23 May 2013

Powdered Sugar and Sprinkles

"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you'll look back and realize they were big things."
~Robert Brault

On Tuesday, May 21st I got a phone call from the principal of my daughter's school.
"I have some bad news," she said. "One of our seventh grade students collapsed during third period and died."

Her voice was cracking as she said this. My heart broke a little at the thought of this monumental task. No doubt it was not any easier to call the first or the 200th parent that day to let them know.

And then I had to tell Tiny Dancer.

I had a hard time keeping it together to inform her that her classmate had passed away. She knew that he had collapsed, but didn't know the sad outcome. She is in sixth grade, so she didn't know him well, but there were still sobs.

Joey Miller was a bright boy with a big smile who loved to fish and play video games. He is part of our small Catholic Middle School community. There were classmates there when it happened. He was surrounded by friends. My heart aches for the teacher who could not do anything to bring him back. And for the administrators who had to make a terrible phone call. Joey could easily have been anyone's child that day. We don't know the reasons why this happened yet, but it really doesn't matter. He is the child of all of us today.

Joey's best friend is Noah Lamaide. Noah started a fundraising network a few years ago on his 9th birthday called Noah's Dream Catcher Network. His lofty goal is to do a fundraiser each year to help those who are disadvantaged. In 2012 he saved his grandmother's home from foreclosure and got national attention. Currently, Noah has started a fund where 100% of the donations will be given to the Miller Family in Joey's honor. What an incredible gift of friendship and support! This young man's actions restore my faith that there is a lot of good in this world.

Last night when I was at the store, I spied the powdered sugar mini donuts and the colorful sprinkles on the chocolate donut holes. On impulse, I threw them in my cart.

I broke off my work for the evening early.
I shared a hearty laugh with my daughter over googly eyes we made at each other.
I told my son to not stay up too late.
I tucked my daughter in bed with extra snuggles.

This morning Tiny Dancer asked me why there were donuts for breakfast.

I shrugged and said, "Why not?"

I recognized that I needed to take the chance to make the ordinary extraordinary. I need to do that more often. In truth, I am celebrating the every day moments that become memories and honoring a little boy who has left a big hole in our community.

If today is not the right time for powdered sugar and sprinkles, then when?


Unknown said...

Oh Erin, you are such an eloquent writer. I might have to go pick up some donuts for breakfast tomorrow. See you soon!

Holly said...

Erin, your amazing words and beautiful tribute brought tears to my eyes. Bless you for what you had to do, and the strength you always show. And my thoughts to your school community.

Brandi Hussey said...

My heart breaks for that young soul. For his family, and his friends.

What a beautiful reminder to really enjoy the day and your loved ones.

char said...

Truer words were never spoken. We all think we have tomorrow, but do we? If only everyone practiced kindness every day of their lives what a world we would share.

Unknown said...

Thank you Erin, for this reminder. What a tragic story and one I wish wasn't so drastic in order for us to be grateful for every day and every moment. I remember a story on Oprah when a woman was dying from cancer and she would have ice cream for breakfast with her kids! I always remember that and think those will be the things they carry with them.

Alice said...

So sad that this young man's life was cut short. Prayers for his family and all those who knew him.

Thank you for reminding us to savor every moment we can, and to not pass up a chance to have a bit of fun.

Unknown said...

How sad! My thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of Joey, including your family.

Yes, let's always make ordinary extraordinary.

Thanks for sharing,


Shai Williams said...

It really is a shame that it takes us such a tragic event to remind us not to take things for granted. I think that I will make my husband's favorite dinner this weekend just cuz.

Unknown said...

I'm so sorry to hear this Erin. Hitting so close to Home! But so sad the life of this child cut short so early. I think of this everyday about how this life moment by moment is a great gift! Lotsa hugs!

Anonymous said...

How sad that it takes a death.....particularly the death of a young person.....to remind us how precious each day of life really is. Erin, you know my own family had this lesson years ago. Even so, it is hard to remember when struggling just to survive. I feel great sorrow for the parents of this child. They have a long struggle ahead of them. I pray they have love and support to see them through this. I wish that your wisdom in meeting this challenge will be an example for your whole community.

Diane (Dewdrop Designs) said...

My thought are will his family and your community. No parent should ever lose a child. I had always thought this when the frightening sad (a much stronger word is needed here, but I just can't think of one)reality hit me in January. I lost my son a few weeks before his 8th birthday.

Although I am doing a bit better now, I find absolutely no reason to smile anymore. There is no joy in life for me anymore. I haven't been able to go out to the studio (building in my back yard) and create as my son LOVED to be out there with me. If fact, towards the end of the school year, we made a list of things we would like to do this past summer. Every morning when I asked him what he wanted to do, he said "Go to the studio." I would make other suggestions, refer to the list, nope, every day he wanted to be in the studio. I was not metalworking until the fall so while I was doing things, he has my undivided attention. Occasionally I would have to quickly pause to count, but then we would continue. It was honestly the best summer of my life! Just he and I, all the time, good moods every day, so much laughter and happiness filled both of us. We would also get into some very deep conversations where I would put everything down and roll my chair opposite to the love seat that he would sit and lay down on. Such an amzing time in both our lives. he told me it was the best summer of his life....and trust me, we have had summers where were are doing lots of fun, interesting and exciting activities. But he just wanted to be with me, no distractions that come up in the house or when we are out.

I am past safe child bearing age now and have an illness that prevents me from having more kids. Not that I would want to "replace" him, that is impossible anyway - he is a one of a kind!! But to know that I will never again feel that feeling, that intense love, mothering....such a horror. I won't get to see him grow, learn, go to college, fall in love, get married and have kids if that is what he would have chosen. I haven't even been able to talk about this to anyone until recently, and still now, only a select few. I couldn't even call my best friend to tell him for months.

I am not telling everyone this because I want pity. It's because I want everyone to do as you are doing - make the most of those little moments. yes, big moments are wonderful, but there are not too many of those in life. make every single moment is precious. Go give your kids a hug, tell them you love them often (luckily I did that a lot). And if you don't have kids, hug ad tell you love them to your parents, siblings,cousins, friends - and do it OFTEN. Let people know how important they are to you. Let them know how much they mean to you, how they have impacted your life. You may think they already know, the truth is, they probably don't know just how much....and even if they do, it will make them feel good, it will make you feel good and it will bring you closer.


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