Family at the Bean2 years ago, Taylor, Kyla, Katelyn, Maureen and I were all in Chicago. We had a grand time, watching a Cubs baseball game and a Northwestern football game. We had Chicago style pizza, visited our first apartment, our first house, and the church in which Maureen and I were married.

Tomorrow marks the 23rd #powdereddonutday since Maureen’s passing on October 21, 2014, and the 24th since this joyous family weekend. As a family, we’ve decided the true first #powdereddonutday was tomorrow, the day Maureen and I renewed our vows at the altar of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, with our children by our sides. Typically, on #powdereddonutday, I share my words, however, today, I share Kyla’s. A little something she wrote in 7th grade.

Maureen Time | 7th Grade | November 2014

My mom was born on April 28, 1964, weighed 7 1⁄2 pounds, was 26 in. tall, and was born in Antwerp, Belgium. Upon her passing, my mom was 6 ft. 1 in., had brown eyes, and weighed 147 pounds, having slipped from 160 due to her cancer. She was as tall as a giraffe on good days. 37 years later, after her birth, I was born in Austin, Texas, was 8 pounds 12 oz.

Family in ChicagoMy favorite memory of my mom was when she was pregnant with my little sister, Katelyn. She was like an angel from heaven. My parents went in for a check up like every mother would do when they are pregnant, but they got different news. They took a biopsy and told her she had breast cancer. Like anyone with cancer, they said, “lets find the cancer and kill it!” And that is what they did, but in this case, my mom had a relapse.

You would think that a person with cancer is dark and not lively. That is the opposite of my mom. My mom was the most lively, energetic person I know. I love my mom so much. My favorite thing to do with my mom was going down the slide at the Lakeway pool and always beating her while I was in the enclosed slide. It made me happy seeing her face, all lively and like a young child playing in the water. My mom is an amazing woman, from making breakfast in the morning to helping us with homework at night. She did everything for us. She also made us lunches, drove us to school, went to work for nine hours, picked us up from school, and made and ate dinner with us every day.

At NU with WillieAfter doing that for a few years, along with trips, sporting events and other activities on the weekend, she relapsed with cancer again. Over the last few years, you would not think this woman has cancer because she was so courageous and healthy during the fight. She didn’t look sick at all. My mom was as strong as a statue during her battle with cancer. Another of my favorite memories was going to the beach with my mom and our whole family once a year and taking strolls on the beach with her at sunset. I loved this time because it was mommy and Kyla time without my sister or brother. This past summer at the beach was the best because my mom and I took walks on the beach all day long and made snacks for everyone on the beach after a few hours of swimming. I also sat under the beach tent with her just talking for hours getting caught up on everything and reading with her. I loved spending all the time I got with her and as one of my moms friend said on her guestbook:

Maureen was in a Bible study group with me several years ago. I remember her saying that her main prayer was that her cancer would allow her to live until her children were older as she hated to leave them when they were little. It looks like that prayer was answered as she was given many additional years after that time to spend with her three dear children and her husband Gary. She was a wonderful woman and strong, brave spirit who was asked to cope with the unimaginable pain of knowing her days were numbered. I pray that her memory will help to keep her children and husband proud they were blessed by the years she did have with them.

This kind comment hits all the emotions I am feeling right now. Just hearing that my mom loved us that much, that she would go through all that pain just to see us grow up, makes me want to be just like her. I love my mom so much, and I have so many great memories with her. I can’t share them all, because it would be way too long, but these are some of my favorite memories with her.

Renewing Our Vows