Mother’s Day 💔💜

After we got through security this morning, Kevin & I found a restaurant to grab a bite to eat before boarding our plane. My eyes were already red from the many tears. Toni, the server introduced herself with a fantastic energy and asked, “Are you a Mom?!” Tears instantly filled my eyes. Kevin threw his arm around me and said, without skipping a beat, “Yes she is,” before I could even process the magnitude of that question. Toni immediately followed with a huge, “Happy Mother’s Day!!” 

Yeah, it took the entire 3.5 hour flight to recover from that. 

It should be a happy Mother’s Day. My arms should be filled with the physical joy of Hallie. My heart should be filled with so many shared memories already. Yet reality is that our arms are glaringly empty, my first Mother’s Day is spent in “what ifs,” a desperate ache over so many missed moments. This milestone has hit me harder than anything else has to date. 

I opened my email today to find a letter from my best friend, Hallie’s Aunt. She wrote it to Hallie on this Mother’s Day, without ever telling me she was doing it. It’s so beautiful. She will kill me for sharing this, she hates attention like that but the thing I love more than anything about her is how she keeps Hallie’s name alive everyday for me. This letter is exactly what I needed today. Here’s the letter: 

Hallie girl, 

It’s your mom’s FIRST Mother’s Day! Wow – the things I feel for your sweet mama when I say that out loud. The contrasting emotions I feel when I think about what today is like for her…

I cannot begin to understand how surreal days like today must feel for your mama. You are her pride and joy. The dream she and your dad dreamt of for so long. You’re the dream us family and friends had no clue how badly we needed so we could keep your sweet mom here on earth with us. You’re the dream that will allow the beautiful souls who belong so perfectly with your mom and dad and need their love so greatly, find their way into your mom and dad’s heart and life. 

My letter to you today Hallie, is to thank you. Thank you for being the blessing that turned my best friend into a mom. Thank you for being her first daughter, her guardian angel, her guide, her inspiration. Thank you for most importantly being her greatest gift of life. 

In my eyes Hallie, Mother’s Day is a celebration of life. Celebrating a Mother’s life and how unconditionally loving, strong, supportive, and gentle a mother is. Your mom is every single one of those things and so much more. Our lives would not be the same without her or without you and today is certainly a celebration of you giving her the gift of a long purposeful life. The gift of becoming a mother, the gift of a growing family, the gift of being here to fulfill her dreams. 

I know you already know this but she is your doting mother. She talks about you and dreams about you just as all mothers do their children. She celebrates you. She honors you. She works to make you proud and know you are loved.

I think of you every day so I can only imagine how often your mom thinks of you. Every minute. Every second. I’m sure. I see you in all the beauty of life. I know you are with us. You’re the rainbow, the butterfly, the cardinal, the rosary I find in a drawer I know I didn’t last leave it, you are the sunshine and the soft wind that comes out of no where when every thing seems so still. You are the sparkle in your mom’s eye. I never got to meet you here on earth but I feel you. And because you are your mom’s daughter, I’m lucky to know you. 

Thank you for knowing that your mom’s greatest moments are ahead of her and for coming into her life so she may have the opportunity to fulfill her dreams and live a long, healthy, full life. You, her daughter, are her greatest gift and we all cannot thank you enough for what that means to each of us. 

Today while I know part of her is hurting, I pray you help her find a way to smile and be proud of the exceptional mom she is. I pray you two take a moment to celebrate your amazingly intertwined life together. I pray you help her celebrate how greatly each of you fulfills each other. I pray you and your mom celebrate the beautiful bond you two will always have. I pray that you two celebrate that she welcomed you into all of our lives and you kept her in all of our lives. 

Know that every single day we have your mom is a celebration of you. Today, as much as we anticipated you would physically be here helping to celebrate your mom, know that I’m smiling thinking of what she means to you and what she does for you. Mother’s Day is a little extra special this year knowing your mom is healthy and here to celebrate. I know you’re watching over her extra today. On her first Mother’s Day, I celebrate what she means to you. I celebrate her mission to spread your legacy. I celebrate knowing her daughter is watching over her and guiding her on the beautiful journey that’s ahead of her. 

Thank you for being your mom’s greatest gift. Hope you and your mom have an extra special day, Hallie. 

Love, 

Auntie Hilary 

Don’t worry, I cried like crazy too. 💔💜 

Thank you all for holding us so closely today. Thank you for all the sweet messages and the flowers. These missed milestones are the worst. While there are too many names to list, Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there who have played huge roles in our lives, including our very own Moms. We wouldn’t be here without you. We are so lucky have the village that we do. And to all of our good friends who are Mamas and have gone out of their way to keep me included, I am so grateful for each of you. And to my Mama, nothing I write could come close to capturig your sacrifice, how you’ve walked alongside us through this nightmare. Being on both sides of the coin now as a daughter and a mom, I’m starting to truly appreciate your magnitude of sacrifice, the way you love us so fiercely. The whole reason I ever wanted to be a Mom was because I had a Mom like you.

And to you, sweet Hallie girl, thanks for making me a Mom. I will never forget the day I found out about you and the amount of joy we had. Someday I hope to be able to appreciate that genuinely again. You will always be the beautiful girl that made me a Mom. I would give anything to hold you today. 

Someday. 💔


Tri City Classic

Yesterday my high school teammate Randi & high school friend Brian, now the Head Coach at North, combined forces to honor us at the Tri City Classic. 4 teams (Geneva, Batavia, East & North), all rivals, coming together for us. It was humbling! How cool are those shirts too?! I will tell you that people like this, nights like last night – it’s the continued reminder that we are going to be ok. The continued support has been so clutch in our healing, in our ability to move forward. We have such incredible people in our lives! We continue to find so much comfort in people’s willingness to keep Hallie’s name at the forefront too. I know it’s not easy but we so, so appreciate it! 

It was also such a blast watching high school sports again. Man, it takes you right back. Randi and I were joking that we watch these talented girls play, and in our minds we are able to do the same thing still but then if we actually got on the field? Not a chance, ha! We are getting old! There have been so many blessings in this insane season of our life, and one I continue to be most thankful for is the reconnection of friendships like this. Brian & Randi, thank you so much for making this happen! 

Thank you also to the Geneva, Batavia, East & North girls soccer programs. It was such a kind act of support on your behalf, we are forever grateful! It was so fun to watch you all play too. Impressive play!  

I think this is the first picture Kevin & I have taken together in a long time. Those smiles are real, thanks to all of you.

Good luck to your squad Big B in the postseason. I’d like to think you guys have Hallie on your side for a heck of a run! Go North Stars! 

Forever grateful, 

Kevin & Beef 

Lightning Round! 

Hello all! In the absence of anything deep to write about today, I figured I’d do a throwback to chemo rounds when I’d do 12 random thoughts on my mind as an update from the Hart world! 

1. You all saw, we got a puppy! We are equal parts crazy and totally justified in doing so. I’ll spare you the why, but you must know this puppy is the BEST! Come meet little Bear, your heart will melt!! 

2. Now that I’m getting more acclimated to “real life” I find myself struggling with time in the worst way. It’s as if my life hit pause on October 20th and now that I’ve hit unpause it’s like I’m stuck in that season. I kid you not, a Christmas song came on my iTunes shuffle and I thought for a second, “Christmas is soon!” No, Beef, it’s May! I have 100 other examples I could share. It’s the weirdest phenomenon! 

3. We had what was probably our most chaotic week last week since probably that week I was diagnosed. It was insanity on so many different levels but we survived! The most exciting (but the craziest part) was, in 6 days, we competed 11 hours of online training + filling out nearly 100 pages of paperwork for ADOPTION!  

4. We have a long way to go in the adoption process but that tiny twinge of hope we feel in our hearts is something we haven’t felt in a long, long time. 

5. It is so fun talking children again. I truly mean fun. I never knew how much we took it for granted the first time we started to prepare for a family. We talk about Hallie a lot and there is a lot of sadness weaved in but adoption has brought us back hope. I keep going back to that word! 

6. Going back to that time phenomenon – it was last year at this time that we were preparing to start a family. This exact time. And now here we are again, in a whole different capacity. Here we are saying again, “let’s take a vacation!” This time it is to savor precious alone time, which is even more precious now. This time it’s also after beating cancer. It’s so hard to comprehend! Trust me, I lived it! But it is so hard to comprehend. 

7. In choosing to find hope, it makes me realize that we sure got it right in naming Hallie, Hallie Hope, didn’t we? 

8. Yesterday I was taking a snooze with the puppy and I woke up to ringing in my ears and my fingers tingling. I found myself so frustrated. Cancer, it’s still haunting me! I got up, put on my running shoes and ran one mile. I didn’t stop once, ran the entire thing for the first time. It HURT. But when I was done, it’s like I had this moment that I finally understood what #halliestrong means. The moments where you have every right to complain, but you don’t. You act, because she can’t. You live, because she didn’t get too. That’s my #halliestrong! 

9. I am not there yet mentally but we can’t wait to start to honor Hallie in a formal way. I have ideas and admittedly this isn’t my strong suit, so if you have resources or know anything about starting scholarships/foundations, please let me know!! 

10. We are keeping ourselves busy these days. Mostly because we can. So much time to make up for! So much to work through. Days involve about 100 different emotions. I have to keep realizing how thankful I am that we GET to work though the hard parts, together. Some people don’t get that. 

11. Right now I also live by milestones. Like when I took my hat off for the first time (thanks Chitowners!). Some are joyful (considering), some are awful. Mother’s Day, that’s my next huge hurdle. If I say it out loud, sometimes it makes it easier. So there you go. 

12. A poor girl at Yelp today said to me, “Your hair is so cool. You have the facial features to really pull it off.” I of course thanked her, assuming she knew my story and was giving me the necessary compliment. And then she said, “were you scared to do it?” Finally! Someone who didn’t know my story! I had this moment of torment – torn between laughing because it is pretty funny and then wow, if I tell my story this poor girl will feel AWFUL! So, after some serious internal debate and I’m sure a seriously awkward pause, I responded with a, “Nope!” I guess I’m ok with that girl thinking I’m just a fearless badass. If only she knew that day! 

Have a great week! 

Beef