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Sooooo why don’t we just check in on how Joe and Bella are doing these days?

1.  Try to remember what late grade school (5th grade) and junior high (7th) grade were like for you.

2.  Do you remember, especially for the jr. high part, the daily battle that life was?

3.  Add in the fact that you are grieving the death of your younger brother.

4.  Daunting no?

5.  For some of you this is all too real and/familiar as you did spend those days dealing with something more tragic than every day life for a not quite yet teenager.  I am very sorry for you then and now.

6.  Both kids seem to be fine.

7.  We are thoroughly participating in the 10 session program at The Caring Place.

8.  At its very least it gives us a time every other week to be together as a family and talk (on the way home) purposefully about Trey.

9.  Each week something is said that I had forgotten about, it’s a lovely reminder of some of the silliest things he did.

10.  Everyone participates, which is a great thing.

11.  Bella is in a group of 8 -12 year olds.  She is ten, which puts her right on the edge of the appropriate age grouping (for her…if you get my drift).

12.  Sit down for this, she has taken quite the leadership role within the group dynamics.

13.  She addresses the adult volunteers for her group by their first name.  Inappropriate but consistent I suppose.  It certainly reveals a comfort level that I celebrate.

14.  Joe is in the teenager group (although he is 12 he was bumped up to avoid being in a group with Bella and he is more than capable and elated to be in said group).

15.  He gets along great within the group and seems to really like the youngest of the volunteers in his group (also a Joe).

16.  Other than that we don’t have much to share about how they are doing in their group as what they talk about and what they share in their group is confidential and theirs to share or not share.

17.  Besides using the term “figuratively speaking” and “photosynthesis” correctly and in context, Bella today said while discussing a dream, “I was some sort of a super hero, I could take off and land accordingly.”  “Accordingly”‘ she said.  By the way, she was comparing herself in her dream to The Great American Hero (who could not land and was on in the 80’s)…I teach my kids about all of the important things in life.

18.  Joe has had fewer occurrences recently where he comes to the top of the steps after bedtime and asks us random questions from uncomfortable, “I just can’t sleep, what should I do?” to very real and sad, “How old do you have to be to have a stroke?”

19.  Coinciding and perhaps as a result, he has awakened throughout the night more recently with random nightmares.

20.  Something happens inside of you, in the middle of the night, when your son says, “…would you pray for me?”

21.  Bella is still twirling (baton…not just in random circles) and in proficient fashion.

22.  Joe is still taking jiu jitsu.  He is still needing to be more aggressive and to get stronger but for the most part enjoys it.

23.  They both are still getting straight A’s.

24.  They both participated in impressive fashion when we talked, with most of our family, about Trey’s funeral week.  It was touching…and heartbreaking.

25.  We actually get to play family games from time to time (Trey, believe it or not, tended to make this difficult at best).

26.  Bella is not a good loser.

27.  Bella is not a very good winner either for that matter.

28.  Joe does not sit still very well.

29.  Rachel and I still balance parenting them quite well as she pretty much deals with behaviors for what they are and I attribute almost everything to dealing with grief.  Together, somewhere in between, we find a healthy balance to parenting.

30.  They both struggle with using “fake voices” Bella more of a baby/silly voice, Joe a quietly screaming super hero/monster/whatever.  Good thing it’s not a trigger for Rachel and especially me.  Oh, yeah, we/I can’t STAND fake voices.

31.  I give Bella hug breaks during her homework.

32.  Joe helps me outside doing yard work/special projects.  Cats in the cradle, chip off the old block, he is his fathers son, payback is a …. yeah, he’s pretty much as into it as I was at his age which is to say, not at all really.

33.  Yes, I had Bella on the roof of our back porch with me.  Joe was away that weekend and she wanted to do something special.  By the look on her face I would say I succeeded.  Clearly, Rachel was not at home.

34.  They are great kids who are hanging in there just fine.

Thank you for loving them and praying for them/us.  They have been through a lot and we are so proud of them.


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