Written by Hollye Dexter

Although my life is sweet, fate has handed us some bitter the past two years. And as much as we try to shield our children from the stresses of life, we know our five-year old Evan feels it.  So we cling to every bit of “happy” and “normal” that we can. Not that I’m in denial, but I want to show my kids that when life is kicking your ass, you still can choose to celebrate the good parts.
Last Wednesday was my grandson’s first birthday, so after rushing Stitch to the vet with some mystery illness, and finding out Anita was in the hospital, we still threw a little party for him. I could tell Evan was feeling pushed aside. I’ve been so buried in trial prep and phone calls,  then I’m bustling around throwing a party first for Ayumu, then two days later a birthday dinner for our daughter Cristen.
So yesterday morning, still reeling after losing our trial, I was on the phone with one person after the next trying to figure out our next step, when Evan tapped me on the shoulder.
“Excuse me Mommy, excuse me Mommy….I have something very important to tell you.”
I cupped my hand over the phone. “What is it Honey? I’m on the phone.”
“Mommy, did you know that it’s Tom’s birthday?”
I put down the phone.
 Oh- in case you didn’t know, Tom is Evan’s sock monkey. Yes, apparently it was Tom’s third birthday. Tom had been feeling a little left out, and it was very important to Evan that he was given a proper party. Of course, this was not on my priority list yesterday, and yet there was nothing more important.
So while Evan was at school, Tom and a few of his fuzzy friends set up a little soiree. Evan was delighted. “Did they come alive while I was at school?” he asked. I just shrugged, wide-eyed. Evan and his friend Olivia made decorations and cards, ate cupcakes and sang happy birthday. It was quite the shindig, and Evan said Tom was very pleased.
Later that night my girlfriends called to see if I was too upset to host our usual Monday night painting group. Quite the contrary, I said. I can’t think of a better time for us all to be together. So they came, and we talked a lot about the trial, and injustice and other things. We drank wine, painted, commiserated, and even laughed. And then we stood in a circle, held hands and prayed for Anita.
Those simple sweet moments are what I strive for. We don’t get to choose the things that happen to us, but we do get to choose how we react. In spite of what life has handed me, I can still choose to love my husband and kids, to cherish my friends, to eat good food and drink good wine, to laugh, to celebrate a sunny day, and to take a half hour out of my busy life to throw a sock monkey party.
I have no idea what is going to happen next, and yes, I am afraid and sad.  I don’t know if I can win this appeal- or if the judge will deny it and I will lose Stitch. I can only give my best and live in today.
But while life is bitter, I choose to cherish every sweet moment while I have it, for it’s those sweet moments that make the worst ones survivable. 
“Your Assome”.  Evan’s sign for Tom, with an unfortunate spelling mishap.

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  1. tamara

    Hollye, you and Troy are my heroes. Sending you much, much love.

  2. laurenne

    This is the cutest thing ever. You're a miracle.

  3. Anonymous

    I agree Hollye but when the sacrifice is too great one has to somehow move forward and say I gave it the fight I could and now it is time to help my family face the next good event. It is sad to let go but in my mind the family comes first, Stitch second. You fought the good fight. Now do what your family needs to move forward. Just my two cents. I love you either way.

  4. Georgie

    That was perfect…I love you Hollye…..keep the faith girl oxoxoxo

  5. Lori

    I am weeping. this is so very amazingly adorable and beautiful and your ability to LOVE your way through the difficult times and remain open and playful and be a model of the higher good for the people around you is incredibly inspirational. I wish you lived near me because I would have been at that painting group with you, making art from upset, and I would have helped you set up Tom's party……thank you for sharing this beacon of LIGHT

  6. Anonymous

    Dear HOllye & the Dexter Gang, I hope all is well and keep up the good work.. I Love hearing about all the happenings and stuff. Especially The news about the Birthdays and all.

    All my love,

    Jack R. Cohen

  7. Debra DeAngelo

    What a sweet story! Isn't it amazing how moms (and dads too) can sometimes pluck up the energy from a place we didn't know we even had, and delight our kids?

    And… life is not bitter. It has bitter moments…. but it is not bitter. It just feels that way sometimes. Things will get better… focus on the blooms, not the thorns…

  8. Hollye Dexter

    Thank you sweet friends. When I am having a tough day, like today, I read your comments and feel lifted.


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