Forget Me Not

ForgetMeNotLast fall we were given a lemon tree that was potted with other varieties of flowers including bleeding hearts, paper whites and forget-me-nots!  We received this gift from a family that experienced the loss of their child.  This mother explained that life will throw us lemons, but we need to remember to make lemonade.  The bleeding hearts represent the feelings we have been experiencing, the paper whites represent the innocence of our children and the forget-me-nots are self-explanatory.  I loved the entire gift from this family because it represents what we are going through but it also serves as a reminder to treasure every moment and make the most of each day!

ChasecooperAs Valentine’s Day approached, I was busy helping Cooper pick out special cards and treats for his friends at daycare and nursery school.  Since Valentine’s Day is a day of love, I couldn’t help but think of Chase and the forget me nots!  The forget me nots symbolize true love and the pain of parting.  I know that although we are not together here on earth, our love for Chase will never end.  So as we celebrate the love for those we have here, we are also going to celebrate the love we have for those that aren’t…because we have forgot you not… and never will!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the love’s in my life!

Love,

Rachel

Chase Made A Difference … Will You?

How Will You Spend Your Dash?

ChaseHeadstone1About a month ago Chase’s headstone arrived and was placed upon his grave.  It took quite a long time to finally make a decision about what it should look like and say.  Let’s face it . . . How to you honour and reflect all that was special and important about the life of someone with a piece of granite?

We know the struggle that comes with such a task as there is so much more to be said and so much more that had been left unfinished.  Having gone through and still continuing to go through many different stages of mourning we felt that all decisions made about this piece of rock, that is going to last longer than time itself, ChaseHeadstoneneeded to be as perfect as possible.  Perfect for a little boy who knew all about love, laughter, fun, family, and God.  A little boy who knew the power of a smile, the importance of a hug, and the pleasure of all that God had created.

As we reflect upon the last few weeks and the feelings of seeing a permanent marker of Chase’s final resting spot we are reminded of the words written by Linda Ellis.  We find great comfort and solace in the fact that Chase truly did live his “dash” to the fullest every single day, and because of this he will forever be remembered in the hearts and minds of all who knew and loved him so.

The Dash

by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone,
from the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before. 

If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read,
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent YOUR dash?

Chase Made A Difference . . . Will You?

Pay It Forward Friday – SMILE!

Smiling is infectious; you catch it like the flu.
When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.
I passed around a corner and someone saw my grin.
When he smiled, I realized I had passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile and then I realized its worth.
A single smile, just like mine, could travel around the earth.
So if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected.
Let’s start an epidemic quick and get the world infected.
Author Unknown

I recently read a blog written by Lori Deschene where she is discussing the idea of smiling.  She states that “some days, it’s easy to smile. You wake up to the sounds of birds chirping, with the warm glow of the morning sun cradling your face. You take several deep, cleansing breaths standing beneath a perfectly cascading shower, just before drawing a smiley face on the steamed-up glass with your index finger.

Your roommate or significant other makes your coffee, just the way you like it. You hit every traffic light. You sing to your favorite tunes. And you arrive at work refreshed, excited, and anxious to create and collaborate.”

But not every day starts this way. Sometimes you wake up to chaos, in your head or in the world around you. You hit snags, and bumps, and roadblocks at every turn. You try too hard, or don’t try enough, and things fall apart, or things fall short.  You struggle, you fight yourself and other people, and you find yourself wishing you could stop the world so you could get off for a while.

So this got me thinking.  I know how I feel when someone smiles at me when I am feeling down and out.  It is usually unexpected and catches me by surprise.  My mood changes almost instantly and the best part about it was that someone took the time to try to make a small difference in my life.  Sometimes the smile comes from someone I know and sometimes it is from a total stranger.  Smiling is free and it truly can warm the heart.  A smile can make someones day so much better than it ever could have been. And if you think about it, a smile can also very quickly lead to a laugh or a giggle.  Not only is smiling infectious but if you can make that smile turn into a laugh everyone feels better.

Regardless of if you are in need of a smile or are willing to give a few away, we wish you all a wonderful Pay It Forward Friday with smiles galore.

If you need a little inspiration to get you going this Friday morning, please enjoy this favourite video that is sure to bring a huge smile to your face.

Chase Made A Difference . . . What Will You Do Today?

Let Me Hold You Longer

A little over a month ago I wrote a blog post called The “Last” Times.  It was a collection of thoughts and ideas that had been swimming around in my mind for quite a while since Chase had passed away.  I needed to have some way to get them all out of my head and writing them all down seemed to be the perfect avenue to do so.  Since then I have received many supportive comments and compliments from people about that post.  A colleague of mine suggested that my thoughts reminded her of a book called Let Me Hold You Longer written by Karen Kingsbury.  At first I was shocked that someone would think that my thoughts and ideas could be compared to the author status of Karen Kingsbury but since the teacher in me loves children’s literature I went out to find it so that I could read for myself.  It has since become a new favourite of mine.  It is one of those stories so heartfelt that you have a tough time reading to your kids without tearing up.  It is also one of those stories that when you are done reading it you can’t help but give your child an extra long snuggle and kiss on the cheek.
I wanted to share it’s message with you all as it resonates with every parent to make note of all the times we should try to remember the important “lasts” in life.  I just wish that I would have found this book before I wrote  The “Last” Times.  The two certainly do coincide well.  Thanks Kyla for suggesting that I read the book and thanks to Karen Kingsbury for her truthful words. This is the poem you find within her book.  Please Pay It Forward today after you enjoy the read and you might just want to go out and buy yourself a copy Let Me Hold You Longer as well.

Long ago you came to me,
a miracle of firsts,
First smiles and teeth and baby steps,
a sunbeam on the burst.

But one day you will move away
and leave to me your past
And I will be left thinking of
a lifetime of your lasts…

The last time that I held a bottle
to your baby lips
The last time that I lifted you
and held you on my hip.

The last night when you woke up crying,
needing to be walked,
When last you crawled up with your blanket,
wanting to be rocked.

The last time when you ran to me,
still small enough to hold.
The last time that you said you’d marry
me when you grew old.

Precious, simple moments and
bright flashes from your past-
Would I have held on longer if
I’d known they were your last?

Our last adventure to the park,
your final midday nap,
The last time when you wore your favorite
faded baseball cap.

Your last few hours of kindergarten,
those last few days of first grade,
Your last at bat in Little League,
last colored picture made.

I never said good-bye to all
your yesterdays long passed.
So what about tomorrow-
will I recognize your lasts?

The last time that you catch a frog
in that old backyard pond.
The last time that you run barefoot
across our fresh-cut lawn.

Silly, scattered images
will represent your past.
I keep on taking pictures,
never quite sure of your lasts…

The last time that I comb your hair
or stop a pillow fight.
The last time that I pray with you
and tuck you in at night.

The last time when we cuddle
with a book, just me and you
The last time you jump in our bed
and sleep between us two.

The last piano lesson,
last vacation to the lake.
Your last few weeks of middle school,
last soccer goal you make.

I look ahead and dream of days
that haven’t come to pass.
But as I do, I sometimes miss
today’s sweet, precious lasts…

The last time that I help you with
a math or spelling test.
The last time when I shout that yes,
your room is still a mess.

The last time that you need me for
a ride from here to there.
The last time that you spend the night
with your old tattered bear.

My life keeps moving faster,
stealing precious days that pass,
I want to hold on longer-
want to recognize your lasts…

The last time that you need my help
with details of a dance.
The last time that you ask me for
advice about romance.

The last time that you talk to me
about your hopes and dreams.
The last time that you wear a jersey
for your high school team.

I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed
seasons as they pass.
If I could freeze the hands of time,
I’d hold on to your lasts.

For come some bright fall morning,
you’ll be going far away.
College life will beckon
in a brilliant sort of way.

One last hug, one last good-bye,
one quick and hurried kiss.
One last time to understand
just how much you’ll be missed.

I’ll watch you leave and think how fast
our time together passed.
Let me hold on longer, God,
to every precious last.

Chase Made A Difference . . . What Will You Do Today?

An Impact Made On Others

We could go on for hours remembering special times, funny events, and telling stories about our Chase.  There are so many little things about him that we so dearly miss.  It’s the little things that happen every day that most people take for granted with their children that we now remember and cherish. We feel this way because of the impact he had on our lives and in our hearts.  That impact will be felt by us for years to come until the day that we die.  But . . . we are supposed to feel this way.  Chase was our family and that is how members of a family feel when they lose a part of their heart.  What takes us by surprise is when other people who knew Chase, take the time to tell us about the impact he had on them. This, to us, is a kindness that can forever be felt and certainly reaffirms in our hearts and our minds that Chase truly did make a difference for others in this world.

Today’s blog posting is a letter that was written to Rachel and Clinton from Erica Deighton.  Erica had previously worked at the Canora Daycare Center when Chase had attended.  She has kindly allowed us to post her words for all to read as they resonate in the hearts of all parents.  Thank you for your heartfelt words Erica!  They were a wonderful reminder to us that our Chase impacted the hearts of others as well.

We know that Chase Made A Difference . . . Will You?

The “Last” Times

Being a mom is not an easy job.

Let me rephrase that for all you dads out there as well . . . Being a parent is not an easy job.  There are days when you just want to pull your hair out.  In fact there are days where it seems like you have run a marathon, circled the globe, and climbed Mt. Everest all before 8am.  And regardless of what others might say, YES, this is the same for ALL parents.  It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, or how much money you make . . . life with children certainly has it’s days.

However, life with children is also the most wonderful of times and when it comes right down to it we all know that every moment is always worth it.  No matter how stressful, chaotic, or crazy things may be . . . no matter how many fist-fulls of hair you have already pulled out or how many wrinkles you have acquired . . .  it never hurts to remind one another that we need to cherish every moment with our children. We are not promised any “firsts” or “lasts” in life, so we have to make the most of the moments we are given.

There was a time when I used to believe that the ‘firsts’ were the most significant moments in life.  We all know the milestones that every parent looks forward to: the first step, the first day of Kindergarten, the first lost tooth, the first solo bike ride.  We look forward to every single one of these and almost always document it with photos, video, and an audience of grandparents and friends.  We are always aware of a “first” when it happens.  In fact we all have the baby shower copy of the “Ultimate Baby Book” that has blank spaces parents can fill in, labelled “My First Haircut”, “My First Word” or perhaps “My First Tantrum In A Crowded Grocery Store”.  The first painting or picture that your child made is still tucked away in a drawer or chest for safe keeping just in case your “artist in waiting” wants it for a major gallery opening in later years, and right beside it are the overflowing stack of homemade cards and “love notes” that were made ‘specially’ for you just because you were the center of your child’s world.

But in truth is, it is the ‘lasts’ that often resonate the loudest and longest in our memories – the last laugh, the last word, the last hug, the last time . . .

A “last”, however, can come and go without ever registering on our radar. No one talks about the lasts.  There is no “Book for Dummies” to let you know when a last is going to happen and I have yet to come across a “Book of Lasts” with pockets for mementos or sections for parents to fill in. There is no record of the last time you said: “For the last time, go make your bed and clean your room!”, “For the last time, pick up and clean up the toys” or “For the last time, will you turn that television off!” Nor is there any record of the last time the children actually did obey those particular commands.

As our children grow have we made a conscious effort to document the last time they jumped into bed with us for a good morning snuggle?  Or the last pony tail you were asked to help put in their hair?  What about the last hand-picked dandelion bouquet brought to you with those beautiful dirty little hands?  Or what about the last chocolate-pudding smile you wiped clean after snack time?  Did you realize that this moment was the last time?   Did you think that there would be more?  A “last” can happen at any moment . . . and because of this we have to wonder how many “lasts” we have completely missed out on.

As we look back upon them, the ‘firsts’ come with a sense of joy, happiness, and smiles . . . the ‘lasts’ with a sense of grief, sadness, and tears.  The ‘firsts’ come with hope and the promise of much more to come . . . the ‘lasts’ with loss and finality. We look forward to all the ‘firsts’ and anticipate their arrival . . . the ‘lasts’, too often, cannot be recognized as such until it is too late and then we can never return to make the most of that ‘last’ moment . . . even though we may so desperately want to.

Firsts and Lasts . . . Alpha and Omega . . . The beginning and the end.  Regardless of what we may refer to them as, do your best to recognize them all and be truly grateful that you have been blessed with so much.  Please take the time today . . . Yes . . . I know it is a Monday morning and you are all busy, but you CAN find the time to make the most of every single first and last moment you have.   Be grateful, be kind, be honest with who you are and what you stand for.  Love deeply, laugh heartily, enjoy life to its fullest with all the “firsts” and “lasts” that you are given.

Take the time to appreciate the little things that truly do make a difference in the world: the warm sun on your skin, the smell of harvest in the air, a dancing butterfly, a bed-time story, the perfection of a dandelion boquet, or a special little snuggle while napping in the recliner.  Phone a friend you haven’t called in a while, just because.  Say “I Love You” to your family and tell them often.  Do something kind for a stranger because its the right thing to do.

Enjoy and recognize all the “first” and “lasts” that might happen today.  They are ALL memories we want to cherish.