Monday, October 27, 2014

Rob & Kelly

Ahh I'm falling behind once again. How does this happen? Just when I think that we have a "quiet" week ahead of us, activities, appointments and the unexpected fill it up. This is life!

I've been wanting to do a post about my brother's wedding for a while now. In my defence, I wanted to wait until I had some photos to post. I didn't have my phone handy for much of the night, so I wasn't able to snap any myself.

My brother, Rob, married Kelly on August 31st. If you're followed my blog for a while, you've heard all about Uncle Rob. He became a fixture in the girls' lives from the early days, when he would pop over with lunch to feed this overwhelmed and exhausted new mom. He handled a tiny 5 1/2 pound Quinn with ease, even changing diapers without complaint. When most people would run the other way at the thought of babysitting newborn twins, Uncle Rob calmly embraced it, allowing Jenn and me a night out. At 17 months old, he even took on the challenge of babysitting them overnight (with the help of my parents and a few others). Aside from the role of amazing uncle, he has always been an incredible brother. While we fought like crazy as kids, we always had each other's backs. When we weren't fighting, we were battling it out on the tennis court, in front of or on the road hockey "rink". We were fiercely competitive, but (usually) good winners and losers. For those who know Rob well, know that he likes to create nicknames for people. Mine was Chuck or often Chuckles or Charles.  I remember long drives (namely a 8+ hour drive to Boston) and quiet dinners (he kept me company while Jenn was traveling) with great conversation. We'd sit with wine (not in the car!) and chat for ages. As we entered into adulthood and our conversations matured, I remember thinking that he was becoming so much like our Dad. My Dad is the ultimate role model as both a husband and father. I knew that Rob would be a fantastic husband and father one day. For all of these reasons and many more, I've always felt a little protective of Rob. Call it a "sister-thing" because I certainly know that he can handle things himself!

I remember a cold winter day in early 2013. Jenn was away on business. Rob came over in the late afternoon to entertain the girls. He also brought dinner for the two of us. After the girls were down, we settled in with some delicious food and a bottle of wine. Shortly into the meal, Rob says, "Sooooo, there's a girl." I knew that he was dating, but rarely was there anyone worthy of mentioning. It was the way he said it. It was different this time. He said that they had been hanging out for a while. "Why didn't you tell me sooner?!" I said. "Well I'm telling you now!" He said, very matter-of-factly. "You're the first person I'm telling."

He described Kelly with a huge smile on his face. He's not a man of many words, unless a few glasses of wine are involved. I was grateful for the wine that night! Kelly was the one. While he didn't use those words, I could tell. I couldn't wait to meet her.

And she truly was as amazing as he described! She was so easy-going, kind and genuinely happy to meet us. Even Quinn, who vowed to marry Uncle Rob from the time she could talk, took to Kelly within minutes. As I've gotten to know Kelly, I've grown to like her even more. She always has such a positive attitude and a smile on her face. It is something that I love most about her. I always love chatting with her because she really is the sister that I never had. She's super sporty (a great runner and overall athlete) and is always willing to give something new a try, whether it's a food or an activity. Seeing her almost immediate love for the girls warmed my heart. The feeling was certainly mutual because the girls quickly grew to love her too. I'll never forget an email forward l that I received from Rob a few months after they started dating. Kelly had written to him that morning. She wrote, "...but I just had a craving for some time with the little people [T&Q]…think we may be able to squeeze in a quick visit with them sometime soon?" She was definitely the one for Rob :)

And back to the wedding! It was a blast. It was in a town a few hours north of Toronto so we made a weekend of it. For the afternoon/night of the wedding, we brought up a friend/babysitter to watch the girls. Best decision ever (and big thanks for my parents for pushing this one). It allowed Jenn and I a night to enjoy ourselves and even stay up until 1am (wild, I know!). Rob and Kelly have the most incredible collection of friends and family, who absolutely adore them. I wish them a lifetime of love, laughter and happiness. 

And now, what you've all been waiting for…photos! 

Beauty and the Cry Baby (as Rob called them!)

The whole family!
Kelly gives each of the girls a "flower girl" bracelet
The girls and I make our way to the aisle
Kelly and her bridesmaids
The wedding party and the happy couple!
Sibling love. 

Get ready to see the world's cutest twin flower girls!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Blowing Bubbles for Georgia

On July 16th, 7-year old Georgia was hit by a minivan in a residential neighbourhood. I remember the day clearly. At 5:00pm, a friend texted me asking if I had heard about the little girl who was hit by a car on Millwood. I googled it and found limited information since it had only happened an hour before. The girls and I had been one block away at the time that Georgia was struck, but had driven in a different direction. We had also walked through that intersection at 4:00pm the day before. I felt sick to my stomach. I prayed over and over again that she would be ok. Sadly, her head injuries were too severe and she died a few hours later at the hospital.

I've thought about Georgia almost every day since. On that first night, I prayed for her family. I couldn't help but put myself in their shoes. Thinking about the unimaginable. The heartache.

Within days of her death, a beautiful memorial filled with flowers, teddy bears, toys, sidewalk chalk and bubbles was set up on the corner to pay tribute to a life cut tragically short. Georgia's parents had a large photo of her printed and a note placed next to it thanking the community for their support. I drive by the intersection on most days. It is rare that there isn't an adult looking at the photo, while children draw a picture with the sidewalk chalk.

A few weeks later, the girls and I walked to the park that is on the corner where Georgia was killed. On  our return walk, the girls spotted Georgia's photo. Who's that girl, Mommy? I explained that Georgia had been hit by a car and she died. Then they spotted the bubbles and chalk.

After spending several minutes blowing bubbles for Georgia, we walked and talked. Their inquisitive 3-year old minds had many questions. Why did she die? Why did the car hit her? Why did she run into the street? When will she come back? The permenance of death was confusing. I did my best to be honest, but also keep it simple. I chose to explain heaven, because that is what I believe. They can choose their beliefs when they're older. We spoke about Nana who passed away when they were 17 months old. They knew her, but likely only remember her now from the photos.

Georgia remains in everyone's thoughts. In the neighbourhood where she was killed, pink ribbons are tied on lamp posts, trees, stop signs, street lights…

A neighbour of Georgia's family had these signs made as well…

The campaign has taken off. The sign can be seen in neighbourhoods across the city. The individual who started the campaign was actually just interviewed on the radio a few minutes ago. One homeowner said that the sign on his lawn is not only a reminder to drivers coming down his street, but also to himself to practice what he preaches. 

Rest in peace, Georgia.