that he stayed with us as long as his body would allow him. By the time he passed, even the kids knew that it was time. For these reasons, I felt a huge sense of relief when Michael passed. This feeling was persistent for many months. The first year of being a single mom was a bit like being on a treadmill set a high speed while trying to dodge water balloons.

     The second year, reality set in. The sense of relief passed. Then you wake up and think….wow, its really going to be a loooooong time before we see Michael again. The questions start surfacing from the boys that would be expected. Why did God take my dad? Why do some people live to be so old and some die so young? Why didn’t you and dad start the foundation sooner to raise money for research? Tough questions right? I’m not sure that I come up with the right answers. My message is simple. We were exceptionally lucky to have your dad in our lives as long as we did. Our loss will make us stronger individually and as a family if we allow it to. We cannot always control what will happen in life, but we can control our reaction to it. Some day we will see Michael again and we will have all of our questions answered. Today, we count our many blessings and move forward. Per the recommendation of a friend, we started a “Gratitude Jar” this weekend. We will write down special moments that we are grateful for in 2021 and place it in the Gratitude Jar. On New Year’s Day 2022, we will read all of these special moments. We have already compiled an impressive number of special moments in just the first 10 days of this year!

     Our good friend, Patty introduced us to a new place to hike that is just a few minutes from our house. We have enjoyed numerous hikes with friends over the past few weeks. The trees are absolutely gorgeous right now! Although COVID has been tough in many ways, it has allowed us time as a family that just was not available before. The snow has created hours of entertainment for the boys via sledding, snow ball fights, fort building, and icicle collecting. Of course, with cold snowy days comes hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows:) Our dear friend Amanda, introduced us to a Hot Cocoa Bomb…if you haven’t had one….it’s time! Unless, your New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight….then definitely skip it:)

     So how do you celebrate a heaven birthday or do you? If you know our family, then you know that we will celebrate whenever the chance arises! The boys enjoyed some of Michael’s favorites today….soda and sour patch kids:) Apparently, we were not the only ones honoring Michael’s memory with Sour Patch Kids. At 10 am our friend, Wendy, sent a text showing us her breakfast/online church snack:) Following online church, we took the opportunity to watch the picture show created for Michael’s memorial service and reminisce. We embarked on a family hike after lunch, followed by some fort building, and a board game. Just before sunset, we met with our amazing friends to release some floating lanterns, while listening to our highly talented friend, Jeff, sing Amazing Grace and Hallelujah. Of course, there were some fireworks involved! On the way home, the boys were both chattering away about how much fun they had:) We received exactly what we were hoping for from the day! Single parenting has not yet been mastered, but the treadmill runs a little slower and most days there are less water balloons to dodge.

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