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Is Everything Ok?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 9:17 AM CST


I'm sorry, sorry for leaving you wondering.
Is everything okay?
Am I all right?

Truly,
yes.

And no.

Learning to live with
Dave's absence.
Filling days with
busy,
rush,
chaos,
taxi,
kids.

Lots of new stories to tell.
Nothing new to say.

Wonderful things happening,
here in this world.
He should be here.
Anger at God.
Tears of frustration,
whole body rage.
He should be here.
I should get to see his face
when Zach makes a rebound,
when Kenny gets the silver,
when Kate dances through the backyard.

Life isn't fair.
Same song,
second verse.
I'm tired.
Tired of it.
You must be, too.

I can't tell the stories,
on their own,
without saying what it means
to have these things happen
without Dave.

It's like living off-key.
Like a song,
that's too sharp,
sometimes
too flat
sometimes.
While it's still beautiful in places,
it's strained,
trying too hard,
full of false notes.

Every day, I think.
I can't do this any more.
Every day, I do it again.

Now the stories.....so much has happened.

Kenny skiied beautifully at Mission Ridge. I took Kate and Zach out of school that Friday, so they could go, too.

On the way there, we saw Dave. At Kyle's funeral, Robin described the jet streams you see in the sky. He said, "Do you ever see the jet stream, blazing across the sky, with no airplane in sight? Do you know what that is? That's Kyle. He's cloud skiing." On the way to Wenatchee, we saw, not one, but two jet streams, side by side, across the sky, no jets to be seen. Dave and Kyle, cloud skiing together.

It was amazing. There is really something incredible about the Special Olympics. There's an atmosphere of excitement and vigor that I've never experienced anywhere else. There's a freshness in the air. I know that Zach and Kate were incredibly awed and inspired by the athletes. I was, too. There are lots of "sweet" stories floating around about Special Olympics. Don't buy it all. This was cut-throat competition. These athletes train hard and they compete hard and they want to WIN! There is a comraderie, a cheering on of competitors that is rarely seen elsewhere, though. Well, except for Kenny. I have video of him frowning at the guy who aced him out of gold three times!

Kenny went back to leadership camp as a junior counselor. He was so excited. He just loves being up there with all those kids, and Amanda Biddle and Amy Wolski look out for him. Who wouldn't have a blast with two of the prettiest girls at WaHi doting on them? He's really proud of himself, and so am I.

Kate had softball tryouts. She is excited to be playing a team sport again. She didn't play last year. The year before, Dave coached their team, and they sang all season long. Their little voices, continually streaming out from the dugout, cheering on their friends. I'm not sure how much softball they learned, but they had a great time.

Kate continues to dance at the studio and is on the dance team at school. Also in choir. Lots of early morning practices. You can imagine how well this sits with Kate! She takes after her mother in that regard. Ugh! She's deep in a geology project right now.

Zach's basketball season is over for now. He'll be playing on an AllStar team this summer, but for now, it's on to school baseball. He's also trying out for the select baseball team, which will start up pretty soon. It's fun to see him in that catcher's gear.

Basketball was amazing this season. Most of the kids on the team have been playing together since they were 7 or 8 years old. We've watched them grow as players and as young men for the past 6 years, and I'm continually amazed. Many of us moms think they are the handsomest team out there. But they are also the nicest. Don't get me wrong, they play hard and very aggressive. But off the court, you couldn't find 12 nicer kids. They always crack me up. Some of you know Zach and his space-bubble...for those that don't, well, Zach's space bubble is pretty much non-existent. The kid sits on us, drapes himself over us, steps on us, walks into walls, that sort of thing. He's like an over-grown puppy. Well, most of the kids on the team are like that. It's like watching a litter of puppies roll all over each other. It's this incredible transformation, because on the court, they are Warriors.

Zach's level of play this year is astounding. He looks just like his dad. He's shooting, rebounding, and playing defense like a terrier. It's been really fun to watch. In the Spokane tournament, where our team only lost one game, Zach had a game where he fouled out on an intentional foul. It's incredible to see the passion with which he plays. The last foul the ref called intentional, which, if you know Zach, was just crazy. Zach headed to the bench, pulled his jersey over his face, sobbing. He puts his entire heart into whatever he does. His emotions just overflow. And the guys on the team are so behind him. It's okay that he has those outbursts, they support him through it.

The night before an early morning game, the guys were playing in the pool, looking like little kids. Zach and Andrew were writing on each other's chests, laughing these huge belly laughs. One of the dads said, "Hey, they have an early game coach, shouldn't they get to bed?" Mike said, "This is what it's all about, let them play." Mike is an incredible coach. He's brought this group of players so far. He expects the best from them all the time, expects them to be fundamentally sound, whether they're behind or ahead, and he expects them to be respectful and honorable at all times. And maybe most important, he cares about them as people, and wants to be sure they are having fun. They work hard for him, because he inspires that in them. He makes them better players, but he also makes them better people. I'm grateful for his presence in Zach's life.

That morning game was a squeaker. We eeked it out in double overtime. Then, at 9:00, the boys were ready for lunch! So we all went to Perkins. Andrew had been sick, fighting strep throat. At the restaurant, Andrew threw up. What a scene! Thank goodness for Joe Wujek, 'cause Mike doesn't do puke very well!

Went back to the hotel, Andrew started feeling better. Got something to eat. Then he dressed for the game. Mother Hen Zach said, "Mom, do you think Drew should play? Is he going to be okay?" I said, "I'm sure Mike will look out for him, Mike is Drew's dad after all!" We got to the game, it was a very physical game. Drew went in. Scrappy little guy. Now, you have to know that Drew is huge in heart, but small in body. Zach weighs about double what Andrew does, and delights in picking Andrew up, often calling him "my Andrew." The guys love Andrew for his humor and his indomitable spirit. I know that Zach wasn't the only one who was a bit worried about "their Andrew."

So...Drew goes up for a rebound against this bigger guy. And the big guy comes down, with his knees on Andrew's shoulders, and flattens him. Our guys all rush to Drew. Coach keeps the guys on the bench out of the fray, "Sit DOWN!" Zach was on the bench. Andrew slowly gets up, feeling sick, just been crushed, and starts walking to the bench. The crowd applauds...loudly, they know what a fighter he is. Andrew is pulling it together, he has better control of his emotions than Zach. Suddenly, Zach can't stand it anymore. He jumps up from the bench and meets Andrew halfway. He throws his arms around Andrew and shouts at the top of his voice, "I LOVE YOU, ANDREW!" and walks with Andrew back to the bench. I wasn't the only mom with tears. We went on to win that game. But that moment, between Zach and Andrew really summed up this basketball season for me. Dave would say, "It's about the man next to you."

This last tournament they played as Dave's Warriors. It was a tournament full of memorable moments.

Ryan on the floor, hip pointer and all, still going full boar. Gary, suspending time below the basket. Jake, bringing the whole team's defense to another level. Tim, rebounding. Zach S, back with us, ankle healing. Sam, new haircut, and an incredible 3-point shot. Seth, amazing ball handling skills. Matthew, talking about skateboards and baseball. Pat, always smiling. Drew, scrappy as ever. Garrett, speeding down the court like lightening. And my Zach, playing like his dad, playing for his dad. These are Dave's Warriors.
Zach Attack
Windex
Swish
Champ
Cadillac
Big Ben
Cheetah
Ryno
The Hammer
Charlie

Dave was adept at nicknames. He loved these boys, and I know he's so proud of them. I wish they could feel it, see it, know it, like they'd be able to if he were here.



We put together a music video, with video clips and pictures from throughout the years and had a party to cap the season. It was rowdy and silly and incredibly sad, too.

I miss him so.
Love, Shelley

PS. Cartridge update coming soon....Oh Lord! What have I gotten myself into???? Pictures on this afternoon.

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