Some days you start off with a memory that moves you. Last night was a long night with new neighbors upstairs in the apartment. I was laying on the couch, just falling asleep around 11:30 pm when the upstairs neighbor started making a bunch of noise. I then heard their fire alarm start going off and people were screaming. I was panicking but of course waiting to see if there would be a need to wake up Althea and evacuate the apartment. Then I heard what sounded like people literally running back and forth up there. It was so noisy! I was then up until 1:10 am because as a fire survivor the thought of a fire is terrifying and prevented me from being able to go to sleep.
(One thing that was so wonderful about Adeline were her cuddles. This girl was smooshy for sure and she always loved to give cuddles and make you feel as though you were the most important person in the entire world to her. These moments of sitting around on our couch and sharing cuddles were so amazing and simple, yet these moments are some of the moments that I miss the very most. Sometimes when I think about my life before the fire, it feels like it was all a dream. It feels too perfect and I feel too happy in those memories, like a person that I have never actually met before but am watching on a screen. I am so thankful for the pictures that pop up in my memories to remind me of these amazing times together.)
This morning I woke up with that typically longing. It is a feeling as though something is wrong, a panic in your mind like you are leaving something or someone behind. Then the reality sets in that your body is just reacting to the fact that you are going to spend another day without your child, another day running around and panicking.
My FB memories today brought back the memory of the first time that we had went to a costume store together. It was Shane, myself and the three kids. Andrew had previously wanted a costume that he had seen at WalMart so we had already purchased one for him. I wanted to let the little three pick out the costumes that they wanted, so we headed to Spirit Halloween. While we were there, I remember walking around and looking at all of the spooky decor and at the kids going up and down the isles carefully choosing their costumes.
I remember Huxley wanting to be Woody from the Toy Story and I think that it was just that he wanted to be a cowboy more than Woody specifically. My younger three were never really fans of Toy Story until the last movie that came out and Adeline really loved Bo Peep. (Writing this brought about another memory of when we were in Florida in 2019 and we got to go to the theater in Daytona Beach to watch the Toy Story movie together with the kids. Then Adeline picked out a Bo Peep doll at Disney World as one of her souvenirs. It would end up being the very last theme park souvenir that she would ever get. See, I told you that it is funny how these memories work and how they all feel connected in my mind all of the time.)
Althea was so confident and sure that she wanted to be Spider Girl. I remember holding up the cute princess costumes of her favorite princesses with hopes that she would want to dress up in one of those, but she was very sure of herself and adamant that it would not be one of those but instead this girly version of Spiderman.
Then there was my sweet Adeline. She was adamant that she wanted to be Smurfette, which we loved because we had watched the Smurfs with the kids pretty regularly. She ended up hating the hat and in most of the Halloween pictures that year, I remember that she was choosing to be hatless. She was always so full of spunk and spirit and you can see how spirited she was with her dislike of the hat in these pictures.
In these moments when the memories come flooding back, I am so thankful for all of those happy moments, for the mundane things that were a part of our everyday life. Life can be so challenging and so often we pass by these moments without realizing the true gifts that they are. The simple gifts of time. The time that we get to spend with our loved ones is often rushed and sometimes it is not truly cherished in the way that it should be. I know that I continue to need to slow down and really focus on the basic enjoyments of life. I love being able to spend time with my children and my husband. I am so blessed for the simple times when we sit around do the basics.
Like last night, I got to watch a movie with Althea. We watched Wine Country and it was hilarious. While watching a movie with your child might not seem like a big deal. This is a simple memory that I hope to keep for the future when things get tough or when she is grown up, a memory of us simply being together and laughing. These are the moments that truly make up our lives. While the big things like vacations and excursions seem to the memories that we focus on when we say "creating memories," it is truly the simple moments that matter the most in the end.
The one thing that has been consistently pounded into me during this entire ordeal is that it is not the money or the things that people think are important in life. It is all of the small and mundane things, the day-to-day life that we all seem to take for granted. The things like running errands together or even just grabbing your child's favorite candy to surprise them with after school. These are the things that are the most important, the little things that we seem to forget from time to time. I am so thankful that I got to be home with the kids and create millions of these little memories. I can't recall them all, but when these memories pop up in FB, I am able to sit back and reflect and think about the time when the photo was taken while bringing a smile to my face of the memory, however mundane it may seem, that meant that we were living our lives together.
Just the grass cake here. I remember Althea making this. I remember sitting on the porch and watching them play. I remember how proud she was of her creation, so I snapped a pic and shared it with my friends and family. I am thankful to have these memories stirred and jogged in a way that allows me to remember how truly beautiful of a life I have been blessed to live.