Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2008 in Mattie's kindergarten classroom. That particular day was Grandparent's Day and my parents came from California to participate in that occasion and to support Mattie. I decided to volunteer that day on campus to help serve breakfast to grandparents. This was an experience I will never forget. Breakfast was served under a large tent on the campus field. It was a lovely event and one of my jobs that morning was to go around serving coffee from table to table. Mattie's school counselor came up to me at the event and told me she had been watching me and couldn't get over how much coffee I was able to serve and at the same time chat and connect with the grandparents. I joked with her because I said, after all wasn't this part of our (we are both trained counselors) job description..... servicing people!? Because I volunteered that morning this allowed me to escort my parents around campus and go with them into Mattie's classroom. My mom took this picture of Mattie and I together. On that day, I am sure I debated taking that morning off as my teaching semester was coming to an end and I was up to my ears with grading. But now I can safely say I am SO happy I made the time to attend that day, because I would never have imagined that this would be my first and last grandparents day on that campus.
Quote of the day: There is no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were. ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
In the past, I posted on the blog a different Eisenhower quote regarding the death of his son. Eisenhower's son died at the age of three from Scarlet Fever, and this loss was very profound for the president and his wife. In fact, I find many of the statements Eisenhower made on his son's death very meaningful, deeply moving, and for those of us in this special club, these words hit home. They hit home because he doesn't sugar coat the feeling, he was open, honest, and candid. I repeat what Eisenhower stated..... THINGS NEVER GET BACK TO THE WAY THEY WERE! For parents who lost a child, life is permanently changed. We may function, accomplish things, and live in the world. But living for us is quite different than it was before.
I spent a portion of my morning today designing a candy cane tree for my friend Tina. Tina admires my trees. I made my first candy cane tree EVER in December of 2009, three months after Mattie died. Ann wanted a unique center piece for her dining room table (or let's put it this way, she wanted to keep me busy and engaged with the world so she asked me to take this on), so I gave this some thought and began making candied trees at Christmas time. Ann has five of my trees. Each of her trees have a different kind of holiday candy on them. The candy cane trees are a labor of love however because the canes can easily break as you unwrap them and of course they are very sticky. But Tina's friendship and kindness have meant a lot to me this year and if my trees make her happy, I was compelled to make her one. So here is the finished product!
Peter and I went out to lunch today at a local restaurant. I am SO thrilled that a whole new complex has been developed in Foggy Bottom. Because with this new construction came many new and good restaurants. Which were VERY needed in our area. I love walking, but today was frigid, and the cold is greatly impacting my ability to breath. I can now go no where without my inhaler, and it is my hope that in time this goes away. Any case, we had a working lunch of talking through the next steps for the Foundation and our upcoming events. It is quite ironic however that I made a candy cane tree today, I am hearing about Christmas trees going up and being decorated by friends, and naturally see decorations in stores and restaurants all around me. Yet some how for me, I am trapped, not feeling or allowing myself to feel Christmas.