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Birthdays & Butterflies

How is it already June?


Time has been so strange since our world came crashing down in October 2020. There are some periods, like that dreaded month, around holidays and Mazie’s birthday that tends to paralyze us and are a complete blur. Unlike other losses in our life, the anticipation leading up to those days brings on waves of heaviness that the years don’t soften much. And that brings us to our most recent bittersweet gut-wrenching day.


On April 30th we celebrated Mazie’s 5th birthday. That is just as much as hard to type out as it is to believe. All we remember is this precious brown headed baby girl who was yet to walk or talk. Our imagination runs wild (truly all the time) of what she would look and be like now. This birthday hits a bit harder as we know in the fall she would have likely been enrolled in Kindergarten. Seeing so many littles her age graduate pre-school this season or all the 'muffins with mom or donuts with dad' type of events triggers all of the “what should be moments”.



Mazie's 1st birthday and her eating cake!



If our tragedy didn’t lunge us into so many unknowns, making decisions with total foggy minds and knowing what or where is best for our family to “start over”, I believe we would still be in the same house (where the accident happened). This means Mazie would have gone to the same sweet preschool her big brothers went to and would have graduated pre-k 4 last month. Instead, we have done the best we could for our family and trusting God with His guidance to lead us to whatever the next step would be. We simply can’t think beyond that.


Would Mazie be wrapping up t-ball or soccer season? Maybe she would enjoy art like her big brother, Myles. Would she be a girly girl and have started tumbling or dance. All of these things we daydream of her doing in Heaven with Jesus. Such a beautiful sight! He continues to carry us through the difficult days and seasons.





This year, we had an intimate celebration with immediate family at home. Latson suggested making gumbo, the first food she tried and arguably her favorite meal her daddy cooked. She would always sing whenever she ate it and any food she liked! We baked her a cake that Myles helped decorate. Weeks before we got caterpillars and watched them turn into butterflies, which we later released, another special tradition we often do to remember our sweet girl. Several of our thoughtful friends and family reached out to us to wish us our Mazie girl a Happy Birthday and gosh that warms our hearts SO MUCH! Thank you to every single person that continues to remember our beautiful girl and support us on these milestone days.




A couple short weeks later was Mother’s Day, which is also so very bittersweet. I can’t help but be thankful to God for choosing me to the lucky mama to our FOUR beautiful blessings. The week before is recognized as Bereaved Mother’s Day. I know so many incredible bereaved moms. It has been an absolute honor and unexplainably comforting to meet each one, to walk hand in hand on this journey. It’s unchartered territory for all of us. Our stories and layers of grief may be different but the Lord intertwines parents in a remarkable way. Our hearts ache for our children EVERY SINGLE DAY and we understand this ache along with how each moment is incomplete without our angels here with us. We do know in fact that they visit us often. We have seen countless butterflies (especially Swallowtails) and red cardinals lately. I love hearing when she visits family or friends too!




Just less than two weeks after Mother’s Day, we had the privilege of collaborating with the City of Lafayette Aquatics (COLA) in the annual Water Safety Awareness Day. We have partnered with many amazing supporters to have a greater impact towards drowning prevention and sharing educational efforts. It was so special to have our 2nd memorial to remember beautiful angels and honor their families with another butterfly release. A sweet friend even got a picture of one landing on my shoulder (see picture in the collage below). We are so grateful to our friends of Mazie’s Mission who come along side us with their generosity to make a bigger difference as TOGETHER we save even more lives. Thank you to every sponsor, board member and volunteer who was a part of this event with us!


 

The whole month of May is dedicated to water safety awareness. It takes a lot of prayer and leaning on the Lord for strength to face our trauma to promote drowning prevention tirelessly. With our partners, we strive to distribute as much educational literature as possible, to place more signs throughout the community and provide scholarships for free swim lessons to children of all ages. Thanks to our friends and board volunteers, along with the partnership of several amazing local municipalities/parks, we have installed or in the process of placing additional signs around the Acadiana region. These include the Youngsville and Broussard Sports Complexes, City of Lafayette public parks, Moncus Park, a local apartment complex and a few neighborhoods, who either have pools or retention ponds.


Here's one of Mazie's big brothers with our sign at Moncus Park in Lafayette.



In addition to our Mazie moments, we don’t take for granted the wonderful ones with Latson, Myles and Gabby. During this busy yet sacred season of life, it has also been filled with the fun activities surrounding the end of school for the boys and Gabby’s 2nd birthday in April. That brought on a wide array of emotions too. As we are filled with all the joy our rainbow baby gives us, we can’t help but be reminded of that now we are surpassing the age and milestones we missed with Mazie. Grief and gratitude have resided simultaneously.


Our devotion to Mazie’s Mission channels the immeasurable love we have for Mazie. So does continuing to pour out our love for here. To anyone who takes the time to read these blogs, I express my sincere appreciation to you all. With living children, we actively get to parent them in a multitude of ways daily. This serves as an outlet for me to parent our Mazie girl. And what a beautiful honor that will forever be.


We love you Mazie Leah!


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