a long lost gift

On the eve of Jackson’s second birthday, I left the house to go shopping. My lack of planning and busy schedule (like most moms) had me out and about at the last minute searching for birthday presents and party decorations. I wasn’t planning much in the way of gifts. The house was already overflowing with toys, and beautifully wrapped boxes from family and friends lined the mantle waiting for the birthday boy. But I wanted him to open something from us on his special day. I left right after I put Jackson down for his nap. Selfishly I was looking forward to a couple of hours to myself while soaking in that my boy was turning two, a milestone for our heart baby that I didn’t take for granted. The gifts wouldn’t be extravagant. Just a couple of presents to highlight...

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...

the numbers are in…

This had been a year in the making. When I thought about organizing our flagship event for JR Hearts 12 months ago, I had no idea what it was going to be. I didn’t even know what JR Hearts would look like yet. I sat around the table with three incredible women and we brainstormed. When it comes to doing anything in Jackson’s name, I can be pretty indecisive. It has to be perfect in my eyes. We had several concepts brewing, and after a couple of months, they morphed into the grandest idea. With Jackson’s love of music and dancing and Eric’s musical background and sound production success, an all day music festival filled with fun activities for the entire family just made sense. Thus, Jackson’s Jam was born. As we began planning and organizing, businesses started...

does it get any easier?

Sigh. Here we are again. In this crappy month of April. On Jackson’s Angel Day. This is a hard day. And I don’t think this particular day will ever be anything but. This is the day, three years ago, that our lives changed. Forever. It’s the day my heart cracked wide open, never to fully heal. It’s the day I realized “it” could happen to me and that tomorrow is not promised to any of us. I hate the month of April with every ounce of my being. And yet I love it with all my heart. How is it possible to feel such vastly different emotions about one thing? It’s a constant tug of war in my heart because it’s the month that took my son away from me, but it also is the month that gave him life. I have an immense sense of gratitude for having Jackson with us for his two...

my boys

I love my boys. Both stole my heart the first moment our eyes met as the doctor held them over the blue curtain. Three-and-a-half years apart in age, yet they share so many similarities. They are both fair skinned with wispy blond hair. Their smiles light up a room. They have the same chubby little hands that lock perfectly with mine. They both have a cute, button nose and eyes the color of a dark sky before an impending thunderstorm. They love giving kisses through the spindles on the staircase as they head to bed. They adore their big sister and love walking her to the bus stop and getting one more hug before she leaves. And they are giddy with joy as they watch her step off the bus after school. They share the same goofy, nose-scrunching smile when they’re...