Monthly Archives: May 2011

In Memory, Always.


She would take a bag of M&Ms and dump it into a jar of peanut butter and proceed to eat directly out of the jar with a spoon. “It’s one of the benefits of being single,” she once told me.

My Aunt Kathy didn’t have an easy life. Having been diagnosed with epilepsy at a young age, struggling with seizures, and short term memory loss, she still (stubbornly, some would say) learned to use the email (if not the internet) and took a plane to Germany to see us–twice, when most people were scared of terrorists or natural disasters.

She was brave, kind, and always had a bit of wisdom that could re-direct you in a heartbeat. When she was diagnosed with cancer nearly 2 years ago, it didn’t seem fair, somehow–that this woman, who had already gone through so much, should have to battle cancer too. 

She fought it in her typical, brave way, mostly with a cheerful outlook and positive attitude.

Aunt Kathy held me as a baby, played with me as a child, went to my high school plays, and became one of my very best friends as an adult.

She taught me how to bake bread, and vehemently studied gluten-free options for me, and through trial and much (laughable) error, we came up with a loaf that did NOT resemble a brick.

She showed the girls how to finish a quilt, played Scrabble with William and trains with Noah. Aunt Kathy taught Katie the “real” way to play Monopoly (with no mercy), and she was even seen dressing Polly Pockets with Libby.

Aunt Kathy was great at listening, loving, and having fun. She was witty, caring, and always ready to give a hug or take a walk or play a board game.

Even in the middle of winter, she took the kids outside for 20 minutes a day, whether the sun was shining or not. We called her our own “Mary Poppins,” because of the way she tactfully and cheerfully handled each of us. She made our family better.

Last night, her battle was over, and she went Home to be with God.

I know her pain and troubles are finished forever, but I will miss her every day, until I take my last breath.

I don’t know if we will play board games in heaven, and I don’t know if God has peanut butter or M&Ms on hand, but I do know as tough as this loss is, Aunt Kathy & I will never have to say goodbye again.


 Playing cards with Katie

Kathy’s first visit to Germany: Holding (a smaller) Noah at the Toy Museum, Rothenburg

A carriage ride at Rothenburg.

Holiday Baking with Libby

Our Mary Poppins in the Baby Pool at Palm Beach, near Nurnberg.

Taking Nanny duty seriously at the Christmas Market in Nurnberg.

We taught her how to play the Wii. Sometimes she won…

…and sometimes she lost. But she always had fun!

A Quilt Lesson

Kathy and I at Neuschwanstein, where we would periodically burst into songs from the Sound of Music

Running with Children


Because I’m a mom, I often find myself feeling guilty for doing something so self-indulgent as marathon training. I know that running helps to relieve stress, boosts my energy, and makes me an all-around better mother, but still…guilt likes to creep in.

While letting the kids bike with me on runs is okay, it’s really not ideal for me.

I do enjoy spending the time with the kids, hearing their observations about nature, and how red my face is, and how drippy my hair looks, but the white space I find on my solo runs is good for my soul.

How much do I give them? And how much do I give myself (without guilt)?

I think I’ve found a compromise. It began with a new old bike and my bad knees.

I found a bright pink bicycle for Libby at the Junk Shop, and she wanted to take it for a spin. I had a run to do, but I wanted to try doing a warm-up, followed by stretching. So, off we went together, over the hill and through the fields for 2 miles.

It was blistering hot that afternoon, but with only a few uphill boosts from Mom, Libby did the entire 2 miles. I did my stretching at home, and then set off again.

My knees did not hurt at all during the next 8 miles.

This is a big deal, since normally, my knees start complaining after 6 miles.

It was so terribly hot that not only did I drink all the water from my hydration pack, but I unsealed the bladder in order to dump the water stuck in the corners on my head.

I was unsuccessful, as the clear rubber bladder looked as if it had been shrink wrapped. Fortunately, I had brought apple slices with me and was able to shove enough handfuls in my mouth to make it home without collapsing.

It was a terrible, brutal, horrible, hateful run. EXCEPT, my knees didn’t hurt, and my little girl got to be a part of it; two facts which made the day a success.

It was such a success, this idea of actually warming up and stretching, that I tried it with the other kids.

William ran my short run with me (the entire two miles). He kept up, ran ahead, jumped in circles, ran with his arms down by his sides, and monologued the entire way (a little breathlessly). I beat him, by the way (but not by much). I still have better endurance:)

Noah ran an entire mile with me, happily chatting. I ran slowly, for the benefit of this almost 9 year-old, until he smiled up at me and said, “Okay, I’m going to run now,” at which point he left me in his dust. He promises to run a marathon with me when he’s old enough.

Katie cheerfully and quietly biked 2 miles with me as the sun was rising and the rain clouds were moving in. She was content simply being with me–something that both puzzles and humbles me.

I love my kids, and I love running.

Now it seems I can enjoy both, no guilt required.