Thank you so much for helping Shayla with her geography! She enjoyed looking up where you wrote from and your wonderful guesses and the variations of pronunciation! Once inside the “Churchill Downs Museum” in LOUISVILLE, Kentucky she said, “I have only been in this museum for five minutes and already it’s like my favorite museum ever.” She didn’t realize this, but it was challenging at times for Shayne and I because we took BOTH the girls to that same incredible museum years ago. Christi LOVED it too and I remember so many things that Christi enthralled in there. Unfortunatelly, I've not been able to locate those pictures, but I do know I have them somewhere. I'll add a few "oldies but goodies" I've never shared before at the bottom this morning.
Shayla learned a ton at the Louisville Science Museum and is anxious to get back to COSI soon. At the Phantom of the Opera, we knew it would be bittersweet. Shayla had wanted to go since last year when we were in Las Vegas and she saw it advertised and was intrigued. One of the reasons, Christi was named Christine was because of Christine in Phantom of the Opera Shayne and I saw twice in Toronto. When she sang “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”, tears gushed out and Shayne, sitting behind me, placed his hands on my shoulders. I didn’t dare turn around as I knew he was sobbing too. You would think we would grow “accustom” this new life as a family of three, yet we have not and sometimes it just comes up like a wave from nowhere enveloping your body in a vast, unstoppable rush.
We stopped for dinner on our way home Sunday night. The gentleman seating us set out four place settings. Then he said, “Only three? I thought you said a party of four,” as he took away a place setting. I mumbled under my breath, “We used to be. We want to be.” During dinner, we decided we would talk about Shayla’s 9th birthday, coming up soon. When I asked her if she had a theme in mind, she said, “Horses”. A kick was conducted under the table as that was exactly what Christi picked for her 9th birthday party. Can you even believe?! We of course told her that was a great idea, but it was all I could do to fight back my tears. As soon as we arrived at home, Shayla ran upstairs and brought down a stuffed horse saying, "This can be the centerpiece!" I said, "Great idea," and then glanced at Shayne and he shook his head. It was like pouring salt in our wounds; the horse she brought down was the one Christi and all of Christi's classmates signed at her 9th "horsing around" birthday party two years ago. I don't think we can possibly handle having that sit on our dinner table.
We are so fortunate and so blessed to have a wonderful healthy child in our lives. I know of other parents who have lost their only child. I know of parents in/out rehab and a variety of issues which come about after death of a loved one. I do know how very blessed we are, but…..I still miss the little sweetpea with her incredibly precious giggle! As we drove home, I pulled up my email and learned, from a NB dad I keep in touch with, about the death of his 23 year old son who fought the nasty disease of Neuroblastoma for 12 years. While I learn of deaths weekly, I try not to let myself get too cught up in it because it all hits too close to home and brings it all back again. I am reminded however of how special, healthy and wonderful Shayla is and I don’t know what we’d do without her.
I hope I never forget this. Christi's tenderness kicked right in when she learned her cousin had to stop playing and sit down and do his breathing treatments. She quickly got a book, sat beside him and started reading to him. I think she internalized the way many around her acted when she was receiving treamtent and therefore returned the favor.
A little embarassing to admit,but I really do not know who is in my kitchen kissing Christi! Me? My sister? Harriet? I can't figure it out!
Another picture I've never shared: In July of 2005 when Chrsiti's progression was in question; our trip back to Ohio was cancelled. Due to the July 4th weekend, we had to wait in Philly about four days before getting the MRI she needed. We took the girls to Build a Bear. The sisters made matching bears and had a blast back at the Ronald House playing with them.
PICTURE: April 2004 Sweet Traci (Harriett) filled a ton of balloons with helium for a "Christi Party" at her apartment before she left for work at COSI. When we arrived that night, they were all over the floor. Christi LOVED it anyway; what a hoot! Was that girl spoiled or what?! Ah, I do it all over again in a heart beat! She was worth it all and taught me true love!