Remembering Faith Elizabeth

Remembering Faith Elizabeth

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Secret Life of a Grieving Mother

Once again, too much time has passed since I have found myself both the time and the inclination to sit down and write here.  We have been busy with, raising our beautiful son, enjoying our family.  Very recently, I had an experience that once again reminded me that our world without Faith never really fades.  Though we are so grateful for J., I can't ever really "get over it," or forget that he is not our first.  Faith was our first born.

Just two weeks ago, as I walked my class into lunch, a friend walked up to me, phone in hand, and simply said, "You have to read this."  I took it from her, prepared for a message, but not for the words I saw.

"With the heaviest of hearts...we lost our littlest granddaughter to what appears to be a case of SIDS."
As I stood in front of my class, gasping, my mouth covered, my eyes welling with tears, I found only the words, "Oh my God," to express my broken heart and weary soul.  I dropped my students off, walked out of the cafeteria, and disintegrated into tears.  I called my husband, told him, continuing to cry and wipe away the tears that wouldn't stop.  I finally managed to pull myself together long enough to eat my lunch and finish my work day.

The following weekend, we attended the visitation for this beautiful little angel that left our world too soon.  I hugged her grandmother, my friend for 15 years; we talked and cried and she said,"I know you know."  I proceeded through the line to this little angel's mother, also my friend, and father, all the while putting some blinders on so I could manage my own feelings and try to offer some measure of support to the family.  Even when I knew there was none that could really be.

And that's the secret.

You never. stop. grieving.  When you have buried your child, you just never stop.  You move forward; you find peace (hopefully); you manage.  Eventually, you find a way to just keep living life and finding joy in the little things of life.  There are other secrets...

Sometimes you yell at your husband to wear the bike helmet because you just can't handle something happening to him, too.
Sometimes you lay awake to watch your baby sleep, just because you can.
Sometimes the anxiety of loss is so crushing you're not sure how you can manage it. But you do.
Sometimes you cut your next baby's food into impossibly tiny pieces because you're so afraid he might choke.
Sometimes you act like a paranoid crazy person, afraid of the littlest things.  Because paranoia is for those people who've never been a statistic.  When you're the statistic, all bets are off.  Paranoia becomes your best friend - and worst enemy.  And most time consuming hobby, as you attempt to keep it at bay.
Sometimes you sleep a little later, snuggling that cozy little boy because you know that before you can blink, he'll be too big to want to snuggle back.
Sometimes when you think you're mostly okay, your world will be invaded by the unfair and heartbreaking loss suffered by a friend.  And then your world will be turned upside down again, your thoughts consumed by the ache and agony of a family, an ache you know all too well.

But here I sit, writing.  Struggling for words that might help someone.  So while the life of a grieving mother is one I don't wish on anyone, I do wish for my friend for her to know something life changing.

You. Will. Survive.

You will cry.  You will yell and be angry.  Your chest will ache and you will be sure that your heart is broken.  But you will - in time - survive.  One day, it won't hurt to breathe.  One day, you will make it through the entire day without crying.  One day, laughing won't make you simultaneously make you feel like you're losing your mind.

And one more will never forget her.  You will carry her in your heart and soul every day for the rest of the days you walk this Earth.  Her image will be your greatest strength, even when it is your greatest heartbreak.  And you will find peace.

For all the mothers - and fathers - out there, suffering through an unimaginable loss today.  Please know that you will not always feel the way you do today.  Your grief will always be with you, but as impossible as it seems, it will change and you will find a way to put it where it needs to be so that you once again find joy and happiness.  Ignore the stupidity of people...even me, if this is too much right now.  Just hug each other, wrap yourselves in a bubble, and be gentle with yourselves.  You are not alone.

And one day, you might just have a few secrets of your own to share.

With all my love,

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year Arrives

*Edited on February 17, 2014 - I realized that this post I'd started several weeks back accidentally posted instead of being saved.  So, here's my attempt to finish it!

Originally started, January 1, 2014 -
This morning I am sitting in my living room, sipping a cup of coffee, the t.v. on in the background, with my new baby boy laying asleep beside me on the couch.  I am listening to the sound of him breathing, watching him stir as his little nap is coming to an end.  Jamie is sound asleep in bed still, trying to fight off a sinus cold that has knocked him down the last few days.  I am counting the last few hours until I go back to work tomorrow...back to reality, to the hustle and bustle of life, to the grind of teaching, grading, managing 24 little people then racing home to enjoy the company of my husband and the snuggles of a little boy that will all too quickly be too big to snuggle.   

The other day my mother posted on Facebook a list of reflections for 2013.  My sister and I followed suit and reflected, also.  That little exercise got me thinking and reflecting further, wanting to elaborate on some reflections a bit more.  2013 was a very good year...probably one of our better years in recent memory, for obvious reasons. 

Little James was born...he made his appearance on August 19, at 6:45 a.m., in swift and decisive fashion.  I'm very glad we had discussed and planned for a natural birth, because by the time we got to the hospital, there was no time for anything else!  He has enriched our lives in so many ways, and his addition to our family has felt so natural, I don't even really remember our world without him.  A year ago at this time I was barely pregnant; we had told no one and were busy navigating several social events and trying to hide the fact that I was pregnant and therefore, not drinking.  We were in the beginning days of a stressful, exciting, roller coaster ride of a pregnancy that was blessedly uncomplicated, but overshadowed by our past.  My mom asked me recently if we think any future pregnancies would be any easier, since this one proved we can have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.  I honestly don't really know.  Maybe a hair...but you can't outrun your past and it will always be with us, so I doubt very much that I'll ever be pregnant and carefree again in my life.  So, what did 2013 teach me? 

My most poignant moment was the death of my grandfather.  I fully expected him to live to be 100, or more, so when we learned over the summer that he was terminally ill and would probably only live a few more months, it was a sad time.  When he only lived a few more weeks and passed away just a week after James was born, it was a bit of a shock.  I have grown close with my grandparents since I've lived near them as an adult and always knew their deaths would be hard, but I have been surprised at the emotion I feel going forward.  I visit his grave and talk to him.  I try hard to channel my mother's thoughts about his death, "This is not a tragedy."  While she misses him and is sad that he's gone, she seems to recognize that his long life of nearly 90 years makes his a life well lived and not a tragedy.  I try...I do.  And rationally, I know that she's right.  Maybe because his death was so closely tied to James' birth.  Hormones, emotions...all wrapped up in one.  I wrote before about the guilt I felt around the fact that Grandpa only got to meet James once.  Once.  At the hospital.  He saw him, we talked.  But he never held him and we didn't get pictures.  I know my grandfather never expected something different, and I believe he knew that his time was limited.  I know he was grateful for getting to meet him, but I am sad every day that I realize he will never know his great-grandson.  That my son will only know his great-grandfather through the stories we tell.  And I will tell them...because he was a very cool nearly 90-year old.  And my world is a little smaller without him.  But Heaven is getting an earful, let me assure you!

2013 was a good year.  James brought us a world of joy that I didn't know could exist.  My best friend told me once, "Having a child is like having a piece of your heart walk around outside your body."  True words.  If I could, I'd buy an island and put him in a bubble.  Not really...but I definitely feel a sense of wanting to protect him at all costs.  As hard as everyone said the infant phase is, it hasn't really felt that way.  It's been amazing...and exhausting...and enlightening...and fulfilling...and frustrating...and heartwarming.  Most of all, it's been healing.  2014 is off to a good start.  May yours be filled with peace.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


When you are young, time seems long.  Your parent tells you that something will happen "next year" and it feels like it will never come.  As you get older you realize just how relatively short a time a year actually is.  You realize that a year is actually not that long, and when you're busy living life, it goes pretty fast.  Suddenly that vacation you were planning, or that wedding you were anticipating, or the holiday plans you couldn't wait for - arrive.  In the blink of an eye it comes and goes.  What they say is true...time moves faster as you get older.  I still feel like the same 22 year old that graduated from college and began her first year of fresh-faced teaching, clad in a navy blue blazer for my interview (a trait my former principal always affectionately reminds me of!) 

But then I realize something...I'm obviously no longer that 22-year old.  I'm nearly 15 years older and, even scarier, halfway to retirement eligibility within our state's public school system.  I look at the current 23-year old that I work with and it's so often like looking in a mirror.  The youthfulness, the pep, the energy, the idealism.  All of which are positive attributes.  And I still think of myself as a positive person.  But my life at 36 years old is so vastly different.  I could not, at 22, have imagined that one day down the road my life would be measured in minutes. 

See, with a new baby under our roof, we measure so many things in minutes...

He slept for 35 minutes.

He's been awake for 90 minutes.

I just changed that diaper 15 minutes ago.

He's been crying for 5 minutes.

He's been cooing for 17 minutes.

I've been listening to him snore for 12 minutes.

He played in his crib this morning for 20 minutes.

He nursed for 10 minutes. 

I left for work a few minutes later than normal - because I was snuggling my sleeping son on my chest for just a few more minutes.

I've been told by so many veteran parents, "The days are long, but the years are short."  We have wholeheartedly taken the advice to enjoy every minute that we have now.  Thanks in part to that wonderful advice, and I believe also largely because of our life experience, we cherish every. single. minute. 

We listen to James laugh and coo and giggle and "talk" and smile and laugh ourselves at his seemingly innate ability to mostly entertain himself.  Inevitably with the sheer joy he brings, I feel a twinge of sadness.  At the minutes we didn't get with Faith.  And the minutes we did...because she was such a powerful reminder that our lives are truly measured in minutes. 

When you're 10, you can't imagine that minutes will every go by so fast or matter so much.  Those minutes you wait on Christmas morning seem to drag on forever.  Twenty or so years later, you just wish that those minutes would take a little longer...and wish there was some way to permanently imprint them on your memory. 

So, I leave a little later for work some mornings.  I snuggle a little longer with my sleeping baby than the "experts" recommend if you ever want your child to sleep independently.  I breathe in his baby smell while I can and choose to enjoy the early morning hours, smiles, and cups of coffee that come with his 6 a.m. wake-up call.  I ignore that I'd like to sleep a little more and instead focus on the fact that before I can even blink, he'll be sleeping later than me and I'll have to chase him out of bed at noon. 

Minutes are precious. 

My grandfather was able to come to the hospital to meet James the day he was born.  Just a week later, my grandfather passed away at the age of 89.  For awhile (and still a bit, if I'm honest), I felt a tremendous amount of guilt and sadness that he never held James and that we didn't get pictures of them together.  I know my grandfather didn't think anything of it, more than likely, but it is one of my biggest regrets.  And now he's gone, and I have to live with that.  But those minutes in the hospital?  The 30 or so minutes that he was in the same room and got to meet him?  Those minutes mattered.  And a week later when I learned that he was in the hospital and there was nothing left to do, I left my one-week old baby in the hands of my loving and wonderful husband so that I could squeeze out a few more minutes with my grandfather.  I had to time it carefully...nurse, drive to the hospital, spend time holding Grandpa's hand, drive home to nurse again.  I got an hour or so.  60 precious, quiet, pensive, emotional minutes to be with my grandfather.  Minutes I will never regret. 

Minutes matter...we live our life in minutes.  When the hustle and the rush of life gets overwhelming, stop and count the minutes.  Because they go by so very, very quickly.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Sounds I Hear

As I sit in my living room on this November evening, I am listening to the sounds of laughter and cooing.  My husband and my son.  The big James laughing at the little James, who is cooing and "talking" in response to Daddy's voice.  It has - again - been too long since I wrote here.  As you can see, life has changed dramatically in our household since July. 

I could write about the day he was born, on a Monday morning, early - and fast.  So fast in fact that Jamie never had a chance to call anyone to tell them we were headed to the hospital, until after our little miracle arrived.  My mom thought he was kidding when he said, "She had the baby!"

I could tell you about the first few weeks at home - the laughter we shared at 2 a.m. as we navigated the challenges of nursing a newborn, the sleepless nights, the paranoia that something would happen to James - or I could tell you that over time that paranoia has subsided and we have embraced the pure joy that has come with his arrival. 

I will tell you about the amazing journey it is to bring a rainbow into the world.  A rainbow baby is one that comes after the loss of a baby...because a rainbow is beauty after a storm; not to negate the ravages of the storm, but to show something of beauty and hope.  James is our rainbow baby. 

He was born at 8 lbs. 11 oz. and 21 inches long with a full head of dark, beautiful hair.  It is amazing to me how quickly you learn about your child.  He is, after all, not yet 12 weeks old, but I know him.  He has dimples and a charming smile, loves to nurse, and is a happy, content little guy.  He has found his hands and started to "talk" to us regularly.  James is the baby that makes you want ten more babies. 

By far the most amazing thing about this journey is seeing our family transform from a twosome to a threesome.  Even after such a short time, I simply can't imagine our life without him.  It is hard to remember a life without him in it...we have been so blessed.  Watching my husband become a father has to be the single greatest series of moments I have ever experienced.  Jamie is as enchanted with James as I am...we sit together and laugh at his smiles and coos.  Sometimes I just sit back and watch them together - and just listen to the sounds that have changed my house.  A squeak, a squawk, a cry...a coo, a giggle, a sing-song voice that belongs to me or Jamie.  We do more laundry than ever before, and there is so much "stuff" sitting around our house.  But I don't care - because he is amazing.  And totally worth it. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Almost there...

We are almost there...close to the end of this leg of the journey.  Close to the day that Baby will join us.  We have a room (nearly) ready.  We've painted and cleaned and organized a small room and closet into a functional space.  A chair has been ordered and is on its way - thank you, Target and the gift cards we got for shower gifts.  We've had the baby showers...a big step we never took with Faith.  That felt huge - exciting, anxious, happy - but definitely, huge.  Clothes are being washed, dried, and organized by size.  My lovably neurotic-about-clutter husband has been a HUGE help in the process.  I couldn't have done it without him, and have a whole new respect for single parents that must do all of this alone.
When we learned of Faith's diagnosis, a baby shower was planned.  Invitations had gone out...and then my mother, sister-in-law, and best friend had to make the first of some really terrible phone calls that summer.  To tell people that the shower was cancelled.  How do you, after all, celebrate the arrival of a baby you're not even sure will be born alive?  It may sound morbid, but it was our very real living nightmare.   So, we've surpassed all sorts of milestones we never got to with Faith.  I've gotten past the point in this pregnancy where we got with Faith - this baby moves and squirms and kicks - and it is a truly miraculous feeling.
Last week, we had maternity pictures taken.  Jamie's cousin is a budding photographer, eager to build her professional portfolio.  As you can see, she does beautiful work and offered to do pictures for us.  For four years, I have regretted that we do not have more pictures of me pregnant, of us together during the time when things were okay with Faith - that most of our pictures are in the hospital after her birth, though I treasure those.  This time I was determined to chronicle this miracle along the way and cherish the journey, even when it makes me nervous.  Which, for the record, it does almost daily.  I am so happy about these pictures.  It captures our joy...our excitement...our Faith that we will have a healthy baby and bring him or her home.  All signs point to that outcome.  If I'm honest, I find myself getting more and more anxious as the weeks go by.  Most of the time, I keep it together and can push away the thoughts that creep in and once again, rob me of the blissfully ignorant joy that all pregnant women should get to experience.  Unfortunately, that is not our experience.  We experience pregnancy and the anticipation of a baby clouded in fear and nerves and trepidation, on top of the joy and excitement we feel about this new baby.

Next week is the week in July I dread every year...the week it all fell apart with Faith.  I am determined to make it through that week and choose joy this summer.  Choose to focus on the positive things we have, the new baby I feel kick and squirm on a daily basis.  We talk about names and have our house nearly ready for our new miracle.  Thank you to Joanna for helping us to capture this very special time in our lives.


Monday, April 1, 2013

A Long Walk

I have been silent here for too long, and for that I apologize.  It has not been without reason; just reason we were not ready to share with the world. 

Until now. 

We are halfway to a new miracle...a new baby will be joining us - God willing - mid-August. 

It has taken us 20 weeks to feel ready to share with the world.  For many weeks, it was a secret we kept to ourselves...a little treasure we held close to our hearts while we nervously held our breath.  6 weeks passed, we had a first ultrasound and saw that amazing little flutter on the screen.  A heartbeat.  A real, beating heart.  Then 9 weeks and we decided to tell our immediate families. 

We made it to 11 weeks and the first set of tests, screenings, and more ultrasounds.  We got the next bit of reassuring news...Baby looks good and is growing right on target.  "Normal" never sounded so extraordinary as we got back blood work that dropped our risk of trisomies into the almost non-existent area. We breathed a little easier.  Made it through the first several doctor's appointments.  Heard a heartbeat for the first time.  I started to actually look and feel pregnant, as we began to tell friends and co-workers.

Last week we accomplished yet another major milestone - 20 weeks, the "big" ultrasound, the halfway point.  Again, more good news from doctors and technicians..."Normal development," "nothing of concern."  So today, I told my students - who, up to this point, were oblivious to the fact that I was pregnant thanks to some very creative clothing choices on my part. 
And now it's time to share it with the rest of you.  Those that we haven't seen or talked with, but are ready to include in our journey. 

And this is a journey.  For we live in a world where "I'm pregnant" doesn't necessarily translate into, "I'm going to have a baby."  Choosing to take the leap of faith required to walk this path again requires...well, I don't know that I've figured it out yet.  I know that with each passing day, each passing week, each accomplished milestone, we breathe a bit easier.  I have set small goals...get past 6 weeks, to the first doctor's appointment, 9 weeks, 12 weeks, end of first trimester.  Make it to the "First Look" ultrasound, 16 weeks, 20 weeks...get to the next doctor's appointment, that stage of "viability," the glucose test, get to the every 2-week doctor's get the drift.  One day at a time has never held such power. 

Because it's not just about our's about every woman and every loss I have ever known.  When this is your world, you become acquainted with catastrophes no one should ever know.  You become an encyclopedia of "what ifs."  Because it's how you survive..."If I can just get past where __________ had her loss, I'll feel better."  You personalize every loss - and pray every single day.  I pray everyday that we'll get to keep this baby and bring this baby home.  Until that day comes, and we're physically holding this new little one, we will be holding our breath. 

While this walk comes with a tremendous amount of anxiety and nerves, we are cautiously optimistic.  I have a fabulous doctor who has been my doctor since before we had Faith.  She knows our history and she and her office have been wonderful...with every phone call, every weird symptom, every strange question.  Offering every bit of reassurance humanly possible.  I could not ask for greater support as we navigate through this part of life.  

To those of you that have taken this long walk with us over the last 3 1/2 years, I thank you.  With every person we told about this new baby, I was nervous.  Nervous to make it "real."  And with every announcement, people have been joyous and excited and supportive.  We couldn't ask for better people to share this with.  We are excited, and scared, and on any given day, any number of other emotions.  But, the time has come to let you all take this long walk with us.  So, while we don't know if Baby is a boy or a girl (and won't be finding out until Baby's arrival), we know Faith is watching out for us.  A guardian to her mom and dad, and an angel watching over this new blessing.  I only wish that our new addition would be able to know his/her big sister.  Though they won't know each other in the traditional sense, this little one will know about the big sister they have and how much they are wanted and loved before they've even arrive.   

With love,

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dear Mister Irrelevant

As I've probably mentioned before, I love the St. Louis Cardinals.  I have lived in St. Louis since 1995 and have since become a very proud member of Cardinal Nation.  So, last week, the Cardinals played the Washington Nationals in a best-of-5 series.  It was the Nationals' first post-season trip in something like 78 years.  I'll just remind you that the Cardinals are the reigning World Series Champs.  But, I digress...

On the eve of the final game between Washington and St. Louis, some blogger named Mister Irrelevant (well, a guest writer that he hosted on his blog) - wrote a mean-spirited, hateful post titled, "Why St. Louis is a Terrible, No Good Place."  (Read it here) Here is my response...

Dear Mister Irrelevant,
I heard about your post regarding St. Louis recently, and felt the need to respond.  I read it in its entirety, and I won't pretend to be an expert on Washinton, D.C., despite the fact that you seem to have claimed that right for yourself about St. Louis.  You have said you lived here for three years and were "happy to escape back to civilization."  Well, good riddance, considering how you feel about our city.  However, I feel the need to defend my home on a few points. 

1) Crime - I won't pretend that the crime statistics for St. Louis aren't terrible - they are.  For several years, the City of St. Louis has topped the lists for most violent city in the U.S.  No argument here.  But, here's the thing - most of what people consider "St. Louis" is actually outside of the city proper, and very safe.  And if we want to compare city to city, Washington, D.C. is not exactly topping the lists of safest cities in the U.S.  Here are two lists I found that lists D.C. among the 25 most dangerous cities.  The Gawker and Neighborhood Scout.  As for your claim that there are just bad and worse areas, that's just false.  St. Louis, like most big cities, has plenty of areas I wouldn't walk alone through.  It also, however, has many wonderful areas that are beautiful, affluent, and safe.  Tower Grove Park, Forest Park, Lafayette Square, and The Hill are just a few.  My point is, St. Louis is really no different than most big cities.  There are bad areas - areas I will always stay away from, but there are the good areas, too.  It is not one big cesspool, as you'd have your readers believe. 

2) As for your argument about our "insular community," you make some valid points.  Lots of people do live in the suburbs - but just because I choose to live where I can afford to live does not mean I don't value culture.  We are not Manhattan or D.C. - we don't have your population or your tourism draw, so no, we can't compete when we start counting museums or monuments.  But to call us stupid is rude and offensive.  Your damn right I'm going to be defensive - I live in a great city.  We have one of the top-ranked zoos in the country.  And it's free.  To everyone.  Most of our museums - the Art Museum, the History Museum, the Science Center, to name a few, are free.  Are they the Smithsonian?  No - but they're wonderful places, full of culture.  And we're proud of the fact that in St. Louis you don't have to make six figures to be able to take your family to the zoo or to the museum to experience that culture that in most other big cities would set a family of four back well over $100.  Maybe you think only the wealthy deserve to be exposed to culture? 

3) Food - Okay, I agree with you on the pizza.  Can't stand provel on pizza.  But our barbeque?  Some of the best.  You went to one restaurant (a place I've never even heard of, by the way) and judge all barbeque on that?  What about our Italian district  - the Hill?  Italian food, toasted ravioli, Ted Drewe's custard.  St. Louis is more than the stereotypical barbeque, but you failed to mention anything else.  Shame on you.

4) Sports - I am a proud member of Cardinal Nation - we love our baseball.  And in recent years, the Rams have struggled to keep fans interested because, well, they've just played like crap.  And I occasionally watch hockey, but have many friends that are die-hard fans and "bleed Blue."  But so what if the Cardinals are our biggest sports draw?  Why do you care?  So what if we have "Happy Flight," and the Rally Squirrel?  Does it really impact your life if our small, insular, culturally-insignificant hillbilly town has a world champion baseball team that loves its rituals and traditions?  That's right - World Champions.  11 times.  Last fall, I had the privilege of being with friends in a bar near Busch Stadium when we won game 7.  Though I've never seen that many people in one place at one time, it was by far one of the coolest things I've ever seen.  Because that night - the night we won our 11th championship - St. Louis was the best city in the world.  I knew that while everyone celebrated, no one was going to set cars on fire, or trash the bar, or throw trash on the baseball field.  Because Cardinals' fans don't do that.  It's why Sports Illustrated and other sports-related media consistenly call Cardinal fans "the best fans in sports."  As for the calls you claim to have heard to have Mike Matheny fired?  Pretty sure those were all in your own head.

So, Mister Irrelevant, I'd say you certainly are.  Because while you're happy to have escaped us, I'm happy to live here.  I wasn't born here or raised here.  I moved here to go to college, got a job, met my husband, and here we stay.  All of those things you seem to hate about it here, I love.  Here are the reasons why St. Louis is a Wonderful, Fabulous Place to Be...
1) Roots - Didn't grow up here, I am a transplant.  Married a local boy who has virtually his entire family within a 2 hour drive.  I have come to love the roots that people plant here because it gives us history and feels like home.  I never had roots anywhere, but here, I've planted some.
2) The cost of living - we do not live in a big house.  But it's a house, with a yard, a garage, and a safe neighborhood.  Our most affluent areas and most expensive homes rarely top $1,000,000.  That's a mansion around here.  With a big lot, in the most sought-after areas.  I think our average house price is somewhere around $250,000.  And that will likely get you a 3 or 4 bedroom house with a basement, 2 car garage, in a great school district.  In D.C., what does that get you?  A 1-bedroom condo?  I'm proud of the fact that my husband and I can afford our home, our car, and our bills and not go into financial freefall to also go out to dinner.
3) The values.  I will take the midwest values over that of your fine, cultural city any day.  I'm sure there are wonderful people in D.C., but since I haven't been there since I was 15, I won't attack your city.  We are a forgiving people, a kind city, and full of old fashioned values that I believe in.  I am proud of that. 

I wasn't born here, but this is home.  Part of that home is those World Champion Cardinals - that, by the way, stomped your Nationals into next season.  See you in 2013, Mister Irrelevant!