Archie loved chocolate. For my 44th birthday Archie took me to Chicago for a chocolate tour. There were only a few stops and only one with actual pieces of chocolate candy. Otherwise, there was a chocolate tea, macaroons, bread with chocolate chips, and that was it. We were both disappointed with the tour, but Chicago was always fun with Archie, tour or no tour, chocolate or no chocolate.
When Archie started chemo his taste buds were negatively affected. All food tasted tainted except for chocolate and barbecue. Since those were his two favorite foods, that was definitely grace from our heavenly Dad.
Shortly after Archie went home, I was answering a message on FB. A pop-up appeared on my page about a Chocolate tour in Valpo. Wow…..Archie would have loved that, not to mention it was to take place the weekend before his last scheduled chemo treatment. I told Taylor about it and she wanted to go. Our first bittersweet outing as a family of two.
The day to buy tickets, Taylor attempted the purchase at the moment the tickets came available. No good. Again and again she tried, but lunch break came to an end and so had the attempt for tickets She’d go at it again after work. 3:30: Tickets were sold out. Disappointment and relief ensued. I don’t know that I was ready to think of doing anything that Arch was so passionate about.
This brings us to this morning. I don’t sleep in well so I was up. I got the fury kids ready for the day, showered, dressed, made coffee (a pot to share), and was shaping and coloring paper flowers. Did I mention it was 9:00 ish? Taylor popped in to say good morning. Her Bff had spent the night at her apartment but the smell of coffee enticed her to come for a visit. She not only shared a cup of coffee but excitedly told me that someone had posted two extra tickets to the chocolate tour and she fb’d them to see if she could get the tickets–would I go with her? Ummm….ok…..but then she heard back. The lady had sold them the night before. She was disappointed.
She is a persistent young woman. She posted on their website–this morning–that she would like to purchase two tickets. You do remember that this is 9:45, right? Chocolate tour: noon. Valpo: 1 hr 36 minutes away–in good weather.
Taylor was a sweetheart and decided she needed to make banana/blueberry pancakes for all. She cooked and chatted up the morning with her friend, Hadassah. I kept to myself shaping flowers, coming out for the invitation to fluffy, thick, pancakes. They were amazing! I took my pancake to go and returned to my sunflowers.
Taylor came in excitedly! A young attorney from Chicago contacted Taylor and had two tickets, would she like them? Taylor was ecstatic. She accepted and told her we’d meet her in Valp, 15 minutes before the tour begins!!!!
We left with a 4 minute window. Yikes! We dropped everything, said goodbye to her friend and we were gone. Archie was the navigator. I hate driving. We drove into a mini blizzard (got to love Indiana) and ignored the navigator, knowing the massive road construction taking place between here and there.
Did we make it? Ish. The navigator took us to an incorrect address, but we made it to that address, on the button. Taylor called and we were redirected and were just a few minutes late to pick up the tickets. We parked and walked, arriving minutes before the doors opened. We stood quietly for a while. The rush of getting there, finding the address, a parking spot, then the reality….our outing without “dad.” Taylor was excited and……sad.
He will never go with us again. The realization that if we take pictures this will be our first outing without Archie. If we don’t take pictures there will be no documentation that we ever did this, except in our memories. When we are gone, they are gone, and no one will ever know. We hate that.
He’s not coming back. Taylor is only 21. Lord willing, she has a lot of memories to document. Her moments have value and she is worth remembering.
Psalms 23:1-6 “A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. …”
Soooo many emotions today. “The Lord is our shepherd”-I wasn’t ready when the tickets were posted for sale. I could do it today, so He made a way. “I shall not want” -Taylor has needed an escape, something good to happen, something that was not planned “with dad”, so we wouldn’t feel like he had missed it, again. “He restores my soul”-He gave us a peace as we had time to talk through God’s hand in all of this on the drive. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”-we are still feeling our way through this dark valley. “I will fear no evil”-He protected us even in the driving that we both hate and the drivers who don’t care how bad the weather is. Yes, definite fear, but “for you are with me”. “Your rod and your staff, they comfort me,” Like the rod the shepherd uses to keep his sheep safe, so too our heavenly Dad taps us back onto the path that leads us safely to His arms. “My cup overflows,” with gratefulness. He allowed us an opportunity that we, or I would not have been ready for even a week ago and then did not allow me time to think–or dread. He provided everything we needed to get through our first outing as….a family of two, but we will be three…in heaven.