Thursday, May 29, 2014

Family ties

My closet is a mess. Really. It has been for years, and it's way up high on my list of projects to tackle this summer, when I'm not in professional development courses or soaking up free time with Cooper and Katie.

It's an emotional minefield in there, partly because the closet still contains much of Steve's wardrobe. (I have donated some items.) And partly because the closet still contains clothes -- way in the back -- that I wore from when Steve and I were first married, items he bought me, items that recall special memories.

(I know that this admission must make crazy my most organized friends, my friends who sort through and toss out items every six months. I'm sorry.)

The closet includes Steve's colorful tie collection.

Now that Cooper is just about 6 feet tall, he needs adult ties. The child ones are too short. Instead of shopping, we can forage through Steve's stuff.

Cooper tonight performed in the Pioneer Heritage band concert. His band's final number was a jazzy tune, "Blast from the Past," and his director requested that musicians wear snazzy hats and sunglasses. And boys were allowed to wear fun ties, instead of the usual dress black.

Doesn't he look smashing in his daddy's tie?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Head for the Cure 2014

Uncle Jim, Uncle Greg, Papa and Coop

Bledsoe fifth-grader Riley (supporting Team Stevie, in memory of Stevie Patrick) and Tyra 
Tyra and Cooper

This year's event was extraordinary for many reasons.

1. Katie ran/walked the entire 5K. Before she had only run the 100-yard dash.
2. Cooper completed the race in 24:11, beating last year's by more than three minutes. He came in sixth in his age group, but first among all 12-year-old boys.
3. Katie was joyful the entire event. In previous years, she was understandably emotional and at times despondent.
4. Our team was the most visible, thanks to the super-fun T-shirts designed by our dear friend Jenny Morgan.
5. Our team raised $1,610 for brain cancer research!

Big thanks to our donors!

Alexia Isaak
Amy Forbus
Christina Johnson
Crystal Morris
Gina George
In memory of Steve Damm
James and Betty Damm
Jenny Morgan
Joy Lasley
Julianne Amezcua
Kelli Snyder
Liz Smith
Lucy and Rosella
McKenna Davenport and family
Mrs. Cindy Hons
Mrs. Jan Pepper
Ms. Karen M Jackson
Nickel Family
Patricia Stewart
Randy Lasley
Rusty & Jill Yull
Sarah Masters
Shannon Rosenfeld
The Lefflers
The Sweckard Family
The Warhoftigs
Tonia Waller
Tyra Damm
Vicki Davis

And a big thank you to the Run for Steve Damm team!

  • Joy Lasley
  • Randy Lasley
  • Tyra DammCAPTAIN
  • Cooper Damm
  • Jana Shilson
  • Katie Damm
  • Katrina Watland
  • Jay Woody
  • Jakob Woody
  • Eva Woody
  • Jennifer Baumgardner
  • Alyssa Ross
  • Julianne Amezcua
  • Ally Amezcua
  • Maddie Amezcua
  • Mia Amezcua
  • Lisa Tanner
  • Laura Tanner
  • Rick Davis
  • Vicki Davis
  • Julie Spears
  • Adam Spears
  • Brenda Buck
  • Melane Woodbury
  • Gregory Woodbury
  • Brooke Woodbury
  • Molli Woodbury
  • Jenny Morgan
  • Luke Morgan
  • MIke Morgan
  • Miller Spessard
  • Julie Spessard
  • Kelli Snyder
  • Kanya Deering
  • Logan Deering
  • Liz Smith
  • Sally Sims
  • Noe Smith
  • Vahn Phollurxa
  • Teresa Oostenbrug
  • James Damm
  • Melody Ruddell

This list represents family members, best of friends, friends from church, friends from Bledsoe Elementary, longtime neighbors, friends of friends, one of my Dallas Business Journal colleagues from 1992-93. This list is a small peek into the kind people who continue to surround our family and who remind us of what love looks like.

Here are a few photos of the joy from the day.

Cooper, Katie and I arrived by 6:30 to set up our table in Team Village and greet team members.

Noe and Katie, best friends since birth

Most of the Run for Steve Damm team

Even more members represented here

Gracie D. and Katie

Vahn, Logan and Kanya

Noe, Katie and Mia
Go, team, go! 
Adam, after some hard running

Speedy Bledsoe runners Brenda and Kelli

Adorable cousins Molli and Katie, with Aunt Mel and Uncle Greg behind

Coop, Uncle Jim and track-star cousin Brooke

Jordan and Katy O

Jenny and Katrina

Tyra, Lizzy and Julianne

Holy Covenant people

Laura and Lisa 
Cooper and birthday girl Betty

Friday, May 9, 2014


My bathroom, which used to be our bathroom, has two sinks. One is "mine." The other is "Steve's."

In life without Steve, I have taken over both sinks. My sink is the hair and makeup sink. Steve's sink is the dental care and hand-washing sink. Some jewelry has migrated over there.

For four and a half years, I've kept Steve's final toothbrush in the toothbrush holder at his sink. I've kept the toothbrush I last used while he was alive. Plus I've rotated in many, many new-then-old toothbrushes for me.

I didn't keep the vintage 2009 toothbrushes for any specific reason. I wasn't trying to trick myself into believing in a way of life long gone. I simply found comfort in an everyday Steve object.

Tuesday night, as I was cleaning Steve's sink, I paused and looked at the assemblage of toothbrushes. I took a mental picture. Then I plucked up the old brushes and placed them gingerly in the trash can.

Now it's just new brushes -- one for my adult teeth and one for the three miniature baby teeth that refuse to budge from my middle-age mouth.

I'm not going to lie. Those two empty spaces are difficult. I briefly considered rummaging through the trash Wednesday morning to retrieve the old brushes.

Steve, of course, can't be found in an old toothbrush or an old sweater (though I still have plenty of those). Yet I catch glimpses of him all over. When Katie leaps out of her chair in the middle of a dignified tea party to lip-sync songs from Frozen. When Cooper runs with impossibly long legs. When we hear Aaron Copland or ZZ Top.

We've got so much more of life to experience, despite the holes. So we keep on going.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Steve at 22. Cooper at 12.

Steve, age 22, May 1991; Cooper, age 12, May 2014
Liz Wohl, who graduated the University of Michigan with Steve in 1991, shared this Steve photo with me again today. It's one of my all-time favorite Steve photos and was taken about six months before we first met (in the NT Daily office, when Steve was visiting Will). 

This time when I looked at it, I was instantly reminded of Cooper and this photo, taken last Thursday.

Steve was six-foot-one in this photo. Cooper is five-foot-eleven -- just two inches shy of his daddy's full height. I expect we have a few more years of growing.

(I wonder if Cooper will ever wear as much hair product as his daddy did way back then. For now, Coop is firmly against.)

When I showed Coop the photos side by side, he smiled big, then laughed, then said, "Wow. That is amazing. Simply amazing."