Yesterday we experienced a monumental milestone for this family: Bravery Jon Thomas graduated from preschool!!!
By not at all a mere coincidence, the same day was Amelie's Kindergarten graduation as well. I admit, my heart felt split right in two all day about it. I SO DESPERATELY wanted to take her, have her 'participate,' let the kids see her one last time before summer. She started the school year with them and she should have ended it with them. It was at 8am though, and getting Amelie out of bed that early and putting her little body through so much work for that just didn't seem smart. I intensely wanted her to be there. Missing that moment will be something I will have to work in therapy and in church for a long time to get over. (It's silly, but graduations were a BIG DEAL in my house growing up. College/Grad school = a must.) Amelie never had a preschool graduation. She was out of school and receiving home teaching, and had been out all year, so she didn't have a class to call her own. She never got to experience the PRIDEFUL moment we were very blessedly able to witness with Bravery yesterday. He was BEAMING with pride. It was such a poignent moment, one that I don't think any parent there could understand (but you never know, many have had tragedies they don't advertise, this I've learned this year. You just NEVER know what people are going through. I looked perfectly normal, I wore high heels and makeup--overkill, yes, but I needed an excuse to wear a pair from the fabulous shoe collection I own--I didn't advertise the heartache I felt not having Amelie even be ABLE to leave the house to see her brother graduate).
We showered Bravery with gifts, cake, praise, hugs, love, and attention. And he deserved every. bit. of. it.
I had this powerful moment there as well: Gigi (my mom, aka, 'Universe') brought Athena, my adorable feisty as all get out niece. She wanted Athena to experience graduation, and we're a pretty tight knit group of Greeks. Well, Athena walked in, hair style half-way down, in a way that I used to style Amelie's long hair, exact same color as Amelie's hair, wearing one of Amelie's absolute favorite dresses (a hand-me-down to Athena), and my heart STOPPED. for a second, I thought it was a little Amelie. a tanner, smaller version (Amelie was a little chubster with gorgeous round cheeks). It took me a good 5 seconds before my brain computed that it wasn't my own child, it was my niece. And she sat on Uncle Ben's lap, just like Amelie would have, and smiled at Bravery. [I love seeing my daughter's clothes come alive, in use, enjoyed by someone with the same DNA. it makes me happy. and reminds me of all the fun I had in dressing her. When she was little, SO MANY people sent us clothes. and I put her in every single thing. bows, dresses, Converse high tops, denim jackets, adorable swimsuits, you name it. and she loved it all.] So I couldn't help but pick up on that painful irony, a slap in the face irony that makes your stomach turn, that here was my gorgeous, thriving niece in my ailing daughter's dress, sitting on Amelie's daddy's lap, whilst Amelie was at home in her wheelchair, able to feel, yet not able to move. It's heart wrenching.
But you know what??? I am not going to let heartache get in the way of enjoying Bravery's magnificent moment. Look at his face here and you'll see what I mean....it was so special!! He was so proud!!! The realization that he's moving onward and upward in life shone across his face, that giant dimple in his cheek a symbol of proud satisfaction of a job well done.
flashback...this was taken just a few weeks before she was diagnosed with cancer.
same dress, different lil girl. So stinkin cute on both!