Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2009. Mattie had turned seven in 2009, and he celebrated his last birthday in the Hospital. Actually that year Mattie had two parties, one in the hospital and a "Reptile Alive" party at his friend, Campbell's house. For me the first week of April will always be Mattie's birthday week! As a tribute I will be posting a picture of Mattie celebrating one of his seven birthdays each night this week.
Quote of the day: There are three classes of people: Those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see. ~ Leonardo da Vinci
When I think about da Vinci's quote, I have a feeling that "seeing," does not refer to one of our five senses. Instead, I think "seeing" has more to do with the depths of understanding and feeling the beauty that is all around us. The key to truly seeing or experiencing life seems heightened when we are in our most vulnerable states. It is during those times that we perhaps see in profound ways the goodness, beauty, and inspiration from for example, a sunrise or even from the kind words of a friend. May we always strive to be in the class of "those who see."
I began my day dropping off donations to Georgetown University Hospital. If you have never been to this Hospital, then you may not be aware of the immense parking problem that they have! It is hard to emotionally handle parking there when you are well, but if you are ill or caring for someone who is ill, then your stress level is already on high alert, and heading into the parking garage can actually be toxic. Fortunately Jess, the wonderful Child Life Specialist who is working at the Hospital (in part because of Mattie Miracle's funding) met me by my car so that I did not have to park. But while waiting for her, I can't tell you how many people I saw yelling at the parking attendants. One mom was taking her child to day surgery, and was SO frustrated by the parking situation, that I think she was ready to abandoned her car. I was listening to her ranting and raving, and to the average person, she may have looked unstable. But as she was yelling, I was nodding my head up and down. Because everything she was saying was 100% correct. We have talked about parking issues at our parent advisory meetings at the Hospital, but it seems like the scenarios I saw play out today, illustrate the need to address this issue again!
After I left the Hospital, my next stop was Goodwill. I feel like I really did a good job at cleaning out our home the past couple of weekends. This isn't easy work emotionally, but as a very organized person, I have trouble living in chaos.
This afternoon, I went over to my friend Ellen's house. Ellen is Charlotte's mom. As my faithful readers know, Charlotte and Mattie were very close friends in kindergarten. I did not realize Charlotte's school was still on vacation today, so when I arrived I had the opportunity to chat with Charlotte one on one. I remember Charlotte when she was only 5! Now she is 10!!! We had a delightful conversation with each other about her trip to Florida, the experiment she is doing for the science fair, and her summer plans. As I was watching Charlotte talk, in the back of my head, I was wondering what Mattie would have been like at this age. I typically do not do this when I am around other children, but Charlotte, Campbell, and Zachary, were children I spent a great deal of time with, and as such, it is natural for me to wonder about Mattie in comparison to his close friends. Being around Charlotte reminds me of Mattie, and the fun they had together.
Ellen has given Peter and I her beach house this week so that we may try to find some sort of relaxation and peace after a challenging winter of Foundation obligations and health issues. Issues that have yet to resolve themselves. When I think about the Foundation's winter season, I think about the following: 1) Whole Foods Day in January, 2) Working with the Georgetown University Business School class, 3) Partnering with Girl Scout Troop 3989 and building bears, distributing bears at the Hospital, and then recently coordinating an Easter Egg hunt for the inpatient children, 4) Hosting the first ever childhood cancer psychosocial symposium on Capitol Hill, 5) The Fundraising Event at Molecule Salon, and last but not least 6) the upcoming annual Walk in May. It has been a full and very intense couple of months.
Ellen is one of the first moms I met at Mattie's school. During the first month or two at Mattie's school, there were many welcoming receptions for new parents. I met Ellen at many of these events and we simply connected and identified with each other. The irony is, so did our children. I will never forget that Mattie's first play date in kindergarten was at Charlotte's house. I was always very particular with Mattie driving in someone else's car. In fact, most of the times I was transporting Mattie around myself, rather than him carpooling with others. However, the afternoon of their play date, Ellen text messaged me to let me know she would pick both children up at school and take them back to her house. Naturally this made more sense since Ellen lives near the school, and I lived 20 minutes away by highway from the school. I was apprehensive about not picking Mattie up at school, but when I saw Mattie's happy face at the end of the day, I realized at some point I needed to let people in who I trusted, and Ellen was one of those people. Ellen and Charlotte were faithful friends throughout Mattie's illness, and even in his death, they still support us and the Foundation. So in a way, escaping to their beach house, is a mark of our friendship that was created by a beautiful five year old named Mattie.
So I sign off for tonight, knowing that tomorrow's blog will be typed from the beach.