Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Second Summer

Avery's mom in Haiti… look what she found!!
This was the second summer without Avery.  I've gotten pretty good at talking about her.  Referring to her, smiling when the kids talk about her or laughing at a story about her… public situations are typically easy for me now.  It's the quiet moments when one of the girls says something that reminds me of her, or another little girl named Avery makes an appearance in my world, where I struggle.  It's teaching a quiet kid how to do a cartwheel on beam and sticking it out with her until she lands it, and lands it, and lands it (and wants to make sure you see each and every single one) that brings me to tears.  It's looking on Facebook and seeing her mom in Haiti at an orphanage with a boy wearing the "All day Averyday" t-shirt that I designed.  The hardest part, is seeing life go on around me, all these kids who were in her class start competing, and realizing that she still won't.  Nearly 400 kids came to camp this summer, and she was not one of them.  That hardly seemed fair.

Except she was there.

The first time we took this picture, I had my arm around
Avery.  Now, I feel her arms around me.
She was there when the little girl who was crying at check in didn't want to leave her mom.

She was there when a little girl lost her tooth, and one of our counselors had to "play" the tooth fairy.

She was there when a second little girl lost her tooth and the UWW tooth fairy made another appearance.

She was there with us every evening as we left the gym to a pink sky on the horizon.

She was there when we took our Team Photo at the park, the way we do every year.

She was there with every child who felt homesick or tired or missed their Mom.

She was there when one counselor sat up in the dorm with two eight year olds and read stories to them until 3am.

She was there when we were taking care of kids who felt sick, were sick, or pretended to be sick.

She was there on a rough day when I looked up and saw a little girl wearing a sweatshirt that said, "I have the right to remain silent about Jesus… but I won't."

My girls.  Preparing for competition, knowing their friend
is always looking over them.
Oh… how Avery would have LOVED that shirt.  That was the moment, in one of my most exhausted days when I realized that no matter how many years pass by, Avery is always going to be a part of what we do at GymHawks.

And that, in its amazing comfort, helps me to feel a little bit more alright.

Love True,


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