Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Candy for Dinner

Greetings to all! It’s been a big week around our house and a lot of fun too. Last Friday I picked Ella and Dude up from their after school care and was delighted to see that Ella was proudly carrying Ribbidy in her little arms. Ribbidy, is Ella’s pre-k class’s mascot and the student who has been chosen as “student of the week” gets to take Ribbidy home for the weekend. Well, needless to say Ribbidy has been the focus of my four year old daughter’s world since she started pre-k this year. Every Friday afternoon was met with a tinge of disappointment that someone else had been chosen as student of the week. Now, as wonderful a child as Ella is, she is also my wife and I’s daughter and if you have ever meet my wife and I then you know we are a bit animated and very vocal people. Well, needless to say our daughter is a perfect blend of my wife and I and therefore can be quite the busy bee in class sometimes. We had already planned a family outing Friday night to take the kids to the movies and then out to dinner, so we were very excited and then for Ella to be picked as student of the week was just the icing on the cake.

As student of the week at the next school Mass, which was today, you are given the class cross to take home and to pray for all the students at the school for the week. Well, today was also Grandparents day, so it was a double whammie for Ella, not only was she getting the cross at Mass, but both sets of Grandparents were going to be there for her to gloat just a little more. I went to Mass as the proud dad and sat in the back while Ella sat in the front with her grandparents. As the kids were filing into church they had music playing. All of a sudden I recognized the beginning notes of the song that was starting. It was, “The Mother Song” by Kelly Pease, the one that was sung at Cate’s funeral and the tears immediately started streaming down my face. Here I am sitting in the Church where we celebrated my daughter’s funeral with the song that was sung at her funeral being played. I pulled it together the best I could and then Mass began. Well, wouldn’t you know it, for the communion meditation they played it again and again the tears streamed down my face as I watched Ella singing the words of the song to my parents. She loves that song, her and Ali sing it almost every night before she goes to sleep. After Mass she was very excited to see me and to show me her cross so I walked her to her class where the grandparents where hanging out with the kids and then I headed off to work.

That song has continued to play in my head all day long and with it so many images of Cate have flashed through my head of her short life here with us. The last one was of the night before she went in for surgery. The room was filled with love ones and you could tell that she was so happy to see everyone. As each person held her she would just stare at them with this big ole cheesy smile and it was if she was soaking them up. There is a part of me that wishes I would have never put her down that night. There is a part of me that wishes I would have held her all night long and soaked up every second that I would have with her if I only knew then what I know now. As I write these words the pain falls from eyes in the shape of tears, the longing that I have for that little girl hurts to the core at some moments. I miss her today, I miss her a lot.

It really got me thinking this afternoon about my marriage and about my fatherhood. I want to soak up every minute I have with my wife and my children. I want to savor it deep in my heart knowing that we don’t know what tomorrow brings. I want to try to be a little more patient than I have been over these past few months with Ali, Ella and Dude. I want to hold them more, kiss them more, and listen to them more than I have done lately. I want to be quicker to listen than to get frustrated. I want to laugh more than fuss. I want have candy for dinner some nights just because we can and it means that we get to hang out as a family enjoying the moment and each others presence. When they crawl in my bed at 3:00am I want to pull them close to me, feel their little arm around my neck and smell their little breath even if it smells bad. I want to play outside, inside, in the car, in my truck, wherever they want to play, because there really isn’t anything else that is THAT IMPORTANT.

Unfortunately, we have had to learned all to close to home that life is short. We are not guaranteed anything except this moment that we find ourselves. My prayer today is that God allows me to be in that moment, experience that moment, and savor that moment. Also, that those moments be written on the walls of my heart, my wife’s heart and on the walls of our kid’s hearts forever. Thank you Lord for my beautiful family! Thank You Lord, for our precious Cate, though her earthly life was short, through You may her little life continue to teach us about what it means to truly live. Amen

Much Love,
The Cantrells

26 comments:

maureen said...

I might just have candy for dinner tonight in your honor and cate's memory. thank you so much for sharing... and for reminding me not to take life for granted. every moment truly is a gift.

love you!

kati said...

just this morning i was hoping for a post from you. and then there you go making me cry! :) i think you hit the nail on the head... we should all try even harder to soak up every minute... thanks for the reminder.

The Hickman Six said...

didn't even read past the third paragraph... sorry man, gotta run outside and play with my kids...
you two continue to inspire, challenge, and amaze us!

Anonymous said...

BEAUTIFUL, and just what I needed to hear today. Thanks for the reminder :) still praying for ya'll.

Anonymous said...

Awwwww,God knew just the right time for Ella to be "Student of the week".I thought about that during mass today,your family being there with her,that song.She sings it ever week.Thanks for posting.......Mrs.Hebert

Anonymous said...

This post is so beautiful and I can see the rays of hope enlightening your heart. God certainly is good. I pray you continue to savor the little things in life. God bless you!

mandy miller said...

Ninja Dad...

We're having candy for lunch tomorrow and it will cost you one stapled (a million times) dollar! Thanks for allowing us to share in your world. It is truly a joy to watch Ella grow. Your strength is awe inspiring.

Mandy Miller

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this blog tonight- I really needed to hear that.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you always and praying every day.

Love,
Shelley

Lila Lambert said...

This is where we "throw to Him our feeble prayers and in our brokenness we see His will...and it's now that we feel His grace fall like rain from every fingertip washing away our pain"....

Anonymous said...

Charlie,

THANK YOU!!!!

Cheree said...

Wow Charlie. Just beautiful, here I am in tears again. I think that so many families could benefit from your experience and advice. We get so caught up in the "business" of each day that we forget to soak up all of those precious little moments. Are you still thinking about a book?
Cheree

artjewl said...

This post brings to mind one of my favorite poems on being a parent:

The Play's the Thing

Forgive me, Lord,
for all the tasks
that went undone today.
But this morning when my child
toddled in and asked, "Mommy play?",
I simply had to say yes.
And between the puzzles and trucks
and blocks and dolls and old hats and
books and giggles,
we shared a thousand special thoughts,
a hundred hopes and dreams and hugs.
And tonight, when prayer time came
and he folded his hands and softly whispered,
"Thank you, God, for Mommy and Daddy and
toys and french fries, but 'specially
for Mommy playing,"
I knew it was a day well wasted.
And I knew you'd understand.

Copyright 2003 by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer

Peace.

Anonymous said...

Your stories continue to inspire and renew our faith! We will continue to lift you up in our prayers.
Blessings!
The McManus Family

Anonymous said...

I read this blog after a crazy fun night with the Hickmans. For the first time in ...well...EVER..i enjoyed having people over without cleaning up as we played, or ate, or whatever. So then to read this, I say "thank you Lord for the gift of sitting and soaking it all in!" My prayer for all of us today is that we truly can live each moment with as much energy, love and enthusiasm as if it were our last. We will all be better for it, and leave better memories and no regrets!!

Blessings to you guys!

ben, maria, hannah, michaela, helena and gemma

Ragin-Cajun said...

You're so right. I left work early today to go trick or treat with my little princesses (really, they wore princess costumes). What fun!

Blessings on you all.

Brittany Nicole Staires said...

this really touched my heart, alot. I lost my grandfather to cancer almost 3 years ago. I still miss him alot. The song "when i get where i'm going" by Brad Paisley makes me cry so much whenever i hear that song. It reminds me so much of him, and that i can't wait to see him again in heaven. Keep fighting the good fight, and have hope my friend.

love you!

Anonymous said...

Charlie and Ali,

I am so sorry I could not bring myself to come to you and introduce myself at the party we were at today. I could not look at you, your kids, or that cake without the tears flowing. On the way to the party I wondered if you all would be there.....thought that it would be too hard...but also thought you would be there because that is what you do. When I was shown the cake my heart sank a little because all I could think of was me having my kids but more me having a baby about the same age as Cate when she had her surgery. Then I saw Dude first, I was happy to see both children laughing and playing but when you all came around I just couldnt talk to you...again I am sorry! When they were rounding up the kids to do the cake I found myself a corner and just sat there hiding my tears as best as I could. Please except my apologies for being unsociable but know that you were in my thoughts every single moment that I was there!

Crystal said...

WOW, I HAVEN'T GOTTEN ON THE BLOG IN A WHILE. AND I'M GLAD I DID TODAY. THINGS ARE REALLY CRAZY RIGHT NOW IN MY HOUSEHOLD AND THIS IS WHAT I NEEDED TO HEAR. I NEED TO PICK UP THE PASTE AND KEEP THINGS MOVING FOR MY KIDS AND HUSBAND. SOMETIMES THE MOMENTS ARE JUST FROZEN AND SOMETIMES ITS NEVER ENDING. I'M SORRY THAT YOUR WORLD STOPS ALOT, I CONTINUE TO PRAY THAT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY STAY STRONG TOGETHER. I PRAY THAT I REALIZE THAT NOW THAT I READ YOUR BLOG, I DON'T HAVE PROBLEMS. NOTHING COMPARED TO YOUR HEART ACHE. SORRY!!!!!!!!!!

MUCH LOVE AND PRAYER
CRYSTAL JUDICE

goooooood girl said...

Good good good......

Lila Lambert said...

I know this week will be a tough one for all of you with All Souls Day this weekend and Cate's birthday on Friday...I have been praying extra intense for your family starting this weekend and will continue through the week and this is my prayer for you today:
That the Light of God surround you;
The love of God enfold you;
The power of God protect you;
The presence of God watch over you.
Wherever you are, He will be with you....

Anonymous said...

Oh My Gosh!! Charlie that was beautiful. You sound like you are on your way to a wonderful life with Ali and Ella and Dude. Keep working and yes struggling, God is always there. Love to all.
Jolene

Lila Lambert said...

Always praying for you, asking Him to penetrate the deep recesses of our lives to expose the diseased and damaged parts, welcoming Him in to heal, and with Him we don't need an appointment He is ready when we are...

The Magill Family said...

Haven't posted on your blogs for a while, but have definitely checking in on them. And once again, you remind us all what a blessing our families are and not to take even the simplest and smallest moments for granted. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Charlie and Ali,

Keeping you and your family in prayer, especially this week.

- Mama of 2 heart babies in GA

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Baby Cate!!

I know today will be super hard on you guys I just wanted to let you all know I have been praying for you since my eyes opened this morning....God Bless you all today and always!