Yesterday I mentioned how hard my day had been. I shared one of the reasons for the bad day with one of my friends today. She and I text - every day - throughout the day. I honestly don't know how I'd make it through the day without her. She and I have been friends since we were 5 years old - she's more like a sister than a friend. We know each too well... When she heard what happened with Ayden, she flew down as quickly as possible. She came to the service and stayed with us for a few days. Since then, we've been texting daily. Anyway, I shared with her my biggest fear, which has surfaced out of all of this. I think it is probably the biggest fear of any parent who has suffered the loss of a child.....the fear that the child will be forgotten.
I know Jeremy, myself, and our families will never forget Ayden - ever. However, realistically, I know that Ayden will become a fleeting thought to others. We will meet new people who don't associate us with our precious little boy - people who don't look at us and see parents. (Cari - you just popped into my mind - thank you for your comment today - it was super encouraging.) With our next child, we'll constantly be faced with people thinking he/she is our first. It makes me want to scream to the world that Ayden Brooks Jones was born - he was here - he was sweet and beautiful and had the sweetest little laugh and he even had the same little dimples I have on my cheeks - I want the world to know my son and acknowledge his significance. Realistically - I know that can't happen, but I will do my best to make sure Ayden is remembered. Luckily, for starters, I work in a little town called Ayden, NC (no I didn't name Ayden after the town, but I did like the spelling). Every time I see the water tower or a sign pointing towards Ayden....his face flashes through my mind. I hope my students and co-workers and passersby who know our story will do the same. Maybe it isn't a coincidence that we chose that spelling....
I went by school today. I had to drop of some things off and sign some paperwork. It was nice to be back and a little less nerve-wracking than last time. I didn't get to visit very long because school was close to ending. Of course, I had to stop by and see my best, best friend - Candi. Oh I have missed her. It was nice to just chat for a little while about the goings on at school. I had forgotten how interesting the lives of high school students are. Homecoming is next week, so they're gearing up for that. I'm planning to help out with some of the festivities and take part in the ceremony on Friday night. I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of my kids - I miss them....I admit it. I kind of love them.... I should love them - I found out today I was voted favorite teacher by the students (the voting was for a survey in the yearbook). Pretty awesome.... To me, that's a bigger honor than teacher of the year. I always said that students should be allowed to take part in voting for teacher of the year. They're the ones on the receiving end of education - shouldn't they have a say in which teacher instructs them best? On the other hand...they tend to vote by playing favorites....and would likely vote for the easiest teacher or the one who lets them get away with the most. (That's not me, by the way.....) Anyway, I feel honored to be so liked/loved. I hope they know how much I love them, too.....
My parents, myself, and my sister leave for Charleston in the morning. We're coming back Sunday. I think I can survive 2 and half days away from Jeremy and my house. I've never done well with changes to my routine....and seeing as my "new normal" is something I'm constantly adjusting to, traveling in the midst of it all just throws me off even more....making me very uneasy and unstable. Thank God for cell phones. I can call Jeremy whenever I need to. Plus, I'll have Amber's daily text conversations....so that'll help me cope.
I hope Megan enjoys her birthday trip. She's going to be the big 2-5! 25 was a big deal for me. It was the birthday I was so looking forward to because it meant I had lived for 1/4 of a century! 21 wasn't big for either of us since we don't drink - so this is the one we've both looked forward to. I hope she'll have a good time. I'm going to try to have a good time as well. I'm going because I want to be there with my sister and make her birthday special. She deserves it. She's an awesome person, and she is going to make some guy feel very special and blessed one day. Pray for safe travels and good times with family.
Funny anecdote from today: Premise - Since we brought Gracie home, Tucker has not been allowed in the backyard unless Gracie is in her pen. Story: My dad was going into the backyard, and in a split second, Tucker took off out the door before he could realize it. Gracie was out of her pen. They have NEVER been around each other without one of them being on a leash!!!! Needless to say, I freaked out! My poor little dog was out there with a big dog with no way to defend himself if something happened. I've never seen Gracie in this kind of situation and had no clue how she would act. I was sure there would be blood....but there wasn't. Tucker took off after Gracie trying to nip at her. Then, Gracie got behind Tucker and started chasing him - we'll Tucker realized the roles had changed and became very scared. So here was Gracie chasing Tucker and Tucker "running for his life" yelping and screaming! Poor little guy. I had to go out there and get them apart (I did this by yelling at them to stop - no way I'd get in the middle of that!), so I grabbed Gracie and picked her up so Tucker would give up and go back inside. Whew.... that will NOT happen again.
Well, that's it for now. I will be posting from Charleston. I'm sure I will need my outlet. Thank you for your continued prayers and for keeping us in your thoughts throughout the day. I'll leave you with some pictures I've been meaning to share:
A few new things have been added since this picture was taken. It's coming along nicely though. It's grown a bit, too. We still have some finishing touches to put into it, but those will come with time. We've been okayed for a bench, so we're looking into that. We'd love to have a customized bench with Ayden's initials on it, but we need to find someone who can do that for us!
Before: Just another shelter dog
After: A dog with a name, a home, and back yard with lots of digging space. We love her, and we're pretty sure she loves us too.
New Pictures of Ayden: These were taken in July at a birthday for a dear friend of mine. Her husband is a childhood friend of mine, and I've grown to love Steph just as much as I do Eric. She is very talented with a camera, so these are some pictures she took of me and Ayden. I will cherish them always.