Independence Day

We are away. It was with mixed emotions that we planned to go away just the seven of us and to somewhere none of us has ever been before. Thank you for your generosity to those who are sharing and even have a vacation spot that can house all of us. The packing went well and we were 90% ready when Kevin arrived home from work on Thursday. We jumped in the car which was loaded with food, clothes, kids, cameras and of course the computer. We never tell the kids where we are going. We call all trips a “know or go”. If the kids know, then they cannot go and therefore if they want to go they can’t know. Max was delighted as he was given approval for the movies for the trip. Had we stayed in the garage I think that Max would have been fine – Molly too – as Star Wars, Episode I the Phantom Menace was given the thumbs up by Kevin.

It rained during the trip but the only impact was adjusting the volume on the movie as the rain pounded harder on the roof during several parts of the trip. The timing was perfect as we pulled into the destination at the exact moment that both the movie and the rain ended. I keep telling you God is good. We quickly unpacked and prepared dinner as the kids each selected where they would sleep. There was plenty of room for everyone. As Kevin and I relaxed Thursday night we were amazed how quickly everyone fell asleep. Kevin finished his book first and slept on the couch next to me as I finished my book – amazed and surprised that the book Dear John by Nicholas Sparks included the impact of cancer within a relationship. Will I notice this forever?

Once I finished the book I brushed the last tear from my eye and watched Kevin as he peacefully slept. We are so comfortable with one another. We have had a great week. I love my husband and through all that has occurred between us this week I am more comfortable than I have been since Catie’s death. That comfort doesn’t just come from the fifteen years of being together. This week it returned with the confidence that I feel regarding Kevin and how he is dealing with Catie’s death. Until this week I have been concerned the Kevin would shut me out as he dealt with Catie’s death and its effect on him. I was unsure how to comfort him and to help him. Now I am less unsure. I know what he needs and it is not that different than what I need. When Kevin or I are feeling sad we need comfort. We know that the feeling will pass but we need that moment to feel the sadness and be comforted – be held. Kevin is OK. He still misses his little Catie but he is here with me and at peace with God and able to share his feelings.

Secure with all of that I woke Kevin and we went upstairs to bed. What a great feeling to say it was a great week! We celebrated M.E.’s third birthday. We handled helping M.E. request for her birthday that we all go to heaven to see Catie. We felt our heart strings as M.E. looked up and told Catie that she loved her, she missed her and wanted to hold her. We celebrated.

Each day we have been waking up late – between 9 and 10. Kevin enjoys cooking and so I packed all his favorites and he has been treating all of us to his signature brunch and an equally amazing dinner. Right now as I am typing he is preparing dinner. Things are a bit late tonight but no one minds. After Mass this evening I shouted turn right as we approached an intersection and Kevin listened and stated “Woman you are going to kill me one of these days.” Off we were on an adventure, but not before Kevin picked up some fresh kettle corn. We drove through the area and took an indirect route home. Once home Kevin told me that dinner would be ready in twenty minutes. I sat down to type as the children busied themselves. Hotdogs, burgers, chicken, corn and salad are on the menu.

We missed fireworks last night but more are scheduled for tonight. Catie loved fireworks. She saw her first fireworks when she was three and she screamed with delight. I even remember that she had tears in her eyes she thought they were so beautiful. The memory is etched in my mind as I remember insisting on taking her just days before Molly’s birth. It was something that I wanted to give her that summer. Mia stayed with Kevin and also enjoyed them but Maggie (at almost 6) and Max (at almost 5) both hid under the coats in fear. What a funny and odd contrast.

Last year’s Fourth of July was unreal. I can still see Catie so beautiful with all her long hair holding her first sparkler and again delighting in the fireworks. She was always so brave and strong. She loved wearing the red white and blue decorating the house with our flag collection and boldly singing along with Kevin all the songs. While I miss her I am so comforted by my knowledge that she is better off with God. Those are not mere words. To dwell on Catie with extreme sadness may cause me to miss something that is going on for me or for Kevin or with one of the Fab 5.�

And so for that and so many other blessings I will sleep well this Fourth of July knowing how very blessed I am. On our way home we plan on stopping at the Flight 93 Memorial – paying tribute to those who gave their lives innocently for our freedoms.

We love you all and please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers,

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Gianna, Catie, Mia, Molly, and M.E.

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