Thursday, July 25, 2013

Life Lesson Month of July: Blog 4- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

Usually I start my writing in the early mornings, but these past two weeks have been such a whirlwind that I thought I had more time than I actually do.  At this very moment it is 8:00 pm on Thursday (the night before my blog entry is due) and I realized that I have not yet started.  Somewhat frantic and fearful of my pending deadline, I took a few moments to reflect on what I have learned during the days leading up to your brother Kyle’s 5K/Walk, the actual day of Kyle’s Walk, and the time after Kyle’s Walk.  And my lesson learned Ellie was not a difficult one at all, but rather joyful.  Here it is:

Life Lessons Learned #21: You are never too old to give or receive an ‘I Love You.’

Ellie, it was so amazing to have family and friends from near and far visit and re-connect.  There were so many ‘hugs’ given out, so many ‘hi’s and ‘kisses’ exchanged, and so many ‘smiles’ present.  It was a wonderful time-frame to witness.  Our loss of a beautiful baby boy had miraculously turned into a positive.  And even though the pain is still very much present, Kyle has shown us how to rise above.  But losing someone so tiny and so quickly was a crucial reminder to never forget what is truly important in life.  And that is to say three simple words “I Love You” each and every day and as often as possible.  I think Kyle heard those words no less than a million times in his eleven days of life, and now he is bringing those words right back to us on a daily basis through his purpose.  

I wrote a poem a while back and I think it fits perfectly with my thoughts of these past two weeks.  I would like to share it with you Ellie.  Here it is.

I Love You’s

Children need hugs and kisses
And lots of I Love You’s.
When at their best or at their worst
Show patience.  It’s a virtue.

Children need our attention
And lots of I Love You’s.
To hold, to talk, to play a game
These actions name just a few.

Children need some time with us
And lots of I Love You’s.
So take a break and be with them
It’s what we need to do.

Children need for us to listen
And lots of I Love You’s.
Just like us they want to be heard
So listen and answer on queue.

Children need hugs and kisses
And lots of I Love You’s.
It doesn’t matter if they’re young or old
They need to feel loved through and through.

By: Mickey Russell

So I guess the lesson learned this week Ellie-bean is that even though God has given each of us a “lifetime” to live, and whether that may mean minutes, days, or many, many years, always say those three meaningful words “I Love You” as often as you can.  You will never regret it El.  They give each of us meaning; a sense of worth.   They give each of us feeling; a sense of being wanted and needed.  And they give each of us hope; a sense of purpose and a closer connection to Him.
I Love You my precious Ellie-bean.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Life Lesson Month of July: Blog 3- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Angel,

Saturday is our 4th annual Kyle Russell Callahan Scholarship 5k that we organized to remember and honor your brother’s life and legacy.  I am always nervous and anxious in the days leading up to it, as I want everything to go so perfectly.  But then I remember that not everything goes according to plan (as was our story with Kyle) and that’s ok.

Life Lessons Learned #20: There are bluer skies and rainbows after a storm.

I wish someone would have told me when I learned that Kyle was so sick and probably wouldn’t live that, “You are about to embark on a wonderful journey!” Despite so much heartache, Kyle brought much joy and happiness in our lives these past four years.  The lesson that I’ve learned in the meantime is that there are beautiful skies after a storm.  Ellie, in the past few weeks we have had lots of rain here.  During the first of a string of many thunderstorms, you told me that you were scared of the booming sound so I told you that it’s just Kyle and the angels bowling up in heaven.  That seemed to calm your fear and then you noticed after the storm what beautiful shades of pinks, purples, and blue the sky became (with a rainbow too).  After that, you look forward to when the storm pushes through to see what it has left behind.  Keep that quality Ellie, whether it be a simple rainstorm or a challenged life-storm, always look ahead.  A beautiful rainbow or a bright blue sky will gradually present itself.    

Like so many others, Saturday is a day that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Kyle.  Family and friends will gather for the 4th time and another student will be able to continue their education- sounds like a pretty amazing feat for a baby who only lived 11 days!

I feel so blessed Ellie that you get to celebrate Kyle’s life with us.  Fingers crossed that the weather cooperates for all those coming out to run and walk!

Love you Bean!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Life Lesson Month of July: Blog 2- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hi Ellie!

Boy do I have a blog story to share with you today!  Because of your creative imagination you’ve made this week’s writing very easy for me!  And besides, I love sharing you!  Here it is:

Life Lessons Learned #19: Not everyone is cut out to be a waitress… A 3 year old or me!

Well, let me start off by saying that when you sleep over Ellie, life, as we know it takes on a different style!  This last time that we had you for the evening you decided that we were going to play restaurant lady and customer.  Since we have your little kitchen already set up in our living room, all we had to add was a tiny table and find you a notepad and pencil.  Once that was complete, it was time to play!  When I asked who was playing which role, of course you said that you would be the restaurant lady and I had to be the customer.  So down the stairs I went to begin our playtime selection.  I came in the front door, walked up the steps and waited for you to seat me… oh, and my two pretend friends Devin and Gretel too.  El, you smiled sweetly at my choice and proceeded to take us over to the couch and had me sit down.  Then you walked away to grab your pencil and notepad only to come back and say, “What do you want?”  My response was, “Do you have a menu for us to look at because we don’t know what your establishment has to offer.”  Your first question was, “What is an establishment?”  Of which I had to explain.  And your second statement was, “I don’t have one” (meaning a menu.)  You then scanned every inch of the living room and came up with your own delicious entrees.  Without blinking an eye, you said, “Mimi, you can have an egg sandwich or a chicken sandwich, or a shoe sandwich or a chair sandwich.”  Since I am not too fond of woody food where a splinter could wedge itself between my teeth, nor a food that holds strong pungent odors, I opted for the egg sandwich.  My pretend friend Gretel copied me and my pretend friend Devin was a bit more daring and chose the chicken sandwich.   Your response Ellie was, “Fine.”  And off you went to rummage in your refrigerator for two round white eggs.  Once you found them, you placed each one on a slice of plastic bread and set them inside a green serving tray.  Watching you in action was hilarious.  Seeing that you also had a plastic croissant on the counter I asked if I could have it, which apparently annoyed you.  I did not expect your answer, which was a very forceful, “NO, you can’t have that!”  And then you informed me, with a very smug look, that it wasn’t called a croissant either but rather a roll.  (Geez El, you made me feel like I was in a Seinfeld Soup Nazi episode only in this case, it was the Croissant Gestapo!)  So I apologized and asked if I could at least change my bread to a roll, which you nodded affirmatively.  You then jumped/hopped across the floor and back to your little refrigerator pulling out a whole plastic chicken (I kind of held my breath here because I wasn’t sure if our role playing had changed.  Were you a waitress, a kangaroo or a rabbit?).  As you pivoted, smiled, and skipped back over to me I was relieved to see that you were still the waitress!  Maybe a bit of an unorthodox one as you were waving that chicken body to and fro like a glow stick that guides a jumbo jet in for a landing, but no matter, still a waitress!   And then an idea must have struck you because you ran back, threw the chicken on the tray, got your notepad and pencil, returned, and asked if we would like some french-fries.  When I said, “No thank you” you said that we had to eat them anyway and ran back to your kitchen set.  Placing three fries on the green tray, you finally brought it over to our table.  Upon observing your delicious items, I had to remind you that our waitress did not give us any plate, utensils or napkins.  Your response Ellie was, “Oh.”  And then you picked up and took the serving tray with you; set it on the rocking chair, found the items I requested and returned to place them on the table.  Looking at the empty plates, I gingerly asked you where my sandwich was.  You responded with a… “Ughhhhh”, and you skipped away to retrieve our lunches only to return and dump them on our plates.  Then you grabbed my plastic roll, looked at me, pretended to bite the roll, giggled and tossed it back on my plate (Now that was sanitary! … NOT!)!  Knowing that my waitress was getting a little testy, I kindly asked you if we could have something to drink.  In a very pleasant voice you said, “Oh sure” and went to retrieve your notepad and pencil again.  Now Ellie, from my vantage point I could see all the beverage boxes you had lined up on your kitchen counter.  So I asked you if the three of us could have a grape juice drink.  You quickly scribbled something on your pad and then looked up and said, “Ahhhhhhhh NO.”  I said, “Ok.  Could we have milk instead?”  Again you went to pencil something down and responded, “Ahhhhhhhh NO you can’t have that either.”  Lastly I asked if we could have Apple Juice.  And for the third time you repeated, “Ahhhhhhhh Nope!  You can’t have it just because you can’t have it!”  Now that was such a strong statement that I dared not argue it!  So I asked you what you did have to offer, as we were very thirsty.  You looked over at your kitchen set and thought for a moment before answering with, “You can have Ketchup water.”  Hmmmmm… now that didn’t sound at all enticing to my friends or me but since your ‘look’ was very stern, we coward down and said that that would be fine.  Apparently my decision appeased you because you then skipped off to get your little pitcher and three Disney Princess cups.  After setting them and a two-inch plastic ketchup bottle on the green serving tray, you picked it up and started carrying it over to our table.  By no fault of anyone’s, it dropped forcing everything to spill, roll and fall off the sides of the table.  Like a child with ants in her pants you jumped around and scooped up what you could and basically threw it back on the table forgetting the protocol of a proper place setting!  For some silly reason I then decided to take a chance and ask you what your restaurant had to offer for dessert and you said, “We don’t have anything.”  And I said, “But I see some bananas in your basket up by the counter that look yummy and we would each like to have one.”  And you said, “Welllllllllll… you can’t have those.”  And I asked, “Why?”  And you said, “Because you can’t!”  So I said, “Then can I have the check please so that I can pay the bill?”  And all of a sudden you got really, really happy and said, “Oh sure!”  And off you jumped (tripping only once) in search of your notepad.  When you found it, you tore off the top piece of paper, which had many scribbly doodles on it, and handed it to me along with some paper money that you found in a drawer.  When I asked you what the money was for you looked at me like I was a one year old and said, “This is what you have to pay me Mimi.  $5.00.”  I responded with a “Wow!  I am glad you are paying me to pay you!  I like this restaurant and will definitely come again.”  You then you told me to leave.

At that point we switched roles Ellie, me being the restaurant lady and you being the customer.  Long story short, every time I went to write something down on the notepad, you had to fix it.  And every time I went to the little kitchen to get something you ordered, you came over to help me, so much so that when it came time to serve your table with the green serving tray, you did it yourself!  I then reminded you that you and your two friends had to eat the lunch I made and you said, “No thanks!”   You then proceeded to tell me to sit down and eat it, because you didn’t want to any more.  Obviously it was time to close down the restaurant and find something new to play!

So I guess my lesson learned Ellie is that at this moment in time neither one of us would make a good waitress or a restaurant owner for that matter.  But playing this make-believe game with you was so much fun and a wonderful forever memory for me to keep in my heart.  You know El; there is an old saying that holds some truth.  It is Practice Makes Perfect.   And something tells me that you and I are going to have a great time practicing (We already have the giggles down to perfection!)!
(After playing restaurant, we played school... this is you working on our science lab (looking into my plastic lawn bunny's ear!)

Love you Ellie-bean!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Life Lesson Month of July: Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Ellie,

You are a rough and tough girl (and a little clumsy) so it’s only natural that you get your share of cuts and bruises.  Just the other day, you were singing and dancing on your ladybug chair at your Mimi’s and Poppy’s and got so caught up in your routine that you fell out… and ended up with a long abrasion on your leg.   

Life Lessons Learned #18: Kisses can make everything better.

Whenever you take a spill, I love that you know that a hug and a kiss may not heal your wound right away but it will make you feel cherished, nurtured, and somewhat better.  Usually, it’s enough to stop your tears and even make you smile.

And I love that you know to return the favor… the other day, the cat ran off my lap leaving a sore scrape.  You came right over and without asking or blinking an eye, you kissed my leg gently then went right back to your make believe game.  It was such a kind, innocent, and sweet gesture.  It made me so proud of you and I forgot all about the scratch.

You always know that you can run to me when you get hurt (or your Mimi).  I explained to you that Moms sense what their children feel because our hearts are connected.  I told you that when your heart is hurting, so is mine (seeing real tears spill our of your eyes is enough to make me want to cry with you).  Looking at where your heart is and my heart is and noticing they are clearly not touching, you observantly responded, “How?”  So I held up my hand and crossed my middle finger around my pointer finger to show you that our hearts are intertwined.  You, my smart girl, recognized the connection, and said, “Oh!  Kind of like criss-cross apple sauce!” referencing the way you sit at school with your legs crossed.    

Remember Ellie that most times, the emotions of love and happiness can surpass the physical pain.   

I love you Angel!