Wednesday-- June 16th

We have been keeping busy the past several weeks, finishing up with sports and school.

Michael ended his first lacrosse season on a high note - he scored a goal!! It was so exciting and we were so proud! Ernie had made a bet with Michael. If he scored, Ernie would give him his Apple Gift Card that he has been holding on to. Michael couldn't wait for Ernie to hand it over.

Thomas finished up with his TBall season. He loved playing. He had great coaches and learned to hit the ball without the Tee. He'll be moving up to the next level next season.

On the school front, William performed in his 2nd grade show. He looked so cute up on the stage. It was bittersweet watching him up there. He'll be moving up to the Freeman school in the Fall. It was so nice having him and Thomas together at HOD. Now, the boys will each be in a different school.

As I watched William, I realized that Maddie was his age when she was diagnosed. She was diagnosed two months after her 2nd grade show performance. Looking at William, I realized just how young Maddie was when she was diagnosed. I thought about how amazingly brave she was when she was given her diagnosis at her very young age. They all look like "babies" on that stage. They're still so young in 2nd grade. I had so many thoughts as I watched the show.

Ernie and I went to Thomas' Kindergarten Memory Show. That is always the cutest show. Thomas had a huge smile throughout the entire show. He is one of the tallest in the class so he was very easy to spot. Hard to believe that was my last Kindergarten show. I always love how the curtain opens and all the little kids eagerly look for their parents in the audience and once they spot them, they wave with such excitement. It's so cute.

So, as the school year wraps up, I am having a very hard time. This would be the year Maddie would be promoted to middle school. Big year. Ernie and I received our invitation to the Promotion ceremony. Of course, I fell apart when I read it. It's all still so surreal. I wish I didn't have to attend, but we are giving the first annual "Maddie Savoie Creativity Award" to a graduating 6th grader. We had a plaque made through the school, and I have to say a few quick words. This is going to be one of the hardest things I have had to do since Maddie's passing. It's hard enough to get up and speak in front of a crowd, but to get up in front of her classmates, her friends, who will all be wearing a pink/yellow butterfly ribbon in her honor, is just going to be extremely difficult. I truly hope I can do it. I have been praying and talking to Maddie about it. I need her to help me get through it.

The yearbook was handed out yesterday. It's absolutely beautiful. Maddie's beach scene painting is the cover, with her signature on the back cover. It's as though she signed everyone's yearbook. I know it's a very special keepsake for her friends. I was given one early, and knew it was coming, but when I actually had it in my hands, I broke down. I looked at all the pictures of her friends, the class photos. All too much to handle...

Had to call my friend, Patti, the other day. Her daughter, Molly, was one of Maddie's best friends. I was calling from my cell. I now have Maddie's old cell phone #, and when I called, Molly answered. She said she was so excited when she saw Maddie's # pop up on caller id. She said she "couldn't answer the phone fast enough." I told her I wish it was Maddie on the other end calling her. As I waited for her to hand the phone to Patti, I had to take a deep breath. That made me so sad and I could just imagine the thoughts that ran through Molly's head.

I got the same feeling when I was standing at Community Day last weekend. I was watching a dance troop in action and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a young girl, with brown hair, come running towards me. I knew it wasn't Maddie, but for a split second, my brain just went to that imaginary place, and I almost believed Maddie was running up to me, arms open, big smile. I so desperately wanted to close my eyes, hug that girl and pretend it was Maddie. She grabbed the hand of her pal next to me. Oh dear God, it really shook me and I had to walk away.

The boys had fun at Community Day. They loved playing on the inflatables, running around with spray painted hair, eating cotton candy with their friends. We really do have a great little town.

Getting ready for the summer. Haven't made many plans just yet. I went into Boston with two friends for dinner last Friday night. A nice "girls night out" before summer. I hadn't been into the city in so long. We had such a nice time. We went to Todd English's restaurant, King Fish Hall. It was so nice to enjoy a wonderful meal with great friends. Todd English came over to our table, autographed his book, and took his picture with us. I didn't know anything about him, but apparently he's a "celebrity." I just know I liked his food and wine!

We'll do some camping trips this summer, go to the pool club, and I'll probably sign the boys up for a town recreation program. Michael and William will go to the Paul Newman Hole In the Wall Gang Camp again this summer for Sibling week. They are very excited. Thomas is not old enough and he can't wait to go next year. Michael came running downstairs last week and told me to log onto Face Book. If you go onto the Hole In The Wall Gang Home Page, Maddie's picture is on their home page! We had no idea they were going to do that. It's one of our favorite pictures of Maddie. We have it framed in our family room. She was so full of life in that picture. She went into the hospital the following week. You would never even know she was sick when you see that picture.

Watched Maddie's pals, Molly and Sydnie, get on the bus this morning. It's their last ride on that bus. They'll be on the earlier bus now that they're going to the middle school. It was very sad to watch them go. I'll miss us giving each other the Maddie "Peace Out" sign every morning. Seeing them every morning just always made me feel like Maddie was still with us. It's so hard to move on. As I watched the two of them hop onto the bus, I envisioned Maddie running alongside, giggling, wearing her pink crocs. God, I miss her so much. She has been gone for 20 months today...

Wednesday-- June 2nd

Our fundraiser, Maddie's Mission of Hope - "Never, Never, Never, Give Up" was great! It all came together after all of our hard work and stress, and in the end, between donations and the event, our team raised around $26 - $27,000 for our PMC Team, Pedals For Pediatrics!! We are all so proud and know Maddie is proud of us too!

The night went pretty smoothly and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We had Michael, Lauren and Kristen Altmeyer, Molly McLaughlin, Sydnie Dimond, and Ali and Ben Palmer all sell tickets and run the prizes to the winners. The kids all worked so hard and did such a great job!

It was so wonderful to see everyone come out to support our cause and we are so grateful. I tried to get through my quick little talk, but choked a few times. I thought I could stay composed but had a tough time. The guests were so supportive and clapped me through it! Thank you! Thank you everyone for coming and for all of your generous support! We hope you'll come back next year - it can only get bigger and better!!

Ernie got home from the event before me. I had to stay and take care of things. When I got home, Ernie told me that William had gotten sick while we were out. I went up to check on him and he had a fever of 102.5 and had definitely heaved, right over the railing of the bunk bed! Ernie did his best to clean it up, but we took William down from his bed and put him in bed with us. He was so sick, the poor little guy. The heels and dress came off and the sweats and Mommy gloves went on.

I pulled an all nighter that night. Not by choice. Just riddled with anxiety and emotion, and my back was really hurting from running around in heels all night. Not a good thing with bulging discs. I stared at the ceiling all night and literally pulled an all nighter. I should've gotten out of bed and taken something to knock myself out, but I just laid there. It was awful. The next day we had some family stop by and a few friends, but I was exhausted and William still wasn't feeling well. He ended up missing school on Monday, but I did bring him in just for his 2nd grade photo outside, then had to bring him with me to my doctor appt for my back.

The past few weeks have just been spent catching up with my "normal routine." The boys are glad to have our house back with all of the raffle/donation items gone from the office. I think they're happy I'm not focused on the fundraiser anymore and able to be more available to them.

The following weekend, Ernie took Michael down to Delaware for Lauren's graduation. Congratulations Lauren! They had a really nice time. Michael was so nervous to fly, so luckily it was a short flight! I was home with the two other boys for the night, and it was nice to spend the day and night with them. We went for a bike ride during the day and spent the evening at my friend, Stephanie's, lake house. They went tubing, fishing, and sat in the jacuzzi. It was great until I fell apart towards the end of the night.

There had been hawks following us when we were on the boat and then a huge hawk kept flying back and forth in the trees right where we were sitting. I was sitting by the chimenea and I just felt like Maddie was trying to show she was there, and I just sunk into deep thought and sadness. It just hit me. One of Maddie's last nights at home was spent making smore’s by our chimenea and I have the best picture of her with melted chocolate all over her face, giving me a thumbs up, with her huge smile. All the kids were running around having fun. The young girls flirting with the boys, all laughing, chatting. I missed my girl. I missed what she won't do. What I won't see her do.

I had been at the school earlier for Field Day with William's class. Had a very hard time getting through that. Then I checked in on some little friends who are still fighting cancer, through their websites, and learned they are having very difficult times, and then there I was there sitting at the lake with my dear friend, who is herself, battling cancer. It all just became very overwhelming for me and hit me like a brick.

The three of us came home and went to bed.

I took William out of school early for a check up one day last week and on the way home, we stopped at the grocery store. He ran into the flower refrigerator and came out with a bouquet of flowers. He asked me if he could buy them with his "10 bucks" for Maddie. I told him of course, but then he asked me to help him find pink/yellow flowers instead of the bouquet he was holding. We went over and looked together and we found the last bouquet of pink/yellow carnations. They were so perfect and William was so excited. At the checkout, the woman asked if he was buying them for a girlfriend or for his Mom. He just held them tightly and said no, but offered no explanation. We had a nice day together.

We have been working on cleaning up Maddie's Garden pond here at home. We need to get it weeded and plant pretty new flowers for the season. Hopefully, some from last year will come back. I painted our big swing a barn red, from white. It was actually emotional for me to paint it. I was covering up so many memories of the kids sitting on that swing. Then I reminded myself that it doesn't matter what color the swing is, the memories will always be there.

Ernie took William and Thomas fishing a few times over the weekend. They were so excited that they had caught several fish.

Went for a bike ride down to visit with Maddie on Memorial Day. I was having a very hard time. I walked around the entire cemetery, reading all of the headstones. Some old, some very young. I wondered what their stories were. How did they die? How are their families coping? Just in deep thought and very emotional. Thought about the times Maddie and I would pass the cemetery on the way home from treatment and we would both be quiet as we drove by. I think we tried to pretend we weren't glancing over or both hiding our private, nervous thoughts, about the place. I don't know...

As I was leaving, I was sad because Maddie hadn't sent me a sign. No hawk. Then I turned around and there was my friend, Beth, who had rode her bike down to see Maddie too. Wow, timing is everything. Right as Beth arrived, two hawks flew over us and hovered! Maddie was holding out on my sign during my visit until Beth arrived, so she could send us both the gift. It was really amazing! Beth was amazed.

Later in the day, we went next door to swim and then our immediate neighbors came back to our house for a bbq. I always get sad when I go to the pool. I just miss Maddie's giggle and antics so very much. She loved to swim. Although I love seeing the others have so much fun, I feel her void so strongly. As I was feeling the void, Maddie made sure to let us know she was there... The adults were sitting around the table and Lorraine got up to go home for few minutes. I switched seats while she was gone to sit in the sun and when she came back, she sat in the seat I had been in. I glanced down under her seat and there was a perfect water heart! We were all amazed! Nobody had stepped there, dripped there, laid there. It was just a perfect heart! Maddie wanted to make sure we all knew she was there with us, enjoying the first swim of the summer. She wouldn't miss it. I will post the picture.

We ended the long weekend with that incredibly terrifying thunder/lightening storm that made us all jump out of bed! I have never in my life seen or heard such an incredibly powerful lightening kaboom! The boys (ok, me too!) were terrified and all five of us went downstairs, huddled on the couch and rode the storm out. The boys insisted we stay downstairs. They felt it was a safer place. I always love how instantly they feel protected by Mom and Dad. We eventually went back upstairs and all tried to squeeze into our bed. We really need a King sized bed!

I hope you all had a great long weekend and thank you again to everyone who came to our fundraiser and to those who didn't make it, but still made generous contributions. We are so grateful for your support. Because of you, we will be able to help so many families.

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