Throughout Mark's entire sickness, one of my biggest concerns was that my children would be overwhelmed with unhappiness and worry. That they would always remember the Summer of 2009 (and possibly the whole year(s)) as a bad one; one that they would like to forget. I wanted so badly to protect them for the hurt.
So, I worked hard to keep them busy. Not so much with summer camps, as we've usually done in the past, but with activities that were new to them. And others that were familiar. We all went to the Angola Rodeo in the spring, and hiking at Tunica Hills. Jazzfest was a first in May, and we even got to meet Sugarland, one of their favorites. We took John to Orlando to see Mickey Mouse, and the girls were dying to see Uncle Keithy and Aunt Emily. We made a couple of stops at the beach too. Every time, I would see that look of pure joy on their faces (you know the one I mean), I figured that would remember this summer a little more fondly. I saw it while waiting for 'It's a Small World' and when they all got balloons on Main Street at Disney. I saw it when John saw his first waterfall at Tunica Hills and in the ocean the first day in Florida. He looked at me, and said 'Mom, this is beautiful, right?', while looking at the waves come in. All I could think of was that it wasn't nearly as beautiful as he was, as he asked me the question.
I hope Anna, Emma, and John do remember this time in their lives with a little bit of happiness, and know that we all came through it together.