What a fitting description for this weekend. But, for our family, the word "memorial" hits hard for other reasons. While Pierce's brother, father, and mother have all served (or currently serve) in the military, we have spent much of our time in recent weeks and months thinking of and praying for our little niece, Kayleigh, who is battling Stage IV Gliobastoma Multiforme, a very rare and deadly form of brain cancer. She was diagnosed in October and, since then, Pierce's mother has been living with Pierce's brother and sister-in-law in Virginia Beach in order to help them function through this (incredibly shitty) ordeal.
Pierce, Lucy, and I made a trip up there to see the family on Friday night. Since Kayleigh will be just two in August, and I only had Lucy in November, we hadn't yet had the opportunity to see her, so we were thankful that a perfect long weekend opened up. And while our visit was shadowed by the sadness of sweet Kayleigh's condition, we still had a wonderful time with everyone.
I won't say anymore about what Kayleigh and her parents are having to endure (mostly because it's private but also because I've had to suffer so little of it) but I will say that the world is a better place for having had Kayleigh in it. She is a beautiful, precious child. And although I hope for the moment when her pain will be over, I hold tightly to the belief that God could work a miracle. But if that doesn't come, He is still good. And I know that because Kayleigh is here.
My favorite moment of the trip was when we introduced Lucy to the ocean for the first time. I was a little nervous that she would hate the sand, but she dug those long, skinny fingers right in! The beach is my safe haven. It just gets me, you know? So I'm pretty happy that Lucy loves it, too. She watched everything with those wide, curious eyes and handled the cold water like a champ. She only cried when the surf got close to her chest, so after that I just dangled her feet in. She spent the rest of the day chilling in the little float we bought her, chewing on her hands, and smiling at us. What can I say? The girl is a winner.
I might have also fallen in love with our other niece, Ashleigh. She'll be four later this year and we hadn't seen her since she was almost two. She was the most fun! I've never met a more articulate, generous, kindhearted child. She latched onto me and Pierce from the moment we arrived and we had a blast playing with her in the yard, talking about our favorite things, making flower crowns, and giving lots of hugs. The girl is something special, that's for sure.
We're so thankful for the time we had in Virginia and I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend, as well! Back to the daily grind...
(All photos from my iPhone)