We drove down to Yuma today. I was remembering our drive to Yuma last year. It was Christmas day. We had opened Santa gifts that morning. Your dad called all his siblings and parents. I remember thinking it a little funny that he did that, because we were would see almost all of them in a couple of hours. He sure loved his family!!! We convinced you guys to leave your new toys from Santa, with a promise that you guys could play with them when we came back. Little did we know that you would not open them for another year!
We quickly played a couple more rounds of Nertz. I was the Champion that day, I even beat Diego! ;) It was one of the only games that I could beat your dad at! But he was always a good sport, but you could almost see his competitive soul trying to figure out a way to get faster! Thomas, you had just learned how to play the game. Your dad encouraged you to try hard, but when you asked if we would just let you win one time, he said, "no!" We all had a good chuckle, knowing it was in part to his competitive self, but more importantly he knew you would become a great player as long as you worked hard at it!
I stayed up really late the night before fulfilling my Santa duties. :) I eventually fell asleep in the car. I woke up to see your dad reading his Cardiology book! That made me sit up real fast. "Damond Farar! What are you doing?!" "He turned to me and said, "no one is on the road! I have been going 100 mph for the last 45 min."
"You are going 100 mph AND reading a book?! Damond, you put that book down and slow down." (it was not normal for Damond to go that fast)
I know he wanted to keep studying, but he did what I asked. I soon fell asleep again. The next time I woke up, he was still going 100 mph, but no longer reading and driving. He began to describe the beauty of the desert. I thought it interesting due to the fact that we always argued about its beauty. While living in Indiana, he would always comment on how much he loved all the green! I would respond that yes, the grass was nice, but I dearly loved the desert. He thought the desert too brown. (His main reason for loving grass was playing football on it)
He told me about how beautiful the mountains looked with their jagged outlines against the blue sky. He noticed the different colors of each plant.
As I reflected on this, I realized that sometimes life is going 100 mph around us, but hopefully we can take the time to see its beauty. Even though our schedules may be packed, we can enjoy the people that surround our lives. Take time today to hug the people you love and tell them how much you love them. We never know when we may go from 100 mph to 0.
A couple of days ago, my brother sent me the link to this West Jet Christmas video. I immediately started crying as I watched these people in Blue Santa Hats go and buy what the travelers wanted for Chrstmas, from iPads to socks ;) By the end of the video, I wanted to be a Blue Santa Hat.
Well, today the boys had their wishes come true, not by Blue hats, but Blue uniforms. They were selected to participate in Shop with a Cop. Lucky for us, our cop happened to be Damond's bestfriend, Matt. It was so amazing to watch as this HUGE ballroom filled up with Police Officers giving of their free time to participate in the program. I wish I had taken more pictures of Jacob walking up to different officers and asking for a sticker. :) Many, like Matt, were even coming straight from work!
After breakfast, the officers drove the kids to Walmart. The boys had so much fun riding in Matt's police truck! The most touching scene for me was while we were driving. We drove in a procession and it was so neat to see so many cop cars with their lights on in front of us and then to look back and see many more cop cars. It meant so much to me to know that Matt and other police officers were doing this for my children and so many others. It truly was amazing!
As I drove the boys home, I tried to talk to them about their many blessings. I explained what a huge event they had attended. So many people worked hard to bring cheer to their Christmas. I then asked the boys to think of a way to pay this kindness forward...
Thomas: "Jacob, who's the best?" Jacob: "Matt!" :)
Jacob did not want to get too close! ;)
Damond loved doing Ride Alongs with Officer Matt. I have no doubt Damond is right there with them!
As I reflect on today and my desire to be a Blue Hat Santa, I realized our year had been full of "blue hat Santas!"
I was pregnant with Jacob and sick, sick, sick! I spent most of the day lying down trying not to throw up. Damond had just finished first semester and was so excited to be able to spend time outside with his boys. They would play ALL DAY LONG! I was so grateful to finally have him home! Grateful he could finally help with the boys! But one day, tired of feeling SO crummy, I started to feel resentment that he spent ALL day outside without me. (I know, huge pity party! never said I was perfect!) Damond would come in periodically and tell me all about the neighbors, who they were, what they were like. During my pity party, I started to wonder why he spent all his time talking to the neighbors and not me? Me, the one who had been waiting a whole year to have my husband back. That night, tired of my pity party, I asked him.
His answer, "My number one reason for talking to the neighbors is for you and and the boys. I need to know that when I am not here, you guys are safe."
Well, Damond, I want you to know that, because of your ability to love everyone as your neighbor,the boys and I have been well taken care of this past year.
Your family and my family have taken care of us, not just because they love us, but because they love you! Our friends and family, and IU, have taken care of us all year long, but especially as they rallied behind the eventon March 9th. Your love, kindness, and friendship towards others has inspired so many to take care of us this past year.
Full of gratitude today for the blue hat Santas in our life, especially Damond!
Recently, I was driving in the car with my SIL. She was telling me about all of the awful things she had seen on the news and how it makes one not want to watch the news. But how, the news also, shared some "feel good stories." I asked what they were.
She began describing how a soldier came home from a tour and surprised his son on the football field by dressing up in the opposing teams jersey. As soon as the dad takes off his helmet, the kid begins to cry.
As my SIL is telling me this story, my mind is making up a mental image. Of course, my brain has no idea who the people in her story are so, it substitutes Thomas and Damond. I, of course, start crying. My heart wants more than anything for that to be true for my boys (and me). I can (and have) imagined the joy the boys would feel (will feel) to see their dad again.
My SIL started to apologize for sharing that story, but I told her it was ok. That is a beautiful story. We will just have to wait a lifetime to get our own special reunion.
On Thursday, we were driving home from school. Alex said, "mom! I had the best dream last night. This is what happened. I didn't know Dad was back alive, but you, me and Thomas were coming home from Mimi's house. We walked into the house and Jacob was with Dad. I ran to him and jumped up and gave him a big hug. I was so happy to see him. (long pause) But then Thomas woke me up" The smile in his voice as he told me this story broke my heart. I told him I was sorry that he had to wake up from such a dream. I know what that is like.
Friday Night, the boys were sorting their candy from a Trunk or Treat. Thomas said, " mom, if dad were alive I would give him these Reese's Pieces. Remember, they were his favorite?"
I replied, "yes, they were. That is so nice of you." As I walk away, I hear him say, "I know! For Christmas, I am going to ask Santa for my dad to come back. So, I will save these and give these to Dad later."
Everyday, I want more than anything to give the boys their own Hero Homecoming Surprise. Every night, I feel so guilty, because I didn't.
I found this other one, as I was searching for the one above. It hit closer to home, as the boy is closer to Thomas' age.
sometimes THIS(scroll to the bottom of the post for the video) video, seems like yesterday
other times, it feels like another life too painful to recognize.
Last week, a friend of mine knew how important it was for me to honor Damond by doing service.
(Newport, OR June 2013)
She sent out the following email:
"Tomorrow August 22nd is both Adriana and Damond Farar's birthday. In honor of Damond's life that was always the embodiment of Christ-Like service, please find a way to perform an act of kindness or provide a service for another, either tomorrow or over the next couple of weeks. After completing your service, please share your experience with Adriana through an email or letter. If you capture a photo of your service, please also pass along to Adriana. All who knew Damond, knew that although he had an infectious outward smile, it was only a side effect of his beaming heart. His love for His Savior and his fellow men was evident in every aspect of his life - it is his legacy. Please find a way to keep his legacy flowing!"
It warms my heart to read the emails. It makes me happy to see that families are doing this together. Damond knew that the best way to teach the boys about service was to bring them along and have them work beside him.
With my focus on service, I recalled a story about a smile.
Damond always teased me that I remember EVERYTHING! I would often ask him, "Do you remember what we were doing on such and such date, around this time? And what were we wearing?" :)
He never remembered anything (hence, so many forgotten anniversaries ) ;-) I, on the other hand, could even remember what we were wearing.
But there was one time I did not remember. He asked me once, if I remembered when I smiled at him. Apparently, it was the Sunday after we had met. He still did not know many people at church. He said he remembered looking over at me, we made eye contact and I smiled from across the room. He said it made his day a little brighter.
I cannot remember any of that, but it always stood out to me that he did.
Mother Theresa said, "Peace begins with a smile."
As I look back, I think, maybe, that smile was the beginning of our friendship.
I have received emails about service big and small. I think that with each act, somewhere in the exchange a smile was given, often even two smiles were shared.
Sometimes, even just a friendly smile, can have an eternal impact on another's life.
"Love in action is service." - Mother Teresa
I think kids are the best examples of "giving" smiles :)
I was driving in the car with several friends. Damond was one of them. We had known each other for less than a month. Kaliska asked him when was his birthday. He replied, "August 22nd." I quickly looked in the mirror, "no it's not. That's my birthday!" He laughed, "that's my birthday." "Did you get into my wallet? Are you looking at my DOB?" I just could not believe we had the same birthday!
August 22, 2003
We had been married less than two weeks. I woke up to a gory, bloody eye in my face. "Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I busted my eye open playing basketball. ( I would find out later this was a common occurrence w/him). I just don't want you to worry, since I don't know how long I will be gone." Waking up, "Are you ok? Let me get dressed. I will go with you."
"no, no. I don't want to ruin your birthday. Don't worry. I will be back soon."
He did not let me go. I came out of the room to find a dozen beautiful roses.
It is something quite special to share your birthday with your bestfriend!
We celebrated in the back of his pickup overlooking Camelback Mountain
He would always make me such awesome elaborate homemade cards and give me beautiful roses! We would spend the day trying to make it special for the other person. Though, there was one year we each forgot to make a cake for the other person. So, we had no cake ;)
August 22, 2013
I had been dreading this day since Thomas came to me on Dec. 29th sad that his Dad would not be there for his birthday or for his own. He asked me how we would celebrate his Dad.
I wanted to ignore the day, but I knew Thomas would be upset when he realized we had not celebrated his Dad's (and mine) birthday.
I knew I would not be in the mood to celebrate, but we could do something to honor their dad. We decided that each year, we would do a service project to honor a man we love dearly and was dedicated to serving others. We will be planting flowers at the boys' school and cleaning up garbage at the cemetery.
I decided that today would be a good day to take the boys back to the cemetery for the first time. We wrote letters to Damond and left them with the flowers.
I was adamant about not celebrating my birthday. My SIL would not listen though. She said we had to do something, even if she had to drag me kicking. :) I told her I wanted to go to a shooting range. For eight months, I have been dealing with a myriad of emotions. I wanted to finally give in to the anger and frustration and go shooting.
But as I stepped into the range and put the gun in my hand, I knew that I could not shoot in anger. Damond would never have wanted me to pick up a gun in anger. (I am pretty sure that is a NO! NO! in the Farar's Gun Safety Rules)
I decided in that moment that in my 31st year of life, I will learn to do
what I/we had depended on Damond to do. I will learn to protect and provide for
us. But, it must be done with strength given to us by our Savior and Heavenly Father. We are not alone! We will move forward with faith and not with anger.
(After some instruction from Isaac, my shots were getting more accurate ;) )
A day I dreaded, turned into something special as my phone was flooded with
texts and phone calls. I was sent messages all day long, they encouraged me to
keep going. I received countless acts of love on our
behalf. It is a blessing to feel so much love.