One week until your first birthday.
Did I ever tell you about Hillary? She was a beagle I received for my 12th birthday in 1993. She was my first real love. She saw me through middle school, high school, college, grad school, and my wedding. She was a queen. There is no other way to describe her personality. She was 15 when she passed away.... the day you were conceived. I was not with her, we were in Alaska. It was a clear, sunny day when I cried on the phone and sang "You are my sunshine" to her one last time, 5,000 miles away on the spit in Homer.
Rewind 6 months earlier. December 2007, when your father and I were getting prepared for our wedding on the 30th and New Year's Eve party. We had just had Verna Juska's memorial service in Maryland. I watched the hearse drive away until just out of sight. I was upset; not wanting her to go so soon. The first Verna never got to witness my wedding. I never said goodbye or mailed her the note telling her how much she had influenced the woman I had become. I was devastated. Our whole family was.
Your father, one way or another, always keeps his promises.
Almost a year to the day that you were conceived and Hillary died, we sat by Mrs. Juska's grave in July 2009. I introduced you to your namesake. I said farewell. I brought Hillary to be with Mrs. Juska. The Garvey Girls (the first Marcot girls) took us around Hart, Michigan, to see Mrs. Juska's farmhouse, her favorite restaurant, shops. Her mid-west life. We traveled to her vacation cottage, went to pottery studio where we bought some pieces. We got to learn all about Mrs. Juska before she moved to Maryland. It was peaceful. I was happy.
We then crossed lake Michigan and continued our road trip to great-grandma's farm in Cashton, Wisconsin. But those adventures will be saved for another entry.
Faith is important to us. A serenity with trusting in the plan of God. At our wedding, our siblings carried single roses for deceased members of our family. I carried Mrs. Juska's rose, instead of my bouquet and the note I never mailed. I placed it on the chair, she should have been sitting in.
I don't understand the connection between this moment, Hillary, Michigan, and you. But there is one. Somehow, I feel all of it is strangely connected but I can't explain it. I guess its faith... or fate.But you Nora Verna are forever intertwined with Hillary and Mrs. Juska and I couldn't be more proud.