Ava’s Awesome Antics
All and all, we were all doing pretty good emotionally.
As she sometimes does, when it’s time to go, Ava continued to sit in front of her mom’s grave marker.
What she did next sent tears flowing down my cheeks.
She reached her little hand forward and touched the picture of her mom.
Then she brought her fingers up to her lips and kissed them.
Then she reached them back down and pressed them on her mom’s picture.
A moment later she looked up at me and said, “I gave mommy a kiss.”
It was all I could do to muster up a, “That’s great baby. I know she really appreciates it.”
Ava walked off to the car and I had to walk the other direction for a bit to get my emotions in check.
It was such a beautiful gesture.
I miss April being around and beyond my own selfish desire to see her, I miss her interacting with the girls.
But I am thankful for the mom that she was, the memories we have, and the influence she is on our lives.
We are blessed. Isaiah 41:10
This afternoon, our nanny, Kayleigh, informed me that Ava was having a sad moment today because she was missing her mom.
I went and cuddled on Ava for a bit and asked her what was going on.
She said, “I miss mommy and I love her so much.”
What she said next, though, had me in tears.
She said, “I wish she would come down so I can see her again.”
And as I responded, “Me too.”
She concluded with, “But that’s okay because she’s in heaven and that’s a better place.”
The wisdom of my 6-year-old amazes me. I am thankful for her and for how God is working in her life during this time.
Emi was gone tonight to her 5th grade overnight field trip, which left perfect opportunity for Ava and I to spend some special time together.
When I asked her where she wanted to go, she immediately responded, “Let’s go to Shogun’s…..without Emi!” She was referring to Shogun’s Japanese Steakhouse, which just so happens to be one of the girls’ favorite places to eat. And she knows her sister loves that place…..which means I see a little flaunting and jealousy in the near future.
We went a little earlier than normal and had the place to ourselves. We got our own private show at the hibachi grill, which Ava thought was awesome! The wait staff and cook were very good with her. They even made her her own special “training chopsticks” and then showed me how to make them for the future too. They brought us lots of little extras, which was nice.
Ava really got in to the “show” more than I’ve seen her before and was making noises right along with the chef. Maybe it’s because she’s seen it enough times, but she started to get ahead of the chef and tell him what the next trick was before he did it, which was amusing for me.
She also did good trying some different vegetables, shrimp, soup and fried rice tonight, which she hadn’t in the past. The steak and noodles though were her favorite.
We had a great time! She brought some steak home for her sister, but I really think that is more to tease her than anything else. 😉
Today, Ava (6) went on a field trip to Eureka Pizza with her class to learn how to make pizza.
Later this evening, her and her sister were bantering back and forth about an overnighter that Emi (11) is planning and that Ava desperately wants to go to.
Emi, being a little sarcastic says, “You can’t stay at the house when I have my overnighter. You’ll have to stay at Eureka Pizza.”
Of course Ava was giving her the “NO!” look!
Emi continuing to tease her little sister and said, “Yep. You have to sleep there, eat there, brush your teeth there, and even use the bathroom there!”
At which time Ava shouted with all the conviction in the world, “I CAN’T! THE BATHROOM IS FOR EMPLOYEES ONLY!”
Emi looked at Ava. Then she looked at me. She was completely at a loss for words.
Then we all busted out laughing.
How smart Ava is …..and she clearly won the argument.
While working out tonight, Ava (6) comes over and starts to work out along side of me. Cute, right?
As I’m struggling through Shawn T yelling at me to get my lunges and squats lower, I look over and Ava is knocking out some burpees.
Pretty soon, it’s not Shawn T yelling at me anymore, Ava is yelling, “C’mon Dad!”
Then to make it worse, while sweat was pouring off my face and I was groaning, I hear her loudly yell “100! I did 100 burpees Dad!” and then she joined back into my routine.
If I ever had an ego before, it was completely gone when my 6-year old finished the workout with me and said, “That was easy.”
Throughout this journey that April, I and the girls have gone on we have been simply amazed at the kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity of so many people. Today, proved this to the Nth degree.
One of my friends and colleagues, Matt Martin, invited me to meet him at my church tonight. Honestly, I didn’t think much of it. I thought he had something to drop off or give me. So, I loaded up the girls, ran a few errands and showed up to meet him.
As I drove in to the church drive, I saw a small gathering of people.
As we got closer, I realized it was not just Matt, but several of my colleagues and friends from work.
After we parked and got out in the blustery and rainy weather, Matt started to speak.
He said that we were gathered to pay tribute and honor to April and our family. They had purchased a Willow Oak and were planting it on our church property to honor and remember April and the impact that she’s had on our lives.
I didn’t know what to say. I could feel the tears welling up as he was talking, but managed to keep them at bay.
What an amazing group of people I work with that would do something so meaningful and thoughtful. Something that not just blesses us in the moment, but that will bless us for years and decades to come. A true blessing for the ages.
As we thanked them and drove away, Ava said, “They planted a tree to celebrate our mom’s life. That’s awesome!” That was it! The tipping point. And the tears fell freely.
Quite frankly, I think I’m still in shock a little even as I write, because this wasn’t expected at all. I (we) are so appreciative of my Walmart Family.
So that we don’t forget who was in attendance, I will simply thank Matt Martin, Mike Turner, Ami Spivey, Annie Fuentes, Jeff Neria, Allen Bates, Mike Swatsworth, Shauna Bowen, Kit Nowin, Missy Schubert, and Mike Keller. And a special thanks to Pastor Jamie Lantzsch for making it happen on the church’s side. I did make sure to ask if someone had talked to the church first! 🙂
What an amazing group of people I work with. Thank you.