Monday, September 28, 2015

Headed South for the Texas Rice Festival

It is that time of year again. Fall in Texas means the Texas Rice Festival is about to be in full swing. This year is going to be a little different for me though. Holly is gone. Sophie is not doing the pageant. I still need to pick out a headstone for Holly's grave while I am down there. The usual fun and laid-back event is going to be muted for me. It will be nice seeing family and friends but I can't help but feel a little hesitant about this trip.

I think this is the 5th TRF I have been to. Holly always looked so forward to going down for it each year. I know she had such fun and loving memories of the event. She was the Junior Rice Queen one year. She got Sophie involved in doing the pageant (against my better judgement she talked me into it!). What Holly really LOVED was the food and spending time seeing her friends. She looked forward to it all year. The TRF was something Holly would have gone to regardless of where she lived. It was her thing. They are her people.

Sophie and I are flying down on Wednesday and coming back home to Colorado on Sunday. A quick trip by Holly's standards. Sophie has struggled a little more often lately with missing her mom. I hope that seeing Gee and Paw Paw and having fun on all the rides will help her focus on happy things for a little bit. We will all put on our brave face and do our best to smile our way through the festival. In our hearts the only thing we will feel is the unimaginable loss of someone who left us way too soon. She will be everywhere.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Worst.Daddy.Ever.

About 5am this morning Sophie kept trying to wake me asking me to rub her back. I would do it for a few seconds and fall back asleep. After about the tenth time of her waking me I said something along the line of, " please just let me sleep!" Probably a little gruffer than I meant out of just being tired. All of a sudden she just bust out crying. I rolled over and she looked at me and said, "You are the worst daddy ever!"

That is the first time she has ever said anything like that to me. Needless to say she got her back rub while I felt like crap for making her feel that sad. Parenting. Swing and a miss on that one.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Draw a Picture

Having the usual post-Oregon game fire pit and s'mores with Sophie. Feeling a bit maudlin. Sophie looked at me and could tell I was feeling a bit sad. Completely on her own she said, "Dad. When I am missing mommy I draw her a picture. Maybe you should draw her her one." What a pure and loving heart she has. So intuitive at only 5 years old.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sophie Scores!

Last Saturday was the first game of the Fall season for Sophie's team. The cherry on top was Sophie being the first player to score in the first game of the season. So proud of her. It is probably a little ridiculous how much I look forward to her games and practices. I just fills my heart with a whole lot of love watching her have fun with the girls on her team. Proud daddy.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Advice For Stay-at-Home Moms (Serious)

Shortly after Holly passed away I got in-touch with the social security department on what I needed to do to get Sophie signed up as the beneficiary of Holly. As it came to happen, it was quite a shock. Due to the fact that she had been unable to work due to her AVM, she did not have enough work credit hours to qualify for social security payments for Sophie. All told, Sophie and I were eligible for a one time lump payment of about $250. Total. No more. After reading more on the rules and regulations in situations like this, we were screwed.

Most of the time when the parent of a minor child passes away, the child receives a monthly check for around $1000 to help cover expenses. Not in our case though. Sophie falls into the group of 5% of children who receive nothing when they lose their parent.

We had just started the SSI Disability paperwork for Holly at the end of April. It is a process that takes months and months to get approved. We never made it that far. I am still researching some options but it does not look good. Our government throws money around but when it comes to doing it for a good cause, you get the shaft.

I make enough money we will ultimately be okay. It still doesn't make sense though how Sophie will end up falling through a crack on this. Suck.

The moral of this story is that if you are a stay-at-home-mom and have been for awhile, buy some life insurance. Don't let the government stick it to you. Life insurance is fairly inexpensive and will save your family a world of financial binds if something happened to you. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

4 Months

I tried several times to start this entry tonight and each time my emotions got the better of me. Today marks 4 months since you passed from this Earth. 4 months that I have not held you in my arms. 4 months since I last kissed your lips. 4 months since I was last able to tell you I loved you. 4 months. Not a day goes by that I do not calculate how long it has been since you left us. Your presence is like a never lifting fog. You surround everything we do in all ways.

Sophie still misses you so much. Every night in bed she brings you up and we talk about different memories we have of you. While hard, it is still my favorite part of the day. I hope it is something we continue to do forever. I want so desperately for her to hold on to your memory and love. You were such an amazing mother to her and there is no one who could ever take your place. I do my best to keep her dressed cute, her hair done pretty, and her life happy. It would just be so much easier with you here. Even with the monumental amount of help I get, I still need you.

Overall Sophie is doing really well. She is doing good in school and she likes her teacher and her new friends. She has the school thing down and she is always happy to go (once her morning grumpiness passes). Each day Miranda and Charlie pick her up at the kindergarten bench after school and walk with her home. She feels like such a big girl. They along with Cedes and Flexa and Shyann are as close as siblings as they could possibly be. The Apodaca kids take such good care of her and as young as they are, are such an unbelievable blessing to her. Last but not least are Zenia and Chuck. In my entire life I will never be so fortunate to meet two better people. They epitomize what family is and means. There is nothing they would not do for Sophie and I and will never be able to thank them enough. I know how much Zenia misses you and how your loss weighs on her heart. When we moved to Colorado there were higher powers at work that guided us to move right next door to them. They are the only thing that has made moving forward possible.

Today has been one of the roughest days in a long time. The house is a mess. My normally super patient demeanor has been a struggle to keep. I am just... tired. Between getting her ready for school in the morning, getting to work, doing all the shopping and errands and raising a healthy and emotionally stable little girl, I am worn out. I am not the first single dad in the world and I am not suggesting it is any harder on me than any other man. I am just saying it is hard.

Soccer practice started last week. Her first game is this Saturday. It seems like there is something each day that needs to be taken care of. I have a great deal of respect for all of the moms and dads out there that wake up each day with the sole goal of making sure their kids come first. It is not easy.

My dad is finally making the big move to Colorado. His stuff is mostly packed and he has movers arranged and ready to roll. Tentatively he should be here on September 25th. I am looking forward to him being here and I know it will be good for all three of us. I don't need a lot of help at home but having some help will be a huge thing for me. It will also be good for him having someone to help him. Not having to worry about him living in Eugene 1000 miles away with no one close by to help him. I am truly looking forward to him being here.

I still have not slept a single night alone in me bed. Sophie refuses to sleep on her own and I don't blame her. She is getting a little better about not freaking out if I am not in the same room as her. I bought some walkie talkies so that when I am out doing yard-work she can call me when she needs something. It has worked our pretty well so far and Sophie seems to think it is pretty cool. She is learning to ride her bike so well. She loves tearing up and down the sidewalk as often as she can. You would be proud of her. She also seems to be doing better in being more driven while playing soccer. Gone are the days when she was hesitant to mix it up to get to the ball. She is so fun to watch.

I still miss you with all my heart darling. I still have the most terrifying dreams at night about that day. I still have terrible anxiety at times when something particularly poignant happens that reminds me of you. We pray for you nightly and I know you are watching down on us. You will forever by my wife and Sophie's mother. I will always make sure that Sophie knows how much you loved her. You will always be my beloved wife. I miss you baby.

Love always,

Your Husband

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Return of the Sassy Cats

Today marks a very important day. The Sassy Cats return to terrorize the U6 girls soccer fields of Colorado Springs. Sophie has been so excited for this day to finally arrive. We have been practicing on the weekends in the backyard. Occasionally playing "water soccer". A game Sophie concocted that involved lining up cones which need to be dribbled around before taking a shot on goal. The added dimension she included was the sprinklers need to be on while we do it. The grass has never looked greener (nor the water bill higher).

While I am very much looking forward to soccer starting again tonight, I can't help but feel a little trepidatious thinking about Holly not being there. Soccer was always my thing but Holly made it part of her thing as well. It was one of the many reasons I loved her. Last spring the three of us went to Dick's Sporting Goods to buy Sophie her cleats, shin guards, and a new ball. Holly in her normal modus operandi went up to the wall with all of the girls cleats and looked until she found the prettiest and most expensive pair.  I think they were $175. When she found out that they did not come in Sophie's size she was so upset. Turns out for the little girls there are only about 3 different models to choose from and they are all fairly inexpensive. That was my Holly though. Always wanting the absolute best for Sophie. Always.

As devastatingly painful as it is to lose a mother so young, I am so very thankful that Holly was able to see Sophie's first game, her first practice, even her first goal. The video below is hard for me to watch. Not so much watch but hear. Listening to Holly cheer and scream for Sophie as she scores her first goal. So joyful and bittersweet for me. I miss my wife.