When I was born, my dad's 11 year old youngest brother became an uncle. Matthew was the youngest of eight children. A little bit of a wild child, always looking for adventure and sometimes trouble. I remember him following my pop around. When I think of Matt, I will always see him as a teenager. A tough guy with a big heart. Being the oldest grandchild and he the youngest of my aunts and uncles, I spent a lot of time with him at Grandma John's. Being there with all of my family was one of my favorite places to be. Sometimes I felt like a youngest sister rather than a grandchild. I remember when he started dating Kim. And their wedding was like a storybook fairytale. They had three boys 1.2.3. who were adorable and they worshipped their dad. One of my favorite memories was when I was in college, my girlfriends and I did a little tour of Florida. Matt and Kim had us over for dinner, and he made the best piña coladas ever. He had us laughing with his stories and I'm sure an inappropriate joke or two thrown in as well. And then there is my most recent memory...just this September I got to spend a weekend with him and all the John brothers and sisters at his oldest sonJustin's wedding. Now more than ever, I am so happy I went to Florida that weekend. It was the last time the 8 of them would be together during a happy time. But happy times or sad, they are always there for each other. This past week, they showed their undying love for one another and unbreakable bond as they went to their baby brother's side. They prayed and talked (we all know they love to talk) and held his hand. They cried. And I bet they laughed a few times as they told stories of growing up on Deer Park Road.
They had to do the unimaginable this week. They had to say goodbye to their baby brother. But as my dad said, he believes he is in heaven with grandma and pop. She welcomed him home, and then he and pop went fishing.
He is at peace. Now I pray that we may find peace as we remember him fondly. I pray for Kim that she will always feel the strength of his love. And I pray for his boys that they may hold him in their hearts each and every day and that they always remember what a great dad he is and how proud he is of them.
Goodbye Matthew. Until we meet again...
Goodbye Matthew. Til we meet again.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Today you are 5 and 1/2 years old. Six months have passed since your Safari Party at the end of the summer. And what a six months it has been. We went to Disney World this fall and you loved every minute especially eating at Beast's Castle and getting your pictures taken with the Princesses. We had a wonderful Holiday season and you were such a great helper and so into the holiday spirit. I called you Little Miss Christmas. You kept track of "how many days until Christmas" and loved finding Stocking the Elf each morning. We have had many snow days this winter and have loved sitting by the fire in our pajamas all day watching movies, playing games and drinking hot tea.
You are a star in preschool. You love your teacher, Mrs. Barbuti, and all your friends. You always have a story to tell about what happens at school. Mrs. Barbuti calls you her little "assistant." You are getting ready for your ballet and tap recital, you go to My Gym with Finley, and have started gymnastics. You are learning to read and write and love to draw and make books. You make a picture for your cousin Stella almost everyday.
You are an amazing little girl with a great sense of humor. You are a sweet sister, a caring cousin, and a fabulous friend. You love to have sleepovers, play dates and go to parties. You take great care of Zachary, and he loves you so much. You and Alex continue to have a sweet relationship with a little argument thrown in now and then. But truly for the most part you are always so caring to each other, always thinking of the other's feelings.
You are a Daddy's girl and he is wrapped around your little finger - don't think that is ever going to change. He calls you his princess and you won't let him leave for work in the morning without giving you at least "one more kiss." And today for your half birthday, he took you to a basketball game and out to dinner. I never knew you liked basketball, and I think maybe you just wanted him (and Pop Pop) all to yourself. Next week you and daddy will go to your first Father-Daughter Dance. Oh how I wish I could be there to see that!
You are my best girl. I love you so much. You are my dream come true. I love that you love everything pink and girly. I love our manicures and pedicures, our crafts, and time dressing up your dolls and playing store. I love reading to you at night and snuggling and talking about our days. I love that you tell me you love me all the time. Out of the blue you will say to me, "I love you Momma." You will never know the joy those four words bring to me. You are my heart Isabella Grace.
I can't believe that in a month I will be registering you for Kindergarten and in less than six months you will be getting on the bus with Alex. I promise you that over the next six months, I will play with you more, read to you longer at night, listen to every story and enjoy every moment with you. Because I know too well that my days of having you little are so very numbered. And although it is so bittersweet writing these letters to you because it means time is passing (too quickly), I also love watching you grow taller and sweeter and smarter everyday. Everyday you astound me with the things you are learning and how the size of your heart is growing.
Happy Half Birthday Bella,
I love you - Momma