(PHOTO: Thanksgiving 2001, Christi (4) Shayla (2) "Breaking the Wish Bone")
(PHOTO 2005, Age 8 - Christi's last Thanksgiving: A Toledo News Crew arrived at my mom's house. They did a story on families who had a lot to be thankful for. I've never forget calling my sister Wednesday night and telling her I just told a newscrew it was fine to go to my mom's house for Thanksgiving and jokingly I asked if she thought I should tell mom, or just surprise her?! hee hee)
The day we've been dreading has arrived. Another holiday without Christi. You'd think this would get easier, but that's certainly not the case today. We wanted to escape it all, but we knew we owed Thanksgiving to Shayla so we'll be visiting with relatives today. It's going to be terribly hard seeing how much the other kids have grown, but it will be nice to see everyone.
Speaking of growing: Shayla needed new dance shoes. I had Christi's final pair here so last night Shayla tried them on. She squeezed and squeezed, but without any luck. The little sweetheart looked up at me and said, "I'm so sorry, mom. I tried really hard but my feet are too big." I think she knew how sad it all was for me as I realized Shayla's feet are now bigger than Christi's ever were. I held her little dance shoe and cried as I looked at the little size "2" and realized what torture such a little girl endured. Somehow, Christi always seemed "so big" to me and holding the shoes told me otherwise.
On Monday, my 40th birthday, I had parent/ teacher conferences after school into the evening; however, while I was getting Shayla's breakfast around Shayne said, "Shayla, isn't your mom more beautiful than two twenty year olds?" (I think Shayla knew to just keep quiet; she didn't say a peep.) And then of course came his comment about being as old as TWO twenty year olds. Hee hee! While it is always so hard for me to see Christi's friends because I wonder how tall she would be, what she would look like, I'm reminded she's not with them, etc. one of Christi's sweet little friends came to my classroom to give me a lovely homemade birthday card. It was the greatest thing!! And now that my friends have convinced me that 40 is the new 20, I'm fine with it all! (Smile.)
Shayla went to Aunt Marty's while I was in class Tuesday night and because I had a meeting at OSU Marion on Wednesday, we overnighted with Aunt Marty and Uncle Jeff and had too much fun! When I got in late from class Tuesday, I saw the amazing gingerbread house they made. Aunt Marty is entirely too talented!
Not only did Shayla ride Aunt Marty's horse on Wednesday, she also had her regular horse riding lesson. She's been moved up to a group with five older girls (ages 10-13)and she is loving the group lesson. Their instructor is fabulous and they're putting together a (get ready for this one....) Christmas Recital. Nope, I am not kidding and it is really amazing. The six girls on their horses are learning a routine and I'm very impressed with their routine. Shayla will be riding "Buddy". Of course I had to be the mother to suggest buying matching sweatshirts and I'm taking pictures next week since I volunteered to make programs. (Hey, my classes end next week I'll have so much time I won't know what to do with it all! Cough.)
Much to our surprise and delight at horse lessons while Shayla was saddling up her horse, the instructor said, "Shayla, do you remember Heddie? She is coming to watch your lesson." Shayla screamed, "HEDDIE!!!" and couldn't wait for her to arrive. We met Heddie, her instructor's niece, when we were in Alaska this summer and spent a delightful afternoon with her! Since Shayla always says when she grows up she's moving to Alaska, Heddie is Shayla'a idol!
Deciding that we loved school vacations, Shayla and I also made a pumpkin and cream cheese pie for our friend, Lori yesterday. Much to the shock and delight of many, although she's not out of the woods yet Lori is now back home!!
We knew she wouldn't be able to eat the pie, but we hoped her family would enjoy it. When I walked in and saw her sitting propped up in a chair, I was quite surprised and immediately blurted out, "You look great!!" Her coloring is so much better and she told me she now weighs over the 100 pound mark, praise God! She has battled her disease, for seven years, always working, taking classes and doing so much for others, I was happy to hear her doctor said no work until January.
This morning we are reminded of the wonderful blessings in our lives; they are countless!! We also reflect back on the Thanksgiving holidays we were so blessed to spend with Christi in our presence. We also remember the incredible gifts so many shared with us during our toughest years to make our holidays brighter and we will never forgot that goodness! Here's wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
I know it's rare not to see Christi smiling in her pictures, but she must have been pondering upon how she was going to eat all of that food that looked so good, smile.)