Happy Birthday Kimmy...where to begin? Kim always had a love/hate relationship with her birthday...she never lamented the 'big' ones, like turning 40, believing it was 'just another day', but she varied on how she wanted to celebrate, or whether she wanted anyone to make a fuss over her! As you can imagine, she'd try to keep it simple...but I wouldn't let her!
But, one of my favorite Kimmy birthday stories, is from when she was in 1st grade. Kim invited her whole Brownie troop to her house for a birthday party...only it wasn't her birthday...and she wasn't home as the guests and parents began to arrive. Her startled Dad took things in stride, thanking the child for the gift, explaining that there was a mix up and smiling the whole time. When Kim got home...she found that she now had to return the gifts to each child and apologize to the parent!
Since Kim's birthday was in March, it was not the ideal beach weather, so we often would go skiing or ice skating. I took her to Colorado one year for her birthday to ski. And, one year, we did go down to Long Beach Island for her birthday and found it fun to walk the cold beaches all bundled up, and having it all to ourselves.
For her 40th, we had a big celebration at Pinnacle Peaks, a wild west steak house - her Mom and Jim came out and we had the entire Williams family there - having a table that literallly stretched the length of the room!
Other years, we found ourselves at Chuy's with Betsey, Brian, Amy and Tom and their children. Most recently, she liked to go to Zona 78.
Today, after I dropped the bambini's at school (I made them pancakes with sliced strawberries for breakfast, a Kimmy favorite for them), I headed out to the San Xavier Mission, where we were married on May 21st, 1994. It was a surreal drive...I was doing good, cruising along at 75, when...wooossshhh - the world began to spin backwards, as I strained to see the road through the tears - it felt as though I had slowed down to about 20, the surrounding scenery growing impossibly large...and the poof! I was back...
I lingered and took a bunch of photos - the inside of the church, so beautiful, with statues and paintings...
Next, I went to the little side chapel, that pays homage to Mary...
Her name was Sherri and she was visiting Tucson from Nebraska with a friend, Stephanie...Sherri told me how she had lost her husband at the age of 49, almost 15 years ago...she told me that the first year is the hardest, as you 'anniversary' holidays and birthdays without your loved one....She asked where we were from originally...I told her we grew up three blocks from each other in Bethlehem, PA...she told me she was from Shippensburg, PA originally - where I graduated from college! We talked about Kim, and what a great person she was and Stephanie commented that God needs the really good ones more in Heaven, than here on earth. And Sherri added, you know that she will be there waiting for you. Her and her friend Stephanie were a steadying influence on me this morning and it was very obvious that they had lingered the 45 minutes or so after Mass that it took me to retrace Kim's and my footsteps, so that they could comfort me...Heaven sent...They promised to pray for my family and wished us well...
It was an amazing Mass and an incredible start to Kimmy's birthday!
I stopped by Carondelet on my way across town and dropped off a large check to benefit Kimmy's Foundation - thank you all who have donated, and thank you to all of you who have purchased Knights of Columbus raffle tickets through me or St. Pius (50% of proceeds go to Kimmy's Foundation)! Please remember to put Kimmy's name on the donation, or it will go into a general fund.
Then, I went to see my friend, Dave Williams, over at Tatoo Artistry on Country Club and Pima...Dave added a little color to my shooting star, as a present for Kim's birthday...
When I picked up the bambini's, I ran into Mary Montes - Mary was Autumn and Tonio's kindergarten teacher...she helped with Kimmy's Celebration...she's always been a positive light for our family and her dad, Sam, has helped me navigate the legal waters following the loss of a loved one...Kimmy worked as Mary's parapro when she had Antonio in her class and absolutely loved her as a teacher and as a friend. Kim would always say 'oh, when will her and Emilio have a baby? Mary will be such a wonderful mom!'...well, today I got a great birthday gift on Kim's birthday, as Mary told me some fantastic news...she is pregnant!
Our family is so happy for Mary and Emilio and pray for them and their little blessing! They will be great parents!
For dinner, we met up with Angie and her family - Angie and Mark treated us all to dinner at Kimmy's all time favorite restaurant...Zona 78! There were 20 of us, and Vince, the manager there, did a great job to accomodate us as we overtook his restaurant.
Anyway, our southwest family felt Kimmy's birthday would be better spent together...and they were right, we had a nice time...and, for once, I could not remember the first time we went to Zona 78, what the occaison was or why we decided to try this place - but, it has been Kimmy's favorite for several years.
And, when we arrived home, exhausted from our emotional rollercoaster of a day, we found these tasty brownies in our fridge...courtesy of our neighbor, Amy!
Happy Birthday Love.