Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2005. We took Mattie to Accokeek Park in Maryland, right alongside the Potomac River. As you can see, Peter was teaching Mattie how to skip stones in the water. Of course Mattie was more interested in the BIG ROCKS and tried to pick one up and toss it into the water. Mattie loved the splashing and the sound of water displaced by a rock.
Quote of the day: Remembering may be a celebration or it may be a dagger in the heart, but it is better, far better, than forgetting. ~ Donald M. Murray
It has taken me about three weeks to work with Alexandria City Hall and work out the details for ALL the permits we need for the walk. I was contacted by the permitting office yesterday and told that all our paperwork was accepted and that I could come in today to pick up the permits and pay the fees. In theory that should have taken no more than 20 to 30 minutes! Guess what? In typical permit office fashion, I was there almost three hours. The worst part is when I got there they said my permit application wasn't accepted and I needed to provide more paperwork (paperwork that I did not have with me!). I was livid because that would have meant I had to drive all the way back to DC and then out to Alexandria again. There was NO WAY I was going to waste my time on this. So I expressed my frustration, given that I was told everything was all set yesterday and all I had left to do was pay the fees. I was confused how this could have changed from yesterday. Needless to say I put my foot down and said I wasn't leaving without permits in hand and I expected them to help me figure out what they deemed as missing. While working this out, I also sent a formal compliant to the 2 chiefs of the permit office. Why do I know these men, guess why? BECAUSE every year it is something else that goes wrong and between dealing with miscommunications and disrespectful behavior and treatment that the staff dishes out to permit applicants, my tolerance is LOW. It is low because we pay close to $600 in permit fees and mind you our Awareness Walk is held on private property within Alexandria. So I feel the city is making money off of us, when this money could be going to a more worthy cause. Nonetheless, I have permits in hand tonight!!! So that is done for one more year.
This evening Peter and I went out to dinner with our friends Ellen and Jeff. Their daughter, Charlotte, was in Mattie's kindergarten class and they were the closest of buddies. In fact, Mattie gave Charlotte a plastic ring he earned at the dentist, and told Charlotte it was her engagement ring. Needless to say, Charlotte happily accepted the ring. They were good friends, made each other laugh, stood up for one another, and just appreciated one another. It was a special bond. Tonight, Charlotte's parents let us know that they are working to create an endowed scholarship fund at Mattie's school in his honor. The fund would have Mattie's name attached to it and four chairs in the upper school theatre will have memorial plaques with Mattie's name on it. I can't tell you how STUNNED Peter and I were to hear this! We had no idea they were even thinking of doing this. I always wanted to create such a fund, but to me it is actually more meaningful that it was started by a friend. Friends who still remember our son and want his legacy to always be remembered at the school he once attended. To know Mattie will never by forgotten and instead memorialized for the special and lively fellow he was, has to be the greatest gift one could give to grieving parents.