Sunday, January 31, 2016

31: Thankful for so, so many things...

Greetings All,

For those of you who follow me here, but not on Facebook, it’s been a while.

About 5 weeks ago, on Christmas Day, I started a thankfulness project, to help kickstart my waning thankfulness/optimism/cheerfulness and decrease the negativity/cranky in my  life.  The wonderful and creative Jennifer Garland came up with a list of possible names for the project, and I chose #thankynotcranky.  It’s been a fun 5 weeks, and several others joined in as well.  J

I wasn’t sure how long I was going to ride the #thankynotcranky train, but thinking this is going to be my last formal post, #31.  It gives me a “month” of posts in just over 5 weeks, and I think that’s just about right.  Hell, it worked well enough to get me out of the house, away from my video games (Divinity: Original Sin Extended Edition), and using my wordsmithery to process….  So yeah, a lot more thanky, a lot less cranky.

Before I wrap up my #thankynotcranky project, I wanted to riff on a few things that have been bouncing around my brain like a superball the last few months.

Firstly, I love words.  LOVE.  I love new words, precise words, the correct spelling of words, and all things in between.  If I wasn’t as lazy as I am, I’d know a few languages too, because then I’d know more words.  Anyway, I always strive to use the correct word in any given situation…correct in context, syntax, grammar, and the whole shebang.

With all of that being said, when I refer to my family, do I refer to my family as “kid” or “kids”?

For example: 
Yeah, that sounds like a something my kids would love!
Yeah, that sounds like something my kid would love!

When I speak in the past tense, I can easily use kids.  When I speak about the future, I feel like I’m lying, or faking, or in some state of denial when I say “kids”.  I do not any longer have “kids”, I have a “kid”. 

But then again, I would never want to deny the awesomeness of having Amelie for the time that we had her with us, and if anyone ever thought that I was doing so, it would wound my soul.  She was a great kid, and she was my bud, and nothing will ever change that.

I just sounds so damned weird when I am speaking about something and reply with kids…  but then again not to use kids seems just as wrong.   I know, something most people don’t care about, but well, it feels real, so that means it is.

I’m a full page into writing, so I guess I ought to give a bit about “how are things? How is Shelley? How is Anya?” (as my Dad would ask).  Things are as good as they can be.  That’s about the best I can say.

The best way I can say to describe it is to describe the weekend we just had.  Anya was away at Special Days camp (more later, and in many previous blogs).  She left Friday afternoon and returned today at 2:15p.  We had talked sporadically about doing a bunch of different stuff, but I knew, deep down, that if we were going to do anything, it needed to be me that was the propulsion system for that adventure.

There’s nothing wrong, but there’s also this empty spot.  That spot is the sum total of: all the joy of Amie, all the caring for Amie, all the 2nd kid stuff you have to do, all the hospital visits, all the cancer anxieties, all the car rides to Mott, all of it.  That empty spot (I don’t want to say hole, because that’s inherently negative) is just there.  It’s slowly being chipped away to make it smaller, and getting filled in here and there with new passions and activities….but it’s there….and some days, the vacuum of empty pulls the energy in from other places and just makes it too hard to move past what you do to survive. 

So, we hung out this weekend, watched a bunch of stuff, had some good food out, and made some good meals in.  We enjoyed each other’s company, parallel played for a while, and then went and got Anya.  Was it exciting? No.  Was it alright? Yes.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Special Days camp.  Anya went (again, 4th year!) to winter camp for Special Days, <> and once again it was the shining star of her winter.  I wish (at times) I could jump into her head to see what exactly she loves about it so much, but she just loves it so much.  When Amie died, we asked that people send donations in lieu of flowers to that organization.  What they do, simply put, is amazing.

With all of the above being said, I wanted to give one last blast of #thankynotcranky.  For my 31st post, I want to be thankful for:

Jennifer Overholt – A student who I’ve sung the praises of way too much on this blog, but who just returned from volunteering at Special Days camp, again.  She goes there because she, as a soon-to-be-nurse, knows that the kids there deserve normalcy as much as any other kid, and the work that needs to be done to ensure that normal is far more than most people would imagine.  Thanks for doing that work, Jen, and to do it for free.

Special Days Camp – You give my daughter a week each summer, and a weekend each winter, where she can run around and be free from all the anxieties, fears, grief, and dashed expectations of her parents.  You do it with minimal financial costs from the parents, and have staff like Stan who so desperately care for my kid (kids?) that I am brought to tears each time I see you.

Kim (head custodian at McBride) – I have never seen a person work as hard as you do to keep our aging building looking as good as it does, each and every day.  I have never seen you sitting.  I have never seen you talking on your cell phone.  I have never seen you hiding from work.  I have only seen you doing the small, detail oriented things that make things sparkle, and are nearly never noticed.

People who send anonymous gifts – (this is NOT a plea for such a thing, just a blanket thanks, as we cannot send proper thank you cards!)  For the people who have sent anonymous gifts to my family over the past 3.5 years…thank you from the bottom of my heart.  From the bag that someone made with the cat embroidery on it and the girl’s pictures, to the blankets for each of us, to the purple tulips that arrived last week…  we appreciate all of them.  The fact that people are still thinking about Amie a year after her death makes us smile, and reminds us that the power of her story reached way beyond family and friends, and snaked its way out into many of your lives.  Thank you.  Deeply.

With that said, I’ll wrap it up and share a few pictures:

This is Anya with Stan, the saintly gentleman who takes care of Anya year after year on the bus to Special Days.  What a wonderful, amazing team.  This was leaving for Anya's first camp ever, when she was 5 (according to my limited researching).

This is Anya returning from that camp.  Such good sister-friends.

Here is us sending Anya off to her 4th camp.  Still willing to take a picture with us, so that's a win!  :)

...and finally, our mantel, as we walk the last 13 days until the 1st anniversary of Amie's death.

The world is a sadder, less-brilliant, and less sorted place without you, m'darling.  But know that the people you touched with your jokes, your hugs, your shoulder rides, and your squeezes have not forgotten you one iota.  You're a good kid, Amie, and we miss you more than you will ever understand.

Rest well, Ams.