Year of First

It’s Thanksgiving and we have plans with Eric and Kimi for dinner and then will be heading to Amy and Chad’s house for dessert. We will have a full day and it will be filled with good food and good friends.

We weren’t going to have the kids this year for Thanksgiving, it isn’t our year. Our plans all along were to spend time with friends. We had so many offers and once again feel completely surrounded by love. Yesterday one of Abigail’s Girl Scout friends, Rebecca, even asked if we wanted to spend Thanksgiving with her family; she was concerned we were going to be alone.

I have heard that the first year is the hardest because it is filled with “firsts”. I have been thinking a lot about this year of firsts and how to move through them by honoring my girls and the many memories I have of them during those times.

November 13 was Anna’s 7th birthday. The weekend the girls went to Heaven, Anna and I had a date night and spent it drinking milkshakes at Red Robin and planning what she wanted for her birthday party. We wrote down the names of 10 friends that she wanted to invite, all girls and Rowan. Polka dots and ice cream sundaes was the theme, we talked about games, crafts and she requested that there be time for her to just “hang out” with her friends. I remember thinking that I wish I could freeze time…she was growing up so fast. We then headed over to Target and picked up invites and party favors…ice cream tattoos, lollipop erasers and colorful straws. She even picked out polka dotted wrapping paper she wanted me to wrap her present with.  It was a very fun night, one I will cherish forever.



On November 12 I was feeling very anxious. I wanted the 13th to be perfect in every way possible. I needed to honor her and make her proud; but how do you do that when you’re grieving and not able to hold your 7 year old, squeeze her, touch her face, kiss her and tell her that the past 7 years have been the best years of my entire life because she has been in them?

Tom and I had planned to go to the coast and get away for the day but for some reason that didn’t seem right. Being alone on her birthday didn’t seem right.

I prayed, we prayed and I’m sure others were praying for me on the days leading up and on the 13th.

I woke up on Anna’s birthday and decided to let go of all my expectations of what that day needed to be and allowed it to just be.

In the early morning I curled up in her bed and looked at pictures and watched videos of my beautiful girl.

While on my computer I found out that Anna’s best friend McKenna, her mom Candi, Tami and Grace were all heading over to BJ’s coffee shop for an early morning birthday celebration – Perfect!

Our day started there with cake, singing and memories of my girl. Anna would have loved eating cake for breakfast and “hanging out” with her friends before school.

Tom and I then came home and decided to make chocolate chip cookies for the fireman on shift…C shift, the same guys that responded the night the girls went to Heaven – Perfect!

We ate lunch at FG sushi, Anna loved sushi and so does her mama – Perfect!

In the afternoon we went to Dilley with treats in hand to celebrate Anna’s birthday with her class. Tom read the kids one of her favorite books, Wet Dog, and we sang Happy Birthday to her and another classmate whose birthday was the day before – Perfect!

In the evening we met Anna’s closest friends, McKenna, Grace, Rowan and Reese with their parents at Red Robin for milkshakes and dinner. We didn’t frequent Red Robin with the girls but Anna and I did just go there for milkshakes and to plan her birthday party. Once again it was perfect!

So for our year of firsts (and for the rest of my years) I’m going to let it be exactly what it will be. I will pray and let God lead me through those times. I’m sure there will be a range of emotions that will come on those days and I will allow myself to feel it all deeply.

Today is Thanksgiving and I am thankful! Thankful for those around me lifting me up in prayer, thankful for my family and friends who continue to be there for us and love my girls, thankful for the years I got with my girls and all of the memories I get to hold on to and most importantly thankful for God and his love; without it I have no idea where I would be right now!

Our first Thanksgiving together around a really small table. Love my family!


9 thoughts on “Year of First

  1. We are so thankful for the laughter and giggles, the dancing in our living room, the plates of noodles in our twisty chairs, the running of bare feet up and down our hallway, the blanket forts, the sounds of Taylor Swift coming from the back seat, and for double dating on the swings.

    Lots of love to you and your family today and every day!


  2. Oh Susan I just loved reading this. I have been thinking of you today (and every day) and I am so glad you will be with friends today. I love hearing your memories. Know that today the girls are sitting on a cloud giving thanks for all of the days they were able to spend with you. Lots of love and hugs from us! Kari


  3. This is why I want to be self-sufficient ASAP and live life to the fullest, because you never know when and how it will all end. So glad you got some good peeps to celebrate today with in the girls’ honor, and I’m thankful for you Susan!! You always believe in me even when I wasn’t at my best. You’re wonderful & beautiful!

    Happy Thanksgiving!!! 😀


  4. “I’m going to let it be exactly what it will be” what a wonderful sentiment for all of us to try to follow when the voices in our heads urge us to try for perfection. Your idea seems like a much better recipe for perfectly find your way through the firsts.

    And I smiled at Anna asking for sometime to just hang out with on her birthday. What wisdom! 🙂

    You’ll be in my thoughts as I light the candles on our table tonight. Happy thanksgiving!


  5. Love you Susan! I’m so thankful to have you in my life, to have had the opportunity to love your girls and share in your memories of them. Thinking and praying for you and Tom.


  6. Today and every day, we are thankful for you and for all the times you shared your girls with us….we cherish those memories. Much love to you and Tom.


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