We really did have summer.
We basked, gardened, farmed, ranched, vacationed, broke noses, played with cousins, camped with the Young Women, The Boy Scouts, and Good Friends, picnicked, read stories, swam, swam with cousins, reunioned in Ephraim, played at Bear Lake, woke up early, stayed up late, explored the river bottoms, fireworked, said "Hello" happily and "Goodbye" tearily, batted mosquitoes, sprayed weeds, looked at stars, entertained neighbor kids, enjoyed story time, pulled weeds, and tried to hold onto the moments just a little longer. And Then . . .
First Day of School 2014
UEA Adventure 2014
Rest stop near Morgan
Playing in the Leaves at the School!
Rooster's #11 Birthday!
We planned and worked for months. We informed, asked, smiled, copied, organized, spent hours on the phone, disagreed, laughed, cried, pleaded, prayed, and pulled our kids all over the place planning our 5K and fundraiser for Kathy and her family.
She moved to town just 5 months ago. We picnicked together, watched kids play together, worshiped together, gardened together, and began forging friendships. Our time together was limited, though, and she became sick. Our hearts broke for our new friend, and they continue to break. So, one warm late summer day, we met at the park determined to do something. Could we really do anything? Carissa's brain child was born, and the scheming began.
October 25 dawned bright and autumnal. The kind of blue that only happens in October. We gathered, sleepy-eyed and anxious, a culmination of emotions and efforts almost to the breaking point. Would anyone come? Did we know how to organize a race, an auction? Was it going to flop? What would we do with the thousands of dollars worth of donations from good and generous people and businesses? What would we say if we heard one more snide comment? But mostly, what if no one came?
Sondra, her girls, and I marked the race course. Michael and James measured and remeasured the route. The Knights had the Taylor's lawn decorated. Ryan gathered tables. Kate and Carissa and Kristie and Amber and Cindy and Susie and Sondra and I were working on the fumes of little sleep and anxious hearts. We blew up the final balloons, wrote the final signs. The Party Barn was brimming over with donations, and all were ready and at our posts. I ran home in a brief moment, to frantically get my kids and whoever else's kids ready to bike and run.
I know my brothers will be here, I thought. I know as many Rees' will come as can-- my heart lifted a little with that thought. It really is good to have family. Good for so many reasons. Caroline and Becky were organizing all the kids at home. Theirs, mine, the neighborhood! What kindred spirits to recognize that need.
I ran out the door again, heart pounding. Janeal was just leaving her home, and I thanked her for coming! At least we would have someone else! And then I looked up.
Hundreds of people filled the road. They'd come. My eyes filled with tears in gratitude. I wished Kathy could have seen them. They came for her, a stranger, but they wanted to somehow help lift her burden. They were showing her love. And they came.
The race started and I will never forget the pictures in my mind. Some serious runners, but mostly families. Ally pedaling with all of her 10 year old might, wearing a shirt in honor of her mom. The ladies from the care center where Kathy was. Spiderman. Nikki, taking charge of the registration and making it happen! Fancy t-shirts, Kaden and Jared, winning the mile. Hyrum flying by on his bike. Emma and Jace, wondering how they had biked the 5K instead of just the mile. Quin, diligently pulling Makaell across the finnish line. Caroline and Becky and Adrienne, loaded full of kids. My brothers and their families, getting there late, but racing just the same! I wished I could have raced with them, ran around the Taylor's turn and cheered and waved. I wish I would have gotten to the auction sooner, by the time I arrived, it was over. Everything was purchased, generosity flowed.
One day I may post pictures. I don't have any for now. But the day and experience buoyed my soul. I wish I could take Kathy's pain away. I wish her cancer would go away. I wish her Luke had lived. I wish she would live. I wish her children and husband didn't have to go through this. I hope she knows a little of the love we feel for her and her family. I hope that that love can be a balm for her family. It is for me.