Thursday, February 7, 2013

You and Me




I was talking with two different people today about my writing of this blog.  I know I’ve traveled down this path before with you but I truly have a brain block as to what you glean from reading it.  I’ll probably never know your perspective the same as you will never quite know mine.

I know how I feel writing it.  I look forward to putting some words on paper each day although I typically don’t know what those words will be.  When I sit to write, all I know is that it’s designated time to focus on Chris and I love that.  When I write I turn off the radio or TV and concentrate.

If I didn’t write something down daily and talk about my family and my life since December 1st I wonder how I would be coping?  Would I be medicated? (I’m not other than a sleeping aide).  Would I even be back at work?  I wonder what this blog is doing for my mind, body and spirit versus never having written a single word.

I believe it has done me a world of good.  My son was not just an accident you saw on the TV news for a two minute story.  You took the time to get to know my son.  Chris was everybody’s son and/or brother.  He was an ordinary kid, just like other seventeen year old boys you may know.


Reading this blog for five minutes each day, or however long you allow yourself, must do something for you.  People don’t do something for two straight months when it creates no value for them.  I’m beyond grateful you value my son and my spin on his life.  Whatever it does for you thrills me.  I don’t think you could ever know what it means in the course of my day to know you support me as a mom and a member of this community.  You inspire me at times when I feel I’m in a straight jacket and can’t move.  You tell me it’s OK to take as much time as I need to get a grip on things and that you support me.  Whether you say it thru a response to this blog or in person when you see me out, it doesn’t matter.  You help me feel I’m not alone in my grief.
Sometimes I wonder what kind of sense I even make when you read.  The interesting thing is, from where I sit daily as I type, I tell myself nobody is reading. I write for me and my son because it’s one of the things I have now, thank God.  I write from a selfish part of my insides where I hold Chris close to me.  I feel like I’m opening my heart up to where I can share the random thoughts that race around.  I spoke to Chris in the same manner I speak to you.  I guess I only know how to write as if I’m talking out loud.  I think I’m more of a “blabber” than a speaker with the wandering of my brain as I type the words.  I only know one way to do it and it’s still very new to me, only about two months old. I never wrote anything like this before.
I guess what the gist is here is that although I’ll never really comprehend all that my blog does and all the emotions it spurs, I suppose I don’t need to.  What difference does it make so long as the outcome is positive?  If you feel compelled for a little while to embrace my son along with me, then we’re fortunate together. I know wholeheartedly you would have liked Chris.  He was goofy and happy and fun loving and if you had snacks nearby; all the better.  He would help you eat them and you would enjoy a giggle!  If reading this blog once a day helps you be a better person for even a fleeting moment then I say “thanks Chris!” you have found a way to remain alive within us and you’re rubbing off on us.  Keep it up Squirt, we love you! :-)


Thank you for reading.

31 comments:

  1. Regina,
    I look forward to reading your blog everyday. I dont know you and didnt know Chris, but I have come to know him and miss him deeply. You are so blessed to be his mom.
    Peace, Harmony, Abundance

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  2. Thank you .... I feel so honored to read this .. getting to know your son. I have a nephew Chris's age who I am very close to. I believe the love and support and respect that you obviously have for your son impacted not only him but ALL the people that he touched.

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  3. I feel blessed each and every time I read this. It's a gift and a true treasure to be able to learn about Chris and just life in general. Thank you.

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  4. I read this blog because it gives me hope! I lost my brother many years ago and still find it hard to deal with it he was young and had his full life ahead of him.. so reading your blog makes me realise it will be ok. It also hit me on another level things could be the worst they have ever been and there is light it will take time and healing and support from an abundance of people but it will get better.. I wish you all the luck on this journey and I look forward to reading your blog every morning.
    Amanda

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  5. I only know Chris through my grandchildren, and now through you. .it is an honor to know him & to read your daily blog..

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  6. I read your blog each day right after I empty the dishwasher and make the coffee. I think if you polled most people who read it, they would say it is mutually beneficial. You, Chris and your extended family -- in your former anonymity and subsequent tragedy -- have become much more than mere poster children for the old adaage that life can change forever in a heartbeat. Those on the receiving end, with their caring concern and capacity for giving, have embraced you for your grace, wisdom and homespun humor in the wake of the single most awful event that can befall a parent. Although "enjoy" is perhaps not the right word, I hope you enjoy your time later today with my friend Gina Peca who has also faced the loss of a child with similar trademark qualities. She is a gem and I'm sure she will have priceless pearls of wisdom to share about your journeys.

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  7. He is your "Squirt" ~ He's OUR "Stewz". There is not a day that goes by, Regina, that we don't think of Chris. Not. One. Day. His physical presence is profoundly missed. His spirit, well, that is felt very much right here, and we are so thankful for that! I talk to him, you know. Every day. I only knew a little bit about "Stewz" through Alex and football. I know I must have "high-fived" him, from time to time, coming off the field after the games. I did that for a bunch of the boys - just as you might have done for mine. Chris is changing lives Regina. YOU are changing lives. You've taught me to appreciate MORE the gifts that I have ~ To EMBRACE the fumes that radiate off of Alex's gym clothes (and might I say that smell could knock the flies off a donkey.) I don't mind leaving the house at 5:20 in the morning and driving through town in my pajamas to bring Alex to the weight room. At that ridiculous hour, he says that only the" most serious" are there. I suspect Chris is right there with him. I also look at the kitchen messes in a new light now. The trails from stove - to counter - to sink created following those after school "meals" that he and his buddies cook up for themselves. Do they know how to rinse a pot? Do they know it makes me smile? You did that for me, Regina ~ You and Chris. THANK YOU.

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  8. Hi Regina,

    I read because the news of the accident rocked me to my core as I live in this community also. It was all I thought about the first week or two..
    Then as time started to move on.. I wanted to get to know who Chris was... I heard from the paper and news.. But I wanted to know him and his family. How you cope, how you get by each day. I have to say I didn't count on developing a "friendship" with you.. But you've drawn me in with your daily adorable descriptions of Chris. It makes me and all of us feel like we wish we would have known him. It reminds us also that there are other good people in this world and for me.. in this community..
    Thank you for sharing your son with us.. I'm sure in a lot of ways you want to keep him all to yourself.. I wouldn't blame you.. But then we'd all be truly missing out..
    "See" you tomorrow.. Have a good day.

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  9. Regina,

    I don't know you and didn't know your son although my niece is a cheerleader for Shen and speaks very highly of him. After reading your blog for the last couple of months I feel as though I now know you both. You speak straight to my heart. My children are all grown but I know with certainty that what happened to Chris could have happened to any one of them. I often wonder how I would cope with a loss so huge and reading your blog helps me see that there is a way to cope. I admire your spirit and your sense of humor. I know that I would have liked Chris and I love the relationship that you had with him. I have a similar one with my son who is now a father himself. Most importantly, you have reminded me to live my life with gratitude. I wake up every day and am thankful for all the gifts that I have and since reading your blog I just hold them all a little closer. You are an amazing woman and I hope this blog continues to provide you with a sense of peace. Please know that there are many, many people out there that are supporting you and thinking about you.

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  10. Dear Regina,
    Apparently I don't learn from previous mistakes, but that is a whole other story...lol...I swore I would never attempt to read your blog prior to the start of my work day, but I did it again here today and to boot...in a public place!! UGH! Anyway, yes I have come to know Chris and LOVE him and I know had I been given the opportunity, I would have loved him when he was here not for just the stories you have told. I relate personally in many ways and I think about you every single day. You come up in conversation daily and I just wish I could do more. For now, like you, I sit behind my laptop and respond to your blog with hope that my responses occasionally, along with all the many others, help you get through these awful trying days. That you may know that you have this whole community that loves you and your family and we support you!
    Sincerely,
    Laurie

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  11. The first thing I do in the morning before work is read your blog. I'm glad I know both you and Chris and know you both even better now through your blog.

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  12. Regina,
    Your blog has helped me to count the blessings in my life and to remember that they are only here for a time so live, love and enjoy each moment. I know I knew this before, but reading your blog has really brought it home for me. I look at my family with loving and patient eyes, we laugh more often and appreciate each other. I know that writing for you is your way of counting your blessings and I feel honored to be a part of it. Have a good day,
    Kathy

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  13. Have you ever thought about becoming a motivational speaker for MADD or just starting your own foundation against drunk driving and give speeches across the capital district. I bet you would do an excellent job with that and people would definitely come and support the cause. I know there are a ton of organizations like this. However, as we know, there can never be too many. It's just something you might want to consider when you feel you are ready and the time is right.

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  14. We do love Chris :) Not all of us were lucky enough to have known him in person, but through your words, we get to know him a little more each day. Thank you for sharing with us. You both are an inspiration as well as a daily motivator. Keep up the good work. Have a peaceful day :)

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  15. Regina I look toward to reading your blog every day. I read it while getting ready for work. I may not respond every day but I am thinking of you and Chris every day. Through your blog I feel like I have gotten to know and love Chris. I have his mass card in my livingroom along with my step dads picture. I am inspired by you and I believe that reading your blog has made me a stronger and better person. I just want to say Thank You. God bless

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  16. I read every day for all of the reasons your describe. I'm grateful to you that he is not just a name in a 2 minute news story. I'm also really grateful that you write because it puts my mind at ease. I'm a worrier, and immediately upon hearing the news of the crash, I began to worry deeply, about everyone affected and how they would cope. I believe that your words are your truth and I see that you are taking this journey in a very healthy way, and I am so relieved for you. And I pray that continues, and I hope that the others are doing the same in some way. Thank you for sharing.

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  17. Well said....thank you very much for sharing your new life with all of us.. ;0)

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  18. Warning, this response is probably too long, so will be split:

    Good morning Regina…

    I believe this blog has done you a world of good as well. Writing, for me, for years has been therapeutic and a way to heal and move on, while memorializing my thoughts on a given day or about a given feeling. Before your blog, I never followed a blog. But the first day I saw your blog, I felt a sense of pull that I didn’t quite understand. I did not know you, I never met Chris, but I knew how I felt after hearing of the accident and I know I was concerned for the families involved and was heartbroken. Like we have all said to you, there are those of us who have children the same age, in the schools that this affected, and I know this affected me. I cannot speak for the rest.

    I remember reading your words on an early blog that said you did not want Chris to be forgotten. That was when I realized I would read this blog until you don’t write it anymore. Out of compassion and respect for you, I will read this blog and respond, because you have something to share and I selfishly want to know how you are each day. I want to know that you are okay, and when you have a blog entry that is so raw, I hope if you read my response, or someone else’s, that you get some sense of comfort from it.

    From reading what you wrote today, I believe that is happening. I have never written to someone like this before. I have written for me (poems) and I know that after I’m done with the poem I feel a weight lifted off of me and I can concentrate again. Maybe that is how you feel after your daily blog. I feel like I get that sense from you, especially after reading what you wrote today.

    I saw your first blog entry on the facebook page for Chris. Knowing how facebook works, we don’t see everything on our newsfeeds and it was there, that first day, as my first newsfeed. I clicked on it and read it and knew I wanted to follow it because I wanted to know how you are. I had no idea when I was reading it, that 2 months later I would still be writing to you, or if you even read what I write, but I know in my heart, responding to you is the right thing to do. And I feel, after receiving a few signs (heavens postcards), that it is still the right thing to do. Maybe I am the one who is selfish?

    I certainly don’t think you are selfish for writing and sharing Chris. You are however, incredible to share your memories and family with us, and let those of us who didn’t know Chris, know him and not just know about the accident. I cannot turn my back on these types of situations. I struggle with the “unknown” and in this instance, you are affording people like me, who care, the ability to not have to wonder, daily, how you are…

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    Replies
    1. continued (sorry)
      I haven’t changed how I parent. I haven’t changed who I am, because I’m actually fortunate to say that I am comfortable with who I am and how I parent. I learned, after my son’s accident, what was important and have already been walking that life. I read your blog, to make sure you are okay. I even learn things about you that answer questions I have had over the course of these two months, on how you are coping, that I am sure you weren’t thinking you needed to share, but I get the answers and even sigh a little sigh when I get the answer.

      I know God puts people or instances in front of us and how we accept them and handle them is ours to figure out.

      You said, in one of your first blogs, “You may be my friend thru the whole process, I would really appreciate that. My objective thru this blog is to probably selfish - I just want to talk about my kids, my family, my friends, my experiences. I have a ton to say. It makes me feel good to get it out. I'm proud of my boys and it makes me excited to share what comes to mind. I know it will be therapeutic but it also excites me because I have something to look forward to. I have a new purpose!”

      Your “friend” Joel Osteen said: If you’re always reliving your hurts, it's just reopening wounds. You have to change the channel and remember the good. Your blog is remembering the good and sharing the good in Chris and there are those of us who care so much about you and Chris that we are here for you, on whatever level. I know I haven’t met you and I’m not the type to walk up and say “Hi, I’m one of your blog followers”… I hope that if we are to meet, it will be because it is meant to be and not forced. I often feel like we have so much in common, and being friends with you would be easy.

      God bless…
      Justine <3

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  19. I think and hope you read all the comments on FB as well, but just in case here is my comment again. I love also reading comments from others. Regina you are simply a channel for a wellspring of humanness... We know ourselves through you. And you bring out the best in us. For this we thank YOU for writing.

    I read to understand Chris. I read to understand you. I read to understand me. I feel your heart open as you write. I get to satisfy this urge I have to just hold you and keep you well. To allow your tender raw feelings to just be, and I feel I can rock you gently, if only virtually. And when I do that I can feel my compassion come to the forefront of my being. It feels good. It feels human. It feels like... LOVE. Love for you and Chris that spreads to others and makes me better. Does that make sense Regina? In your simple honesty you have allowed us to love you. And that is the most human and healing of feelings.

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  20. Regina,
    I, too, read your blog every morning. Maybe I'm just nosey, I'm not sure, but I like to check in to see how you're doing. I always marvel at the amazing photos you have, and I am happy for you that you have them to bring you some comfort. I wonder if I ever saw you out somewhere, would I approach you, or would I be invading your privacy? I worry about how Matt is doing, because he is so private in his journey. I fear he is struggling. And I worry about Bailey, even though she has been so strong. It is such a heavy weight to carry at such a young age, the loss of a true love. I read because it reminds me, every day, to appreciate my children. And it reminds me not to sweat the small stuff. Keep writing. I'll keep reading. Deal?

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  21. Regina
    I love reading your blogs.i feel like a part of your family.i feel like I've k own Chris forever.you are lucky that you have wonderful memories of a fine young man and son.i laugh and cry when I read what you wrote. sometimes I laugh BC my Ben is doing exactly what you say Chris did or would have done at a that time.than other times I cry BC I could not imagine how hard it must be not to see those things and experience your sons life. And I am sorry for that.that you are my hero and if I ever have to deal with what you are I hope my Irish strength can pull me through the way your German strength has

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  22. I to read every day, And as you said it gives me support as well as you. I guess this sounds strange, but its like writing a pen pal, every day you look forward to a letter to get you that much closer to the person you are talking to, to share their their life and know what they are all about. we are getting to know Chris threw you, his like his dislike and he did . all that so it makes me happy knowing what kind of person he is and all about his life,and I get great joy out of that knowing that we are sharing , and helping get threw a tough time, as i said I lost my mom in october, so this also helps me to get threw, I am proud to be a part of your life and know what a loving family you have and that you are willing to share that, and I can sit down every day and read whats on your mind.Life is to short and you have to appreciate every day that we have, I have had a few things happen to me that made me question why , but if you have faith then we should never question , God has reasons for every thing he does. may not seem right at the time but , there are reasons, ty for sharing and I will continue to read,

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  23. Regina,

    From one "Blabber" to another, I love the way you capture your sons heart and share it with us. I read your blog because I become overwhelmed with emotions to the accident myself. Why?...well here is why...

    1)I received a text from my daughter in the middle of the night,the night of the accident. She read a tweet about Chris,Bailey;Deanna and Matt. She came home from her friends house exhausted,red puffied eyes and distraught.I have watched her break down on several occassions over what Bailey has had to go through. She is also sad because she met Chris on a couple of occassions and even danced with him at Shakers Prom. She said he is one of the nicest sweetest guys she knows, and that Bailey and Chris were not like other teen couples, they were pefect! She has worried ,cried tears of saddness and cried tears of Joy. I recently sent Dawn a [textpicture] of my daughter, Bailey and their friend at prom, the three of them are just smitten, laughing. Looking at the picture will make you "smile right out loud". When Bailey looked at the picture, she said "I remember this...Chris took this picture!" I am sure given what you have said about Chris's personailty he undoubtedly was doing or saying something to crack them up!

    2) I can related to your son Jeremy's pain, I lost my brother when I was 10 and he was 20, same thing a car accident just 11 days before Christmas, I often wish I had a blog to look back on to read and relive my brothers life so I could remember more. But there were no blogs in 1973 so all I have is what my memory at 10 years old can recall or when my mom tells a story about him.

    3) I met your son on one occassion, bumped into Him, Bailey and Dawn at the mall. He was very friendly and smiled and shook my hand with his big beefy mit :-)! I recall thinking what a gentle giant, I remember telling my daughter as we walked away, "Bailey's boyfriend seems like a really nice kid." She relpied "He is." When I read your blog it is his smile I recall...the twinkle in his eye, his overwhelimng sense of confidence without arrogance. I felt comfortable around him. He was very warm and welcoming...and that was after only meeting him once!

    4) and last I read for my friend Dawn, I read because I know how much she and Bobby loved your son, he was their son too. You can tell when Dawn talks about him, she loves him with all her heart and she has accepted her daughters boyfriend as her son too. Nikki thought of him as her brother...Look at the human caterpillar picture(too funny!)I also love that in between her two daughters pictures on Dawns wall hangs a picture of Chris in his Shen cap and gown...Now that IS love!!

    You are a strong woman Regina...I pray for you everyday and think about you often. I hope that this blog helps you to heal and helps makes your heart almost whole again.( I know it will never fully be whole again...there will always be that missing piece.)I know it will always hurt, but I have faith the pain will dull... So Keep blogging and we will keep reading...

    God Bless, XO

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  24. I read every day! I did not know Chris but my son and my husband do.
    I did know his football number and did watch him play. I love to read your posts and look at the pictures.
    I pray for you always,xoxo

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  25. Regina,
    I read your blog daily and I never knew Chris nor do I know you. I am so thankful for your words everyday. My life is very busy with 2 very active teenagers and I feel that sometimes in the rush of life we forget to stop and enjoy all the small stuff. Your blog has reminded me daily to let the dishes and sweeping go and spend that time with my kids at the end of a busy day. The cleaning will be there tomorrow , that moment to spend with my kid will not. Thank you so much for letting me get to know you and Chris and always remember your blogs are an inspiaration for many.

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  26. I not only look forward to reading your blog, but if I find myself busy and I miss a couple days, I specifically set quiet time aside to catch up. As a mother of an 18 year old daughter and a (newly, last Sunday!) 23 year old son, I find your stories and anticdotes so relatable! I feel grateful to you for sharing these things with all of us, and it makes me feel happy to see you cracking a joke and experiencing joy. I love to "get to know" your Chris (and your other family members too!) but I like to check up on YOU through here, too. Seeing you coping in unimaginable times lets me know God hears all our prayers for you. I marvel because as a mom I don't know if I'd be able to be so strong; I feel I'd want to go to bed and stay there for a month. I don't ever want to know, but I guess reading your blog lets me also know that with faith, love and support, anybody has the tools to get through anything. I hope my rambling, run-on paragraph (SO HARD to do this from my stupid -NOT smart!- phone!) sheds a little light, at least as far as why somebody you never met would now consider you and your family friends in my heart and would care about the daily things and the stories and how your doing. THANK YOU for writing! And p.s. LOVE LOVE LOVE all these new old pics! How awesome! Happy for you. xx Jen M

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  27. Regina,

    You are such a eloquent writer! You feelings are fully felt and are so clear. For me your blog reminds to stop worrying about the small stuff, focus on the important stuff and to always remember that life is so precious and to make sure I feel and live all experiences to the upmost.

    Thank you for allowing us into your deepest most emotional and heart breaking experience of your life. To allow us to help you as help us whether we have lost a loved one or not.

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  28. Hello...Regina,
    You asked why we read this blog...so, you asked im going to tell you,.i have 3 daughters..15,16 & 17, they all go to Shen HS
    First of all , the day of the accident, i had a bunch of 2 of my daughters friends staying over.
    At 10 pm, on that horrible day (which by the way was my moms bday..so i will never forget)i had like 12 teenage girls here..some were wrapped in a blanket watching a movie with snacks...others were dancing like crazy people being obnoxious...my oldest was staying at her friends house.All of sudden around 10:45 one of the girls who at my house to say there had been a bad accident and she was stuck in it, on her way home from Siena game,,with in about 30 minutes thru twitter and facebook...the girls found out it was a shen car. soon they knew who was in the car..but i can tell you those girls stayed up all night crying and so scared as they waited to make sure all 4 kids were ok. In the meantime, my oldest whos a senior at shen, wasnt answering her phone..we called and texted 100 times, before we knew who was in the car, i was so scared she was involved in accident , so in my Pj's i drove to her friends house where she was suppose to be, to make sure her car was there. the whole way there i was terrified, when i saw her car, i was relieved and drove back home. the next am my daughter calls at like 8 am and says "why did you call me 100 times..whats going on? We fell alseep at like 1030 watching a movie.." she had no idea..i told her what happened..she then drove here and all these kids sat and cried and worried.
    You see all parents bug there kids..and kids think parents are over protective, but after this accident, my kids and there friends are starting to get why we worry. this has pulled kids together in a huge school and they have put on a united front.
    The other reason i read is because i have had many friends and family friends loose children, they didnt have this support system that we have with facebook and twitter...i know thru them the torture that is involved with loosing a child..
    i also read your blog everyday , because my heart breaks for you and the other families and your bravery and strength these past few months blows me away.
    the least I can do..is read what you write, learn a lesson ...appreciate the little things and dont sweat all the small stuff i used to sweat...even though i adore my daughters...i somehow have learned to stop and adore them a little more...
    So, Regina..those are just SOME of the reason i read and will continue to as long as you keep writing! You are truly amazing. ..

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  29. I love the pictures used with this blog entry.

    I was pleasantly shocked when I read you call him Squirt. that is the nickname we used on our youngest son, it didn't stick with us and it faded into the background. but wow the similarities within our lives gets me every time I learn something new about you and can relate it to me.

    thinking of you everyday

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