But, it occured to me the other day, as I drove to Target and other 'fun' destinations for the ever depleted toiletries and household needs, that Kim and I actually enjoyed running errands together. We'd map out what we needed and where we needed to go. Kim always checking ads and jotting down prices, etc to try to keep us on track. Target was a favorite spot for a mango smoothie or some coffee from Starbucks. If we had time, we'd get over to Viro's and see Rosa and Vito for some lunch. Sometimes, we'd do a few errands, go see a movie at the 'dollar' theaters (can we stop call them the dollar theaters, or force them to lower the price back to a dollar?). We never thought 'jeez, we have to run errands again'...we'd always make sure to stop somewhere fun, even if it was just Circle K for a thirstbuster (when we first moved here, we were hooked on their hotdogs with jalepenos!)...we'd make it fun somehow.
And a memory that strikes me almost everytime I'm heading west on Speedway...that final day that I got to take Kimmy on a Christmas shopping trip to Burlington Coat factory and other stops...Kimmy kept marveling at how beautiful Tucson is...it was as if she was seeing it partially through Heaven already - at one point, on Speedway, she actually started weeping, saying 'it all looks so different, so new, so beautiful...' and for one glowing moment, I felt I could see it that way too...
I've always had faith and moments like that just reinforced what I already believed. Kim's faith was so strong, it made mine even stronger - she knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that she was going to Heaven. But, sometimes, I need reaffirmation...and last Monday, I got that. As I've written, we've gone to St. Pius for a number of years. The kids were enrolled there for religious education classes. Tonio's teacher, Linda, does such a wonderful job there with the children. She is very involved at her children's schools and in the community, so much like Kim...last week, I had to drop the kids off and run to Kim's primary care physician to sign some medical release forms and when I got back to help out in the class, Linda already had everything well under control and the kids were watching a Bible movie. I had the chance to sadly tell her we would be switching churces, so the kids could be cared for by Angie's family when I had to go back to work. She responded by telling me a beautiful story about how she converted to Catholicism about 6 years ago...it seems she was having a difficult labor with her daughter Taylor...in fact, they were losing her, and possibly her baby. She remembers drifting off and coming to a calm, serene lake...and being greeted by her father, who had passed away some three years previously. Her father told her everything would be allright and handed her a fishing pole. She told me that she loved fishing with her father and here she was, having that opportunity to fish with him again. She said she was totally at peace. After awhile, her father told her, ok, it is time to fight...and she looked at him questionally, but then understood. And as she came back up, she could hear her sister and niece praying the Hail Mary for her...Linda, at the time, was a Baptist, and was not familiar with the Hail Mary prayer at the time this occured.
The doctors were able to save Linda and her little blessing, Taylor, through the grace of God. Later, she asked 'were my sister and niece here? Where have they gone?'...she was told, no, they had not been at the hospital. She said, 'but I heard them praying, praying the Hail Mary for me'...She found out later that her sister and niece had been praying Hail Mary's at their church for her, at the time she was being saved!
Linda also told me that she appreciated Kimmy's blog and how, although she is a very giving, appreciative person, she has adapted a new attitude of 'I get to do these things today', instead of 'I have to do these things today'...and I've told myself that every day since...she finds this especially helpful on days where it seems there are a lot of errands, etc to do. I thought about this and the story she shared with me all week, finally getting to speak to Linda today and asking 'why? why did you choose to share these stories with me, at that time, at that moment?'. Linda explained that she sensed I needed it, that her story might help, at this point in my journey, to help me continue to believe and to be patient, that Kimmy will reach me when the time is right. I can't tell you the sense of peace her stories gave me last week and I just feel even stronger that our lives become intertwined for specific reasons. What a huge help Linda was to me, and has been for Antonio and, in another 'small world' story, will be for Cody, when she begins at Desert Sky in a few weeks to sub for Cody's current Algebra teacher, Mrs. Lopez! Thanks Linda, for allowing me to share your wonderful experience (I hope I related it accurately!!).
Well, the bambini's were busy today! After school, we participated in the 'Souper Bowl' at Cottonwood Elementary again this year. This event is chaired by 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Curtis, who runs the J.O.I.I. club, designed to teach children early the value of community service and helping others. We made hundreds of tuna sandwiches!! Oh, the aroma in the MPR room was thick!!
Autumn works with Mrs. Jefferies on bagging tuna sandwiches
These students and teachers (Tonio's teacher, Mrs. Schrantz was there, Ms. Bryson, the principal, we there) worked hard to quickly slam together some great lunches for the Casa Maria woman's homeless shelter in downtown Tucson. Autumn and Tonio had a blast!
After a little homework session, we met up with Janene and her boys over at Skate Country for $1 night (no, soft pretzels were not a dollar!), bringing along our neighbor, Alex. The kids worked got rid of a lot of their wiggles. I think Cody, Alex and Brendon stopped once for a soda break during the 2 hours session. And Bryson and Antonio spent about $10 of Janene's and my money on 'treasure' from the little machines they have strategically placed around the rink! Ahh, and it was warm enough for me to wear shorts today!!
So, as I run errands, and pass places Kim and I used to stop, it brings back some good memories, and a smile to my face...and I appreciate every moment we shared together...and every moment I get to share with the bambini...and this wonderful community that I am so blessed to be a part of...
"There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than there is for bread"