Gary said it first on Saturday. Then I said it yesterday.
It started with our yearly Spring trip to Scranton. We go up there in the Spring and the Fall. We visit the comic book store where Gary worked in college and we have lunch. We also go to the campus bookstore and check out their merchandise. Sometimes we do other things around town and sometimes we just come home. On this particular visit, we were all fighting a rather nasty cold so we just did the comic book store, lunch and the college book store.
In the comic book store, Miranda entertained all the shoppers. She knew Thor and Hulk and Iron Man and made her daddy smile every time she pointed one of them out. Next we walked over to the college campus and it was such a nice day out that everyone was outside. There was music all around, football and lacrosse games were being played in the quad and there were students everywhere. Miranda was walking in-between both of us and reached up for one of each of our hands. There we were, strolling along, with her in the middle, when Gary looked over at me and said, "This is everything". And he was right.
We drove home shortly afterwards. Sick from this cold and tired from a long day, but in the best of spirits.
Yesterday, I ran my second 5k race. This was a very special race in that everyone that completed, got a medal. It was not timed - the objective was just to finish. To set a goal for yourself and to complete it. Well, I timed myself and got my best time ever in a race! I had a blast, I felt amazing and I felt so very proud of myself. As I neared the finish line, I looked over and Miranda and Gary were cheering me on with wild claps of applause and wearing their "Team Mommy" t-shirts and that is when it hit me. "This is everything".
Allie would be/should be/is/will be 4 years old this week. 4! That is amazing. To think about what she would have accomplished in 4 years is not hard. We just need to look at our nieces and see the fantastic lives they are leading.
The best way we can celebrate Allie (aside from the balloons we will release on Wednesday) is to live our lives to the fullest. To make her legacy that of a family that bonded in her absence - not fell apart. To be strong and remember her and to live a full life. I think that is the least we can do for her. And I think we are doing it.
This is everything.