I'm not the best at writing but I will try to write down some feelings and experiences we've been going through the past couple weeks.
Exactly two weeks ago today I left my house at 2:05 to make a quick grocery store run.
At 2:45 as I was leaving the grocery store to pick up Conner, my neighbor called me.
"Your house is on fire!"
The few minutes after that we're a blur. I immediately called Tim at work and raced to pick up Conner. I almost had to have Tim come get me because I was pretty sure I was having a panic attack. We live about 7 min outside of town, it took me 15 min from the time my neighbor called me for me to get there. I beat the firemen there. By this time the whole garage and living room were on fire. When the firemen got there it was into the kitchen.
My sweet neighbor immediately whisked the boys away and down the street so they didn't have to watch. Tim showed up a few minutes later and we stood across the street and hugged and cried together as we watched our home burn and fall to the ground piece by piece. It probably burned for an hour or more by the time it was completely out.
It's something I NEVER thought would happen to me. It's something I never thought would happen to someone even close to me. It's very surreal, even today.
In one step we walked away from all of this with literally just the clothes on our backs. But as we
turned away from it all, our friends and family were waiting right there for us, with bags and arms
full. My sweet friend and neighbor came down to check on me during the fire and said, "I think your entire church is down the street dropping things off for you." It didn't surprise me one bit. We have such an amazing network of friends here. We were and still are overwhelmed with the amount of love, generosity and compassion shown to us from our friends, family, neighbors and strangers.
We have been given countless donations and care packages. Some brought things from their homes or the store as soon as they heard about the fire. Clothes, baby toys, diapers, bottles, toothpaste, razors, socks, baby seats, strollers, gift cards, pack and plays. The list goes on and on. And we continued to receive such sweet and generous donations as the days past. Our friends brought us boxes full of necessities, offered their time, their homes, and pleas to watch the boys. We've been provided dinner almost every night. Friends have given us gift cards, toys, books, and clothes that their friends have given them to pass along to us. Cards with kind and compassionate words have poured in from all over. Friends and family living far away. Past ward members and again, complete strangers.
The night of the fire one of my best friends parents, who are basically my kids pseudo grandparents here, showed up with the exact build a bears my boys had. Superhero outfits and all.
My dear friend, neighbor, ward member, and amazing author wrote a blog post about that day. I have taken great comfort in reading her words. It shows me that on an awful day, there was also love and service. All for me and my family. I have read her post daily. Sometimes multiple times a day. Each time I do I am left with a feeling of warmth and love. You can read it here- http://anordinaryobservation.blogspot.com/2014/05/when-tragedy-strikes.html.
We've heard countless stories of children praying for us all on their own. Just the other day a friend was day dreaming with her family what they would each do with a million dollars. Her 5 year old said "I would buy the Hendersons their very own ranch to live on."
We found a picture a child had colored for us among things in a bag. It had a picture of a fish and
said, "To: Hendersons, just keep swimming, - anonymous." We have it hanging on our fridge.
When each of our parents came up they had cars full of things sent to us from our siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. Such wonderful things. Clothes for Tim and I. A baby bouncer. Movies. Pictures. Blankets. Stuffed animals. Toys for the boys from their cousins.
My niece sent me fingernail polish because we both share a love for all things girly.
A hair client and sweet friend brought brownies.
Drew's birthday was 3 days before the fire and his party was scheduled for two days after. My
amazing friends threw a party for him that was more than I could ever imagine. One even looked on my Pinterest board to see what things I had pinned for his party. They threw the best ninja turtle party I have ever seen. Tears filled my eyes as I walked into my friends home and saw, ninja turtle cakes and cupcakes, shells for each kid to wear that my friend and her husband had stayed up spray painting all night long. Masks and balloon swords, pinatas, pizza and games. They even brought presents for Conner and Luke. Amazing. Words can't describe my gratitude to them for making sure my little 3 year old still had his day. And an incredible one at that.
Friends brought coloring books, squirt guns, and chalk. Jewelry for me. Journals and pens to write down the days emotions.
One of the boys babysitters brought the boys their favorite fruit snacks. Another one organized all the donations dropped off at her house for us, and played with the boys to take their minds off things.
We can't thank everyone enough. I hope you all know how sincere and thankful we are to each and
everyone of you! Every donation or act of kindness has meant as much as the other. We couldn't have gotten through this without you.
Luckily I have a few pictures from before.
It's hard to say goodbye to our home.. Usually you leave by choice. Moving to a new city or home. You have all your "lasts" in your home and you recognize them. This is the last time we will eat dinner here. The last time will will tuck the boys in to bed here. The last time I will do hair in my salon. I miss silly things. I miss Tim making forts for the boys up in the toy room, that they would want to sleep in, but would only last 5 min. I miss rocking Luke in his room. I miss seeing Drew run through the halls with a superhero cape on and his ninja turtle fighting stick down the back of his shirt. I miss putting the boys to bed a little early and sitting on the living room floor with Tim, eating our favorite takeout and watching a redbox. I miss Conner sneaking in our room every morning at the crack of dawn to sneak the iPad and tip toe out of room, and seconds later hearing him run up the stairs to the toy room. I miss the boys racing and fighting over the bikes out front. I miss our neighbors. I feel like you do at the end of a vacation; all you want to do is go home. But home doesn't quite look like home anymore. Usually you can drive pass houses you or your parents have lived in before. You drive past and talk about memories and say to each other how weird it is that someone else lives there now. Our house isn't there anymore. Soon a tractor will come and scoop it all up and throw it away. I hate it. Our stuff is still in there.. Most of it in ashes now. But still there. One day a new house will go up on that lot and it will seem as if ours was never there. But it was there. It was the first home Tim and I ever owned. We had many birthdays and milestones there. We brought Luke home from the hospital there. We shared our home with friends and family and made amazing memories there. We played there. We grew there. We loved there.
There's a cute quote you see on a lot of home decor or written in vinyl on walls.
Live. Laugh. Love
I've never thought much about that quote except that it was cute. But now it means more to me, because I can honestly say we did all those things in that house. And I know we will do it in the next one.