(Picture: Aunt Marty holds baby Christi at Shelby's birthday party, 1997. This amazing aunt watched Shayla for me while I was teaching last night. I shouldn't say "watched" but went to the Petstore to see all of the cute puppies, rode horses, ate sushi.....any wonder why Shay Shay fell asleep in the back of my little rental car driving home last night?! Aunt Marty is even going to host Shayla's 9th birthday party for me. Too sweet!)
It's officially Shayla's birthday month (Shaylauary!) and someone could not be more excited about that! I happen to think "eight" is the perfect age, but someone thinks "nine" may even be better. When she came downstairs this morning and found my grading my OSU students' papers they turned in last night, I wished her a "Happy Shaylauary" and told her school was closed due to all of the ice out there. She cracked me up hugging me and saying, "I can't think of a better way to start off Shaylauary!" She's currently working on crocheting me a scarf (Cousin Tricia has turned her into a madwoman! Shayla has made countless "chains" and is now working on the latest step Tricia taught her), what a hoot! I'm making her pancakes with fruit for breakfast!! I'm so grateful for a day off; "The Taj" has air-conditioning (another first for me) so I have no problem making up these days in the summer! (The school is still simply amazing! For the first time in my career I have pavement to park on, not to mention INCREDIBLE technology, yipeee!) Shayne is flying home from Charleston, South Carolina today where he's been at a conference for work this week. (His new job he's been at since mid-September has been the most incredible blessing!!) Hopefully, they'll have safe travels home! Shayla has really missed her daddy, and I've missed him too!!
Recently, we received this treasured email. On the day of the funeral, we saw flowers along the route as we followed behind Christi's coffin, it was truly touching then - and now. (And dear Karen, I do plan to get to that book, but first I have a dissertation to write! Christi would be really disappointed with me, if I didn't finish my degree.)
Dear Loving Family,
I did not know your Christi - but, like many, my life has been changed, from what I knew about her. She touched lives - and those individuals went on to touch the lives of others.
I read the stories - and I had spoken to those who knew her. On the day of the funeral I went out and bought many flowers and handed them out, so they could be laid on the ground as Christi passed, as a tribute to Tiffin's first true Princess. As I spoke to those crowding the streets, I heard the same things over and over - "I didn't know her - but I wanted to honor her" Strangers held hands and cried together in fellowship and love, for a little girl unknown to us, but yet so dear to all of our hearts.
Have you ever considered writing a movie about Christi's life? The miracles she helped create - her amazing inner strengths that you have so profoundly reiterated on your pages? The world should know of her story. She changed us. She could change the world. Proceeds could always go towards Neuroblastoma research and treatment. It's a thought I've had for sometime - but, as she passed through my mind this morning - I thought it time to throw out the suggestion to those who hold Christi's dreams, and her heart.
Peace be with you.