Babywearing with Jess


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Why Dads Babywear – Reasons from Dads…

When we had this conversation and brain storm about the best way to convince less than enthusiastic Dads to get on board with the idea of babywearing this time last week and I made a ‘sub-par’ attempt at a mind map for an infographic which James just blew off immediately, we had no idea this is where it would take us less than seven days later…

This time last week, Thursday morning is when I schedule my “office time” particularly for writing and certain other projects.. and I spent all day writing, but it was completely off topic from where I planned and all about what it means to be a “man”…

 

After exploring into research about PND and just how many Dads are also affected by perinatal mood disorders and it got me thinking in a somewhat random direction…

I wanted to try and find a way to get more Dads on board with this concept of being more hands on, or I guess specifically, carriers on, with their kids… There are so many benefits.. I wanted to find a way to get that message across more successfully.

 

The Why Dads Babywear – 100 Reasons from Dads project was NOT a result of all that effort I put in hahaha it was the result of my husband dismissing the stuff I had worked on because it “sounded like a mum trying to write from a Dads perspective” (yep that’s a certain limitation I am stuck with hahah) and it also “just sounded like YET another mum telling a Dad what to do”… hahah

 

So in a bit of debate and discussion I replied, “well, you’re a Dad, why the f&*k do you babywear then?!”

 

His response, quoted as reason number one, was “so they don’t run off and cause shit when I have stuff to do.”

 

Kinda typical with a toddler the age of ours in the house.

 

I snapped back, “Well what do you want me to do with that? Put it on a f&*king poster?!?!”

 

“You could… It might make a good poster..” he replied.

 

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He was being a bit facetious but it gave me an idea… so I made one, almost just to be a bit of a dick…

Then I asked a friend, and fellow consultant to get her husband to do the same (thanks Sandy & David & Aoife from SnugLove Babywearing and their friends Kenny & Karyn & Ezra who also helped us out x) and then posted the three of them on my Facebook page and shared it in a few babywearing related and educator groups I am in on Facebook asking if they would be happy to do the same.

 

I hoped in the best case scenario I could draw together maybe 30 or so of these and then to print them at a photo shop to use as a resource in workshops and consults with reluctant Dads there…

 

Well… Wow…

 

Less than seven days later and we have been so overwhelmed with the support and enthusiasm we have seen others sharing for this message since then..

 

In less than 24 hours we had nearly 50 reasons from Dads and photos…

 

Blown out of the water but also entertaining and celebrating our eldest sons 4th birthday party at the tramp park local to us the same day, we were even more shocked to watch more and more people share it and submissions, photos, comments and quotes get flooded to us from all over the world in our absence!

 

Less than 48hs in & I said to James, “Shit babe I think this might go on forever! There are sooooo many I am getting sent right now…”

“The point was less words babe. We have to stop at some point or no one will read them” was his incredibly useful ‘dad’ insight at that point…

So we started to ‘get picky’ about our favourites for the last 50 or so because when we realised how much love this was getting, we had to put a finish number on it… An endless amount of me making posters of Dads babywearing and their reasons was not going to help our family buy groceries next week..

We ‘co-share’ child care roles, well James has less hours on his freelance projects at the moment so he is pretty much a stay at home Dad, we have a separate cottage/outhouse/sleep out at the bottom of our property that we take turns working out of among other things… but I, Jess, am the main bread winner right now, if I am not earning money, we don’t get luxuries the following week… so if I spend all day making posters and trying delete trawlers and hater trolls being dicks to the families featured, I am not making any money, so hopefully you get my point…

 

And we tried to include as many of you amazing Dads as we could and wait for as many people who we contacted hoping to feature and other who told us they wanted to be included but needed to dig up their favourite photo and we even did a collage at the end to try and capture more…

 

But do you know what, I have no idea how many we missed… And examples of amazing fathers and father figures and male role models wearing slings and carriers to care for their children just keep coming…

 

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We did receive this exact phrase and many variations of in in the last few days, countless numbers of them even! And as a carrier avid family who literally survive balance working from home and co-sharing care giver roles, we whole heartedly agree! Hence why I finished our Facebook 100 Reasons Dads Babywear on it ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

And we love this celebration of fatherhood, of active and positive male role models, of involving our children in our lives instead of pausing it for them that we want to continue it… (but we also want to eat more than just the food we grow in the garden haha)

 

So we have thought of two ways to celebrate this project and concept and message more…

 

First is a print edition.

 

I initially envisaged printing this as an educational resource, as one version for myself… Potentially I thought it could be used to help babywearing and sling educators, groups and organisations around the world conquer the hesitate some dads have to getting on board with using these tools… I imagined they might download a small Facebook album and print it as photos themselves…But the dad jokes are strong and the “mum porn” an obvious draw card haha so who knows where this will take us.. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Our initial print run will be VERY small. We will need waivers & more details from everyone (please see this downloadable PDF form here waiver-form) and that probably means not all of our 100 dads featured on the Facebook album will be able to be signed off as one of our main featured 100…

We also want to include and feature as many babywearing dads from all over the world as we can for feature art even if we can’t fit you all in the 100 reasons so if you are keen to be involved in any aspect of that project, fill in the form and email it to us at whydadsbabywear@gmail.com

We are so f&*king excited about this! What an amazing ride guys, thank you for letting us be part of it!!

 

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OMFG this is sooooo exciting!!!! Do you know what we are looking at?! Printing samples!!!! For our OWN book run from the publishers!!! Holy heck ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Why Dads Babywear – 100 Reasons from Dads is going to be an actual book!!!!

 

The other element to this now ongoing project, is we don’t want to be exclusive about only celebrating a certain “top 100”, the Facebook album grew organically as we received them and we know we missed some of you amazing dads out there…

 

But Babywearing with Jess and the services and workshops I run in Auckland, New Zealand, is the way we earn money to buy what we need each week and cover our bills…If we continue to keep celebrating this there, our kids are going to complain and whinge to a degree that strapping them to us isn’t really going to help at some point haha

 

So we love that you are supporting and following along with us there but to free up business operations some, we need to move it on to continue the party…

 

 

Hello, Why Dads Babywear ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Follow us along on Instagram if you are there, we will continue to share highlights and “most populars” with you on Babywearing with Jess (as well as the sometimes poor attempts at humor, general family life shit and hopefully sometimes helpful and useful content about slings and carriers) and would love to continue receiving your messages, quotes and pictures… Even more so, we are excited to get to have a print version celebrating awesome Dads all over the world, hopefully available for you guys in time for Christmas!!!!!!!!!

Any questions, feedback, suggestions, anything at all about this project, just shoot us an email at whydadsbabywear@gmail.com so at least I can share the load of the content creation stuff more with James hahah

 

 

For me, its now back to business, I have a workshop on Monday, I almost forgot haha ๐Ÿ˜‰

https://www.facebook.com/babywearingwithjess/events/

 

 

 


 

waiver-form

 

We didn’t really plan for this process or amazing outcome, we love how many of you jumped on board… When it comes to actually making a print version though we need to make sure we have a completed waiver and submission of the photo, quote and extra details..

 

On this form it asks for details of photographer, featured person and child guardian, in some causes the same person maybe all three. That is ok, just do it three times… we are just dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s here guys… any issues or questions, feel free to shoot us an email us at whydadsbabywear@gmail.com

 

Also don’t forget to include a copy of your image when you send us your form!!

 

Thanks again for helping us celebrate both fatherhood and slings and carriers guys x


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The big black cloud that follows me…

There is a big black cloud that follows me along life in recent years… Like a storm front, it builds momentum and ramps up covering me in darkness sometimes, unable to see through it.

That sounds dramatic but its how it feels. Since my Dad died five years ago, the grief and loss I have been like the surf at the beach for me. The nature and extent of which I feel them changes, it isn’t just my Dad I have lost.. In the time I have been writing this blog alone my Nanna (Dad’s Mum) has passed away, I have had a miscarriage and lost three friends along the journey.

Like the surf, sometimes momentum builds. The waves crash and its like that cloud is over me again. Sometimes there is indicators and warnings, like anniversaries or events I know are going to trigger loss…

Other times there is no warning or reason at all. Like this morning.. I just woke up feeling sad… Before we had even had a morning coffee I was crying about something I wished I could tell Andy (a friend of ours we lost this year..)

While talking to the boys and changing Jai’s nappy, I started crying at the significance of their names and how I couldn’t tell my Nanna we put Percival in his name.. I know how special she thought it was that Josh’s middle name was Grahame, my Dad’s name.

And before I knew it I was screaming at James and the kids because no one could find the keys and because I felt pissed that the burden of responsibility of finding them was placed on me. I just wanted to send a few emails, I was just pissed off.

And now they aren’t here and I can’t remember who it even was I was meant to email. I just feel overwhelmed with sadness.

I guess sometimes I just feel like I need space to feel things without having someone there to feel like they are interrupting me…

I wrote this last week, not even realising what the date was or thinking about the fact I was probably feeling sensitive to things because of the looming anniversary.

Grief is an all consuming beast. ย Theย death of someone close to you doesn’t ever really “heal”, I guess you just sometimes get better at coping with it, though sometimes you don’t… I guess sometimes you come to learn the warning signs and signals, like the date, but clearly, six years later, i still get that one wrong too…

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Launching paper boats for Dad with the boys..

I think we too often forget that grief doesn’t only come with death. I have grieved many processes, ideas and plans over the last few years not just people.. When we were landed smack bang into huge legal proceedings unexpectedly, I think all of us involved in that shit show grieved in some way or another. When after 18 months of blood, sweat and tears sunk into this fight, some of us grieved the end of it, it just fizzled out in the end.. we all had the “you won” call but it certainly didn’t feel like there was any winners…
Not that long later we were grieving one of our own who we lost along the way. Grief is complex and it’s messy and it’s difficult. It’s multilayered and multifaceted and sometimes it jumps up and surprises you.

I don’t think it really ever goes away.. Well that’s not my experience.. It just changes. And life happens. And further grief will happen… Its always hard, its always kind of raw…

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When our friend passed away, he left behind a four year old daughter and his partner.

Empathizing big time with these guys, I just wanted to do anything I could to help. I searched out resources and books people recommended in these cases once again, I had already been through the same process looking for books for my own kids that related to my dad and death in a way that might help them understand.

Skylight Trust is a great place for resources for the record and Old Huhu is a great book which is a favorite in this house. The first time I saw it was actually on a Playcentre visit when Josh brought it up to me to read and I turned into this sobbing mess of a random mother in the corner unable to control my emotions about how beautiful the book was.

But one of the things people said to me in this time again like the prior, that really doesn’t sit well with me, “your children will lift you up through your grief”…

I call bullshit.

Yes they give me a reason to try and battle through it. They give me a reason to try and get a more positive perspective on things. They give me a reason to keep sharing stories of my Dad, another reason to keep his memory alive. But they certainly don’t lift me up through it.

In fact, I feel like sometimes they pause me processing it.

When I had a miscarriage and the grief storm clouds really closed the horizon for a while there for me again, I had to hide from Josh to feel like I could process things. You can’t really be a blubbering mess in the corner the same way when you are caring for kids…

And yes, it is good not to get stuck in the blubbering mess stage but sometimes you need some of that. I feel like if I can feel it, like experience it, then it’s the first step to acknowledging it. To processing the emotions…

Well I am not a mental health expert but that is my take on it anyway…

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Beautiful sunset tonight โค


Launching paper boats for Dad on the third anniversary of his death, conciding with Josh’s first birthday party…

Skylight Trust is national not for profit trust that enables children, young people, their family/whanau and friends to navigate through times of trauma, loss and grief – http://skylight.org.nz/

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/nov/01/grief-is-so-overpowering-it-consumes-you-readers-on-death-and-dying


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Births, deaths and marriages…ย 

My eldest turns four today. But this time of year was preoccupied with a different anniversary before he arrived..

Happy birthday Joshy!! 

The second of November is the anniversary of my Dad’s death. It is six years this year. Six years ago since my Dad had a mild stroke, scaring us all, he was at the hospital at was meant to be discharged on the morning of the second of November. I spoke to him and Mum while they were in the hospital that afternoon.

I remember it so clearly. James was out at the time, I spent maybe close to two hours talking to them both. Telling them all about James asking me to marry him the day prior, how strange it had been that none of us had realised it was mum and dads wedding anniversary the same day he asked me. When James got home I quickly rushed to him, “Omg I just had the best conversation I have had in years with my parents! Dad’s fine he will be released tomorrow…”

It was less than twelve hours later I had the call from Mum…  I knew what she was going to say before she even said it, even though none of us at all expected it. “Jess, sit down, I have to tell you something…”

I just immediately replied, “No way, fuck off! No, no, no, no. Mum he was going home today.”

“Well he’s not. Your Dad has died hunny. We all need to get to Adelaide.”

And like that, the next chapter of my life unfolded….

Less than two years later, I was pregnant with our eldest. When they told me he was due mid November I just knew that wouldn’t be the case… I had been saying the whole time I was pregnant I am so worried he will be born on the anniversary…

One of the last things my Dad ever said to me was, “don’t let me steal your thunder”.. I didn’t want that to hang over Josh his whole life…

It was the 29th October 2012 I went into labour. My birth experience with Josh was nothing at all like that with Jai.. it was a very long drawn out process. My waters broke at maybe 8pm that night, after being excited and nervous about the process I spent the whole night in anxious anticipation instead of trying to get sleep like I could have.

When we called the obstetrician in the morning they where horrified I hadn’t called them earlier, wanted me to hurry to the hospital. I was quite relaxed about the whole thing, in retrospect my labour hadn’t even properly established..
I got to the hospital and checked by a nurse when I arrived, she told me I was 6cm dilated and had to wait to see the obstetrician. They put me in a ward, next to a lady who had a baby that was clearly distressed during labour. They had the heart monitors on and the erratic heart rate was being broadcast through the suite.

Any consistent contractions I was feeling stopped immediately. by the time the obstetrician got there an hour later and checked me she declared, “you are not dilated at all. Your cervix is closed. Are you sure your waters broke?”

Cue the self doubt. Cue the disconnection from my involvement in the process. “I think my waters broke, actually I’m sure they did. I stood up from the toilet and the bath mat was soaked. I even checked, am I pissing myself?! Nope I wasn’t!”

Josh heard the heart monitor too. I am sure if we had not gone to the hospital at that point things would have been totally different. But we did and so things happened the way we did.

After a few hours at the hospital that morning they told me to go home, hang out at home, go for a walk.. I thought we could do just that and so we did. we went home, went for a walk down the road to the video shop. An older couple we came across on the way made some remark about how I looked like I was about to burst… Cue a contraction right in front of them haha

I hadn’t really thought through the fact they would want us back at the hospital. 24 hours after your waters break it is pretty standard medical intervention to put you on antibiotics. I had no idea that didn’t have to mean a drip and was very much of the opinion this was like any other medical procedure and I should do what I was told.
The interventions started then. Gel induction first and an overnight stay. James was asleep on the floor of the hospital room and I just remember him snoring all night and we being so annoyed at him haha Josh was sitting right on my bladder, it was like he tried to desperately crawl back inside me and hide as soon as we got to the hospital. I remember one of the overwhelming things was that I just had to pee everytime I had a contraction, meaning I felt the need to get up and go to the bathroom every 20 mins but stuck in the confines of that set up, there was little I could do to get comfortable.
The next day, still without regular consistent contractions again, the obstetrician decided it was time to start other induction techniques. A few hours later I was on the drip in the birthing ward and the start of trying to bring on false labour.

I had done lots of reading prior to birth. I had told myself, “my birth plan is to get the baby out safely”. I was very much committed to having a ‘natural birth’ but at this point I hadn’t slept or eaten in two days and I was exhausted. I had no idea how much longer this was going to take and I was already mentally fading, getting into a bad place.

I didn’t know much more than this is not good… I need to reframe my thinking. I need a fucking break. I looked at the doctor the next time he walked in the room, “I want to see the anaesthetist, now!”

And I don’t for a second regret that. I had an amazing epidural, what they call a “walking epidural” which was self adminisited, I had a little button to push when I wanted more relief. I could still move around and when the time came for pushing I was still able to get up on my knees which I now know is pretty safe to say the position that works for me in birth.

I managed to get a few hours sleep which made a huge amount of difference. The break from the process meant I was able to eat something, “I haven’t eaten ham and cheese sandwich in 8 months, James you need to find me ham, now!” (I took all the food warnings and rules very strictly the first time around haha).

And a few hours later I remember the doctor coming in again. They had ramped that drip up something crazy, I could see the crazy spikes on the monitor but safely kept my finger very close to that pain relief button. At this point he said, “ok, we only allow for 48hrs after you have started induction before we got to an emergency c-section. That means your time limit is up in a few hours.”

I looked at the clock, you are fucking kidding me, a few hours would be the second of November. “Can you just cut it out now?!” I pleaded with the doctor.

“You’re doing great. It’s not far now. I will come back in a little bit.”

And I remember getting really in my own head at that moment. I was pleading to Dad to help me, “please don’t make him share that date with you Dad. Steal my thunder but not his, please”…

The next time the doctor came back in I was certain, “I’m not doing this anymore. Get me to the operating room, I can’t do this.”

I was lucky enough to have a great obstetrician who assured me I was actually going through transition. It wouldn’t be long till I could push. I had this.
And I did. Once I felt the desire to push, well less of a desire and more of a direct order, hello great epidural, it happened quite quickly. Josh was born about an hour later with lots and lots of coaching help for me from James and the midwife and the doctor.

I had post-partum hemoraged after Josh was born. I lost so much blood, it was like a murder scene. The placental adbruption I had early in my pregnancy had healed itself byby growing massive to reattach. The placenta I had with Josh was as big as he was as an 8 pound baby.

And that was the start of me becoming a mum. The issues breastfeeding, sleeping and coping with this foreign concept of a newborn all happened in the following time and I always seem to forget the anniversary until it’s right there.

This time of year is full of huge emotion for me and it’s a roller coaster. As much as I love that it is the same week that marks the anniversary of James asking me to marry him and our beautiful big kids birthday, I think it will forever be a time patched with huge stormy clouds on the horizon and sunshine through the clouds, prefect rainbow weather…

I love my husband and my big kid and I miss my Dad…

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Our engagement party, 6 years ago โค

 

It wasn’t until today that I realised, maybe the reason I have always planned Josh’s party celebrations so close to his birthday has actually been for me all these years, not for him. Not being surrounded by people and activity, it’s made this process more hard this year I think…

Paper boats tomorrow and maybe while its harder for me, maybe this way Dad is actually stealing less of Josh’s thunder…


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The Grandfather my kids will never get to meet…

Ohh, my dad… ๐Ÿ˜ข I really wasn’t sure how/when/if to blog about this here but I rediscovered an old photo of my Dad wearing me as a tiny newborn and shared it on a babywearing group I am in on Facebook and it got me thinking…

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This is my Dad wearing me, way back in the ’80s..

I love this photo, I really do. It’s like a little link in the parenting journey for me with my Dad. My Nanna, my Dad’s mum, shared this gem of a photo with me after she saw me babywearing my eldest. She passed away two years ago now, and my Dad, well that was a crazy five years ago…

I have in the past blogged about loss and my whole processing of his death; he was progressive in the fact that he was an active Facebook user before he died even all those years ago; he was running businesses as part of a global telecommunications company, Vodafone, so he kind of had to be.

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There are Facebook tribute groups to him, Vodafone set up a special award in his honour (see lower down for a video) and I campaigned for a very long time about the “darker side” of social media after being incredibly upset about how Facebook handled “memorialising” his account in his passing etc (this is all part of a completely different story that totally engulfed me in the two or so years immediately following his death –
http://i.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/western-leader/5170683/Fighting-cyber-bullies).

But I don’t feel the need to rehash this here…

I could rave endlessly about my loss and sadness in his passing but the thing that has stuck me even more since I became a mum was about how much my kids were missing out on with him not around for them to know… My heart aches three fold for him when I think about it even though my kids may never truly know what they are missing out on…

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But I have vivid memories for some reason of friends of mine at school who’s grandparents had passed before their birth and them saying they didn’t like to bring the topic up with their mums or dad’s or ask about that grandparent because it made their parent sad.

 

While it does inherently make me sad, or rather makes my heart heavy to think about my Dad, the last thing I would want is for my sons to be worried about mentioning him or asking about him because it will make me sad or cry. In all reality, the dead and our ancestors can only be passed to us in stories and memories and I just wish I could really do justice to capturing that for them.

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Pa, Nanna & I the day I was born

So this is to my boys, my beautiful kids…

If the impact someone had on the world is the space they leave in their passing, then your Pa had impact and influence beyond that I think even he comprehended.

His funeral was surreal, people flew from all over the world to Adelaide (including your Dad and I) where his body was sent from the Middle East where he and Nanna where living at the time; the place was packed and people even lined the walkways of the massive cathedral the service was in.. The whole thing was recorded with huge television style video cameras to telecast live to other parts of the world..

There were videos played in between the time people spoke, myself and Nanna included.. It was like one last production of Pa’s, like the “road shows”, “launch parties”, or media events he had headed in the past…

Afterwards, the wake, was like a huge party.. After being kicked out of the hotel bar, the “procession” bar hopped around Adelaide Central, getting kicked out of one bar and on to the next.. Just as parties tended to do when your Pa was around.. It truly was a celebration of his life and impact, nothing like a normal funeral at all!

Afterwards, your Dad, Aunty Kate & I flew back to Qatar with your Nanna to help support her sorting out his affairs there.. We stayed for three weeks and attended all kinds of events held in his honour. On the one hand it was strange we had to share our grief with so many other people and all over the world (further memorials were held in every country your Pa had lived and worked in, New Zealand included; his impact here alone is far and wide still to this day…), yet on another, we never felt lonely in our grief.

Still five years later, on his birthday (7/7/1959) or the anniversary of his death (two years and one day after you were born Joshy) people post messages on tribute groups etc and I still now occasionally get random emails from people only just learning of his passing and sending condolences and stories that demonstrate the impact he had on thier lives…

I will never be able to do justice to capturing the man he was for you boys, and if I tried to even write down half of the best stories (riding the Elephant down Queen St is one I do tell you everytime we visit the zoo ๐Ÿ˜), this would turn into a book with multiple chapters which isn’t at all my intention.

I will always make an effort to share stories with you guys, to keep his memory alive.

But for now, you guys are too young to understand; sometimes I start to share a story with you or show you a video of Pa and your interest is very limited but I like to imagine one day you will be interested in this stuff and for then, I wanted to make record of some of this multimedia that is still available…

 

I am sorry you will never get to meet your Pa, I am sorry he is not around to play with you and I worry that the stories you hear won’t ever really do justice to the amazing man he was..

But the one thing we are very lucky to have are all the videos and photos and stories and tributes to him that mark the impact he made on the world and people all over it in the time he was here…

Your Pa was always great with kids; he loved thier energy and enthusiasm, a trait I think I may have inherited from him…

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And when I look at photos on tribute pages to him, the ones featuring other people’s kids really pull at my heart strings because I know just how much he would have loved to play with you guys…

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(I have blocked faces with emojis as these kids are now teenagers and I’m not sure how they would appreciate being featured on my blog ๐Ÿ˜‰)

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He truly lived in the moment your Pa and he filled every moment he had.. He may have only been 51 when he died but he crammed a whole lot more into those years than most of us do in our whole lives..

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And there are times already when one of you has said or done something and Dad and I look at each other and laugh and your Dad will say to me, “that’s a bit of your Dad coming out in them…” ๐Ÿ˜

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He was all about fun your Pa, he made and had fun in everything he did. And in business as much as in life, he pushed boundaries and was all about making an impact or getting a reaction (that’s why there are so many photos and stories of him in silly costumes and dresses, he was known to swap clothes with ladies after a few drinks as wearing a dress is a sure fire way to get a reaction as it turns out!)…

I also love his special affiliation to New Zealand, our home, where you guys were born… โค

He lived life to its full, something we were all reminded to emulate in his passing… This photo is of him and Nanna dancing it up in Thailand the week before he died. He was full of life, right up to the end of his, just the way he would have wanted to be…

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He would have, he does, I’m not sure what tense to use, but the thing I do know is the love, from him to me, to you guys, and the other way back.. You guys have some pretty epic guardian angels over your shoulders through out life, but your Pa, my Dad, he is definately looking down on us all, watching out for us and in his own werid ways, reminding us how proud he is of all of us.

Please don’t be afraid to ask me questions, I will continue to tell you guys stories every chance I get, and know, you are special, just like him, you guys are capable of anything..

And just like him, my love for you, is endless and forever…

xxx