Today is a very special day for the Lape family. As of July 24, 2013, Lily is amazingly ten months old! It is incredible how quickly time has flown by. July 24th also marks another milestone. One that for the last ten years has brought upon both sadness and happiness.
To this day, I still remember discussing names when Kristin was just a few months pregnant. We went back and forth on so many boy and girl names. We finally settled on a first and middle name both for a boy and a girl. The first phone call I made after discovering we were having a girl was to my dad. Upon answering, I said “So…looks like we will be meeting Lillian Margaret Lape on October 13th!” Immediately after finishing that sentence, my eyes filled with tears. That was the first time I had said Lily’s full name aloud. Initially, the tears were of sadness that my mom wouldn’t be here to welcome Lily into this world. The tears shifted, though, to pride the more I thought about Lily always having a part of my mom associated with her. My dad’s response still resonates in my ears, “Your mom will love that!” Not sure if he meant to say that in the present tense, but that was a great reminder to me, that she is always with us.
“She lived each and every day to its fullest and like it was her last.”
As Lily gets older, I want to do all that I can to make sure that she knows all about her Grandma Margaret and what an incredible woman she was. I want to tell Lily about her love for her family…especially her grandkids. Man, she loved her grandkids! I can even tell Lily about her Grandma’s final months. How she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in March and when my brother and I went to see her, her first words to us were “I am going to beat this!” As men, we are taught by society to always be strong and not shed tears, but I remember once we saw her on that hospital bed, both my brother and I were overcome with tears. Even after seeing that, my mom didn’t give in. She laid there and was strong for us. Over those next five months, I know she probably had her weak moments, but she always stayed positive around us…for us. She lived each and every day to its fullest and like it was her last.
Looking back, it’s almost like she was teaching us all a lesson about life. That you can either sit back, throw a pity party and be a victim when things in life don’t go the way you had originally planned. Or that you can stand back up whenever you get knocked down and make the most of every situation.
In her passing on August 8th, 2003, she even taught us about the importance of family. The latter lesson was more important than anything after discovering Lily’s diagnosis. I never realized how blessed Kristin and I both are with incredible family and friends. When Kristin and I were both weak with fear, they all were there to pick us up. They showered Lily with love and helped us see past the diagnosis and focus on God’s most perfect creation.
These two women, along with my beautiful wife, have and continue to teach me more about life, love and faith than any educational book can. So today, July 24th, is a day of celebrating both Lily turning 10 months old and also her Grandma’s birthday. Happy 10 month birthday, Lily and Happy Birthday, Mom!