Today would have been Jordyn's Ride 2008. Jordyn's Ride is a charity motorcycle ride that was dreamed up by my husband to support our niece, Jordyn, who was battling leukemia back in 2006. The money raised was donated to Jordyn and other brave children in our area that were fighting cancer. Jordyn's Ride was executed by Joe on the front end, in charge of all things public and visible, and me the back end, in charge of all the logistics/details/administration to make sure the ride happened. I can honestly say that neither of us knew what we were doing when we started this....and we mostly made it up as we went along. It was not perfect and we were learning and we were driven ONLY by one thing, and that was to help Jordyn and other kids like her. We had a lot of plans for the future of Jordyn's Ride.
There were lots and lots of people that helped to make it happen and many of those people worked very hard and were extremely dedicated and personally affected.
There is so much to say about this topic and I can't even begin to do it justice here. However, one thing that is pertinent to this blog is that this project is one that Joe and I worked as a team on and it was something that bound us together very tightly. I don't know how to describe how we enjoyed working together on this, even amidst the stresses that arose. We would get a babysitter and have meetings outside of our house to plan the event, and people would say to us "Can't you just do that after you put the kids to bed?" or "Can't you just do that planning at home?"...And he and I would look at each other and say "No" and only the two of us would know why and neither one of us would even dream of trying to explain it. I loved working on this with him.
The other thing about Jordyn's Ride is something that I want to write down because I never, ever want to forget it. The first year we did this- and again, we were completely flying by the seat of our pants- at the very beginning of the ride Joe decided he would call all the bikers together to make a little speech. I stepped out from behind my table and walked so I could see. There I saw my husband standing at the front of the crowd, sunglasses on his head, Jordyn's Ride Tshirt on, happiness on his face. He had all of the riders attention as he talked about the ride and the ride route with excitement in his voice. As I watched him I felt like the luckiest woman the world to be married to this guy. His presence was so awesome; full of confidence and spontaneity and goodness and a willingness to try new things in the hopes that maybe, just MAYBE, it might work and we might be able to do something worthwhile. I have always carried that vision of him from that morning of the first ride with me since the moment it happened. I tried to explain to him many times how proud of him I was and how much I loved him for all the goodness that was inside him.
That morning as he made that little speech I fell in love with him fully and totally, all over again, after knowing him for 10 years. I don't really have the words to explain it properly.
After the riders were back and the festivities were over, Joe and I would leave and go away for the night to celebrate his birthday. This also was a very special time for us. It extended our bond so that we could relax and enjoy each other without returning immediately back to our house and kids and more responsibilty. Those were special times for us.
Thank you mom for watching the kids for 3 days straight each time so that we could do what we needed to do for the Ride and also to be able to de-stress and unwind after it all. That was a real gift to us.
This year Jordyn's Ride will go on in June. Joe's family and friends will be organizing it. I wont be involved this year.
On another topic- tomorrow, May 4, is Joe's birthday. I have struggled with this for weeks. What do I DO on that day? I would wonder. It felt so painful. However, in the past couple of days I have come to a small amount of peace after so much thought on the topic. I will describe how I feel now the way I will describe it to my kids when they ask me about it tomorrow, as they surely will. To them I will say:
"Yes, today is daddy's birthday. It is sad, isn't it that he's not here?...and it hurts because we miss him so much. BUT we are HAPPY that daddy was born 38 years ago because he was the BEST daddy in the world. We love daddy's birthday because we love daddy. We are grateful that he was born. Without his birthday there would have been no daddy, so today we can still feel happy that he was born, even though we are sad he is not still with us".
And finally, to George and Diane: I can not imagine your pain and I am so sorry for all the sorrow that comes with this day. However, please know I am deeply and eternally grateful that you gave life to this baby who grew up to be such a wonderful man, and the father to my children. He was a person beyond words, as are all of your children. I love each one of them. Thank you for each of their birthdays. ~Robin