July: Celebrate the 4th and the union of sweet friends. We take the house off the market. Frequenting yard sales and thrift stores, I sink roots back into our house...anticipating a long stay to help my momma fight this beast inside her. The cancer has spread to her brain.
Sweet Man comes home from Wichita and is perplexed by our empty closets being filled again. A sweet friend asks me to attend her baby's birth...love that. My emotions are all over the place, but I experience a week of joy...recognizing the care my God takes with me in the seemingly insignificant. Sweet Man has been transferred to Cincinnati and the kids and I plan a road trip.
August: Explore Cincinnati and have a perfect day at their zoo. My birthday is feted...whoopee. Sweet Man is released in the middle of the month. Really good timing, God. We travel home to celebrate our anniversary while the kids are in the Valley. Mimi has a really bad day and is admitted to the hospital. Sweet Man and I stop our celebration, head to the hospital to spell my dad and find out what we need to do to get Mom home. She is diagnosed with pneumonia...ironic...but now her body is too weak from cancer treatment to fight it. We spend precious hours with her and say goodbye on the 17th. After that, there is quiet and blur.
The last day of the month, we get on with life as Bug has his first day of kindergarten. I have a new camera.
September: We camp with friends again...wasn't sure if I'd be okay, but they are normal for me. Bean gives herself a haircut, we relist the house, and camp with Opa at East Harbor State Park. In the parking lot of Walmart, I lose my ever-loving head with my child...and feel duly chastened by my Savior...thanking Him that the recognition of my own sin develops compassion for others. Sweet Man is called back to work and we return to Cincinnati. I eat a truckload of candy corn trail mix.
October: All things fall and harvest-y are enjoyed! We never meet a pumpkin themed attraction we don't like. The warm days are spectacular. Summer used to be my favorite time of the year...but I think this year autumn prevailed. Sorry, summer...you don't do it for me anymore. I'm moving on.
Sweet Man has a break and then travels to Illinois for a week. Our time is spent at home but there are many trips north. My kids are one click closer to adolescense as they roll their eyes every time I pull off the road; my newest obsession...taking pictures of fall foliage.
One glorious day, we celebrate Mimi again and scatter her ashes. Back to Cincinnati we go for Halloween week. Bug and Bean trick-or-treat for the first time. We have a humdrum visit to the Newport Aquarium.
November: We hustle home so that I can attend another sweet friend's labor and delivery...what a privilege. I hike with church ladies and travel back to Cincy. We explore the historic parks in Cincinnati. Timing a visit to the Cincinnati Museum to see the mummy exhibit while we read about Ancient Egypt was fortuitous. We also stroll through their Children's museum and holiday display. Thanksgiving looms as I realize I can't set my grief aside and continue to function. We celebrate the holiday with both families.
December: We see that Foxy movie...oh my word, what a good movie...have you seen it yet? My search to find out just what and how much is wrong with me continues and Bug, Bean, and I all faint. Depression penetrates, but God prompts me to ask for the right help. In Cincinnati, we decorate for Christmas and learn that Sweet Daddy will be working closer to home. We decorate Mimi and Opa's tree, make cookies, eat cookies, play in the snow, and see friends and family. Our odometer rattles and rolls as we drive back and forth from the hotel-close-to-home to our familys' homes to our house-home. Sweet Man calls it the CAT-close-to-home conundrum...wanting to do everything and see everyone while we can. The phone can ring anytime with news of a new assignment. But I thank God that we have been home for this season.