Tonight's picture was taken on Halloween of 2007. Mattie was 5 years old and desperately wanted to be an air force pilot that year. We took Mattie to Andrews Air Force Base that spring to an air show and he was intrigued by the whole show, the aircraft, and meeting several the military members in uniform. Of course when I took Mattie to the costume store the only thing resembling a military pilot outfit was this army uniform. But thanks to my friend Charlie, she sent me many Air Force patches, which helped to transform the look of the costume! I sewed the patches all over the uniform and our neighbor gave Mattie this adorable hat which most likely did not fit the Air Force theme but it seemed to complete the picture!
Quote of the day: Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it. ~ Goethe
I went to my zumba class today and our instructor surprised me at least with Halloween routines. I haven't gone to class for several sessions now because I have either not been feeling well or was at a conference. I can't even recall how many years I have been going to Jenny's class but this is the first year she added themed routines to her class. There was sometimes whimsical about it and having grown up around the time of Michael Jackson's Thriller video, it was a riot to try to integrate these steps into today's class
I had the opportunity to chat with my friends Heidi and Denise today. Though they both haven't lost a child to cancer, it doesn't mean that they can't grasp what I am dealing with. After interacting with them I felt differently and I had to ask myself why? The answer came down to the fact that they wanted to know how I felt and they asked questions. They did not dismiss me, talk over my feelings, or move onto their topics. Of course the key to all of this is interest and time. I have learned with grief and loss of a child that talking with a fellow bereaved parent is not always beneficial (or at least NOT for me), but I have never underestimated the power and beauty of a meaningful connection. A connection with another person who wants to listen, who makes the time for me, who asks questions, and really tries to imagine what it feels like to experience what I am expressing.
Later on today I then spoke to my friend Toni on the phone. It has been the day of connecting with friends, which helps since Peter is away. Toni and I of course met when Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. Toni is Brandon's mom, and Brandon was Mattie's buddy! Though there is a 12 year age difference between the boys, they both had a way of making it work! Brandon was like a big brother to Mattie and Mattie really related to Brandon. He trusted him and felt Brandon understood him. I will always be grateful to Brandon and of course Toni and I both see many psychosocial issues in the same light! Toni called me today to let me know that she mailed me candy for the Foundation's candy drive! I was very touched by her kindness and no matter what she has going on in her life, she always remembers us in the Fall and Spring. This means a great deal to me, more than she probably knows.