Good morning friends!
I’m reclined on a patio overlooking the bay in Naples Florida. Hello sunshine! Barefoot, in my favorite pair of soft black sweat pants, white v-neck men’s tee, wrapped in my tattered, somewhat embarrassing, ivory blanket that I absolutely can’t be without. Our boys are being loved on by friends and family back home. We were gifted this trip by dear family friends…we are so loved and so grateful for everyone that pours into us! I hope you know how much we love, appreciate and adore ALL of you…even though we can’t reach out personally to everyone. Nothing is insignificant. We are forever changed because of you. Thank you!
This was our first trip traveling through an airport with IV meds and requesting gate assistance and transport. Step stools are needed for shuttles, assistance standing from a seated position, and a hand to grasp for balance on uneven sidewalks or when legs fatigue during extended time walking. Oh how I love doing life with this man! His courage strengthens mine. You can’t properly exercise courage unless you expose yourself to situations that require it.
We spent our first day in FL Christmas shopping. We’ve been so overwhelmed lately that Christmas snuck in and demanded attention that we couldn’t give. So, time away together was just what we needed to shop, escape the day to day pressures, recharge and most importantly, plan. Plan for the future and plan for our boys.
Day 2-3 was spent poolside, soaking in the sun, writing to our boys. We have a lot of things we want documented for Evan and Cole…you see, we are all living on borrowed time. Let that sink in. Let that change your life profoundly as it has ours. We are no different than you, with the exception that we’ve been given an average timeline.
Jeff can no longer type on a keyboard so he wears a headset and uses “Dragon Speak” software for voice to text typing. We brainstormed a long list of topics including personal letters, advice and guidance, along with our hopes and dreams for Evan and Cole. We are a team, an amazing team might I add?!! We parent together and it’s been fun and very challenging to discuss, in the midst of our circumstances. I hope this gift of writings to them will be just as precious as it is for us creating it. They will know, without a doubt, that intentional love, thought, planning and preparation went into this. It’s raw, it’s emotional, it’s vulnerable, it’s honest, it’s beautiful, it’s encouraging, and it’s full of hope, faith and promise. We are so proud of it!
We will compile everything into a book, and have asked my sister to be the creative design behind it. She’s responsible for making it LOOK fun to read! Big job Amanda! Sample of what we’re covering so far (but not limited to):
OUR FAMILY VALUES
WHAT SOCIETY SAYS VS. THE BIBLE
PROUD & CHERISHED MOMENTS
RESPONSIBILITY OF A HUSBAND & FATHER
IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY, GOOD FRIENDS, EDUCATION, GOOD JOB, FINANCIAL SECURITY
LIFE OF SERVICE
RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS
CHERISH YOUR BROTHER
COURAGE AND FEAR
The Bible is our source for writing inspiration and we want our boys to know that everything they need to know, including the life lessons we cover, will come from God’s living word. Living? Yes, it’s not an outdated, inapplicable book.
Once printed, we will begin the age appropriate conversations now. This is just the beginning of what we hope to be on-going letters and written guidance to our boys. We finished the rough draft of all the topics above while pool-side, after 2 full days devoted to writing. We will soon focus on personal letters to Evan and Cole at (future) important life milestones, along with a small, short video series.
Yesterday was a FREE day for us so we took a ship to the Florida Keys (Key West) for the day. We meander at a slower pace now. Vacations look very different today, than one year ago. Last year you would have found us running on the beach, throwing kids in the ocean, body surfing, jet skiing, and playing football. Even just shopping is difficult now because a 1/2 mile walk leaves Jeff’s body feeling like he just ran a marathon. So today, we slow down. It’s our last day here and we will spend it on the beach enjoying each other’s company without distractions, without decisions to make on our home, job, insurance, disability, medical equipment, or “what’s next.” We’ll take a deep breath, close our eyes, soak in the warmth, and love and be loved.
Wishing you a beautiful holiday season with your loved ones. That is truly a gift…it’s certainly my favorite gift and the only thing I want this year. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
Tara & Jeff