The Rotted Banana Peel

The days were dwindling, and the packing wasn’t near complete. As I sat on the hard linoleum floor with my face buried in the cabinet under the kitchen sink, I couldn’t find it. I packed up the miscellaneous junk, that no matter my best efforts, always accumulated under there. While boxing up garbage bags and cleaning supplies, I was also searching for something important. But with my box now full, and not much left besides the plumbing, I was losing hope. Days before Jackson’s second birthday, he enjoyed snacking on a banana. When he finished, I reminded him to throw away the peel. Excited to do something all by himself, he ran into the kitchen, threw the cabinet door open, and tossed that bright yellow banana peel into no man’s land, missing by a mile. I...

time doesn’t heal everything

Ryder started asking to take swim lessons this winter. Wanting to take advantage of his willingness and desire to learn, I signed him up at the only place offering them during the crazy cold months – our local YMCA. The Y used to be my oasis when Kate and Jackson were young. As a stay-at-home mom, the days can be pretty long with two little ones, especially during our harsh winters. The kids could run and play while momma worked out and regained her sanity. I haven’t frequented the Y since Jackson moved to Heaven. I ended our membership abruptly after, and never looked back. I was gently reminded why I made that decision shortly after Ryder’s first swim lesson. As a reward for doing well in class, I told Ryder we could swim in the pool together afterwards....

Drumroll, please…

When I first started thinking about starting a nonprofit in Jackson’s memory, I did a lot of research. I didn’t know what I was doing or where I should start. I called lawyers for professional advice, I spoke to friends who work in development, and I prayed for guidance. Overall, the feedback I received was positive, but there were a handful of doubters. “If you aren’t raising millions of dollars, it isn’t worth your time,” some told me. Another literally laughed at my goals. And pretty quickly I started second guessing if I should do anything at all. But I knew in my heart this is what I wanted, and I kept going back to what Eric and I have said from the beginning. “If we can help one family, it’s worth it.” So I pushed forward with a stronger determination to...

june 10?

When I think about the date, June 10, nothing significant comes to mind. It’s not anyone’s birthday. It’s not a holiday. And I can’t recall anything significant happening on that day. But when I opened Facebook a few weeks ago, a memory popped up reminding me it was one of the happiest days during my 34 years. There weren’t any pictures to jog my memory. It simply read: “Today was the best day of my life!! Welcome home Jackson, welcome home!!!” Six years ago on June 10, 2011, after open heart surgery and almost two months in the Cardiac ICU, Jackson was discharged from the hospital and we brought our baby boy home. It’s not a day that sticks out in my mind because while I was thrilled to finally have all four of us under one roof, I was equally terrified. My body...

today we celebrate

Ever since Jackson moved to heaven, I find it hard to celebrate anything. The holidays are hard. Birthdays are hard. Everything is more difficult to get through without him here. But today is different. Today we are celebrating. Eric is graduating today from Marquette University with an Executive Master of Business Administration. To say I am proud of him is an understatement. More than 14 years ago Eric decided he wanted to go back to school and get his Masters. We still lived in Mississippi, and he began taking a couple of prerequisite classes needed. He got through one semester, and then life got in the way. There were layoffs and moves across state lines and then children. It just seemed there was never a good time to start again. But Eric never let his dream...

day of the dead

I was busy in the kitchen one night chopping onions and preparing dinner. My mind was wandering like it typically does when I’m doing little tasks. Kate and Ryder were plopped on the bar stools busy with homework and a snack. The house was fairly quiet for this time of day, the only noise were vegetables sizzling in the skillet. “Hey mom, do you know what this means? Dia de los Muertos,” Kate spoke slowly, struggling but determined to pronounce each word correctly. “Um. No, I don’t,” I replied. I knew she was speaking Spanish, but I took four years of French in high school and two years in college. I don’t know a lick of Spanish, except if I want to count to ten. “It means Day of the Dead,” Kate said with a smile. A little shocked, I asked what she was talking...