This month marked three years since we lost Jen, While the 20 months she spent fighting the disease seemed to stretch on interminably, these last three years have gone by in the blink of an eye. Jen would have, should have been 21 this year, in college, or at work, making plans for the rest of her life – just like any of her friends or any other 21 year-old would do. Instead we’re left with memories of a young girl, frozen in time at 18, furious at the injustice done to her and to other children who lost their battles with cancer, or any equally insidious disease. Or children who lost battles with addiction, or were the victims of accidents. Or violence. Every child is precious and deserves to grow up free from disease, free from violence and abuse, free from insecurity. And with lots of love. A parent’s primary duty is to protect their children. Those of us who have lost children live with a burden we would wish on no one. And when we see parents who don’t take the responsibility or mother- or fatherhood seriously, who ignore and abuse their children, we get both angry and sad. How can anyone not recognize the special gift that parenthood is, and how special and wonderful their child is?
So, that said, the July Jennie Day is always both special and painful. For the third year in a row, the July meal was sponsored by Jen’s Aunt Patti and Uncle Arnie, and for the third year we celebrated with a summer cookout, hamburgers and hot dogs with all the fixings, along with homemade macaroni and cheese and homemade coffee cake for dessert. Though we have no way to know for sure, I feel this is one of the more popular meals we do. This time, someone (me) wasn’t paying attention at Restaurant Depot and bought the wrong 5 lb. package of Nathan’s hot dogs and the Ronald McDonald House ended up with those monster-sized hot dogs like the ones you pay $3.50 for at Wawa (or 7-Eleven for those of you who don’t know what Wawa is). Maybe you can tell that from the photos. An emergency trip to the supermarket on Sunday morning was made to get enough hot dogs for the hospital (who only got regular bun-sides hot dogs).
Thank you Aunt Patti and Uncle Arnie (and ShopRite) for your help with the July meal. And thank you to the vast majority of parents who do all you can to protect and nourish your children.