Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Loveliest Christmas Gift

Everly Hope Menoni
December 20, 2013

Everly, you are our most beautiful and cherished Christmas gift.
We missed having you here with us on this Christmas day and it just wasn't the same. We love you from afar and know that the only thing that separates us is our time here on earth. You are our daughter, little sister, protector and pride. Thank you for giving us the chance to hold one of God's angels in our human hands. We love you now and forever.
 "The amount of time on earth matters very little: a man can live in greed and pride 90 years and never find God, know Him or accomplish His Plan. A stillborn baby on the other hand, teaches people to love, brings people to the Lord, teaches us the tenuous nature of life and teaches us a faith that those who have not suffered loss can never know. A child not even breathing for an hour, can have an impact greater than a famous preacher. The purpose of a life is not ours to decide nor in our hands: it is brought about by God"
"Before I made you in your mother's womb, I chose you. Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work. I appointed you as my spokesman to the world."
Jeremiah 1:5

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Little Girl's Bucket List

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, 
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending."

(Written on Sunday, December 15th)
Over two years ago I wrote a post about discovering and creating my Bucket List:

"While reflecting over the past couple of days it was in the creating my wishes for my future life that I realized something. Although you can write a list of things you want to accomplish in life before your day comes, I truly believe there are items on our bucket lists that we don't even know are there until they happen to us. While thinking of my bucket list wishes, other life moments kept coming to mind. Moments, memories and people that have always been on my bucket list." -May 17, 2011

Since then, and especially in these past nine months, I know that although I never would have chosen the challenge we are now facing to be on my list, it is absolutely now at the top of the list. 

No, its not the pain that I've endured and the greater pain that's yet to come, but all of the joys and blessings that have come as a result of this precious gift that we were chosen to carry. 

I am looking forward to seeing my kids grow and watch them create their own Bucket Lists and discover the moments that make up their lists along the way as I have. It hurts to know that Everly will not have this opportunity so, as her mother, I began creating a list for her. I know she doesn't have an audible voice to tell us what she wants so, for now, I created a list that I believe she would find special. There are a few items left unchecked and I'm praying that she'll be able to have long enough to finish her list. But, if not, I know she has had a life full of love and support from our family, friends and even strangers. Who could ask for anything more?

1) Go to the New York City Ballet:

 2) Take my big brother to his first day of Kindergarten
and then out for ice cream after.
 3) Go to all of my big brother and Sissy's soccer games
 4) Celebrate Mommy and Daddy's 10th wedding anniversary with them

5) Eat peanut butter and chocolate ice cream with just the girls and learn all about being a three year old from my big sister so I would know what its like.
6) Spend an entire Sunday afternoon listening to live music with my family.
7) Ride on a carousel.
8) Go to a Blake Shelton concert with the big girls.
 9) Have many dance parties with Mommy and my big brother.
10) Go to the Shore with my family
11) Live in New England during the Fall
 12) Enjoy a good cup of coffee. 
 13) Be part of a beautiful beach sunset.
 14) Play on my brothers and sister's favorite playground and hear their joyful laughter.
15) Pick out a Christmas tree with my family
16) Learn how big things can happen when even just a few people work together. 
(Our church worked with a number of other local organizations to 
rebuild a community playground for underprivileged kids.)
17) Break some rules because sometimes in life you just have to.
18) Send off my Daddy, brothers and sisters every Saturday morning for a run to help Daddy train for the NYC marathon so he can run in honor of me.
19) Live every day in a family where I can learn all about loving each other through good times and bad and knowing that small homes grow tight families.
20) Play in the ocean waves with my big brothers and sister
21) Experience the beauty of snow
with hot chocolate.
 22) Meet Santa Claus
23) To be undeniably and perfectly loved by so many, friends and even strangers.


(Completed on Thursday, December 19th)
As I complete this post, I am preparing to go to the hospital tonight for a procedure and then an induction early tomorrow. There are so many frightening unknowns for me but, what I do know is that I was given a great gift. 

Someone recently shared this with me:
A baby asked God, "They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow, but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?" God said, "Your angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you." The baby asked, "who will protect me?" God said, "Your angel will defend you even if it means risking her life." The baby said, "God, please tell me my angel's name." God said, "you will simply call her Mommy."

I feel I've done the best I can to protect and love Everly and know that whatever time remains, her destiny is in Someone's hands greater than my own. I'm still praying and hoping that Everly will get to finish this list but, if not, know she has a greater purpose elsewhere...

24) To see my family's Christmas tree and Christmas with my own eyes.

25) Regardless of how short my life, to see God's purpose fulfilled and make a difference in as many others' lives as possible.
"If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and everyday you have the opportunity to write a new page." 
-Mark Houlahan