First, allow me to apologize for not posting sooner. The last several months have been quite busy, but very rewarding as well.
Caroline and Rachel Rose are doing wonderfully! They are coming off of a full summer of camps, sleepovers, and enjoyable times with friends and family. Many know the saying "It takes a village", and I must say we have been blessed with an amazing "village" of wonderful people that have made our challenging transition much easier to handle.
Caroline and Rachel Rose have now begun a new school year, and I continue to be amazed and proud of them. Caroline has taken on advanced classes as a SIXTH GRADER ......yes SIXTH GRADER....(I now understand why parents often say "they grow so fast"; it is so true!!!) She is now a member of Girl Scouts and continues to take dancing classes every Friday. She seems extremely content with school, extracurricular activities, friends, family, etc.
Rachel Rose, now a second grader, has really been the biggest surprise this year. A year ago at this time, Melinda and I were concerned with Rachel Rose's performance and behavior in school. We would occasionally receive reports from the teacher regarding her over exuberance and difficulty in focusing on certain tasks. We actually had her evaluated by her pediatrician and were considering medications towards the middle part of her first grade year. Well, we decided to wait and then other life events occurred that put those decisions on the back burner. Happily, I am thrilled to report that not only has her behavior improved to a level where her teacher now uses her as an example to others, but she recently was recommended by several of her teachers to be tested for HORIZONS (the gifted program!). ......AMAZING!! Rachel Rose maintains her outgoing and colorful personality and is enjoying every day. I am so proud of both her and Caroline!
As for me, I am doing well! Every day is a challenge, but I am learning to take it one day at a time. I have found that some of the more challenging times are when we are experiencing things without Melinda for the first time. Whether it's a walk down a familiar trail, a canoe ride on our favorite lake, a holiday tradition, or simply planting flowers in the yard(one of her favorite things). As our wedding anniversary approaches, I realize that there will be many firsts ahead. While the girls and I will not be able to share the smiles, laughter, hugs, and familiar moments we are accustomed to during these times, we KNOW she is with us and there is much comfort in that!
Also, I must extend our most sincerest thanks to all that have graciously reached out to help us in our time of need. I am the type of person that resists those that reach out to help, as it is my nature to believe that I can take on much of the burdens of life myself. Fortunately, I'm learning to let go of that mind-set, and I am learning that you can create many rewarding relationships when you allow others to be a part of your recovery. THANK YOU TO ALL OUR WONDERFUL FRIENDS AND FAMILY FOR YOUR UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND SUPPORT! ...... WE ARE BLESSED!
We look forward to future opportunities of paying your blessings forward!
Finally, as promised, I am including a picture of the bench we had placed at the site where the girls first "pet the horses" at the cemetery. As you can see, it is beautiful and we visit on a regular basis. The girls continue to enjoy their time there and we look forward to adding flowers to help spurce it up a bit. Melinda would insist on that!
God Bless Everyone!
John, Caroline, & Rachel Rose