Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day Forty-Three, Flowers!

Day Forty-Three was a pretty great day.  I woke up feeling pretty good even though I had pushed myself so much all week.  I was really excited about today's gift!  My former boss, who helped me in creating the homeschooling program and I were talking last year and she expressed her sheer hatred for Valentines Day.  I can't remember how the details of the conversation went, but I just remember assuring her that I would send her flowers on Valentines to help her get through the most depressing day of the year for a single person.

We only email a couple times a month now, but I was really excited to send her flowers and I wanted to send them to work because I didn't know her home address and didn't want to give away the surprise by asking.  I had a small Valentines bouquet send to the office on the Friday before Valentines (which fell on a Sunday this year).  On the card I wrote, "Last year I promised to send you flowers for Valentines, I bet you forgot!"  She was totally shocked, which made the gift all that more fun.  I don't think she reads my blog, so it was probably even more unexpected.  I ordered the flowers from my close friends flower shop to help support her work, so it was a very fun gift.

I got an email shortly after the delivery...she was so pleasantly surprised and thanked me for not sending red flowers and she couldn't believe I remembered!  She still hates Valentines day, but she said the flowers made her day and that made me so happy.

I was going to start the Love Dare again today but realized while I was still half asleep I told Tim he "was slower than death" as he stumbled around getting ready.  I decided that qualified as a negative statement...darn it!  The first day of the dare is not to say anything negative...geesh...I've gone three days in a row where my mouth said something and it was hanging out there...and I couldn't shove it back in my mouth.  Oh well...I'll try again tomorrow!

Today was also the day of Dakota's Lego Party.  We had booked the party for 430 at the mall in the Lego Store.  He was giddy with excitement.  Jordan, our former foster son, came for the occassion, as well as, three of Dakota's close friends, a neighbor and two other homeschooled kiddos.  We all went to the Lego Store where they started with a scavenger hunt, followed by team building of a castle, and then the fun part, buying Lego's!  Each of the boys got a lego set for coming to the party and Dakota...well, let's just say he made out!  His guests had gotten him gift cards, we had gotten him a gift card, and his birth father and grandmother surprised him with a gift card waiting for him at the store.  So, $250 later and a lego bag so large it took all five boys to lift, we left.  Dakota was on Cloud Nine!

Now, I have to fill you in on some background information before I tell you the next part...which is amazing.  My dad died last year from the same diagnosis I have.  It was only after he got diagnosed in the end stages (due to it being so rare) that my brother and I got tested.  We both have it and in the worst form possible.  However, my Dad was obsessed with the grandkids...he didn't meet all of them because he had a fear of flying and I couldn't bring six children under six on a plane, etc.  He was very close to Dakota and I did fly Abigail up there once before he passed away.  Anyway, the good part of the story is coming, just hang in there!  He had this thing for started when he got the kids the movie "Happy Feet" and they loved it...I'm talking we watched it several times a day for two years!  He never saw the movie himself, but I would describe it as Abbey, Dakota, and Kaylee stomped their feet trying to tap dance like the main character and Justin was laugh so hysterically that he couldn't breath.  Something else extremely important to my Dad was birthdays...they were huge!  He had a three day bash every year for his birthday and the kids birthdays were everything to him.  While on his death bed, going in and out of consciousness, he would sit up and ask if it was Abbey's birthday...he waited until the day after her birthday before he went to heaven.  He fought to hang on to make sure he did not die on her birthday.

I did not handle his death well and had to do significant counseling.  I was having anxiety attacks and health complications.  I was struggling getting going and cried all day throughout the day, every day.  I was pretty miserable.  Then my birthday came in June and to my surprise my Grandmother sent me a very large penguin birthday card.  It looked like the Happy Feet penguin and I thought, "This is an odd gift for someone turning 29?"  Could it be a sign that my father could still see us?  My grandmother was sure it wasn't and that she hadn't been "led" to pick out that card, but I wanted to believe he was still with us.  So I prayed to God to only bring me penguins if they were a sign from my Dad.

In the months of July, Aug, and Sept, almost every time I was hysterically upset a Happy Feet penguin would appear.  One day I was sobbing and Dakota ran up to me with a National Geographic Magazine with the Happy Feet penguin on the front and said, "Mom, look it's Happy Feet"...he knew nothing about my belief, as I hadn't told anyone but Tim and later my Grandmother.  Another time I was crying all the way into town for me and Tim's date and we had to run into a store and sitting at the checkout line was a punch of Happy Feet penguin toys.  Mind you, Happy Feet is no longer a new movie!  Another time I was crying over my Dad and opened a parenting book to find the same Bible verse he had picked out for his funeral.  It seemed every time I cried over him, there was something.  Still thinking I was a bit crazy, the week of the anniversary of his death came.  I was having anxiety attacks all day long and one day I laid on my bathroom floor sobbing to God and my Dad.  I cried and told him everything I felt and to please give me some hope that he was OK, that he was still part of our lives.

I got through the anniversary of his death and was hanging in there when I had Abigail's and Justin's birthday party.  Their birthdays are both in November so we had a combo party the weekend after.  I was helping Justin with something when they started opening gifts.  I heard Nana exclaim, "It's a penguin!"  I teared way, I thought, it can't be.  I slowly turned around to see Abigail holding a stuffed Happy Feet penguin as large as she was.  My eyes instantly flooded with alligator tears, they dropped down my cheeks.  I couldn't believe it as Tata opened Justin's bag and again a huge Happy Feet stuffed penguin.  Who were these from?  Come to find out they were from a friend a Nana and Tata's (Tim's parents) who just adores our kids.  No one knew about my belief of the penguins and Tim's parents were quite confused.  I went in my back yard and cried for an hour.  They were perplexed, but I finally was able to compose myself and go back in and explain.  I told my grandmother but she told me I was very "creative" which is true, but I think there is more to it.  Even Tim, who doesn't believe in anything like that, was starting to wonder if there was something to this.

That night was a huge turning point.  I slept with one of the penguins every single night for weeks.  I prayed to God and thanked Him, I prayed to my Dad and said if this is really you please send Dakota a penguin on his birthday in February...then there would be no doubt whatsoever.  The months came and went and I felt such a spiritual healing and I no longer cried every day, all day.  I just felt true happiness that my Dad was OK and he was with us still.  At this point I told my brother, sister, and my mom about the penguins.  They totally thought it was my Dad...I insisted that they don't send Dakota a penguin for his birthday, that if it was Dad, he would find another way.  They agreed.

OK, this is the part you've been waiting for...did Dakota get a penguin for his birthday???  Well, when Jordan got dropped off for the party, Abigail grabbed the gift bag and pulled out the card and opened it.  It was covered with cartoon penguins!  I just crying...I had no doubt Dakota would get his penguin for his birthday...and from someone who had no idea about the penguins!  I was totally happy and satisfied with this...but my Dad had more in store for us!  Following the Lego party, I had planned to take the boys out to pizza.  However, Dakota insisted that it would be more fun to eat at the Food Court in the mall...and who I am to argue with the birthday boy?  All the boys wanted to go to McDonalds...surprise, surprise :-).  Tim took them to McDonalds while I headed over to Subway to get a healthy sandwich.  When I came back Tim said excitedly, "Look at their Happy Meal toys!"  I didn't think anything of it as I glanced over and all three boys were Kung Fu fighting with little cartoon penguin toys...the Happy Meal bags were covered with penguins...there must have been over 50 of them.  Oh my!  I took a picture of all the penguins and the boys and told Dakota they were from Grumpa Bill in heaven.  He didn't pay much attention and continued to play.  Someday he'll realize how special it was.  The card and toy penguin are going in our birthday penguin collection :-).

Here's the picture: