We decided that it would do us all good to take a few steps away and go swimming with the boys. Trace mastered the waterslide all by himself today. Wow, huge step. We spent a couple of hours there before flying off to visit some of the sweetest people I have had the pleasure of encountering. If you have never been to The Sweetery in Cleveland, you MUST go there. Their cakes are fantastic and their personality surpass that. Did I mention that they made Ava's cake for her re-birthday party? Did I mention for free!? They are Godsent! Lauren is such an amazing person. They too had a loss of a young loved one and know the heartache. Lauren puts her heart and soul into making people smile through a tragedy, such as AG's cake today. This cake was amazing (you will see). This cake would have easily fed 50+ people and it was ate by 23 people with very little left. **So much for my diet today** :) I totally understand why transporting a cake to a location is so stressful. Running 30 minutes behind and having my 10 year old hold my cake and telling him a bazillion times to "hold on to the cake", "Don't let the cake fall", "Don't stick your fingers in the cake". My poor child was finally like "I've got this, geez". haha got to love him.
I did mention that I have great friends and husband right? Well bless their heart, by the time I got home, Bryan had finished the last few chores at the house that I was stressing over. Jason went and got the food and also set it up. Gretchen got the last minute things that I forgot. I am a very organized person and am a big planner, so for me to forget stuff for this is abnormal. I believe religiously in a Excel spread sheet for organization purposes. The house looked good, the food smelled good and once I got the cake in and set up, it was precious!!!! All of AG's ladybug decorations were in place. Finally when everyone arrived and ate (way too much per them), it was time to paint AG's stone gifts. We told everyone that PRESENTS were not required, only their PRESENCE was. I could list all my fantastic family and friends that attended, but they are in the pictures :). All of the kids and some adults painted their own stone to go in Ava's flower garden as presents to her. They did so great. I am so proud of them. Then we planted Ava's tree. Explination: Amy Guidry Oakes gave me a tree seed with a sweet little poem on it when we received the diagnosis of Ava. It is a "memory tree and as it grows, you think of me". We never planted it before because we knew that the house we used to live in was temporary and did not want to have to worry about transplanting. Well tonight was perfect. Bryan and I planted her seed, just as her memory is planted in us and grows daily. We had a ton of lit Princess balloons that was hot pink and glowed in the dark. It was heartwarming for all of our friends and family to be present to release them with us. No sooner than we released them, the sky became brilliantly pink. I absolutely DO believe that this was a sign from AG. She was telling us thank you for the re-birthday party, balloons and still remembering her with love. She is my lit sky, my spunky peanut, my ladybug and above all my heart. Her tiny hands and miniature feet have left a huge print on my heart. I will not lie to you, I hurt. Bryan hurts. My children hurt. It is beyond any pain that I have ever encountered. Sometimes I feel like she is laying in my lap swaddled in her pink, satin blankie and looking at me like "mommy, I love you". She had these beautiful eyes that looked into my soul. She communicated with those eyes. Her older cousin saw an owl and said that "the owl reminds her of Ava Gayce". I never thought of it until it was pointed out, that the owl reminded her of AG because of her big eyes. So wise, so small. Ava Grace loved her family. That was present from day 1. We received many gifts today: a willow tree angel that had a metal balloon that said "birthday girl", flowers, balloons, cake and a personalized photo album of Ava Grace. It is so beautiful and made me smile so big. It was perfect.
My little girl changed many lives. I received a text today that said that AG's story and our love for her and the Lord, led her to the Lord. I was stunned. I knew that people have said their life was forever changed by AG and that she is/was a positive influence in their outlook on life, but never that she led them to the Lord. That was it! That was the Lord's purpose of giving us a angel temporarily. If only one person was led to him, then that was all worth it to Him. I am not a "bible thumper" (as a friend of mine says), but I am a true believer that the Lord will bring all of His believers back together some day. Until that day comes, I will be holding on to the temporary physical presence of my little angel girl and all her physical features and love. She taught me a lot. I have spent more time and taken less for granted since she was here. Everyday with my loved ones are a miracle, not just a gift. "One has to experience the pain of death and loss, in order to appreciate life and feel love within." My family and friends made tonight the happiest that I've been in a while. Thank you all. Everyone changing their profile pic to AG, made me cry tears of joy all day long. I seriously can not thank you enough. My BIGGEST fear is that Ava Grace will eventually be a memory that is shoved to the back of the brain and never thought of again. This will not happen in our house and I pray that it doesn't happen in yours. Thank you all for the support and love. You all made my day less painful.
In honor of Ava Grace, I am renaming my online store "The Spunky Peanut". :) She will then be worldwide. wink wink.
My re-birthday girl's birthday girl willowtree angel.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV) ❤😘