Thank you to everyone that participated in the balloon release on Kayla’s 18th birthday. There were balloons released everywhere…..Florida, Arizona, Georgia and many other places!! I was so moved by each person taking time out of a busy day like Christmas Eve to remember Kayla. Her 18th birthday was so important to her. She must have reminded me at least once a week that she could not wait to be 18. Kayla thought “18” was the magic number and everything in her life would change for the better on that day. She was excited to become an adult. However, I often reminded her that being an adult is not always a lot of fun. But, she said, “Mom, it’s just going to be different for me. I have it all figured out.” Kayla was going to prove herself to me that she could be a responsible adult and not have to depend on her parents at all. She wanted to finish high school early and considered joining the Air Force in January 2011 or going off to college (she would have loved to have gone to Auburn). And, I know she had that much determination to do these things. As much as I hated to think about her entering into the adult world, I was also excited for her to begin a new stage of her life. Unfortunatley, she did not make it until her 18th birthday, join the Air Force, go to college or even be here for Christmas. Kayla only lived for 17 years, 8 months and 2 days. And, she’s been gone over 3 months now. Today, it seems like it has been years since I have seen her.
What a wonderful friend we have in Makenzy! Kayla and Makenzy became good friends at church. Kayla simply adored her. Makenzy surprised us with something so thoughtful; a memory tree all about Kayla. She gave us a live, but small, Christmas tree. On several branches, she tied special memories of Kayla from some of her family and friends. I still cannot read one of them. It’s just too difficult. However, I will save each memory and when I am ready I am going to read each one…probably over and over…..The night before Kayla’s birthday, Makenzy brought us 4 balloons, a birthday cake and the number “18” candles. Once again, she was so thoughtful and wanted to make Kayla’s birthday a little easier for us. Makenzy does not know this, but, I wanted to have a birthday cake for Kayla. I just couldn’t make myself pick up the phone and order one. We are so blessed to have a friend like Makenzy!
I just realized the other day that Allison is now the oldest sister to Ashley. I used to talk to Kayla a lot about taking care of her little sisters one day if I was to die. I never thought she would leave before me. Allison has now stepped in and taken on the oldest sister role very well. She is hurting and missing Kayla. But, she is doing a great job of being there for Ashley. Just the other night, Allison had done a make-over on Ashley; she curled her hair, put make-up on her, and got her dressed up like she was going out on the town. It meant so much to me to see the love that my girls have for each other. They still know how to push each other’s buttons and can fight like cats and dogs. But, they can relate to each other; they both lost their oldest sister.
Speaking of “big sisters,” I want to thank Makenzy and Courtney. These girls have taken on the job as Allison’s big sisters. They talk and text on the phone, they go shopping, to dinner, Starbucks and more. Thank you Makenzy and Courtney for being there for Allison. You will never know how much this means to me. I know Kayla would be happy, too.
Just before Kayla’s birthday and Christmas, we had the wonderful opportunity to go to Disney for a few days. It had been years since I was there. And, no matter how long the lines were, just to watch how excited my girls got about being there was so worth it. I thought the Magic Kingdom would take my mind off of losing Kayla for a little while. But, not even Disney, “where dreams come true,” stopped the emotions and sadness. Every where I looked there was a red-headed girl or at least something that reminded me of Kayla. Part of me felt guilty for being at Disney without her. How can I have a good time when she’s gone? But, I know I have to do these things for my girls. I also know that Kayla would want us to try to have a good time.
I miss Kayla so much and it never gets any easier. But, I am so thankful for the 17 years, 8 months and 2 days she was on this earth and that God blessed me to be her mother. She will always and forever be my daughter and Allison and Ashley’s big sister.
*Please look for the next post….it will give you goose bumps!!