Doors at Big Summer Potluck 2011
Hey. You good? Great. We are, too.
In the last two months, we decided to move to Atlanta so I (Chris) could start a new job. And I love it. Really, really love it. Love it more than any job I’ve had (sorry to all my old colleagues. I love you lots, but I really love this job and this company).
And Karen and I have had to spend a month with me traveling home on weekends to NJ, getting the house ready for sale, having an offer on the house fall through while we take out the garbage, say good bye to friends, mow the grass, pack the cooking books, make sure all the important stuffed animals for the kids made it into the minivan before we left NJ, return cable boxes, cry periodically because the stress is all too much even if it’s really good stress, sign up for a new preschool for the kids, buy a second car, rent a new house in Atlanta, go to Big Summer Potluck 2
, say good bye to our son’s Tae Kwon Do teacher who is much loved (orange belt!), get our minivan towed in NYC when we went to visit Sarabeth at her amazing bakery in Chelsea Market
, explain to the kids four Sundays in a row why they couldn’t get on a plane with me to go back to Atlanta, go into the city to buy a box of Doughnut Plant
doughnuts one more time, make the drive down to Atlanta for a second time - this time for good, sleep on bad air mattresses, get new child locks on the doors of the rental house because our children assume all doors should be opened at all hours of the day causing us to run around screaming their names until we find them hanging out in front of the new house, hold each other a lot, and drink several glasses of wine. Several.
So that’s what we were doing.
And we are good, if somewhat stirred and shaken. We are good.
And then our friend’s husband died.
The news came across Twitter, and I sat frozen for 10 minutes, unsure of what to do.
I have never ached for my family quite so much as I did that moment, that entire week, with me in Atlanta and them back in NJ. We had just seen Jennifer, a fantastic food blogger and special friend
, a week before at Big Summer Potluck as she played most of the day with the beautiful daughter of GlutenFreeGirl
. I shouted her name early in the day, echoing across the field where we had breakfast and raised a hand high in the air, getting a smile from her. I remember thinking how kind it was of Jennie to focus her attention on their daughter so Mom and Dad could focus on the conference/potluck. And then I realized how this wasn’t a sacrifice for Jennie at all...this is just who she is. Of course she was focused on making the day easier for Shauna and Danny. Lucy with her dad, Danny @glutenfreechef
That’s just who she is.
It’s hard not to personalize someone else’s loss, but I can't help it this time. The death of Mikey, Jennie's husband, isn’t about me and Karen, and I cannot imagine the pain and confusion Jennie and her daughters are experiencing every single day as they figure out what to do next. But I do know that I cannot imagine life without Karen, and I do not want to imagine their lives without me. Not because I’m so great, so wonderful, but because I adore my wife and my children in ways that I simply cannot explain, in ways that I feel so deeply that it shatters me to my core to think about leaving them behind. Because I do not want them to have to figure out what comes next for them without me.
And also because I find it impossible to type these words without closing the door so no one can hear me cry.
So a big part of me cannot help but think of how much Mikey would never, ever have wanted to leave his girls, all three of them, behind. That he never wanted to saddle them with a burden of him being gone. And that thinking about leaving them would absolutely shatter him to his core.
A group of beautiful friends have set up a site to help bloggers in need. The group is called Bloggers without Borders. They’re collecting donations to help Jennie with the mortgage and insurance and life without Mikey.
As a husband and a father, I would want to know that my family was surrounded by people who loved them almost as much as I did, if I couldn't be with them anymore.
So if you can spare anything at all, please donate to Jennie and her daughters. And for three of you who post below in the comments that you donated, we’ll send you a batch of Chocolate Chunk Cookies to say thanks. It doesn't matter if you donate a dollar or a thousand, if you've clicked on the button on our site or someone else's site. Just drop your name down below and you entered and good to go. These are the cookies from our first recipe post here on the site, those best chocolate chip cookies ever
from Alice at Savory Sweet Life
. They're good. Really good.
We just want to say thanks.