Tuesday, March 23, 2010

{Insert mushy title here...}

14 years ago today - March 23, 1996

The beginning...

of a new family with many great memories to be made...

...and many more to come!

Happy Anniversary Pete! I love the life we have created together. And I love you!

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Favorite Memory (Disney February 2010)

I went on a quick trip to Orlando a couple of weeks ago with some of my family (grandparents, stepmom, 3 brothers, sister-in-law, niece & nephew) to accept an award for my Dad, Jim, who passed away in May 2005.

{me, Adam, Darlene, Zach, Amberlee, Jennifer, Jordan, Matt, Jo, Charles}

It was a great trip - on many levels - and when I got home, I tried to start a post about what I had experienced that weekend. I was having a hard time putting my thoughts and feeling into words. And the chaos that has been the normalcy of our lives lately wouldn't let me finish. A post will eventually come about our time at Magic Kingdom maybe, but I think my sister-in-law Jennifer summed up the details and emotion of the award ceremony better than I could.

Hillary at
The Other Mama just started a new thing...Hillary's Friday Favorites so I thought I would share this...my favorite memory from the trip...as written by Jennifer. So grab a tissue and when you're done, check out Hillary's blog for other favorites.

My Magical Weekend...
by Jennifer Pearce

I heard this word "magic" throughout the weekend. I guess being at Disney World, one would expect to hear this. For my kids, they experienced the magic within Disney itself. From the characters, rides and atmosphere- they were in awe. However, for me...I experienced "magic" in a completely different way.

We were invited to Orlando this weekend to receive an award for Matt's dad. This May will be five years since he died. He attended the same appliance conferences when he was alive and when we were notified that they wanted to acknowledge him this year- we were beyond honored. I never expected to experience what I experienced this weekend.

You see, I knew Jim was a great man. I knew he was very special. What I didn't know was how many other people knew what I knew. I'm not sure any of us were really emotionally prepared for what we witnessed.


We tried to prepare physically. Darlene was to receive his award and say "a little something". Since she had attended some of these conferences with him as his wife, I looked to her to be our leader. She was going to have to somehow relay feelings of gratitude about the award, without losing her cool from talking in front of hundreds of people all while attempting to blanket her emotions for a minute. We had a hard time coming up with the right words, whereas Jim would have had 4 or 5 alternate word options. We miraculously pieced together what could have been a novel- into a short & sweet speech.

Many, many, many people came up to each and every one of us family members during the awards banquet- I cannot express the welcoming that they bestowed on us. We mingled, ate a meal and watched other people be presented with awards.

Then the time came. A very exceptional man by the name of Mike Staats was the one to be presenting Jim's award. He and Jim were friends before his death and I had heard of "Captain Toolhead" many, many times. The "Captain Toolhead" that I had fabricated in my head was so minuscule compared to the Mr. Staats that awaited us. I honestly thought I was going to be able to make it through the presentation with just a few fallen tears. Although Mr. Staats warned the audience that he was a writer & not a speaker- I know without a doubt that I may go through the rest of my life without hearing a better speech than what he spoke.

{"Captain Toolhead"}

We all somehow maneuvered to the stage and stood by Darlene while she effortlessly and flawlessly said our words. I'm not sure there was a dry eye in the entire banquet hall after that ceremony.

I can never express how much this weekend meant to me. I know the other family feels the same. Part of our misfortune is that we need Jim to perfectly document this moment using all the right words- to even come close to its true meaning. I know that I don't ever want to forget one minute of this experience. So, in honor of Jim, who loved to write & share things with others- I'm doing the same.

Each of us remember Jim in different roles & different ways. The only one that attended with us that doesn't remember him is Jordan. He was only 15 months old when Jim passed away. There are pictures in our house and he is very aware of who Jim is. Jim is still a presence in our home. However, we somehow forgot to really explain the events of this weekend to sweet little Jordan. For while he was focusing on being on his best behavior at the table, listening & clapping on cue and not really knowing what was going on, he wanted an explanation.

Jordan looked at me with his innocent eyes and says, "So, in a little bit- Grandpa's gonna come out on that stage?". The only words I could muster out was, "No buddy. Grandpa's in heaven remember?". He accepted that as an okay answer and went back to eating his steak.


I didn't know the irony of his question until the ceremony was over. Jordan was right in his thinking all along. The emotions, words and events of the entire banquet couldn't have said it better. Jim absolutely came out on that stage that night. He was there, much more alive than I have ever been.

It was magic. And at the most magical place on earth.

{Jennifer doesn't have a blog, but I think she should...}