Thursday, May 1, 2014

Count On Me

The summer before third grade, my dad introduced me to his close friend's new step daughter, Jessica.  She had just moved from "big city" Utah to our quaint little farming community.  She was my new neighbor.  Which in Idaho meant she lived a good mile away and was within biking distance.  I was in awe of her Polly Pocket collection and her stories of the city.  We became instant friends and even survived a tornado while riding our bikes one day.  Hilarious story by the way.  We were put in the same third grade class and were in the same ward.  I was in heaven.  

Flash forward to seventh grade.  

In health class I was assigned to sit by a girl named Callie.  She had a quick wit and didn't put up with crap.  I asked her for a piece of gum to which she frankly replied "no', because it was her favorite kind.  I don't remember how we became friends after that, but I'm sure it was our shared love of sarcasm.

By ninth grade a trio of friendship was born.  We knew each other better than anyone.  We laughed, we cried, we fought, passed notes, crushed on boys, vacationed together, and made up dances.  We were a part of each others families.   We really had such an innocent childhood together.  One that anyone would be lucky to have.  

This is a true selfie before digital cameras.  

One summer when we were in high school, Jess was on her way to visit her dad in Utah.  I was at youth activity at our church house when I heard siren after siren pass by.  It is highly unusual for something like that to happen out in the country.  We knew it meant bad news.  Our leaders left the room for a while and when they came back they all had grave looks on their faces.  They wouldn't tell us what happened, but I knew it wasn't good.  

When I got home that night my mom, who was the Relief Society president at the time, finally shared the tragic news.  Jessica's step dad and one of my dad's best friends had passed away in a car accident not far from our home.  Jess and her mom received the news half way to Utah and quickly turned around to head back home.  

My mom went to their house that night and I remember saying "mom, please make sure Jess is okay."  She promised that she would.

Callie was always better at knowing how to handle times like this.  I'm sure she organized a gift for Jess and knew the right words to say.  I on the other hand sat back in shock and heartache for my friend.  I had no idea how help my friend.  This wasn't suppose to happen to one of us.  I don't recall much of our conversation the day we went to visit Jess after her step dad died, but I do remember sitting on her bar stools in her kitchen and trying to make her laugh.    

I always admired Jessica's strength.

Polaroid anyone?

We rocked many girl's camps together.  

Jess is using an actual phone with a cord and everything.  

What else is there to do in a small town on a Saturday night, but play at the park?  
Jess with her high school sweetheart.  How cute is that?

Thanks, Idaho, for a miserably windy and cold graduation day.
 Helping me carry my ginormously poofy wedding dress.  

My favorite picture of the three of us.
When we were younger we daydreamed of a time we would all live on the same street and our kids would be best friends. Once we were all married, we headed in different directions, but that didn't keep us from easily getting right back to where we left off when we did see each other.  Callie lives far away from us now, but we still keep in close contact through social media.  


Shortly after Emme joined our family through adoption, I got a text from Jessica saying they were going to be starting the process to adopt as well.  I was so excited for her, but I also knew what a roller coaster it could be and hoped her experience would go smoothly.

They had many ups and down while waiting to be chosen, and unfortunately most were down.  I was heartbroken when I told her we were getting another baby.  I cried and scolded Heavenly Father from denying them of being parents.  It wasn't fair.  Jessica took the news gracefully and told me this baby was meant to come to our family and not to worry about her.  

When Corbin was a few months old I received a text from Jess with a picture of the cutest and tiniest 6 month old I had ever seen.  She was finally going to be a mommy.  I cried tears of joy for days afterward.  I told everyone I came across the happy news.  I didn't even care if they knew her or not.  I thanked Heavenly Father.   All seemed right in the world.

Sweet Kai had some health issues, but he immediately flourished in Jess and Spencer's home.  I loved every picture and video Jess sent me.  I couldn't wait to get him and Corbin together, but with Corbin being really sick all winter, it was impossible.

One short month ago another text with a picture showed up on my phone.  Poor Kai was hooked up to a million tubes and Jess was kissing him on the forehead.  She told me the horrible news that he was fighting for his life.  It happened so sudden.  One day he was doing amazing and the next he was attached to a life saving machine.  My heart broke into a million pieces.  It felt so surreal.  I again pleaded with Heavenly Father.  Please, please, please, don't let this happen.

We were headed out of town just minutes after I heard the news and I'm pretty sure I cried most of the way to our destination.  Kai's fate started to look up and by night time he was doing pretty well.  I went to bed feeling like he was going to be okay.

Heavenly Father had other plans for Kai.  In the middle of the night he experienced a massive stroke one of which was impossible to survive.  I wept and wept.  Again, this wasn't fair.  This can't be happening.

Gregg and I packed our bags as fast as we could and left town.  For mostly selfish reasons I had to get to Jessica.

I made it to the hospital just minutes after Kai passed away.  My experiences after that are hard to explain.  How can you describe what it's like to hug a mother who just said goodbye to their child?  I don't have the vocabulary for it.  

Kai had an amazing viewing  The spirit was very strong and hearts were very heavy.  He looked so perfect. 

I had the privilege of singing "I Know that My Redeemer Lives," at the funeral.  I was an honor.  I had such a sense of eternity afterwards.  God really does know us and what we do here in life matters.  Kai touched so many lives.   He was a perfect Child of God.

There was a balloon release at the cemetery.  Jess' dad joked he was going to bring a red one because he is a huge Utes fan. So funny.  
This was my favorite photo of all.  So much contemplation in Spencer's face.  

Kai is so missed.  I look up to Jessica so much.  She is so strong.  She knows Heavenly Father has a plan for her family.  She struggles with the hurt, but I admire her want to get through each day being a little stronger.  She is a true model of what a mother should be. 

Jess, I hope you know you can always count on me.  I will always be ready to take a trip to see the pigs when you need it.  ;) 

Count On Me // Bruno Mars

If you ever find yourself stuck in the middle of the sea
I'll sail the world to find you
If you ever find yourself lost in the dark and you can't see
I'll be the light to guide you

Find out what we're made of
When we are called to help our friends in need
You can count on me like one, two, three, I'll be there
And I know when I need it
I can count on you like four, three, two, you'll be there
'Cause that's what friends are supposed to do,

If you're tossin' and you're turnin' and you just can't fall asleep
I'll sing a song beside you
And if you ever forget how much you really mean to me
Everyday I will remind you

Find out what we're made of
When we are called to help our friends in need
You can count on me like one, two, three, I'll be there
And I know when I need it
I can count on you like four, three, two, and you'll be there
'Cause that's what friends are supposed to do

You'll always have my shoulder when you cry
I'll never let go, never say goodbye
You know you can count on me like one, two, three, I'll be there
And I know when I need it
I can count on you like four, three, two, and you'll be there
'Cause that's what friends are supposed to do

You'll always have my shoulder when you cry
I'll never let you go,
Never say goodbye
You know you can count on me like one, two, three
I'll be there
And i know when i need it
I can count on you like four, three, two
And you'll be there
Cause that's what friends are supposed to do

You can count on me 'cause I can count on you...


  1. Thanks Lace!! This post means so much!! I bawled through the whole thing even when I saw those scary pics of my younger years, lol!!

  2. The tears are flowing. This is beautiful. Precious friends like Jess are such a gift.

  3. OH man I will forgive you for those awful pictures! Man the days before a flat iron! I miss you guys and think of you and jess often. In fact I can count how many times I tell people your stories and what wonderful mothers and women you are. I have used you and jess as examples in young women's and all sorts of things. You guys are truly the best. I hope we can meet up this summer when I am in Utah and Idaho for 3 Weeks