Tag Archives: holidays

Of Looking Back, Looking Forward, and Very Loud Noises

“I’m afraid, Mom.  It’s going to be really loud, isn’t it?”  Chase, cuddled on the couch this chill December afternoon, voices his worries… 

Three quarters of a century ago today, terrible things happened half a world away and boats sank and people died and the country went to war again.  December 7.

Six years ago, late in the evening, as the sounds of the Christmas music barely faded in the halls of the church, I rushed to the hospital and Aidan was born and there was joy and a new baby son.  December 7.

And now, we sit on the couch under the shadow of the almost-winter clouds and there’s another shadow too.  Tomorrow comes the MRI and we sit and talk because today, on December 7 – day of all sorts of remembrance – we sit and look ahead and not back because tomorrow they’ll peer inside his white head again and see if there’s been any change in six weeks.

It’s poetic and strange how life weaves the beauty and pain in every memory of each moment and they’re all mixed together in a life symphony that requires unending grace.

Chase is scared and rightfully so.  Tomorrow will mark his first “awake” MRI in two years.  It’ll be mercifully short, but for 5-10 minutes, he will have to face one of his worst fears.  The noise.  It will surround him and he knows it and he’s frightened.  He can’t escape it and this child who is never still must lay perfectly quiet in his terror for 5-10 minutes or an eternity – whichever comes first – yet another time in his little cancer life when the only way out is through.  And how our hearts wish to cover him from this, but we cannot.   So, through it, he goes.  And he says “Jesus will be with me…and Daddy too.

As you think of Chase tonight and tomorrow, will you please pray for him?  Pray for peace to surround him as he goes into this very hard place and does this very hard thing?  …and then, pray for us as our challenge comes moments after the MRI when we speak and decide over the pictures with his neurosurgeon.

Moment by moment…

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

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Of Giant Trees, Giant Buttons, and Not Wrestling…

Most of you know about Chase’s wonderful wish: his “park” in the back yard.  However, our connection to Make A Wish led to one other amazing thing…a thing we didn’t even know to wish for, but a thing that can only be described as an amazing dream.  Chase was invited to come to the Macy’s on State Street, to the famed Walnut Room, and help light the three-story tree to kick off the holiday season in the store and start Macy’s “Believe” campaign.  We would find out less than 24 hours before this occurred that he would be alongside Ryan Seacrest and American Idol winner Lee Dewyze.  

How I wish that each of you could have been there with us and experienced this day! 

The great tree

The great tree

Being ushered past long lines to our complimentary tables (I mean, like that isn’t a dream in and of itself!)…

Meeting staff, servers, people in marketing, store managers, corporate leaders: all so passionate about what they do in the world of Macy’s and how Macy’s affects the world…

Writing letters to Santa and mailing them with Lee Dewyze…

Right before the 12 high-fives...

Right before the 12 high-fives… [credit: Ryan Blackburn, Make A Wish]

Watching Lee be super cool as Chase wanted to give him twelve high-fives one after the other… (That’s not an exaggeration.  We counted.)

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Having the Macy’s photographer take pictures of our family in front of the great tree and Karsten (in an elf’s hat, no less) sulking on the floor and refusing to smile… 

How we roll when it comes to family pictures

How we roll when it comes to family pictures

Being told that Ryan Seacrest wanted to meet our family before the tree-lighting ceremony…

Being ushered into a media-filled room waiting to hear from Ryan Seacrest and watching him hunker down and focus on Chase…

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[photo credit: Ryan Blackburn, Make A Wish]

Hearing Chase ask Ryan (there to launch a very classy line of menswear) if he liked his dirty, beat-up, favorite Spider-Man shoes…and hearing Ryan answer “Yes, I do!”…

Having to utter the phrase “Boys, remember that time when I told you that we don’t wrestle in front of Ryan Seacrest?”…

"Mom, I just ate Olaf's head!"

“Mom, I just ate Olaf’s head!”

Our amazing server, Stephanie, who put up with our crazy table full of small children and saw to our every need…

Aidan falling off his dining chair…(more than once

The beautiful store manager, Kim, who spoke of children like Chase with tears in her eyes…

Seeing people stacked several deep, lining the balconies that look down into the Walnut Room…and the bank of cameras and media personnel and very bright lights down in front…waiting

Chase's view of the room

Chase’s view of the room

Hearing the introductions from stage: “…Ryan Seacrest, American Idol winner, Lee Dewyze, and our special celebrity… Chase Ewoldt!”…and knowing they honored his fight with their words…

Listening to Lee dedicate his song to children like Chase and then sing the words: “I can’t stand up on my own don’t need to stand alone lift me up so I can see the light…Don’t be afraid…”…

Seeing our other children being invited on stage and knowing that their own often difficult lives as the siblings of a fighter were being honored…

This IS my happy face

This IS my happy face

Hearing Bob and myself being invited as well and not accepting as our fourth child, aka: “the grumpy elf”, refused to go anywhere near a stage…  

Watching Ryan call “Five… Four… Three… Two…” and hearing the crowd chant the count, getting louder and louder with him…

Watching my children, surrounded by special people and so much love, start to depress the giant novelty tree-lighting button right around “Two…”…because it was too hard to wait…

Hearing Ryan’s voice call “One!” as the room transformed and the light shot up to the ceiling, three stories above us…

The cheering of the crowd…

Aidan running over to me with the guitar pick from Lee’s performance and his voice saying “Mom! Look what I got from my new friend!”…

Watching Ryan lift Chase to stand on the button (the size of a small column) and Chase’s arms going into the air, triumphant, as he watched the lights and heard the sounds… He’d pushed the button and he knew it.  And the ceiling said “Believe”.

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[photo credit: Alyssa Horrall, Macy’s]

A truly precious day.

Moment by moment.

~Our family’s heartfelt thanks to Dana Kuhman Whitty, Ryan Blackburn and every beautiful soul at Make A Wish, Alyssa Horrall, Kim Groth, Martine Reardon and the entire Macy’s team who made us feel like cherished family, the beautiful Starr Royal-Burrell of Build-A-Bear who invited our children to come build bears (or dogs, or Olaf the snowman), the incomparable Ryan Seacrest and the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, and the wonderfully talented Lee Dewyze and his high-five skills.~   

Note: We eagerly await (and look forward to sharing with you!) the official photographs from Macy’s at a later date…please, stay tuned.

Week @ Large

Hey, so, about our week …!  Because I know you’ve all been dying to know …

Right now, we’re spending a lot of time with my little sister who is in town for the week after doing this:

Aw, isn’t she pretty?  Don’t be fooled, she’s also a bratty little sister.   Sidenote: She’s flanked here by the parental units who flew to LA to make sure she did the dirty deed and actually graduated.  And another sidenote [because they’re fun]: that bling she’s wearing is a lei made out of chocolate candies.  I wish I’d graduated from her school.

Care leaves for a summer ministry position tomorrow morning.  Stay tuned on this story.  As I’ve been talking with her, this ministry makes me want to cry because it’s so amazing and I’m looking forward to writing more about it sometime this weekend or next week.

On a pretty major note, we started off the week with a little of this:

Meet “E4” — 4th child and 3rd boy, due in the Fall.  Isn’t he cute?  He has his father’s fuzzy features, don’t you think?  Haha! …ahem.  Anyway…

On an (almost, but not really) equally major note, we’ll be finishing the week with this:

For those of you who might not know this if it slapped you in the face, this is PIZZA.  Chicago-style pizza.  Everything-else-you’ve-ever-eaten-pales-in-comparison pizza.  From Lou Malnati’s.  I think I’m actually drooling a little. [Mike Blackburn, wherever you are, eat your heart out]

We’re also looking forward to the long weekend in which we hope to be doing a little of this:

This is us at a Memorial Day parade …about a hundred years ago.  …which was apparently the last time either of us took a camera to a parade.  Plans to rectify that this weekend … so you all can see how much more mature we are [ha!] and also how many more children we have now [hahaha!].

More from the Ewoldts at large (or the large Ewoldts?) very soon …