Saturday, August 3, 2013

See You Again

The last three weeks of my life have been both physically and mentally exhausting, completely overwhelming and yet, incredibly rewarding.  I have met some incredible coaches, been reunited with old friends and had the opportunity to coach some wonderful young ladies.  All the while I was missing her.

Her beautiful smile, infectious laugh and witty sense of humor was absent this year.  Her bible wasn't in any of the desk drawers at the dorm, and she wasn't sitting at the foot of my bed during the night that it stormed, talking about nothing... trying to keep her mind off the thunder.

Walking to the gym in Avery's light.
We had our first camp without our God Girl... and it would hit me at the most random moments.  Something a little girl said to me, someone walking into the gym wearing an AveryDay T-shirt, or that little girl who wanted to do cartwheel after cartwheel on the beam until it was perfect.  Those moments were the hardest.  I couldn't take any pictures during the first two weeks.  I kept thinking about the pictures that were taken last year at camp, and how She wasn't going to be in them this year.  It broke my heart.  All these little kids, that had been here last year, laughing with her, tumbling with her, ordering pizza and throwing pie in their coaches' faces...  they got to do it again this year... and She was missing out.

I signed little girl's t-shirts and took pictures for their parents and all the while I had this smile in the back of my mind.  Her smile.  Avery's smile.  It was there the whole time.  In every child that came to camp there was a little bit of Avery's heart.  I saw her in the little girl who was homesick, in the little girl who lost her tooth and got a note from the Whitewater tooth fairy.  She was there with the child who continuously thanked me for the corrections I offered her and in the perfect sunlight that shone as we were walking to the gym one evening.

Feeling her love as I said,"See
you later," to my little Leilani.
Avery didn't miss camp at all.  She was there every second of every day... just in a different way than she had been there in the past.  She helped me get out of bed every morning when I was feeling exhausted and sore, and she helped me console the little girl who got hurt.  She was with the child who threw up in the middle of the night and she comforted me as I said, "see you later" to one of my little GymHawks whose family moved away.

You see, I've resorted to, "see you later" because I refuse to say goodbye to another child.  And I've decided that I'm going to go right ahead and take back the "goodbye" I said to Avery back in October.  Because it's never really, "Goodbye," is it?  I will see her again.  I know that, and I trust that.  I believe that with every fiber of my being.

There's a new Carrie Underwood song that I love... and it makes me think of Avery Johanna and that sparkling smile of hers every time I hear it.  Her beautiful heart is found in every little gymnast I teach, and I will continue to work hard at my faith because she taught me to.  My life has been enriched in every way because of what I have learned from that sweet Angel, and though I missed her dearly at camp this summer, I know she was there with each and every one of us.  She will always be in my heart, "I will carry [her] with me," until I see her again.

Love True,
Last year at camp.  With our God Girl, before her journey to Heaven.
The last day of camp I took this picture of my girls,
knowing that one special young lady was watching over them.

Carrie Underwood- "See You Again"

Friday, August 2, 2013

Ever After

After a strange injury kept me on the couch for the majority of my day and movies were my only option  to distract me from the pain... I found myself lost in one of the most romantic love stories I have ever discovered.

The movie, Ever After, is a realistic version of the story of Cinderella: a plain servant who, with the help of a fairy god mother, falls in love with the prince, and lives happily ever after.

"How on Earth is Cinderella realistic?" you may ask.  Well, my friends... just remove the fairy god mother and substitute her with Leonardo DaVinci-- and you've got a renaissance rendition of the classic fairy tale.

Okay, maybe REALISTIC isn't the word I am looking for.

Anyway, lying here relishing in the romance that is the story of Danielle and Henry, I got to dreaming about real life fairy tales.  You know, the sappy crap you see in movies.  Don't tell me you haven't daydreamed about it yourself.  That scene where the star crossed lovers that have endured twelve different obstacles and completely lost faith in their love finally reconnect in tear jerking fashion.  Yep.  We all want that.  Trouble is.  Fairy tales are just that-- Fairy Tales.

I think that's why I love this movie so much.  No... Leonardo DaVinci is not going to waltz through my door to the rescue and send me on my way to the man of my dreams.  But it's the way the story is told that gives me hope, and keeps my heart beating enthusiastically.

A woman who struggles with who she is, is sound in her convictions, loyal to those that she loves and tolerant of those who treat her poorly finds someone who finally gives her life meaning.  He rescues her from a life that has been cruel, and she in turn, does the same for him.

The story is told from the perspective of the great-great-granddaughter of Cinderella, who ends the film with a line that struck me to the core:

"And while Cinderella and her Prince did live happily ever after, the point, Gentlemen, is that they lived."

What a beautiful statement about love, happiness and life.  There is no such thing as a perfect love story, and there is so much weight to the idea of measuring your life by how you live it.  Love deeply, smile widely, laugh frequently... and you will live well always.

Love True,