Thursday, June 30, 2011

Coke Floats & Pinky Promises.

Today our family is keeping in tradition for the 10th year and having Coke floats together to honor Teagan's memory and make a new one at the same time. It's our annual "Coke Float Day"! We never dreamed ten years ago that having a late night spontaneous Coke float with Teagan would become such a cherished memory. But as circumstances would have it, just one month later as I stood at her hospital bedside and wrapped her tiny pinky around mine and promised to love her forever, I said the most difficult goodbye in my life. I still can't fully wrap my mind around how life took such a dramatic and twisting turn in just a blink of an eye.

Sometime after Teagan died, and likely one of the days where all the strength I could muster went to feeding Wyndham bottles with medicine in it and the rest of my time was spent with tears streaming my face, I flipped through photos and recounted happy times we'd spent with Teagan. It was the one thing that I did to keep my mind off the hoorror of what we'd been through- I had to concentrate on how lucky we had been to have such a great little girl in our life and we had been blessed with lots of wonderful "ordinary" moments with her in 4 short years.

When June 30th rolled around that first year after losing Teagan, we made a special point of recreating the moment of Chip and Teagan's late night Coke Float with Brock. We wanted his life to have some happy times too- even as difficult as life had become for us. In doing so we found that not only did we get the chance to remember a wonderful time with Teagan, but it was a chance to turn our heartache into a new happy memory at the same time. And goodness knows our hearts needed opportunities for joy in life again!

We had lived and learned how quickly life changes unexpectedly and also just how quickly our days go by- no matter what is going on in them. Big stuff, little stuff; everyday, routine stuff, or extraordinary, amazing stuff!

You can click to enlarge the photos here to read the journaling on a scrap page I made when I first started scrapping back in 2006. I remembered this night with Teagan and Chip so clearly. If tragedy hadn't struck it would have just been one more picture among so many others I snapped through the years. But in light of what happened, it became a treasure and a gift that now lives on each year as Coke Float Day.

Our family will be "celebrating" this ordinary, special day out at Chip's golf club with some frothy mugs of root beer or coke and ice cream. But we invite you to join us by having your own round of Coke floats or whatever it is in your life that would be meaningful and memorable and fun. Don't wait for a "reason" to enjoy today. Don't wait for a crisis to be reminded that today is a gift- just as it is every single day! Pop some popcorn and enjoy a movie together, or go for a walk and feed some ducks at a nearby pond or bring a fresh bunch of flowers to a neighbor who needs a pick-me-up or even call a loved one that you haven't spoken to in a long while and say, "I've missed you and love you!" simply because you have the chance to do so.

We've lived through some dark, grief-stricken days and still have ongoing challenges that affect us every day. We've learned it's so important to take time and intentionally live in the moment. We aren't superheroes when it comes to happiness and sometimes the biggest life lesson we've learned from our heartache and loss of Teagan is to never take the little moments for granted. We're so thankful we had Coke float night with Teagan and we're so thankful that we can enjoy it each year (and sometimes several times each year!) with the rest of our kids too. We hope you are moved to take an ordinary moment in your life and make it memorable and extraordinary in your own special way because of the legacy Teagan left to us. She was truly a gift to us. To you, and to whoever chooses to celebrate life- in the big and little things. Happy Coke Float Day from the whole Ferlaak family today! Find something to celebrate!


Joanna Goddard said...

this is so touching and moving. what lovely memories of a sweet, beautiful girl. this post made me tear up! thank you so much for sharing xoxo

Lauren said...

This is such a beautiful thing you do in honor of your sweet Teagan!!!! Love it!!!! Thinking of y’all!!!!

Be the change... said...

Have a great weekend with your family...I love how you write. Cheers to coke floats! xoxo

Deb said...

Loved reading this, and thanks for the gentle reminder to fully absorb everyday..."warts" and all!

jenny said...

Beautiful post, Jody. You are such a gifted writer. Thank you for reminding me to live in the moment and be thankful for the "little" things in life. God bless.

Kristin Stegent said...

Thank you...I needed this inspirtation today. Having four kids 4 and udner is great, but it can feel overwhelming many of moments. Yet, I know there little lives are just precious and I don't want to miss the sweet little ordinary moments of love and joy just being with them. are really good at turning on my tears. You are a beautiful woman with a beautiful family :)