This is the first time in my yearly blog post commemorating my mother that I've been so late in posting it. It's kind of amazing how quickly life catches up, and you realize that you just never put time toward something that is hard, but necessary.
My mother, Kathy, passed away from lung cancer six years ago on June 1, 2015. This series of posts allows me to write to her, informing her of the things she's physically missed within the past year. This is part of my grief process, and it allows me to really connect with the past year of my life.
This is my first time pulling out a summary for the last year, but I feel like this year was worth it.
The COVID-19 Pandemic colored everything we've done for the past year (and more). So, so many people passed away due to either the virus or complications from the virus. It's been a really hard last year to both live through and watch from afar.
Thankfully, the immediate family wasn't as affected as others. That being said, both Austin and Chris had family members pass away as a direct result of the virus, so it absolutely hit us hard. This past year is one to remember, and not for many good reasons. I'll attempt to limit the COVID-talk throughout the recaps and, instead, focus on the good.
- Everything is still cancelled, so no State Track and Field meet this year. This stinks.
- We celebrated Joey graduating from the Career Center the best way we know how: renting a party bus and going on a multi-hour cruise through Medina county. So very proud of Joey for all of his accomplishments.
- Cindy bought a whole bunch of tiki torches in an effort to get me outside more. They keep the bugs away, so they definitely get lots of uses!
- In true COVID style, our July 4th was super laid back. We set up the inflatable slide/pool and spent all day outside with the kids. Exactly what July 4th should be.
- Mandatory Mask Order in Ohio. I completely agree with this, and it was essential to save our hospitals from getting slammed.
- Your best friend, Newton, had to be put down on the day before David's birthday. I like to imagine he's finally hanging out with you, eating all the pizzas he can find. I miss him so much.
- David turns 36! As with everything in 2020, not much going on with it in-person. These past few years have been great for our relationship, however, in the fact that we talk nearly every day, and it regularly moves over to conversations about you. We like to imagine how you would react to certain situations in our lives, and we are sad that you don't get to see our young families growing up.
- Mattie had her first dentist appointment! She's getting seriously so old. She did so great!
- Our little Macie is growing up to be such a unique girl. She loves to make faces on demand, and I've got so many videos of her going from angry, to happy, to sad, and back to angry!
- Six years married with Cindy! We celebrated by taking the family to the Cleveland Zoo for the Asian Lantern Festival. It's a nighttime walkthrough of the Cleveland Zoo with countless lanterns all throughout. We are members of the Cleveland Zoo and make this trip every year.
- Another bullet point for my wonderful wife. Six. Years! Where has the time gone, seriously. I don't know where I'd be without her, but I do know that I wouldn't be half the man I am today.
- Macie turns THREE. When did this happen? She's fights us on every meal, makes funny faces, and falls asleep everywhere.
- One of my favorite nights of the year is the yearly Morris/Kurtz/Prohaska Pumpkin Carving Night. We go pumpkin shopping at a local field, and then we spend all evening carving whatever our heart desires. I used a Dremel this year to create a Script Ohio, and it came out pretty well!
- Tommie is officially no longer a teenager. She's an amazing young woman who busts her ass at all times. She works nearly full time, goes to school full time, and is a D1 athlete at Akron. Oh and she is the best big sisters to the little ones.
- Weird Thanksgiving, again due to COVID. Just the immediate family, as we've all gotten used to. Completely bonkers year.
- Biden defeated Trump. You'd understand my feelings on this pretty explicitly.
- Cindy and I bought a Peloton! This machine is amazing, and the content is even better.
- Mattie turns FIVE! She starts Kindergarten in less than a year. She's an empathetic, fiery redhead who wants to do everything. She's absolutely wonderful.
- Cindy's birthday! As I stated previously, my life wouldn't be nearly as complete as it is with this woman in my life. Love her.
- Ohio State/Michigan was cancelled due to COVID protocols. Sad.
- Weird Christmas, again due to COVID. Again, just the immediate family. I miss the rest of my family so much.
- Joey turns NINETEEN! COVID basically wrecked his entire senior year, but he bounced back, and I couldn't be prouder.
- On January 6th, the United States Capitol in DC was stormed during a riot and violent attack against the U.S. Congress while they were certifying the results of the election. This was gross and as un-American as it comes. You would've been disgusted by this, just as everyone else was.
- In non-political news, Ohio State lost to Alabama in the National Championship Game. I'd be more upset if Alabama wasn't absolutely stacked, and they just absolutely blew us out. More on Ohio State later...
- Both of Austin's paternal grandparents passed away due to COVID, within minutes of each other. It's an absolutely heartbreaking story.
- Got my first vaccination for COVID-19! I'm very thankful to be able to receive this so early.
- Track season started! I'm so thankful to be able to do what I love for another year at Cloverleaf!
- When did Micah turn TWO?! I couldn't imagine life without my little dude. He's an opinionated, loud, and loving. He looks up to his big siblings and follows all of them. He's the quintessential youngest, and he makes sure we all know he's there. Love him.
- The big 3-5 this year. Another year older, but strangely I feel healthier than when I was in my 20s. Probably has something to do with being out of the bachelor lifestyle and living a wonderful life with Cindy and the kids. Speaking of Cindy – she decided this year that I needed a cake with all 35 candles on it. It was a pretty wonderful fire that she created in our house.
- I got promoted to Director at Hyland! I am now in charge of way too many people, and I'm likely in over my head. You'd be so proud of me, regardless.
- Loads of track meets. I'm loving this, and Cindy is a saint for watching the little ones while I'm off doing something I love.
- The weather cleared up pretty nice in April, so we were able to spend a lot of time outside with the kids.
- In terrible news, Chris's father passed away due to complications from COVID. Craig was such a superhero and the truest example of what a father should be.
- The Cloverleaf Girls Track and Field Team captured their first league championship in school history! My throwers scored more than we had planned on, and they both reached or nearly-reached their PRs, so I was very proud of them. The boys earned a hard-fought third place, and my throwers did very well.
- Mattie loves her freckles. She pointed out she has freckles on her hands. Or, as she calls it, "freckles on her neckles."
- Mattie is really working to learn how to ride her new bike (with training wheels on). She falls sometimes when making sharp turns, but she's trying!
- We drove down to Dover on Memorial Day weekend to spend time with David, Lindsey, Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Kevin for the first time since Christmas of 2019. It's been too long, and the time away was tough on me. It was great seeing them. Additionally, Dad and his family came to visit at David's, so it was, all-in-all, a great weekend.
- For Mother's Day 2021, I bought Cindy the distinct opportunity to attend six Ohio State home games this fall. That's right, we're officially season ticket holders for Ohio State! This will be a great opportunity for Cindy and I to spend some much-needed time together as a couple in one of my favorite places on the planet.
- Another year, another State Track and Field meet. Due to COVID protocols, each of the three Divisions were split up, so Division 1 and Seated Division were both at Hilliard Darby. I had the opportunity to coach both Brooklynn and Bridgette in the Seated Shot Put for their senior years. I'm so amazingly proud to coach these young women for the past four years,
- I removed Mattie's training wheels so she can learn how to ride a bike for real. She's not great at it, and I'm exhausted from running behind her all hunched over. She'll get it soon!
- Officially the first broken bone in the family: Micah broke his arm and got put in a short cast. He fell backwards after Dakota bumped him and caught himself with his arm behind himself. Small little buckle fracture, but cast it is. Should be fun to go to the beach in a week...
- The family (Cindy, myself, Tommie, Joey, Mattie, Macie, Micah, and Carol) all went to the Outer Banks in North Carolina for vacation. This is our "typical" beach vacation, and it was just as great as ever. Micah's broken arm barely hindered him, and everyone had an absolutely wonderful time. After the past 18 months or so, it was great to be able to enjoy a somewhat-normal vacation.
- Micah got his cast off after only three weeks! He almost wanted to keep it on!
- Got my car detailed for the first time. Zimon's Auto Detailing did an absolutely great job, and Freddie looks as good as the day I bought him!
This has been a tough year, especially with Austin's grandparents and Chris's father passing away. I described it to Chris as best as I could: after a parent passes away, you're never quite the same. Part of you is forever broken, and that part never gets fixed. You just learn to live with it as much as possible.
I miss you, mom. I wish you could see my kids. I wish cancer didn't suck. I wish so many things, but they can't come true, so instead I'll live how you would want me to. I take every day as best as I can, knowing how quickly it can go away. I hope I continue to make you proud of the man, father, brother, and son I am.