Thursday, April 19, 2007

A few good men (or, the one with the gummy bears)

Hello everyone,

Once in a while I just get overwhelmed with how much love surrounds our family. I don't know what we would do without the special people in our lives. I'm feeling sentimental and want to acknowledge some wonderful guys. Everybody knows that Sahara has the best dad in the world, but there are some others I want to mention today!

My brother-in-law, John Bruenderman, has been there for me basically since the day I was born. He and my sister Sandy have always treated me as if I was their own. Johnny is such a great man, mild mannered and calm, with the patience of at least two saints. Sahara and he have such a tight bond - I think she wrapped him around her finger the first moment he saw her. Johnny's the kind of guy who can build or fix just about anything, and God knows he has done that for us about a million times. This past weekend he did so again. He built a ramp for the door that leads into our garage, so we can get Sahara to the car without having to take her out of the wheelchair. (Our house has too many steps!) Thank you, Johnny, for once again coming to our rescue. You are amazing and we love you so much!

My nephew, Darrin Bruenderman (son of my sister and the above-mentioned awesome brother-in-law), is 13 months younger than me. We were together so much when we were growing up that many people thought we were brother and sister. Most of the time Darrin told his friends I was his cousin, because saying I was his aunt just sounded silly. Plus, I would've slugged him for calling me Aunt Amy. LOL. We have always been close, but even moreso since Sahara got sick. He's logged as many hours as I have scouring the internet and looking for answers, trying to find the miracle we need. He was with me the day I made contact with MD Anderson and got things rolling towards Houston. He researched the Burzynski Clinic too, and we had a lot of discussions about it before Shannon and I made it our Plan B. Darrin and his wife Jill are simply some of the best people on the planet, and we love them and their five kiddos dearly. Today is Darrin's birthday, and a milestone one at that. :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Darrin! I love ya!

The third man I want to mention is Frank Ellis. There's a situation going on in Cape right now that has really saddened our family. Mr. Ellis is the principal at Central Middle School, and the school board has decided not to renew his contract for next year. I want to get on my soap box for a moment, because I know a lot of people in Cape will read this blog. Our family's personal experience with Mr. Ellis began in 1999, when Sahara began Kindergarten at Alma Schrader Elementary School. He was such a great principal...always there at every school event, keeping a close eye on "his kids", earning the love and respect of the students. Always accessible, always easy to talk to and always willing to listen. He was a strong disciplinarian, and boy, did he ever make an impression on Sahara when she got busted for swiping gummy bears out of a jar on her Kindergarten teacher's desk when no one was in the room. Ahem. (Hey, she thought they were free!!! LOL.) Sahara absolutely adores Mr. Ellis. She basically became the principal's pet, which is downright embarrassing. Sometimes he had to shoo her away and make her go play with her friends during recess...she enjoyed spending her time chatting with him and following him around the school grounds. We were so pleased when Mr. Ellis became principal of the Middle School, and Sahara was thrilled. He has worked hard to make the Middle School something to be proud of - and the two years that Sahara spent there, for 5th and 6th grade, were two of the BEST years of her life so far. She and her friends all love Mr. Ellis - he is such a great guy and always had the ability to get on the students' level. He has become a dear friend of our family, and he and his sweet wife were there with us in that tiny hospital room last July when Sahara began her journey. We love you, Mr. Ellis, and we will always be in your corner.

We may have a lot to deal with these days, but wow, we are blessed.

With love,