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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dear Avery

Dear Avery,

Hi Sweetheart! How are you? I've realized that in all of the time I've been writing about you, I've never written TO you, and that just simply needed to change.

I miss you, baby girl. Far more than you could possibly imagine. I am struggling with the knowledge that you've been away for two years now, because it just doesn't seem possible. I feel like it was yesterday that you were telling me about your new iPod. Remember that?

Do you remember sitting with me and Siri at camp that first summer? There was a storm coming in and I think we called your Mom together. Do you remember how many cartwheels you did that week, trying to nail them on the beam?

I do.

It was thousands.

Our Team Picture at Camp 2012
I think I was more exhausted, watching you do it over and over and over, than you were actually doing it. As a matter of fact, I know I was.

Back then, I had no idea what kind of plan God had for us. If I'm being honest, I thought you were one of those kids that I would meet at camp and never see again. Even so, I remember being blown away by how driven you were. Your work ethic blew my mind.

I was fairly certain that you would be one of those little girls I remembered off and on, a faded memory that blurred together with all of the summer camps combined over the years. "Remember that little girl who did a million cartwheels that one summer?" I'd think to myself.

Nope.

That fall I started the GymHawks program. And there you were. You were so scrawny, arms and legs for days… I thought I might break you, on more than one occasion. But you were there, and we started to get to know each other.

You had a big sister, who by the way you talked about her, you loved more than life itself. You had a little brother, who was apparently crazy, (I have a little brother too… so I get it). You had a mom, who obviously rocked at life because she named her kids 3 wicked cool names and I remember being so jealous of how original three of you were.

We talked about everything, remember? We talked about the girls on the Whitewater team. We talked about you joining the swim team. You taught me about clogging… and I wish with everything in my heart that I could have seen you dance just once.

We talked about your family and my family and about how you might have Celiac's Disease. Then we talked about how you did have Celiac's Disease… but you weren't scared at all. Probably because of your unwavering faith in God's plan.
The Warhawks & GymHawks missing you on
October 24, 2014

The year flew by and camp came again. We took a "Team Picture"- and though you weren't yet on our competitive team, you were a part of that family. Your heart, your spirit, we all knew it… you'd be on the team some day. I remember that fall, almost 2 years ago exactly, I was making a list of who I would move up to team that summer. Your name, my dear, was most definitely on that list.

But a few days later, I would look at that list and fall apart. I knew I should take your name off, but my hands were completely incapable of pressing the "delete" button. You were on that team. Done.

Sending my love straight up to Heaven!
The past two years have taught me more than I could ever list on this blog. I think if I sat here and committed to tracking the ways that you have impacted my life, I'd be here until I was sixty. (I'm 28 now, you know…)

For example, when you started GymHawks with me, you were one of about 20 kids. It's been three whole years, and last Wednesday I counted nearly 60 kids in the gym… just on WEDNESDAY! I almost cried because I knew that I couldn't have done it without you; You, and all of the beautiful little ones who remind me of you, every single day.

You've taught me to have faith when it seemed like there was absolutely zero faith left to have. I found it. You've taught me to be brave in speaking about that faith, and to trust that just being me is exactly what He wants… and that is all that really matters.

You've taught me that life is so incredibly precious, and that every single child is a gift… every moment on this Earth is a treasure, and even when life gets hard, there are still going to be moments in every day to appreciate.

"I lift my eyes to the hills…"  because I know that's where
you'll be. 
I don't know where I'd be if I hadn't met you, Honey. I just don't know. It scares me to think about it, actually. You have been this incredible light in my life, and the lives of countless others. With each passing day, I think about you. With each passing day, my faith grows. So as the years add up, and the number of days until I see you again gets smaller, I promise to continue in your footsteps. I promise to spend my life being a light for others. Exactly the way you were for me.

I hope you liked our balloons last week. Your teammates miss you terribly, and your big sisters want you to know they love you. We're going to keep on sending them you way, God Girl. So you can look for 14 balloons next year :) And I promise, I'll keep coming to visit every chance I can. I love watching the sun set with you, just in time to see the sky turn pink.

I love you, Sweet Girl.

-Al



1 comment:

  1. Thank you, for loving my daughter. She loved you SO MUCH!! You were such a great example to her; so warm and welcoming and encouraging. I love that you two are tied together in such a beautiful, precious way!

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