Monday was "housecleaning and laundry day." Yesterday was "sewing quilts" day. Rita brought her machine over and we sewed like madwomen. We finished 16 quilts that I had pinned, including two for a charity auction to benefit Children's Hospital. Jill Douglas, the mother of Alexis and Austin, is helping to organize this benefit. If you want to participate in any way, you can visit Alexis' website and read about it. Look for it there under recent news/updates.
Here is a sneak peek at the two quilts that will be part of the auction.
Also pictured in the stack above are quilts made by my sister-in-law, Linda, Blogger Mary Jo and Quilter Sandy. Thanks to all of you!
Today I am washing more fabric, and ironing is the next step. Dear Diane W. brought a generous donation of fabric for the quilts, and is going to bring more. Momentum is building, as is the supply of fabric; thank you, God! Thank you, Diane! We need the help, in order to keep the supply going (and to support our efforts to get blankets to all wards of the hospital. If you sew, or know someone who does, please send them here & we can help you/them get started.)
Tonight, we are going out to Burrata Bistro for dinner with Rita & her family...David hasn't been there yet, & we are excited to share it with him. We all love Kim's cooking (& I always enjoy a night off from cooking).
Speaking of food preparation, I've been finding that the crock pot is a good tool for cooking money-saving recipes, as well as for saving time on busy days. Put the meal into it in the morning, and at dinner time, all you need are side dishes; in addition to that, the house smells delicious when the guys come home! Last night it was teriyaki-ginger pork with garlic-sauteed asparagus and couscous on the side. Tomorrow, it will be crockpot chicken enchiladas...a new recipe.
Good days, yet I've been sad this week.
This Sunday, March 8th, is not only the beginning of daylight savings time. It's also
the day she would be turning 14, if she were still here with us. Two of her childhood girlfriends also have their 14th birthdays this month (Kristi & Colleen, Happy Birthday to you both!).
I remember when we three moms were pregnant; I remember the childbirth classes, and many playdates, since we all lived on the same street, for a time.
It's hard, thinking about this. I was reflecting on Katie's last birthday on earth, March 8, 2007, and it got so painful that I had to draw a line in my mind and STOP.
Katie was in the ICU, recovering from her surgery, with a breathing tube and many IV lines and drains, unconscious for most of the day.
Her favorite nurse was taking care of her (thank you, Melanie!).
Another sweet nurse (who shares her birthday) came in during her day off to bring a gift for Katie. (Thanks, Kim!)
I bought one of those tiny, wind-up music boxes that plays "Happy Birthday to You" and played it. We sang to her. I bought her a super soft, silly stuffed bear to cuddle with, to help her feel cozy.
I had put up many posters and photographs to decorate her ICU room. I posted a birthday countdown, and updated it every day; I used her favorite typefaces & included photos of happier days and well wishes. We decorated her room with paper lanterns (no candles allowed, of course). I took her photo with Melanie, though Katie was not awake. I wrote a message to her on the white board that Mel is holding, so that Katie could someday look back and see how far she had come from that birthday. But she never saw those photos; she never asked much about that time in her recovery, and we learned very clearly that if Katie didn't ask, she didn't want to know.
It was a few weeks later, down in the surgery ward (not the ICU) when she finally was able to take an interest in her birthday cards and gifts. She opened and enjoyed each one. There were dozens of them.
We were going to give a big summer party for Katie, to celebrate her recovery and make up for the missed birthday party, when she felt well enough. She even invited Dr. Waldhausen (her chief surgeon) to come, which was a huge thing for her to do, as she had had quite enough of most doctors. Unfortunately, she relapsed, instead of getting better.
The party that we ended up planning was her Celebration of Life. It's hard to ask a 12-year old what she wants her memorial service to be like; when she brought up the subject, we listened carefully. "I want a party, like Auntie Bernice's [after Bernice's memorial service, family & friends of all ages gathered to share food & drink; kids were playing in & outdoors, people reminiscing -- a real party!] and I want fireworks." We chose beautiful Kiana Lodge, down the street from our house, on several acres of waterfront, where Katie had wanted to hold her wedding reception. We made it as much of a party as possible, but of course, she wasn't with us.
I miss planning her birthday party with her, asking what she wants for dinner, what kind of cake, and who she wants to invite. I want to take her shopping for clothes, out for lunch, for a pedicure, for a makeover. I want to buy presents for her, and write a birthday card. I want to put our heads together and talk and laugh and watch a movie...lots of movies. I want to put my arms around her, kiss her soft cheeks and tell her, "I love you, Sis. I'm so glad that you were born!"
I want to see her smile light up her face, and light up the room.
"I want, I want, I want." Doesn't sound very grateful for what I have, or for what I had. But I miss what we had. It was good.
I want to celebrate her birthday, but Gregg & David don't share my feelings about it. It's a little bit of a lonely feeling, to be the only one who wants to mark the day. I suspect that the three of us will buy a bouquet of helium-filled balloons, at least 14 of them, take them to her bench in Waterfront Park, and set them free.