Sunday, October 6, 2013

One year ago.....

This week is a great week because it is exactly one year ago this week that a precious angel entered our lives and changed each of us forever. This same angel is the reason that today I live in Bryan, Texas, exactly 5 minutes from where she lives.

We celebrated Corrie's first birthday last weekend with a party that we threw for her and her cousin Adelynn (who was born less than 3 weeks before Corrie) and WOW... all I can say is that 1-year-old birthday parties have really evolved since I threw one two-and-a-half decades ago. The mommies did a fabulous job getting the girls all tutu-ed up and ready to party with the 50+ guests that came to celebrate their big day.

Corrie was pretty pumped about being Queen for the Day (mainly because on most days, she is "just" the princess around here!) Watching her meet and greet her guests was absolutely precious! She could not wait to hug on all of her BFFs!

Mommy & Daddy were pretty proud of their little angel. She was such a trouper all day long, playing along with all the things planned for her, including opening a truckload of gifts and through it all, she was happy! Just like she always is! 

She will officially be ONE on Friday! 
I feel so blessed that I was here for each and every moment of this big event. I cannot even fathom being 5000 miles away from this precious girl. 
She has truly changed my life. 
I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that in the midst of all the heartache and struggles I have experienced over the last 5 months, she is the spark that brings me joy
The kind of joy that you really cannot capture with mere words.
You just have to experience it.
You have to live it.
And because of this angel, I am living it a little bit every day.

Happy Birthday, Corrie Ann. 
MoMo loves you.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

In need of prayers

Yesterday I packed up Mads, Corrie, and Albert and headed south.

I headed home.

I am from a small town in SE Texas called Nederland where, as I usually just tell folks as a basic geographic reference, Texas meets Louisiana meets the Gulf meets good Cajun food. Can you picture it? 

This was my first time to go home since I moved back to Texas..... and although it was tough going back to the place where Mom and I first began our journey together 43+ years ago, I knew I needed to be there.

I have quite a few amazing cousins in the Nederland area, and one in particular is struggling right the very same way I was struggling a few months ago. Her mom, Leah Anne, and my mom are cousins and actually grew up together, but her mom was not able to attend mom's memorial service because she had been sick for a spell and not able to really do much of anything. Well only a few weeks after my mom was taken from us, we got word that Leah Anne was not just sick, but rather has pancreatic cancer. So now another person in our family has been struck by this horrible and evil disease. I honestly don't understand how one family can experience as much pain and heartache as ours has (and I have only shared publicly a fraction of what has happened the last few years). 

Leah Anne is turning 70 in October and before she gets too far into her treatments, her daughter wanted to throw her a birthday party so that we could all come and CELEBRATE HER LIFE. And in true Cajun family fashion, it was a Mardi Gras themed party. We Cajuns don't care what month it is; we are always ready to don the beads and the feathers and turn up the zydeco music and have a fabulous time together. 

Not only was this a night to celebrate Leah Anne's life, but it was Mads' first time to come to a REAL family party filled with good ol' Cajun folks and I have to say...HE FIT RIGHT IN. I always knew he would, but to see him enjoying himself last night just really touched my heart because it verified the fact that I have the right man next to me for the rest of my life. 

So now I have the chance to support my sweet cousin, Danielle, as she takes care of her momma, and I only hope and pray that I can somehow help her as she walks this journey, cherishing every single moment that she has with her mom.   

The hardest thing last night was seeing lots of faces I had not seen for decades because each time they would make the connection of how I fit into the big family picture, they would talk about my mom in past tense. I was not quite prepared for that and of course, they meant no harm in saying it.... but nevertheless, that was the reality.  So right now I want to focus on helping Danielle and Leah Anne live in the PRESENT TENSE. I did not have enough of the PRESENT to celebrate my mom and be with her before she was gone, so the only advice I have is my own paraphrasing of Thoreau with a little Cajun flair thrown in.....

Live deliberately every single day 
and laissez le bon temps rouler!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Viking's new address

Way back in 2006 I met a Viking.
Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself packing up my life and moving 5000 miles away from Texas to live with him in Viking-land. 
But I did it.

Ironic thing is that we originally chose for ME to move instead of him because his folks were much older than mine. We were afraid that they might have health issues in the next few years and we wanted to be close them. One of life's cruel ironies... 

Anyway- I would not trade my almost 5 years in Denmark because they really helped to shape the person I am today. 

From the day in 2012we found out we were going to become grandparents, we knew we would be moving back to Texas in the next couple of years, but then life decided to throw its greatest challenge yet our way when we got my mom's diagnosis (on the same day as Corrie's birth). At that precise moment, we began making plans to GET HOME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Little did we know that SOON in our world and SOON in the American Immigration Department's world are, can we say, WORLDS APART?!

When I moved back to Texas on May 9, 2013 I assumed 2 things--that I would have LOTS of time with my mom now that I was finally home and that Mads would be arriving shortly after me. Well, neither thing happened. I only had six weeks with my mom before she was taken from us and I have now lived in 4 1/2 months without my husband.

Well, today at 1:55, the separation finally ends. 
My Viking boarded a plane in Denmark at 7:25AM (local time) and right now as I type this, he is ALMOST to North America....
He will arrive at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston at 1:55PM TEXAS TIME.
Finally, after all the unknowns and all the waiting and all the frustrations and all the forms, my Viking is coming home. Much like I gained a 2nd home on June 18, 2008, he establishes his second home today. 

The best part is that HOME is a 5-minute's drive from the whole reason we decided it was time to come home to Texas in the first place. 

Hang on, Corrie. Papa Mads is ALMOST HERE!