We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve celebrated our successes and mourned our defeats. We’ve sat back and watched in amazement at the strength we often didn’t know we had- and we’ve picked each other up when we just didn’t think we could go on any longer. Our kids have fought and made up, spent countless weekends together and then gone months without talking at all….but when one (or all) of them is needed- they’re there without hesitation. I’d like to think that’s something they learned by our example. Cheers to our little tribe. May it continue to blossom and multiply (but not for another 5 years, at least) and may we one day be able to get just ONE decent picture in.
It’s been three years….
Three years sounds like a long time, but it actually got here in the blink of an eye. And in that blink I have learned so much…
I learned that things don’t always turn out the way you had planned or the way you think they should, but life still goes on.
I learned that some broken things can easily be put back together and some require a lot more work and sometimes still don’t get fixed.
I learned that sometimes we have to experience things we don’t understand and that it’s ok to ask questions you may never get the answers to.
But most importantly, I learned that you can get through the really bad times, and even start enjoying some of the good times, as long as you have people in your life who love you.
I continue to be in awe of his spirit and sense of humor. He continues to be my hero and one of the loves of my life. And I will forever hold dear all of the lessons these three years have taught me and hope for nothing more than a life filled with gratitude and love.
On this day, two years ago, our lives were forever changed. Although I was just an outsider looking in my heart was shattered into a million pieces and my faith in “Gods Plan” was doubted. But on this day, two years ago, I also saw a community come together, rivals stand together in prayer, and felt HIS presence like never before. Since that day I have learned to find peace and joy in the simple things, learned to appreciate the moments of calmness that have become so rare in my life, and take each day with grace and an understanding that things can change in a second. At the end of it all, your family and friends are what matter, love is what matters, and quality is way more meaningful than quantity.
If we had known that a few weeks after this picture was taken our lives would be changed forever… I don’t know that we would have done anything differently. If we had, would it have made a difference?
I use the term “we” loosely. No, it did not happen to one of my own children nor am I the one who’s had to adjust to this new life but I’d like to think that WE have been just as much a part of this journey as Rick and Roxanne.
There is no handbook that tells you what the “right” thing is to do when your sons best friend/best friends son/yes,he’s my kid too has something as significant as this happen. There were days we didnt know whether to keep calling or give them space, times we weren’t sure if a night out was what was needed or to simply leave them alone. We handled the days as they came, one by one, trying to do what we thought was best in the manner we thought was appropriate. Sometimes that meant showing up with pizza and wine, completely unannounced, and other times it meant just sitting home wondering if everything was ok. And each decision we made ALWAYS left us questioning if it was the right one.
Over the years, seven now, things have settled into somewhat of a routine; the unexpected visits are a little more expected. We no longer get annoyed (as much) when Rox doesn’t answer the phone or respond to a text for several days, although she knows I will show up with the police and a bat if TOO many days go by. We no longer avoid talking about THIS DAY and what happened. Instead we talk about what we’ve learned and what we miss. We (try) and focus on the good, like that smile that continues to light up every room he rolls into.
We’ve learned to adapt and adjust and not freak out (as much) when he says he doesn’t feel well. I, specifically, learned that a frozen margarita pouch is great for getting body heat down (not so good for the margarita).
We’ve learned to appreciate the changes that we, as friends and individuals, have made and learned what true admiration and bravery look like. Vangie and I sat there in awe as Roxy finally found her voice, even if I was the first one she chose to use it on 😜
We learned that some days are good, and others, not so much.
We learned this by example – Isaiah’s example. As we sat there and talked about what the next best move was, he sat there and stared at us like we were crazy, taking each day in stride, laughing at the wild suggestions we sometimes had for making HIM feel better…. And all along, it was him making US feel better.
Alot has changed in seven years, the boys aren’t as close as they used to be but, my guess is, it would have happened eventually anyway. The girls may communicate more than ever but it’s not to talk about anything other than the love they have for a certain little someone who has brought us all so much joy, but US – our little group of friends – we are the same.. Still don’t talk every single day, still show up completely unannounced, and still drop whatever we are doing if we even THINK Rox needs a night out.
We still enjoy the not-so-funny jokes Isaiah tells- but we did stop pretending to laugh. And I still, to this day, feel nothing but enormous love for the kid who used to hide from me in my closet when he knew I was mad and pride for the young man I see before me.
Still can’t believe it’s been four years. So much has changed in that short span of time… marriages, divorces, babies, graduations…. life has continued even though there were days we didn’t think we could make it another minute, let alone another day..
With so many changes a lot remains the same. I continue to be in awe of Rick and Roxanne… their strength is beyond anything I have ever seen. Their faith remains in tact.. and their love for one another is unwavering.
Isaiah, well.. he has probably taken this better than all of us combined. His smile can light up any dark day you may be having and all you have to do is look at him to know that God definitely exists. He is the perfect example of acceptance, strength, grace, and faith.
He will forever be my hero and one of the loves of my life. I will continue to pray for a miracle and continue to remind myself of the lessons that have come from this… let go of what I thought should be happening and rejoice in what IS happening. ❤️❤️
I can’t believe it’s been five whole years. Some days it feels like they flew by and other days, not so much. But we managed to get through them – together – never once letting each other go, no matter how bad the mood was.
A lot has happened in five years. Babies were born, relationships ended, kids started college, others finished, some of our kids graduated high school, relationships we were certain were over began again and became better than ever.
And a lot has stayed the same. Our amazing group of friends/family has never failed to be there for each and every moment I mentioned and so many of the ones I didn’t They were always quick to offer a hug, a pat on the back, a large drink, a shot of tequila, a huge congratulations, and even a kick in the a$$ when necessary.
A lot has been learned in five years, as well.. we’ve learned that no matter what happens or how bad it seems, life goes on and it will be better tomorrow. We’ve learned that the darkest times can lead us to the brightest of places, and the most devastating struggles can grant us the most necessary growth.
As for me, personally, I am still in awe of the strength Isaiah, Destiny, Malcolm, Rick, and Roxanne continue to possess. You have handled each hurdle with grace and unwavering faith and I am more certain than ever that it is that love for each other that helps you to continue moving forward, overcoming whatever you may be battling at that moment, knowing that it WILL pass and you WILL make it through.
May you never, ever, for one second forget how far you have come and remember that you will make it through whatever comes next. Becuase we will all be there to help you do it – TOGETHER.