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Some MAJOR NEWS to celebrate a whole year of being Nice On The 9th!!!!

 Our big news!! It's official!!!  The Caleb Effect  is now The Caleb Effect Foundation a 501(c)(3)!!!!

Our big news!! It's official!!! The Caleb Effect is now The Caleb Effect Foundation a 501(c)(3)!!!!

 Kindness Kits for our winners

Kindness Kits for our winners

 Some of the goodies in the regular kindness kits

Some of the goodies in the regular kindness kits

 Meet George and  Christen Askren Hannegan !

Meet George and Christen Askren Hannegan!

 George was happy!

George was happy!

 Tyler and  Ken Toey

Tyler and Ken Toey

 Surprise!

Surprise!

  Gabrielle  was in on our secret plan to surprise  Jeff !

Gabrielle was in on our secret plan to surprise Jeff!

 Love him! — with  Jeff Freshour  and  Ken Toey .

Love him! — with Jeff Freshour and Ken Toey.

 Surprising Eduardo! Thank you  Susan Barron !

Surprising Eduardo! Thank you Susan Barron!

    Fun surprise! — with  Susan Barron  and  Ken Toey .

 

Fun surprise! — with Susan Barron and Ken Toey.

    Found these guys as we were on our way to the bank! Don't mind if I do help fill the boot today in memory of my dad.

 

Found these guys as we were on our way to the bank! Don't mind if I do help fill the boot today in memory of my dad.

    Shirts are here!!

 

Shirts are here!!

    Thank you to everyone who wore your new shirts on the 9th!! — with  Molly Bombardier Gravens .

 

Thank you to everyone who wore your new shirts on the 9th!! — with Molly Bombardier Gravens.

 In honor of Dominic Zettergren who also died without explanation.

In honor of Dominic Zettergren who also died without explanation.

 Representing in Destin, FL!! — with  Debbie Freeman Stephens  and  Kathern Freeman .

Representing in Destin, FL!! — with Debbie Freeman Stephens and Kathern Freeman.

 Love this family!

Love this family!

    LOOK HOW MANY PEOPLE SHOWED THEIR SUPPORT!!!!

 

LOOK HOW MANY PEOPLE SHOWED THEIR SUPPORT!!!!

    Still looks like she is a teenager but she has teens of her own! Hi,  Dinky Hammam ! — with  Dinky Hammam .

 

Still looks like she is a teenager but she has teens of her own! Hi, Dinky Hammam! — with Dinky Hammam.

    Thank you,  Andrea Large ! Miss seeing this happy face. — with  Andrea Large .

 

Thank you, Andrea Large! Miss seeing this happy face. — with Andrea Large.

     Molly Bombardier Gravens ' family sent Caleb some love in memory of their daughter, Bliss, who also died without an explanation.

 

Molly Bombardier Gravens' family sent Caleb some love in memory of their daughter, Bliss, who also died without an explanation.

    More Florida love! (All of these amazing people have Caleb's shirts but it's HOT in Florida!) — with Alan Atkins ,  Debbie Freeman Stephens  and Kathern Freeman .

 

More Florida love! (All of these amazing people have Caleb's shirts but it's HOT in Florida!) — withAlan AtkinsDebbie Freeman Stephens andKathern Freeman.

     Melissa Parker , this is awesome!! Thank you!

 

Melissa Parker, this is awesome!! Thank you!

    May 9th, 2011 was a day we almost lost Adam. That's  Ken Toey 's back as they were changing the dressing.

 

May 9th, 2011 was a day we almost lost Adam. That's Ken Toey's back as they were changing the dressing.

    May 9th, 2011 was a day we almost lost Adam. That's  Ken Toey 's helmet. There was a stick poking through the hole in the lower center section. If it would've been an inch to the left or right, it would've gone through his head. Wear a helmet!

 

May 9th, 2011 was a day we almost lost Adam. That's Ken Toey's helmet. There was a stick poking through the hole in the lower center section. If it would've been an inch to the left or right, it would've gone through his head. Wear a helmet!

    May 9th, 2011 was a day we almost lost Adam. This is Ken Toey's new back.

 

May 9th, 2011 was a day we almost lost Adam. This is Ken Toey's new back.

    May 9th, 2011 was a day we almost lost Adam. This is Ken Toey's new back.

 

May 9th, 2011 was a day we almost lost Adam. This is Ken Toey's new back.

    May 9th, 2011 was a day we almost lost Adam. This is how I kept myself entertained once he moved to a step-down room.

 

May 9th, 2011 was a day we almost lost Adam. This is how I kept myself entertained once he moved to a step-down room.

    May 9th, 2011 was a day we almost lost Adam. Exactly a year ago today this is also how I kept everyone updated and myself sane (although I think my sister is responsible for some of these).

 

May 9th, 2011 was a day we almost lost Adam. Exactly a year ago today this is also how I kept everyone updated and myself sane (although I think my sister is responsible for some of these).

    May 9th, 2011 was a day we almost lost Adam. This is how I FINALLY got to take him home. — with  Ken Toey .

 

May 9th, 2011 was a day we almost lost Adam. This is how I FINALLY got to take him home. — with Ken Toey.

    "I Was Nice On The 9th!" Were you? — with  Taylor Easttom  and  Erica DeGiusti Bollinger .

 

"I Was Nice On The 9th!" Were you? — with Taylor Easttom and Erica DeGiusti Bollinger.

 It was hot and windy but we had fun! — with  Shari Wile ,  Christine Burk ,  Ruby Willoughby Wile ,  Ken Toey ,  Roy Wile ,  Taylor Easttom  and  Erica DeGiusti Bollinger .

It was hot and windy but we had fun! — with Shari WileChristine BurkRuby Willoughby WileKen ToeyRoy WileTaylor Easttom and Erica DeGiusti Bollinger.

    Bubbles and shade for the win! — with  Taylor Easttom ,  Ken Toey ,  Erica DeGiusti Bollinger  and Shari Wile .

 

Bubbles and shade for the win! — with Taylor EasttomKen ToeyErica DeGiusti Bollinger andShari Wile.

    They were speedy and put together the kits faster than I thought. Shenanigans took over until we had our Facebook Live announcement. — with  Taylor Easttom ,  Ruby Willoughby Wile ,  Ken Toey  and Shari Wile .

 

They were speedy and put together the kits faster than I thought. Shenanigans took over until we had our Facebook Live announcement. — with Taylor EasttomRuby Willoughby WileKen Toey andShari Wile.

    A bunch of monkeys took over the park! — with Roy Wile ,  Ruby Willoughby Wile ,  Christine Burk , Erica DeGiusti Bollinger ,  Taylor Easttom  and  Ken Toey .

 

A bunch of monkeys took over the park! — withRoy WileRuby Willoughby WileChristine Burk,Erica DeGiusti BollingerTaylor Easttom and Ken Toey.

 Found another cousin to the beetle from the other day.

Found another cousin to the beetle from the other day.

    Annnnnnnnnnnnd, a ladybug as we were leaving.

 

Annnnnnnnnnnnd, a ladybug as we were leaving.

    Until next time, Lake Hefner.

 

Until next time, Lake Hefner.

    Beautiful end to a VERY meaningful 9th.

 

Beautiful end to a VERY meaningful 9th.

Hi Baby Boy. I love you. I’ve had so many distractions, but I’m finally getting to write to you instead of just constantly thinking about you and wishing I could tell you all of these things in person. I miss you. I miss my happy baby. I miss your hugs and kisses more than anything. I still send them to you and I hope you feel my love no matter how far you go. The longer time goes by I wonder if that means you are farther and farther “into the light” or somehow farther removed from this world and it makes me even more sad having all this space separating us. You weren’t a baby anymore but you will always be my baby boy, Caleb.

You know how much you love babies? It’s hard for Mommy to explain, but I love you even more than that. I don’t think I ever told you this but that saying, “I love you so much it hurts” is true. I think you only know the kind of love that doesn’t come with any hurt, but I’m telling you, you are the most powerful little boy I’ve ever met. I still find it so shocking how you manage to climb right into hearts so quickly. It reminds me of how you used to get yourself up to your car seat after “2s” all by yourself (but I think you captivate people even faster than that). You never wanted any help as you grunted and pulled yourself from the pavement and floorboard all the way into your seat. When you got yourself twisted and shimmied into position you always gave Mommy one of your trademark smiles that I tell everyone all about. It’s like you were telling me “See Mommy, I did it!”

Baby Boy, I was so proud of you then and I’m forever proud of you now. I hope you are still smiling with your whole face the way you did in the little #HUNK picture where you are cheesing it extra wide. I can’t wait to see that smile with your whole face again one day. One of the things I know for certain and don’t have to wonder about is if you know Daddy and I love you. You made it so easy to love you while you were here and you still do.

We love you and really do think of you non-stop, but every 9th we go a little outside our comfort zone to make sure others get to know you, too. May’s Nice On The 9th was all about honoring people behind the scenes. People who don’t normally receive much appreciation or hear very many “thank yous,” especially trash collectors, maintenance people, and housekeepers. We picked two people in our lives and chose two others who were nominated on your Facebook page.

Mommy started the day in Piedmont surprising Mr. George who picks up trash for the ENTIRE rapidly growing town! That’s right! One truck, one funny guy with a positive attitude, and one helping heart. He is still following his mommy’s advice she gave him as a kid and tries not to take anyone too seriously. His buddy, Christen Askren Hannegan nominated him and this is why: “George is our trash truck driver out in Piedmont. He is a great guy and he does a great job. He walks up to get carts of our elderly or handicapped customers, not because he has to but because that’s who he is. People aren’t always nice to him but he goes above and beyond anyway and takes pride in his work. I nominate George.”

Christen told George that she needed him to come to the office to discuss some emails so he was trying to think about what he could’ve done wrong. Christen assured him he wasn’t in trouble but the man in the yellow, reflective vest and industrial headset was even more surprised when I told him why I came to visit. I explained to him how you would’ve loved to meet him and how your cousin in Chicago loves trash trucks! George told me that if he sees kids out admiring the truck he will stop and let them check it out or wail on the horn. Isn’t that awesome?! Remember when we got to go inside a trash truck at “Touch-a-Truck?” We might have received some disapproving looks and scolding for honking the horn, but you loved it (sorry, not sorry)!

You loved vroom vrooms of all shapes and sizes, but you especially loved opening and closing the hatch on your blue recycling truck and staring at the wheels. No matter how many times I told you that it was a recycling truck, you always called it a “twash twuck.”

While I was there, a man came in with an injured leg and pushing a scooter. He said George pulled his trash barrel in for him and shook his hand. Nice timing. :)

I had a chance to talk to Mr. George for quite a while and I could see him tear up every now and then. I held it together and told him to keep his eyes open for some extra ladybugs. Booger Bear, it would be really awesome if you would send some his way and introduce yourself, too.

Daddy honored the janitor at his work who cleans up after some really yucky situations. DaDa talked to Tyler before, but never knew his name. He made it a point to use your special day to find out. Tyler is an especially quiet, hard-working person who perfectly fit the description of the kind of selfless spirit we wanted to reward. You weren’t old enough to clean the potty, but this is one of the things a janitor does as part of their daily to-do list. It is not a fun job, especially when it’s not even your own potty mess but Tyler makes sure every inch is scrubbed to perfection. Most people like having a clean bathroom to use, but probably don’t think about the people who keep it that way. Daddy made sure to thank Tyler and gave him the bag of goodies for a job well done. We hope Tyler realizes that his work is important and so is he.

Daddy met me in Edmond and no introductions are needed for this next recipient, Jeff Freshour or just plain “Jeff” to you. After switching to your new class, Mr. Jeff would wait for you to come to “school” downtown everyday. Right after saying “hi” to Nemo, Jeff would be waiting by the door to get your “fives” and hear your sweet, tiny voice announce, “Hi, Jeff!” You were ALWAYS so excited to see him and so was he. You had recently transitioned to the 2-year-old class on the other side of the building and I wasn’t sure how I would like it after having such wonderful teachers who doted on you in “1s.” I knew it wouldn’t phase you one bit as you had been to several new classes in your life without batting an eye. I was right. You never missed a beat going into another room and being with new friends but Jeff made the new routine easier for ME. I always felt better after seeing him and soon I learned your new teachers adored you, too. They taught you things like how to drink out of a cup without a lid and always commented on your sense of wonder for learning new things.

You loved to learn and I loved watching your various dramatic expressions as you took things in for the first time. I memorized your new teachers’ names but I wouldn’t have known Jeff’s without you. Jeff didn’t work specifically for the daycare, but rather took care of the building maintenance for all of St. Luke’s. We didn’t go to church then and never went to any activities outside of your daycare so it was only in those morning exchanges that I got to know Jeff. Being kind to you and making you feel special was not part of his job requirements but he waited for us every day and always made us smile anyway.

I don’t know if you see all the things he takes care of, but the church and daycare have all kinds of activities going on at each campus and he usually has a hand in helping in some way or the other. There are regular church services, yoga classes, bible studies, birthday parties, luncheons, meetings, service projects, and special events. Jeff works up a sweat moving hundreds of chairs from place-to-place and keeps everything in the building (and some things outside, too) running smoothly. Then he comes back and helps run the Audio-Visual equipment on the weekends, too.

Yes, Jeff is behind many different scenes in a variety of venues. I don’t know what his hours are, but they are definitely not Monday through Friday from 8 to 5. He works until the job is done and then goes home and keeps working on projects there as well.

One project I know he never wanted to have to add to his schedule was your memorial service. Jeff never grumbled when the room where you used to play started running out of chairs as the time to celebrate you grew nearer. He just quietly got a red dolly and kept moving more and more seats into the room. After your service was over he also didn’t complain about having to retrieve some sneaky helium balloons off the ceiling that were probably more than a hundred feet in the air.

After losing you we came back to collect your things from your cubby. There were so many hugs and even more tears. We did our best to make it through seeing your teachers and your classmates but walking through those halls and seeing Jeff was especially crushing. Everyone still loves you there and is devastated but when I look into Jeff’s eyes I also see the heartbreak he holds for you there. I know he misses you, too. I’ve often wondered if he still gives fives to the kids or if losing you has made him a little more guarded.

Jeff may wear the keys to every room of the church on his belt loop, but you never needed a key or any extra chairs to take up residence deep inside his heart. Once again, we did our best to hold it all together but Jeff broke all of us. I told him that I wished I had you with me to give him his surprise and I hope somehow, I still did. Daddy and I gave him some fives and told him how much we love him. Don’t forget to send him some signs sometimes, too, okay? Thank you, Baby Boy.

Whew.

After redoing what is supposed to be “waterproof” mascara (something I’ve worn since the day of your service, May 6th), Daddy and I headed to Guthrie to meet our last winner, Eduardo Robles at St. Mary Catholic School. Susan Barron nominated him and told us “He’s a friend to all & has worked hard to keep our school together for 20+ years! He’s always smiling, the kids love him & he’s an incredibly hard worker!!!”

We didn’t make the connection that we were visiting a school named after Saint Mary until we typed it into our GPS. Before calling Eduardo to come meet us and despite never knowing anything about your rose stories, Susan also had one of her own. WHAT?!

Susan couldn’t be more correct and we couldn’t have picked a more deserving person. Eduardo does not look even remotely close to his age but I think his positive attitude and being around all the kids keep him young at heart. He was humbled to be receiving any special attention, and like George, he kept telling us what a blessed man he was.

Mommy can’t feel things like she used to but for whatever reason I think her ESP (which stands for Extrasensory Perception and is like a 6th sense about things - something you had firing every second of every day) is getting better. We like to include personal notes in every random act of kindness we do and I just got an overwhelming feeling that Eduardo was a very gentle person. In his note I thanked him for being a gentle soul before I ever met him.

Eduardo is a petite, soft-spoken man, but perked up when the kids would walk by and say “hi” or refer to him as “Edward.” We heard he is also known for sharing candy and going above and beyond for anyone who needs his help, but we hope he keeps some of his new gifts to enjoy for himself, too.

Eduardo was the perfect ending to visiting all the honorees who work so hard despite not many people knowing or appreciating all the ways that make them special. We explained what the 9th means to us, but our mouths dropped open when Eduardo told us why May 9th was so significant to him. Eduardo explained that his wife died many years ago but May 9th was his wedding day! WOW! Maybe you have met his wife now, too.

I never would have believed all of these little things, and sometimes I still struggle to truly know you had a hand in orchestrating some of these connections. I know it usually takes a little more convincing or a few extra signs, but I hope you will keep being patient with your mommy.

After visiting Eduardo, Daddy and I went to Valliance Bank where we got to see our friend, Bridget Jaime. We already had a whirlwind of emotions all day and apparently, I needed some talk therapy because Mommy was chattering about a thousand words a minute as soon as we saw her. I wasn’t sure if Bridget already filled Debbie (the lady that opened your new account) in on The Caleb Effect so I was cautiously trying to keep my “game face” on before I thought I would have to answer any questions about why we were there and what our foundation is doing. Luckily, Daddy was not as overwhelmed or sleep-deprived as I was, so he took care of most of the business of opening the new account while I caught Bridget up with my flurry of thoughts.

It didn’t take long but when Daddy and I found out Debbie already knew all about you, we told her some of the ways you are making the world a nicer place. I also told her how I’ve known Bridget for over 20 years and how we met while we were both working at camp at Lake Murray in July. The camp was really delipidated with holes in the walls and floorboards, no air-conditioning, and uninvited campers such as Copperheads and scorpions. However, going through this unique experience together also helped create lifelong bonds with all of us who worked as staff.

We don’t wish this the unique and unpleasant situation we have wrestled since May 2nd on anyone, but we love it when people like Bridget embrace your message and continue to show the ways they love all three of us.

I also wanted Debbie to know how special Bridget is so I told her how excited I was just to be invited to Bridget’s little boy’s upcoming birthday party. That’s fairly unusual for us now, so when I read the rest of the details on the event I was absolutely blown away. I know you must remember me writing to you about this, but instead of asking for presents for her baby, she told everyone they could bring a toy to donate to The Caleb Effect! Debbie hadn’t even read the heartfelt message that went with the invitation that made Mommy ugly cry, but this detail sent her over the edge and had her stopping the official paperwork to reach for a Kleenex. I knew right then and there, even with her phone ringing and multi-tasking capabilities that were keeping her on her toes, you had claimed another unsuspecting admirer. (We might as well climb to the top of their tower and put a flag there that says, “Caleb was here!”) We also think she’s going to have fun giving out the dozen vroom vrooms Daddy left for her to distribute to her littlest patrons (those are customers).

Little “Doo-duh” (the way you pronounced dude), the next part of the story changes everything for The Caleb Effect. You never did much of anything on our schedule so it shouldn’t be surprising that this piece of the puzzle didn’t happen on our timetable either.

Last month Mommy “happened” to drop off some vroom vrooms to our friend, Lance for his Alzheimer’s fundraiser project. As I told you, I saw that yellow Hummer on the way there and even got a picture of it but didn’t think more about it until today. Lance asked how The Caleb Effect was coming along and I told him how we had met some incredible people along the way but had experienced a series of setbacks in the path of becoming an official 501(c)(3). We have been planning to take this next step since his news crew showed up at Aunt RoRo’s house 10 months ago, so I suppose it was also fitting that this idea was planted in our heads and also became reality with his assistance, too.

As it turned out, when I was talking to Lance West he told me he might have a friend who could help. Sure enough, a few days after our conversation he put us in touch with her and she sprang into action.

Since we started celebrating Nice On The 9th one year ago, yesterday, we decided it would be the perfect day to make your foundation official. I hope you already know the big news we shared yesterday, but Caleb, you now OFFICIALLY have a non-profit organization!! Yes, Baby Boy, on May 9th, Kelli Masters filed our papers for us and The Caleb Effect became “The Caleb Effect Foundation!!!!!!!!!” Is that awesome or what?! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I really hope you are clapping for yourself right now.)

All day yesterday, I couldn’t help but think about how these nominations and surprise visits reminded me of “Pay It 4Ward.” Kelli had seen our story when it aired and spread your love by delivering a big meal to a family who was going through a hard time. She had already seen you, our little mohawk man, and had already spread some of your kindness into the world as well. Normally this would cost a new organization a significant amount of money, but Kelli did all of this out of the kindness of her heart. THANK YOU, KELLI and THANK YOU Lance for continuing to “be nice” and helping us share Caleb with the world!!!! We know “thank you” is not quite adequate, but we are truly grateful to have you in our lives.

I told Kelli how you like to show up with ladybugs and roses to let people know you are watching. When I got the email that everything was filed I saw a little note at the end. It said, “P.S. I have seen so many lady bugs this week!” Wow! You’re quick, Baby Boy and so was Kelli! I found her online and saw not only is she highly qualified as a professor teaching non-profit and sports law, but she’s a beautiful lady on the outside, too. Is that why you keep coming back and bringing her ladybugs? Ha. Oh, my little boy. All the ladies always do love you here on Earth.

Now that we have non-profit status, you will be able to help even more people and spread your love to places we’ve only dreamed of seeing.

May 9th was the one-year anniversary of devoting a whole day to being Nice On The 9th. We pause on the 9th of every month because that is the day we finally got to meet you and kiss your tiny, crying face that had just been evicted from your nice, warm home. It is a celebration of your beautiful life and a way to let your glimmering light reflect off of every painful tear.

May 9th is also a day that is ingrained in our memory because it is a day that almost stole Daddy away from us. Seven years ago, Daddy Ken Toeywas in a terrible, freak accident. He was riding his mountain bike on a trail where he had never been before and went off a bridge. He landed on his head and then onto his back. At the insistence of his friend, he was wearing a brand, new helmet purchased just a few days prior. It ultimately, saved his life. Still, the broken bones included 6 vertebrae, 10 ribs, his sternum, and a shoulder blade (and that doesn’t even include some of the other complications like the collapsed lung or the liter and a half of blood that was drained out of it). The surgeon implanted 13 permanent titanium pieces from his toolbox including 13 screws, 2 rods, and 1 stabilizer bar. He also told Daddy as we headed to the inpatient rehab center that most people with his injuries are either paralyzed or dead. Having Daddy in the Trauma ICU hooked up to all kinds of IVs and tubes was one of the scariest times of our lives but he made it. It’s a completely different situation, but we are still making it one second and minute at a time now, too. It’s not the way we planned to live our lives and there’s not a pain pump dumping medicine into our systems every few minutes but we are still here. Yes, yesterday was a very special day that gives us one more reason to celebrate life.

We had a last-minute kindness kit assembly party at one of Mommy’s favorite places in Oklahoma City, Lake Hefner. Despite only having one day of notice, and 91-degree heat, you had quite a few family and friends stop by. We made 30 kits to give to other people who do a lot of work in the background of life but go unrecognized a majority of the time. Some of your friends came and made sweet notes and colorful pictures to include in the bags, too.

We hope everyone had a wonderful time celebrating this momentous day! We know with this next step in place you and The Caleb Effect FOUNDATION are about to do some really big things! I would also like it to be noted here that Nemo’s best friend, Ellen DeGeneres is going to LOVE you and want everyone to know about you immediately when she hears about you (and I think she is definitely going to hear about you in the near future).

Also, did you see all of those amazing people wearing their new shirts? If not, check out the photos to see your friends!

THANK YOU FOR ALL THE LOVE, SUPPORT, PARTICIPATION, AND SPACE YOU KEEP MAKING IN THE HEARTS OF ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS.

I love you, Baby. I miss you more than I can even explain to you in words, but Mommy is so proud of her little boy. You received half of each of Mommy and Daddy’s DNA, but there were some extra special genes methodically placed in your soul that had nothing to do with either one of us. You are still my gift, my light, and my forever treasure. I love you more.

One day.

Sending all my love now and always.

Love, 
Mommy
XXXOOOXXX

P.S. I've heard from several people this week who told me they read EVERY WORD of these messages to you. 😲 I'm always surprised to hear this so if anyone has made it this far, I'm sure you are thinking of a line from Bon Qui Qui's routine, "DANG, anything else?" If you've made it to the end, feel free to work in a Bon Qui Qui quote in the comments. This should be entertaining. If you don't know who Bon Qui Qui is, we obviously have not spent more than 10 minutes together in real life. Ha! Happy 9th (and 10th and 11th now)!

#calebeffect
#benice
#NiceOnThe9th
#CelebratingPeopleBehindTheScenes
#Thankyou
#OneWholeYearOfKindness
#ItsOfficial
#Added501c3ToOurName
#CalebEffectFOUNDATION
#GetReadyEllen
#CalebIsReadyToMeetYou

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My Nephew the Super Hero-By Andy Wile

Caleb's Uncle, Andy Wile wrote this heartfelt true story two years ago, but it is an absolute, must-read letter that deserves to be shared again. I can't make it to the end without crying.

Thank you for sharing your deep love for Caleb and recognizing his simple yet mighty affections he so freely gave to you. It's one of the many reasons why not having him here with us is so exceptionally difficult.

Andy, it is obvious Caleb didn't even make it to round one before creating the love and pride I can see all over your face in this picture. Thank you for the most beautiful tribute to our giggly super hero. I agree with Ken Toey's sentiments of two-years ago. Please share this over and over again. We love you, "Unka Annie." 💜

May 7, 2016

Written by my brother, my Bubba - all of you, share this please..


A True Life Story by Uncle Andy Wile

My nephew the Super Hero.

Unfortunately, it took me until May 6, 2016 to recognize that my nephew, Caleb Lennon Wile, was a super hero.
We all know that Wile children possess super abilities but not all of these powers are glaringly obvious. 

However, Caleb, when brought into this world carried the message and gift of love. While some call it unconditional love, I prefer the words
love with no limits, love without trepidation or rejection, love for everyone and anyone he came into contact with. Anyone with the gift of sight,
the gift of hearing, and the gift of life was susceptible to his power. Even the hardest of hearts and strongest of the strong were no match
for him. As with every Super Hero, there were a variety of tactics in his arsenal.

First he would run around and just be himself, a normal inquisitive boy. While he would not reject the proffer of wearing a cape, tights and maybe a mask, he didn't need that attire for his super powers. If someone was able to resist loving him simply from being in the room with him, he would recognize and prepare for Round 2. 

Round two, would be his contagious laugh. His laugh was so contagious the CDC would have severe difficulty in preparing for it. To my knowledge, this is the first recorded sound related infectious material. He could find anything and I mean anything hilarious. He could bellow out his laugh akin to the testing of a tornado siren on a Saturday at noon. If at this point, he had not conquered and devoured someone's resistance to love, the final round was about to begin.

It would begin by him fixing his gaze into their eyes, then he would run, not walk, to the person. Then he would outstretch his arms and hands to heaven expressing the universal language that means "pick me up right damn now". At this point he has already won the war, just the person (aka challenger) does not recognize it yet. Unwittingly, and for reasons that everyone of us already comprehend, the victim immediately and without hesitation would reach down and snatch him up. All the while, his blue eyes were staring into their soul and he would retrieve their love and put it on display for all to see. One would think that Caleb would be finished at this point but no, he was not. He has to inflict the finishing blow. 

The finishing blow was something so simple, so discreet, so effortless it was...his smile. One could wonder why he did not lead with
"the smile" but if one considers that the challenger did not capitulate in Round 1 or 2, the challenger must have buried love so deep that the finishing blow was required. Parenthetically, it is not for me to critique a super hero's techniques and abilities. "The smile" was so categorically awesome that it would release pain, make people slack jawed, and could briefly cure all known ailments. 

His smile would also cause physical changes in Caleb. It would literally cause his ears to raise a 1/2 inch, his eyes would squint as if he was looking at the sun, and he would show you his teeth, that give the very definition of pearly whites. Some would call this his "victory grin" but it was not
a competition with him. That is not what he was here for. He was made with a hollow in his heart that was only temporarily pacified every time he exposed, received and gave someone love. 

And as always, in every super hero comic book and movie, there is a twist that no one on Earth could have possibly predicted. Ultimately, God called Caleb home on May 2, 2016. Unbeknowst to all of us once we received and gave Caleb our love, we in turn are left with a hollow in our heart yearning for his never ending addictive love. This love is more addictive than any drug known to man. While his pictures, movies and memories temporarily pacify the hollow, it still returns. Consequently, it will permanently be filled upon our ascent to heaven. Until then, we have our voluminous pictures, enthralling movies and precious memories that no one can take away. Additionally, we have his love and stories to share with anyone that will listen. So now our mission has not changed. We still must carry on and spread his love. Unfortunately, at this time, the undersigned lacks the ability to emit comprehendable noise on this matter and can only express himself in written format.

And while I was not there to witness, I am positive that God said "Well done my good and faithful servant. Let me introduce you to some family of mine and yours." 

God, Thank You for the gift of Caleb. Caleb, aka "Cal-L" we love you...but you already knew that.

Uncle Andy

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The Knot-(Something I wrote about 6 months ago but that is so appropriate for today)

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The Knot

The pit of my stomach still feels the pangs and cinched knots growing like one of those rubber band balls, except these bands are tied and matted in every direction. They are not uniform or circular-shaped and they definitely do not bounce when you try to toss and turn them all through the night.

They don’t shift much except to stab my heart when I least expect it, and there is no passing this knot to anyone else. The bands are not rubber, but rather thick, sharp pieces of iron and steel stuck and twisted around my organs. Like a masterful bomb chocked full of shrapnel, and implanted into the center of my intestines while I wasn’t looking. I hear the timer ticking constantly, waiting impatiently for its demise.

It radiates heat from attacking me suddenly and involuntarily, then melting my insides together with a blow torch. The knot forcefully smashes through every vein and muscle on its way to my gut and doesn’t care about the trail of blood and vomit left in its path. Losing a child leaves a physical sort of reverse-birth that is more excruciating than any baby’s arrival, and without a joyful bundle to cradle in your arms after all the damage is done.

It is so sweltering and torturous that my sobbing tries to soften or rust this painful tangle, but the beast laughs as the flow of salt water fades into my shirt. It mocks any attempt of eroding the impenetrable labyrinth, as it knows within minutes there won’t be any proof of the tears that once struggled to dissolve it. It tightly cramps and grips its fist all the way around my waist. The knot wraps itself around my hips and squeezes the oxygen out of my lungs until I am gasping for air and coughing. It is a living organism like a tumorous mass accumulating more cells for its wicked project. It aches with the kind of agony and wailing that only those who have lost a child could begin to understand. It pulses its erratic toxins until my limbs are heavy and numb.

Some days I wish it would just hurry up and explode or claim me as its latest victim. Still, it shows no mercy. There is no reprieve from the hurt. No crying “uncle.” You are still gone. They say that even coal can be turned into diamonds with time and pressure, so I wait. I try to be patient, but I miss you too much. I don’t know how to let time and nature work on the snarled conglomeration, and I know that realistically, even stellar endurance and grit won’t unravel this mess. I want a sledgehammer and the Jaws of Life and I want it now. I wonder if I really will make it or if the knot will cut one too many holes into my already shattered heart. I’m broken and tired in so many ways.

Others farther down this path say the knot never goes away but that it changes and isn’t as overwhelming as it is now. They say this cruel, punishing suffering will always be intense because so is the love. However, they swear the knot doesn’t consume them as frequently as it did in the earlier days. Still, I wonder if this really is true. A year-and-a-half gone by and I miss you more with every additional day that I don’t get to see you. I yearn more each slowly passing month to hold you and kiss your beautiful, perfect face. I want to feel your soft, toddler cheeks against mine and make you laugh. I want to watch you play with your “vroom vrooms” and study their wheels, or have you excitedly climb on my back as we run through the living room like superheroes zooming through the air. I want to see your brilliant, smiling little teeth and be thankful for each of them, even though they caused sleepless nights for all of us. I just want our old life back.

Realistically, I know that not until this body undergoes its own final deterioration will the wretched knot dissipate, and I will finally get to shed my shell.

In the meantime, I’m doing my best. As I often do these days, I ask for guidance from the wisest, most radiant soul I’ve ever met. Caleb, one day I will see you again and tell you “I love you” face-to-face. I know I’m forever wounded by this mangled build-up in my core, but I will carry you with me no matter how slow I have to crawl or how many bruises this monster leaves in its rage. I will keep fighting, writing, and sharing your beautiful, joyful life, and Baby Boy, your love will shine above this tormenting knot. The knot will NOT win. I love you and I always will.

Love, Mommy
XXXOOOXXX

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May 6th-The Day of Your Service 2-Years Ago

Ladybug

5/6/18-(2:09pm)-(Interesting timing)-Hi Baby Boy. I love you. I miss you but there aren’t even words to tell you how deeply and completely. So much it makes my stomach clench and shudder when I try to exhale through my tears. Today is hard. This month is excruciating. Distractions aren’t working, and as I said before, it all just boils down to missing you. You are always going to be my favorite person in this world or the next. I try to remember that Daddy’s DNA made up half of yours and when I show my love to him, maybe somehow that means I’m still loving you here, too.

Two-years ago at this time, we were at your daycare desperately rifling through pictures and trying to get everything set up for your memorial service. There was an army of family and friends helping us but I was still stressed to the max trying to make every detail perfect for you. A balloon crew, people we didn’t even know preparing food in the kitchen, a thoughtful set of cakes from your uncle, a smoothie from your aunt that I couldn’t even force myself to drink, all your favorite toys on display, and more people than we even had time to hug. Your cousins even flew in from Washington JUST FOR YOUR SERVICE and turned around and took a plane ride home. I have tried to tell myself that this is where my focus should be. I’m trying to remember all the outpouring of love for you and all the ways you are still making us better people. However, I can’t help feeling like I’m suffocating without you.

Apparently, it is Bereaved Mother’s Day today. It’s an interesting concept I just learned of that I suppose at least recognizes that next Sunday doesn’t have the same meaning it once did. I guess it is to acknowledge all of the mommies who have to live without their favorite people but it doesn’t make me feel any better. Yes, I wish I could still be gifted with your simple handprint art but once again, all I really ever needed then and now is you. I never needed or wanted anything special for holidays or birthdays because we already had enough just being together.

Baby Boy, I admit that I still have the gift card Daddy gave me six days after we lost you (my first Mother’s Day here without you). I actually have a plastic bag with several other gift cards I’ve never used, too. It’s not that I’m not using them on purpose, but I will go to a store or online and I try to find something, but I just don’t have any desire to buy the things I once might have. None of these things matter anymore and I’m already spending too much time going through all the extra “stuff” we don’t need and that is cluttering our house as it is.

I knew we had it all then, and Baby Boy, I really WAS grateful. As you can hopefully see now, you are spending your days (or whatever they are where you are) with so many people we were lucky enough to know here on Earth. We will always love them and be excited to hug them someday, too, but no one will ever compare to you. We were already taught many lessons about not taking our days for granted, so I don’t understand why Daddy and I had to have you stolen away to keep that ingrained in our minds.

If there IS one thing that has shifted more than anything it is that my priorities are narrowed. I don’t try to keep as wide of a social circle and I’m doing my best at setting more boundaries to avoid the toxic, draining people or tasks that used to claim more of my time. Mommy never cared much about what other kids at school or other social circles had to say but now it is even more evident. EVERYONE has an opinion on what I should or shouldn’t be doing, but I have bags and bags of something I’m pretty sure you were also born with - IDGARA “I Don’t Give A Rat’s…uh, um, Arm.” You got along with everyone you ever met, but you also always did your own thing, too. I remember your teacher sending me a picture of you “reading” to yourself in your cubby. This was normally reserved for “me time” when someone got in trouble, but you didn’t care. Apparently, you must’ve wanted to read a story and have some time to yourself, so you did.

Caleb Lennon, I will live the rest of my life trying to be more like you. You needed some “me time,” but you didn’t see it as a negative thing. Baby Bear, Mommy is still learning how to have that “me time,” but it is something so foreign and not one I’ve ever been comfortable practicing. I HAVE had to step away from the crowd and have some solitude far more often than I have ever had to do in my life, but it’s still different than the kind of space you gave yourself. In fact, I don’t remember hardly any instances before losing you that I felt the kind of discomfort being in a crowd of people (unless it was a stuffy, formal party where people were going to great lengths to impress each other). Mommy has always been a person that liked people and is even fascinated by our differences. You were starting to grow up and become very similar as well. I DO believe in the idea from Will Rogers “I never met a man I didn’t like.” I don’t think we have to like everyone, but I DO think there is something to like about each person.

I love everything about you and that makes not having you here such a stab in the chest. I will always love you. One thing that is sure to make me absolutely crazy is for people to talk about my love for you in the past tense. THAT WILL NEVER BE TRUE! Please tell everyone to stop saying that. My love for you will always be constant. There is nothing anyone can say or do to me that will ever change that. Maybe it sounds crazy but I loved you even before I was pregnant with you. I didn’t know you like I do now, but I do know I’ve always loved you and I will keep loving you for infinity.

Mommy wrote something about 6 months ago but never posted it anywhere. It seems appropriate on this “Bereaved Mother’s Day” to share it, especially for the others I’ve “met” online who also know what it is like living with this overwhelming ache. (link at the bottom/next blog post)

Someday I will shed this body and this growing knot that lives inside of me and there will never be days like this again.

One day.

I LOVE YOU.

Before, then, now, and always. I love you forever, Little Boy.

Love,
Mommy
XOXOXOXOX

https://thecalebeffect.com/…/the-knot-something-i-wrote-abo…

P.S. Thank you for the perfectly-timed ladybug that came to see me when I needed it most.

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"Piece," Love, and Keeping Austin Weird

 The star of the day, Austin!

The star of the day, Austin!

 Austin's wonderful family!

Austin's wonderful family!

 Austin's brother loving on his mommy.

Austin's brother loving on his mommy.

 Austin's mama getting her workout in. Ha!

Austin's mama getting her workout in. Ha!

 Austin's awesome mama.

Austin's awesome mama.

 The most thoughtful letter-(page 1)

The most thoughtful letter-(page 1)

 The most thoughtful letter-(page 2)

The most thoughtful letter-(page 2)

 A bracelet full of love.

A bracelet full of love.

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 We love them! Thank you, Maria!

We love them! Thank you, Maria!

 We love them! Thank you, Maria!

We love them! Thank you, Maria!

 Bags of vroom vrooms for children at  Inova Fair Oaks Hospital .

Bags of vroom vrooms for children at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital.

 Team Keep Austin Weird!! We love you, Austin!

Team Keep Austin Weird!! We love you, Austin!

We had a great morning at the AutismOklahoma PieceWalk & 5k honoring our little buddy, Austin!!

But first, let me back up a little bit and tell you about another amazing human being.

My sister, Gaust Ama AKA "Michelle" was selling some of my nieces' toys when she found out the buyer taught in an enhanced autism classroom. She donated the items as a way of spreading The Caleb Effect, and probably didn't think twice about ever hearing from the sweet teacher again.

They say actions speak louder than words, and if you Googled "thoughtful woman of action," Maria Casado's picture should appear from now on!

After receiving the toys, she and her kids put together bags of vroom vrooms in Caleb's honor and donated them for children at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, but she didn't stop there.

While out shopping she replaced a bag of candy that was already in her cart in order to purchase more vroom vrooms. Then, she bought $20 worth of vroom vrooms to honor victims of the OKC bombing during our Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon project last weekend. If that wasn't already enough, her kids found out that only four names were left on the lists they chose and what did they do? "My boys felt bad that 4 people were left off so they took $2 each from their wallets." 😲

Do you think I'm finished with their random acts of kindness to a person they have never met and who lives 1,300 miles away? 
WRONG!

I received the attached letter along with two beautiful bracelets (again each item chosen with an enormous amount of care).

Today, after leaving the Piece Walk, I went to the post office to pick up a package. What did I see? Another kind envelope from Maria. This time it included lots of little Caleb Effect tags that we will be using to spread Caleb's love. WOW!

If ALL of these things weren't already enough to absolutely make our jaws drop and cry knowing The Caleb Effect really is spreading, Maria bought a globe for her class and they are now tracking all of the places in the world (all 50 states and 69 countries if you are curious) where The Caleb Effect has been!!

Maria, we only intended to come to the Piece Walk, hand out a few vroom vrooms and support our friend, Austin and his family, but you made today an even more special event. The kids loved handing out the vroom vrooms, and Austin's mom, Renee Hays said to tell you that she is never taking the bracelet off! 
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Austin's dad, Rob Brian, also shared this: 
"I want to thank everyone who made today possible. Whether you bought a T-shirt, stopped by for the garage sale, donated to our team (Keep Austin Weird), sent words of encouragement, or quietly prayed or sent positive thoughts our way, thank you from Renee and I.

People ask us how do we handle all of this every day. The answer is we just do. We don’t have a choice. What makes it easier is all of you. Your love and support is what gives us the positive energy to stay strong.

Today was clearly evident of that. There was a record number of people at the Piecewalk today. The energy and love that enveloped the event was so incredible. It reminds us that we are not alone in this. That Austin is not alone. That being weird is not a bad thing, but just the opposite.

Being weird is awesome. Being unique is a good thing. The Piecewalk is an event where weird and unique individuals are celebrated for who they are, not defined by how they act or look.

Thank you to everyone who participated today. Austin may not come up to you and say thank you, but I promise you today meant a lot to him. It meant even more to Renee and I."

https://piecewalk.org/team/keep-austin-weird/
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Ken Toey (Adam) and I bought t-shirts and made a donation today in honor of Austin, your students, a special boy in Colorado, and all of those who are impacted by autism. Weird is the new awesome and we are so glad we had a chance to be a part of this incredible event!

Thank you for heeding the call to be nice and for sharing Caleb with the world.

(Also, we already heard back from one of the vroom vroom recipients today.)

https://www.facebook.com/thecalebeffect/…/2078123205791090/…

#beweird
#benice
#peoplearefightingbattlesyouknownothingabout
#autism
#piecewalk
#SUDCawareness
#vroomvrooms
#actionsspeaklouderthanwords
#onekindactleadstoanother
#calebeffect
#itsworking
#thankyou

https://thecalebeffect.org/

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Hell Day-2 Years

Hi Baby. I love you. I miss you so much. It has been 2 exceptionally long years since I got to hold you and kiss your angelic, happy face, and 1 year and 364 days since I got to have you hug me, lay your sandy hair on my shoulder, and kiss me back. I miss the way you would squeeze me and we would give each other smooches until it made us both laugh. I hope you feel all my hugs and kisses even though I only get to write them to you now. Just like your “Baby Kisses” book says, “Mwah, mwah, mwah, mwah, mwah, mwah, mwah, mwah, mwah.” I love you and no matter how many more seconds, days or years I have to keep living here, that will NEVER EVER change. I will ALWAYS love you FIERCELY with my whole heart and soul. You have every bit of both and I hope that because of that, it somehow makes it seem like I’m already with you. I know a huge piece of Mommy died that day, too and I’ve often theorized that this might be why people say we don’t have to wait long for those we love to show up after we get to your dimension.

It is a very odd thing knowing you are somewhere I’m not even though we know a lot of trustworthy people who’ve made it there, too. With the exception of daycare, we only left a babysitter with you 4 times in your whole life. Even though we know quite a crowd of family and friends up there, this is still WAY longer than I ever would’ve given you permission to be gone without me, especially without any kind of acknowledgement or request that you were even going anywhere without my supervision. I don’t know if you knew this was going to be happening all along and you just snuck out when we weren’t watching, if you were stolen all at once, or if you struggled and tried to fight off whatever attacked your body. I have so many questions and zero answers. I hate today so much.

I woke up today sweating and it reminded me of 2-years ago when I had probably crawled into bed exhausted, without a shower, and still wearing my clothes from the day before. Then waking up to what I did, and all the other horrors of the day left Mommy feeling a kind of icky I can’t even describe in words. Another tiny shred of symbolism to go with the other repulsive details of the worst day of my life, yet what I hope (but is still too hard to imagine) was the most glorious day of yours. 

There is no way you actually remember this but when you were really tiny you used to throw up all over Mama in a most impressive, drenching way until we discovered that BOTH of us didn’t do so great when eating anything made from a “moo Cow.” That’s how I feel today, Baby. I didn’t eat any ice cream or cheese, but I feel like at any moment the knot in the pit of my stomach could erupt and soak everything in vomit. I don’t think you are aging, but just thinking about getting sick made me think your friends who still celebrate birthdays here might actually think watching this sight would be pretty awesome now that they are 4 and into grossing out their parents. 

It is true that living here every second since I found you 2 years ago is excruciating. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do over and over, every single day, but I also know that sharing the way you taught us to love is worth it. It is what I’m supposed to do for you now because you can’t do it physically on your own. Keep reminding me of that on days like today, okay?

Today’s weather matches my heart. It’s cloudy and humid and the hail and tornadoes are still to come. I wish we could fast forward or stop at yesterday but the calendar we keep in this world keeps moving no matter how badly we wish or will it to “be nice.” As we learned last year, it is unbelievable that days like today would have the nerve to actually keep coming around. However, as I’ve told you before, the days don’t take their direction from me. I’m just one of the players, not the keeper of all the games. 

Thinking about tornadoes this morning reminded me that what makes a tornado is a mixture of hot and cold air. It reminded me of May 2nd. The most perfect, spirited, heated air and energy that I loved to feel on my skin symbolizes your beautiful life and the cruel, coldness that hurts all the way to the bone represents your death (God knows how much I hate writing that). Put them together and you have the darkest storm and everything spinning completely out of control. Your breath and everything perfectly warm and comforting was sucked out with the coldest brutal truth of life. Everything spun out of control and in so many ways we are still dizzy and sick. We’ve cried a thunderstorm of tears and felt like hail was nailing us in the heart over and over again. However, Daddy and I are trying our best to try to hang on to each other to weather the gloomiest clouds and most severe thunder that roars at night. 

Sometimes I think I must still be in shock. I don’t feel things like I used to and I don’t know that I ever will without you. Much like Sunday’s race, I’m trying not to worry about time and just make sure I make it to the finish line, but that is so much easier said than done.

I miss you. It all boils down to missing you. I can’t “go there” and think about what happened 2 years ago but my brain still remembers and certain things take me anyway. I also wonder things like if you saw yourself in the out of body experience people talk about before they leave this world. Maybe it was too dark in your room for you to see yourself when you left or maybe someone shielded your eyes. That’s what my hope for you is today. There are still no answers for why you had to leave us so quickly, and Mommy is still haunted by the “what.” What happened, what stole you from us, what is still out there ready to silence Daddy, your cousins, or your animals, and from “what” was it that I should’ve protected you? I wish you could just tell me.

I do not want this day to win and Baby Boy, I’m working my behind off to make sure that doesn’t happen. However, it is literally the challenge of my life. Help me be strong for as long as I have left to live here. It IS what I want to do for you. 

I hope you see all 508 shirts with your name on them and know people ARE listening to you and becoming more aware of the ways you show up to let them know you are still here. It is not AT ALL in the way I wish I could have you on Earth, but I’m trying to be grateful that you are still attracting attention and teaching people all over the world how to love like you. 

You were always a natural teacher as one of the older ones in your class. You taught the younger kids letters, new words, and even how to greet a new friend joining the group. Caleb Baby, you are getting more virtual pupils all the time, but I miss being in your classroom and seeing your joyous face every day. I just miss you my sweet boy and I can’t wait to have you in my arms and kiss your perfect face again and again. I know there are a lot of people where you are but I’m going to go ahead and warn you that they all better hurry up and get their turn with you now because I WILL be hogging you as soon as my body here is done. Just as you said “My Mommy” when you got jealous that I was playing with your friends, “My Caleb,” I am anxiously waiting my turn with you, too.

You used to tell me that the sun was hiding behind the clouds. I will keep telling myself that my son is hiding behind all of those clouds and that someday I will get to sit and enjoy all your peaceful, bright rays again.

You are the most beautiful boy in the world who ever lived and I will never stop telling anyone who will listen about you. Someday you can tell everyone yourself, too.

I love you through the most violent storms, just help Mommy and Daddy hang on a little tighter on days like today.

One day.

I love you, Angel Baby.

Love, Mommy
XXXOOOXXX
OOOXXXOOO
XXXOOOXXX
OOOXXXOOO
XXXOOOXXX
OOOXXXOOO
XXXOOOXXX
OOOXXXOOO
XXXOOOXXX

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We Ran and Remember-OKC Memorial Marathon 2018

Hi Baby. I love you. The Caleb Effect was all over the city today (quite literally), and in many parts of the country as well. Four of your friends and Daddy got up extra early to spread some of your love and vroom vrooms and run the relay in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon for you. You also introduced three out of the five to their very first race and they finished in under 5 hours!! Woo hoo!!

Another group of your friends set up a special area in the kids' marathon and passed out 75 vroom vrooms to honor you and the people who were killed there in 1995. That was long before you made it into this world, but a day Mommy and Daddy will never forget.

There were also more than a dozen people who wore your shirts in the race to spread some love. Did you see them? Aunt RoRo ran her first half-marathon and still had steam left in her tank to go for a walk with your cousin afterward.

Do you remember race day, Caleb? You always had SO much fun seeing all the new people and festivities and it was really hard knowing you were not going to be at the finish line greeting me with the happiest smile in the world. I miss you my little bear cub.

Mommy ran today as well but did not break any land records. Thank you for helping me make it to the finish line, which was the only goal I could hope for today. I know Mommy was not properly trained for this and had many setbacks, but I promise you there is NOTHING in this world or the next that will ever stop me from loving you and sharing your happy, friendly spirit.

This was the first race Mommy has signed up to run since you've been gone. I hope you know that I crossed the finish line smiling just for you and knowing the flu of two months ago, the ridiculous training weather, all the deep sadness, and not even shingles or a fever would be victorious today. You didn't ever get to run a race, but Baby Bear, today you won big.

I love you more than you will ever know and I can't wait for that day I get to run to you faster than I've ever sprinted on any course in this life.

One day.

I love you forever and always.
Love, Mommy
XXXOOOXXX

#calebeffect
#runokc
#weremember
#vroomvroom
#benice

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How Can I Help? Fun Opportunity (and visual aids)!

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We are LOVING seeing everyone getting their new shirts in the mail! (If you are one of the ones who asked us to do one more printing you can get yours here but only for a few more days: https://www.bonfire.com/the-caleb-effect-1/ ) Keep the pics coming! Also, if you would like to help us honor victims of the OKC bombing, you can participate in this project on Sunday no matter where you live or whether you are attending the marathon or not! Here is how:

1. Tell us who you will be honoring (updated list of names of those killed in the bombing and that still need someone to pass out a vroom vroom in their honor are on the Facebook page) and you can learn more about each person here: https://oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org/people/)

2. Print off a template under the blog posted titled "OKC Memorial Marathon-Remembering with Vroom Vrooms," or click here: https://thecalebeffect.com/…/22/rv6xq3ohugdfzu2hdj2swze152h…

3. Write the names of those you told us you want to honor on the template

4. Cut out the template

5. Tape it to a vroom vroom

6. Give it to a child on Sunday (wearing your shirt if you have one).

We will be making sure every person who lost their life on April 19th, 1995 is remembered with a vroom vroom given in their name. We have some special people already on our list, but we need your help! Maybe you can honor all of the people who have the same letter of your last name (although all the last names beginning with “G” are already taken). Hot Wheels are about $1 and it would mean a lot to a family who no longer has their loved one here. Thanks friends!!

#weremember
#calebeffect
#weloveyoujanet

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OKC Memorial Marathon-Remembering with Vroom Vrooms

One week from today, The Caleb Effect will be participating in the OKC Memorial Marathon. This is an event to remember the 168 victims of the bombing of the Murrah Building on April 19th, 1995 and to support The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.

Caleb absolutely LOVED race day! Seeing new excited faces, bands playing, giving unlimited high fives to the runners, and being the cutest, jumping fan, clapping and beaming with joy was so much fun for him. Last year we created a logistical impossibility for ourselves so Caleb's aunt "RoRo" took the reins and went all out, creating hand-painted T-shirts and handing out vroom vrooms with the relay team for us.

This year we WILL be running (despite our ill-prepared training plan) and we WILL also have a relay team and many others wearing their new T-shirts and spreading the love all along the route. If you would like to join us either in the race, somewhere along the course, or WHEREVER YOU ARE IN THE WORLD, please download this special template we created just for this event, pick up a few vroom vrooms, and post on our Facebook page which of the 168 names you will be writing in the blanks when you hand these to an unsuspecting child (see The Caleb Effect Facebook page for the complete list of names of those who still need someone to honor them and click on the link at the bottom of this post to learn more about each person). Even if we have to find a way to carry 168 vroom vrooms with us, every person WILL be remembered next Sunday!

Before losing Caleb, we ran this race many times to remember all the lives lost and to honor Caleb's great-aunt, Ruth, a survivor who lost her eye, a job she loved, and too many dear friends. Every mile of every race we run is dedicated to someone who is no longer here physically. We run for those who can't and we hope you will feel compelled to do something, too.

As the event website says, "Our mission is to celebrate life, reach for the future, honor the memories of those who were killed and unite the world in hope. This is not just another marathon. It is a Run to Remember…and a race to show that we can each make a difference and change the world."

The Caleb Effect believes in making a difference and we know one forever 2-year-old who will be with us every step of the way. We can't wait to see all of you changing the world in Caleb's honor and feeling The Caleb Effect wherever life takes you. "Auntie Ruth" will be waiting for you at the finish line to give you your medal. See you next Sunday!

https://oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org/people/

Lucio Aleman Jr.

Teresa Antionette Alexander

Richard A. Allen

Ted L Allen

Miss Baylee Almon

Diane (Hollingsworth) Althouse

Rebecca Needham Anderson

Pamela Cleveland Argo

Saundra G. (Sandy) Avery

Peter R. Avillanoza

Calvin Battle

Peola Battle

Danielle Nicole Bell

Oleta Christine Biddy

Shelly D. Bland

Andrea Yvette Blanton

Olen Burl Bloomer

Lola Bolden

James E. Boles

Mark Allen Bolte

Casandra Kay Booker

Carol Louise Bowers

Peachlyn Bradley

Woodrow Clifford “Woody” Brady

Cynthia L. Brown

Paul Gregory Beatty Broxterman

Gabreon D. L. Bruce

Kimberly Ruth Burgess

David Neil Burkett

Donald Earl Burns, Sr.

Karen Gist Carr

Michael Carrillo

Zackary Taylor Chavez

Robert N. Chipman

Kimberly Kay Clark

Dr. Margaret L. “Peggy” Clark

Antonio Ansara Cooper Jr.

Anthony Christopher Cooper II

Dana LeAnne Cooper

Harley Richard Cottingham

Kim R. Cousins

Aaron M. Coverdale

Elijah Coverdale

Jaci Rae Coyne

Katherine Louise Cregan

Richard (Dick) Cummins

Steven Douglas Curry

Brenda Faye Daniels

Benjamin LaRanzo Davis

Diana Lynn Day

Peter L. DeMaster

Castine Brooks Hearn Deveroux

Tylor Santoi Eaves

Ashley Megan Eckles

Susan Jane Ferrell

Carrol June “Chip” Fields

Kathy A. Finley

Judy J. (Froh) Fisher

Linda Louise Florence

Mary Anne Fritzler

Donald Fritzler

Tevin D’Aundrae Garrett

Laura Jane Garrison

Jamie (Fialkowski) Genzer

Sheila R. Gigger-Driver and baby

Margaret Betterton Goodson

Kevin “Lee” Gottshall II

Ethel L. Griffin

J. Colleen Guiles

Randolph A. Guzman

Cheryl E. Hammon

Ronald Vernon Harding, Sr.

Thomas Lynn Hawthorne Sr.

Doris “Adele” Higginbottom

Anita Christine Hightower

Thompson Eugene “Gene” Hodges, Jr.

Peggy Louise Holland

Linda Coleen Housley

George Michael Howard DVM

Wanda Lee Howell

Robbin Ann Huff and baby

Jean Hurlburt

Dr. Charles Erwin Hurlburt

Paul D. Ice

Christi Yolanda Jenkins

Norma Jean Johnson

Raymond Lee Johnson

Dominique Ravae (Johnson)-London

Larry James Jones

Alvin J. Justes

Blake Ryan Kennedy

Carole Sue Khalil

Valerie Jo Koelsch

Ann Kreymborg

Rona Linn Kuehner-Chafey

Teresa Lea Taylor Lauderdale

Mary Leasure-Rentie

Kathy Cagle Leinen

Carrie Ann Lenz and baby

Donald Ray Leonard

LaKesha Richardson Levy

Rheta Bender Long

Michael L. Loudenslager

Robert Lee Luster Jr.

Aurelia Donna Luster

Mickey B. Maroney

James K. Martin

Rev. Gilbert X. Martinez

James A. McCarthy II

Kenneth Glenn McCullough

Betsy J. (Beebe) McGonnell

Linda G. McKinney

Cartney J. McRaven

Claude Arthur Medearis

Claudette (Duke) Meek

Frankie Ann Merrell

Derwin W. Miller

Eula Leigh Mitchell

John C. Moss III

Ronota Ann Newberry-Woodbridge

Patricia Ann Nix

Jerry Lee Parker

Jill Diane Randolph

Michelle A. Reeder

Terry Smith Rees

Antonio “Tony” C. Reyes

Kathryn Elizabeth Ridley

Trudy Jean Rigney

Claudine Ritter

Christy Rosas

Sonja Lynn Sanders

Lanny Lee David Scroggins

Kathy Lynn Seidl

Leora Lee Sells

Karan Howell Shepherd

Colton Wade Smith

Chase Dalton Smith

Victoria (Vickey) L. Sohn

John Thomas Stewart

Dolores (Dee) Stratton

Emilio Tapia

Victoria Jeanette Texter

Charlotte Andrea Lewis Thomas

Michael George Thompson

Virginia M. Thompson

Kayla Marie Titsworth

Rick L. Tomlin

LaRue A. Treanor

Luther Treanor

Larry L. Turner

Jules A. Valdez

John Karl Van Ess III

Johnny Allen Wade

Robert N. Walker Jr.

David Jack Walker

Wanda Lee Watkins

Michael D. Weaver

Julie Marie Welch

Robert G. Westberry

Alan G. Whicher

Jo Ann Whittenberg

Frances “Fran” Ann Williams

Scott D. Williams

W. Stephen Williams

Clarence Eugene Wilson, Sr.

Sharon Louise Wood-Chesnut

Tresia Jo Worton

John A. Youngblood

#calebeffect
#okcmemorialmarathon
#weremember
#wewillneverforget
#benice
#runforthosewhocant
#neverforget
#vroomvroom
#HotWheels

 

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Just One of Those Days

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So much sadness today. I’ve been thinking of the 168 people lost and the countless others who were forever changed as I have every year since the day I thought we were having an earthquake in first hour at school. This year my heart hurts even more as a beautiful little boy who only got to celebrate one birthday with his loving parents and sisters was laid to rest today.

I decided to go for a run outside to try and clear my head but I kept thinking about how it was the same park where I used to take Caleb, and where I have pictures of him falling asleep with his toddler-gelled mohawk and a stuffed Spider-Man tucked into his stroller seatbelt.

Tonight the park was full of children having soccer practice, playing baseball games, climbing on the new playground, and learning to throw a frisbee. Things I will never get to do with Caleb.

Even trying to cope in the healthiest way I could imagine completely leveled me.

Losing someone you love is not a one-day event and losing a child means grieving all of the plans we didn’t get to watch them fulfill. It leaves an ache that not even a beautiful sunset can fix and forever holes in all the places their physical presence don’t get to visit anymore.

I don’t believe I will ever be “through” this or “healed,” and that is an agonizingly jagged pill to swallow. It’s just been one of those days that makes me wish I could fast forward time and be together again.

Goodbye April 19th. As I told my friend who buried her son today, “just one second at a time.” It is now past midnight and all of those seconds have finally turned into another day for me and for too many others who are forced to live without their heart and soul. I survived another day and am now one day closer to being with my little boy. I’ll claim that as a victory.

I feel like I’ve run out of prayers but if you have a few extra for my friend’s family and all of those who have to count the seconds until April 19th changes into the 20th, I’m sure they would appreciate a little light, good vibes, acts of kindness or whatever you can offer on this dark day in history.

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Celebrate a Senior-April 2018-Nice On The 9th!

 Prepping for the 9th! Grippy socks for the win!

Prepping for the 9th! Grippy socks for the win!

 I wouldn't have thought about little things like lens wipes, but Papa  Roy  told me how he likes to bring them to senior centers. He said he used to visit his mom and her glasses could always use a good cleaning. It's the little things.  Also, how cool are these bags? Yes, keep giving the love. — at  Anne-Paige .

I wouldn't have thought about little things like lens wipes, but Papa Roy told me how he likes to bring them to senior centers. He said he used to visit his mom and her glasses could always use a good cleaning. It's the little things.

Also, how cool are these bags? Yes, keep giving the love. — at Anne-Paige.

 Handwritten notes to let people know we love seniors and that we care.

Handwritten notes to let people know we love seniors and that we care.

 We had a VERY busy day planned so I left a little earlier than usual. Oklahoma may have wind sweeping down the plains but the skies make up for some of its neurotic behavior. Also,  Ken Toey , that vroom vroom reminded me of a certain one you carry in your pocket.

We had a VERY busy day planned so I left a little earlier than usual. Oklahoma may have wind sweeping down the plains but the skies make up for some of its neurotic behavior. Also, Ken Toey, that vroom vroom reminded me of a certain one you carry in your pocket.

 Stop #1: Norman Regional Hospital  Grandma Faye (Adam's grandma) came here a couple of times after surgery but you were already gone. She didn’t even have a pencil to write down a phone number or anything. Not being one to ask for anything, she was bored out of her mind until someone came to see her. We didn't want anyone else to have to wait to receive these items so we made a big bag of supplies to hand out to patients and left them for others who experience a similar circumstance.   You brought her a ladybug inside her hospital room during a time that ladybugs were not in season and you disappeared just as quickly when the next person came to visit.  I think it was here that the lady at the nurse’s station said that she liked how we noted that you were “borrowed” from Heaven. I told her I always knew you were never really mine. You just had some of my DNA.   Bonus points for pretty flowers!

Stop #1: Norman Regional Hospital
Grandma Faye (Adam's grandma) came here a couple of times after surgery but you were already gone. She didn’t even have a pencil to write down a phone number or anything. Not being one to ask for anything, she was bored out of her mind until someone came to see her. We didn't want anyone else to have to wait to receive these items so we made a big bag of supplies to hand out to patients and left them for others who experience a similar circumstance. 

You brought her a ladybug inside her hospital room during a time that ladybugs were not in season and you disappeared just as quickly when the next person came to visit.

I think it was here that the lady at the nurse’s station said that she liked how we noted that you were “borrowed” from Heaven. I told her I always knew you were never really mine. You just had some of my DNA. 

Bonus points for pretty flowers!

 Stop #2: "Mee Maw's" house! I should've discovered at this point that all my pictures were being taken in "live" mode, which means a lot of them ended up being blurry. Oh well.  Mee Maw is not my biological grandma but this sweet lady treats me like she is. Do you remember going to visit her? She is the grandmother of a dear friend I met at OU on the day she moved into the dorms and whose family “adopted” me as one of their own ever since. They are my "S family" and always know how to make me feel like a surrogate daughter.   I graduated college post 9/11 (a really terrible day) when advertising executives were being laid off in droves and working at Starbucks to make connections. Companies could pick whoever and whatever experience or specialty they wanted, so until I found my first "real job" Mee Maw rented me her spare bedroom for next to nothing.   I love this feisty, John Phillip Sousa loving, S. Meemz, beautiful, Sooner Sue!  She also knows the heartache of outliving her son.  — with  Sue Jansing .

Stop #2: "Mee Maw's" house!
I should've discovered at this point that all my pictures were being taken in "live" mode, which means a lot of them ended up being blurry. Oh well.

Mee Maw is not my biological grandma but this sweet lady treats me like she is. Do you remember going to visit her? She is the grandmother of a dear friend I met at OU on the day she moved into the dorms and whose family “adopted” me as one of their own ever since. They are my "S family" and always know how to make me feel like a surrogate daughter. 

I graduated college post 9/11 (a really terrible day) when advertising executives were being laid off in droves and working at Starbucks to make connections. Companies could pick whoever and whatever experience or specialty they wanted, so until I found my first "real job" Mee Maw rented me her spare bedroom for next to nothing. 

I love this feisty, John Phillip Sousa loving, S. Meemz, beautiful, Sooner Sue!

She also knows the heartache of outliving her son.

— with Sue Jansing.

 Stop 3-Remember Leesa? My “surrogate sister” has added "Physical Therapy Assistant" to her title. She does home health visits for many elderly patients so we left her some handwritten notes and a few goodies to spread some love.  Her tiny assistants-in-training were also there to greet me and check out your necklace, but the taller one escaped my photos.   Leesa asked me if I had eaten breakfast and when I told her I forgot to grab what I had planned, she whipped up the best bowl of oatmeal I think I've ever eaten in my life. I don't think I've ever left her house without being sent away with food. You would've loved it!  Thank you for looking out for me, Leesa! Hope you had a good day with your patients! So glad I got to see my S. Family today.   — with  Hooman Torabi , Suzanne Annesley  and  Leesa Torabi .

Stop 3-Remember Leesa? My “surrogate sister” has added "Physical Therapy Assistant" to her title. She does home health visits for many elderly patients so we left her some handwritten notes and a few goodies to spread some love.

Her tiny assistants-in-training were also there to greet me and check out your necklace, but the taller one escaped my photos. 

Leesa asked me if I had eaten breakfast and when I told her I forgot to grab what I had planned, she whipped up the best bowl of oatmeal I think I've ever eaten in my life. I don't think I've ever left her house without being sent away with food. You would've loved it!

Thank you for looking out for me, Leesa! Hope you had a good day with your patients! So glad I got to see my S. Family today.

 — with Hooman Torabi,Suzanne Annesley and Leesa Torabi.

 Stop #4: Grandma Faye's House! Your great-grandma is one of the biggest inspirations for choosing this topic this month. She got one of the cool Anne-Paige bags, too.  You loved to throw your vroom vrooms into Grandma's walker and push it all around the room. Grandma still carries around one of your trucks. Do you see that, Caleb? Your vroom vroom is still there, although I heard you were hitchhiking for a couple days after the vroom vroom fell out of Grandma’s walker during one of her trips to visit the doctor.  Grandma shared a special bond with you and I hope she doesn't mind me posting one pic of our visit even though she hates pictures of herself.   This is another entertaining, sassy, beautiful, genuine lady that I love more than she knows.  Also, Baby Boy, this was a surprise visit and when I arrived, Grandma was sitting in the dark because her light bulb broke down to the socket. She told me she didn't want me to fix it and ehem, that I COULDN'T fix it without cutting myself, so the challenge was accepted. Guess what, Baby? As you can see from the picture, Grandma told me where to find her tools and I fixed the light. Also, please note that there is not so much as even a scratch on any of my fingers. So Caleb, you literally brought light back to her room!   Thank you for pushing me to change this month to honor seniors even if you DID do that this weekend. Next month, could I have a little more notice please?

Stop #4: Grandma Faye's House!
Your great-grandma is one of the biggest inspirations for choosing this topic this month. She got one of the cool Anne-Paige bags, too.

You loved to throw your vroom vrooms into Grandma's walker and push it all around the room. Grandma still carries around one of your trucks. Do you see that, Caleb? Your vroom vroom is still there, although I heard you were hitchhiking for a couple days after the vroom vroom fell out of Grandma’s walker during one of her trips to visit the doctor.

Grandma shared a special bond with you and I hope she doesn't mind me posting one pic of our visit even though she hates pictures of herself. 

This is another entertaining, sassy, beautiful, genuine lady that I love more than she knows.

Also, Baby Boy, this was a surprise visit and when I arrived, Grandma was sitting in the dark because her light bulb broke down to the socket. She told me she didn't want me to fix it and ehem, that I COULDN'T fix it without cutting myself, so the challenge was accepted. Guess what, Baby? As you can see from the picture, Grandma told me where to find her tools and I fixed the light. Also, please note that there is not so much as even a scratch on any of my fingers. So Caleb, you literally brought light back to her room! 

Thank you for pushing me to change this month to honor seniors even if you DID do that this weekend. Next month, could I have a little more notice please?

 Stop #5: St. Luke's Downtown (WHAT?) That's right. AFTER we had already decided to switch this month to celebrate seniors, I found this "Stand Up for Seniors" event hosted by LeadingAge Oklahoma. It was originally scheduled to be at the State Capitol but because of the teacher walkout it just "coincidentally" moved to the same place where you went to daycare. I felt bad not sticking around or saying “hi” to anyone, but I did drive past your class, playground, and drop-off/pick-up parking. Whew. — with  LeadingAge  at  St. Luke's United Methodist Church .

Stop #5: St. Luke's Downtown (WHAT?)
That's right. AFTER we had already decided to switch this month to celebrate seniors, I found this "Stand Up for Seniors" event hosted by LeadingAge Oklahoma. It was originally scheduled to be at the State Capitol but because of the teacher walkout it just "coincidentally" moved to the same place where you went to daycare. I felt bad not sticking around or saying “hi” to anyone, but I did drive past your class, playground, and drop-off/pick-up parking. Whew. — with LeadingAge at St. Luke's United Methodist Church.

 Where am I? What stop is this? Oh yes: Stop #6-USPS Sent some love and mailed a package to my only living grandparent, your great-grandma. I met my new friend KiKi (not sure if that is how you spell it or not because according to her name tag, as I teased her, her name was “Trainee"). I liked her right away. She had fun hair with blue and green accents, so that made me know she didn't take herself too seriously. I was the only customer in there (also highly unusual) so she was taking her time and being friendly with me. Her questions went beyond the standard “Do you have anything liquid, fragile, perishable, hazardous, etc?” She noticed that the first name on the package was “Grandma,” and asked me if I spent summers in California with my grandma when I was growing up. I told her that I wished I did but that I've only had a few opportunities to see her in my life. I don’t normally tell people about you in these kinds of settings, but she was genuinely curious why I was sending this package and I think KiKi even said something asking if there was a specific reason I was sending your great-grandma something. Maybe it is rare for people to mail their grandparents a package so she wanted to know more. I told her about “Nice On The 9th” and gave her one of your cards. The lady at the next station heard me talking about you and about SUDC and showed me a picture she keeps at her station of a friend's little one who also died in their sleep. Her friend's child was under 1, so it was labeled as SIDS, but maybe you have now met this new friend, too.   I reminded them to not take any days for granted and had to get a picture of my new friend. Once again, it was on that weird mode, so blur city was all I got. Maybe they are following your page now and will see this posted. I know they will remember you hopefully for a really long time.

Where am I? What stop is this? Oh yes:
Stop #6-USPS
Sent some love and mailed a package to my only living grandparent, your great-grandma. I met my new friend KiKi (not sure if that is how you spell it or not because according to her name tag, as I teased her, her name was “Trainee"). I liked her right away. She had fun hair with blue and green accents, so that made me know she didn't take herself too seriously. I was the only customer in there (also highly unusual) so she was taking her time and being friendly with me. Her questions went beyond the standard “Do you have anything liquid, fragile, perishable, hazardous, etc?” She noticed that the first name on the package was “Grandma,” and asked me if I spent summers in California with my grandma when I was growing up. I told her that I wished I did but that I've only had a few opportunities to see her in my life. I don’t normally tell people about you in these kinds of settings, but she was genuinely curious why I was sending this package and I think KiKi even said something asking if there was a specific reason I was sending your great-grandma something. Maybe it is rare for people to mail their grandparents a package so she wanted to know more. I told her about “Nice On The 9th” and gave her one of your cards. The lady at the next station heard me talking about you and about SUDC and showed me a picture she keeps at her station of a friend's little one who also died in their sleep. Her friend's child was under 1, so it was labeled as SIDS, but maybe you have now met this new friend, too. 

I reminded them to not take any days for granted and had to get a picture of my new friend. Once again, it was on that weird mode, so blur city was all I got. Maybe they are following your page now and will see this posted. I know they will remember you hopefully for a really long time.

 Stop #7: The address listed online for a meal delivery organization was not correct.  Nothing to see here but keep this timing in mind for all the other signs or "coincidences" that were to come.

Stop #7:
The address listed online for a meal delivery organization was not correct.

Nothing to see here but keep this timing in mind for all the other signs or "coincidences" that were to come.

 Stop #8: Bellevue Health & Rehabilitation Another one of your non-biological Grandmas came here when she was still alive. She was the only person you met in this life who was there with you when you left us on May 2nd.   I will never forget the day we surprised her at her favorite ice cream place and your Aunt Nancy and Uncle Bryan had driven all the way from Colorado just to surprise her. Grandma Nell” walked into the ice cream place, took one look at you and said, "well there's my birthday present right there!" Aunt Nancy did not find it as amusing at the time, but later she wondered if you were her early birthday present for her next birthday.   Grandma Nell spent quite a while here a couple different times so we donated a bag of goodies to remember her. The only reason we had the pleasure of knowing her was because your Aunt Nancy was her neighbor and always took good care of her. She called you a "doll baby" and told me that you were the cutest baby she had ever seen.  I hope you are having fun playing with the doggies and kitties in heaven together. Tell Grandma we said "hi" and that she is also being remembered.  — with  Viewfinder Photography  at  Bellevue .

Stop #8: Bellevue Health & Rehabilitation
Another one of your non-biological Grandmas came here when she was still alive. She was the only person you met in this life who was there with you when you left us on May 2nd. 

I will never forget the day we surprised her at her favorite ice cream place and your Aunt Nancy and Uncle Bryan had driven all the way from Colorado just to surprise her. Grandma Nell” walked into the ice cream place, took one look at you and said, "well there's my birthday present right there!" Aunt Nancy did not find it as amusing at the time, but later she wondered if you were her early birthday present for her next birthday. 

Grandma Nell spent quite a while here a couple different times so we donated a bag of goodies to remember her. The only reason we had the pleasure of knowing her was because your Aunt Nancy was her neighbor and always took good care of her. She called you a "doll baby" and told me that you were the cutest baby she had ever seen.

I hope you are having fun playing with the doggies and kitties in heaven together. Tell Grandma we said "hi" and that she is also being remembered.

— with Viewfinder Photography at Bellevue.

 Stop #9: Buy For Less They have the BEST flowers here! We bought a dozen roses since roses are one of your signs. The florist was so kind and patient. I asked her if she had any regular customers who might be coming in today and she told me of a man who comes in every day, sometimes twice a day (Wilbur). I told her to give one of the roses to him so she saved one back. I didn't have the templates inside with me, so I gave her one of your cards to include and told her how you loved older people. I found out later that she sold me a baker’s dozen and gave me a heck of a deal when it was time to ring up. She also told me she was going to share Caleb’s story with her church and pray for Daddy and me. How nice is that?  I handed out the first rose to a lady in the parking lot who was leaving. She asked what she owed me and was surprised when I told her "nothing."

Stop #9: Buy For Less
They have the BEST flowers here!
We bought a dozen roses since roses are one of your signs. The florist was so kind and patient. I asked her if she had any regular customers who might be coming in today and she told me of a man who comes in every day, sometimes twice a day (Wilbur). I told her to give one of the roses to him so she saved one back. I didn't have the templates inside with me, so I gave her one of your cards to include and told her how you loved older people. I found out later that she sold me a baker’s dozen and gave me a heck of a deal when it was time to ring up. She also told me she was going to share Caleb’s story with her church and pray for Daddy and me. How nice is that?

I handed out the first rose to a lady in the parking lot who was leaving. She asked what she owed me and was surprised when I told her "nothing."

 Stop #10: Something told me to turn the opposite direction from where I was headed and there was even a really bright almost shimmery object that caught my attention. I thought to myself that I must be going crazy or really in need of sleep, but then I saw her.  A friendly  The Curbside Chronicle  vendor, and even though she is probably not old enough to be considered "elderly" we wanted to show her some love, too. She got rose #3.  Grandma Faye insisted on giving me money to use for someone else that you are helping, so it paid for the roses, the magazine, and even had enough to share a little extra with this vendor. I still have 89 cents sitting on the kitchen table so I think I'm going to have to add another quarter to one of the templates and leave it at a dollar store or something.  Also, talk about signs... On the way to this stop, I passed my guitar teacher and wouldn't have even noticed except he hauls a very distinctive red canoe on top. I still didn't think much of it, except for later when I was talking to Daddy and I thought about how perfectly timed that had to have been and how if the one stop would've been the right address, I wouldn't have passed him. I've been putting music on the back burner even though it is what I love most. I've wanted to give up a lot lately because it always seems like I'm starting over every week and I feel like the judgment for questions like "how long have you been taking lessons" will not have the results I probably should by now. I started playing before we lost you, but even then it wasn't the most ideal time to learn a new instrument. Every day since May 2nd has been beyond challenging and it still isn't a great time to learn, but I'm doing it anyway. I haven't dedicated the time I need or want to making myself as good as I want to be. However, it is one of the things I feel like you are pushing me to do even though it is hard to concentrate and sit still to practice. Neither of us was ever any good at sitting for long periods of time but I promise to keep working on it.   THEN after I am guided over to the Curbside vendor, I see this muscle car that looks like it would fit in with your vroom vrooms. It is hard to tell from this picture, but the way it is painted, it turns from orange to green in the light. Okay, I'm listening. You have my attention.

Stop #10: Something told me to turn the opposite direction from where I was headed and there was even a really bright almost shimmery object that caught my attention. I thought to myself that I must be going crazy or really in need of sleep, but then I saw her.

A friendly The Curbside Chronicle vendor, and even though she is probably not old enough to be considered "elderly" we wanted to show her some love, too. She got rose #3.

Grandma Faye insisted on giving me money to use for someone else that you are helping, so it paid for the roses, the magazine, and even had enough to share a little extra with this vendor. I still have 89 cents sitting on the kitchen table so I think I'm going to have to add another quarter to one of the templates and leave it at a dollar store or something.

Also, talk about signs...
On the way to this stop, I passed my guitar teacher and wouldn't have even noticed except he hauls a very distinctive red canoe on top. I still didn't think much of it, except for later when I was talking to Daddy and I thought about how perfectly timed that had to have been and how if the one stop would've been the right address, I wouldn't have passed him. I've been putting music on the back burner even though it is what I love most. I've wanted to give up a lot lately because it always seems like I'm starting over every week and I feel like the judgment for questions like "how long have you been taking lessons" will not have the results I probably should by now. I started playing before we lost you, but even then it wasn't the most ideal time to learn a new instrument. Every day since May 2nd has been beyond challenging and it still isn't a great time to learn, but I'm doing it anyway. I haven't dedicated the time I need or want to making myself as good as I want to be. However, it is one of the things I feel like you are pushing me to do even though it is hard to concentrate and sit still to practice. Neither of us was ever any good at sitting for long periods of time but I promise to keep working on it. 

THEN after I am guided over to the Curbside vendor, I see this muscle car that looks like it would fit in with your vroom vrooms. It is hard to tell from this picture, but the way it is painted, it turns from orange to green in the light. Okay, I'm listening. You have my attention.

 Stop #11, 12, and 13-Handing out more roses: -Walgreens parking lot-to a great-grandma -At the Crossings Clinic to two ladies leaving (view from my back windshield trying not to be a creeper) -At "Grandma Pat's" work (yes, another one that is not related by blood but that I love dearly. I told her she wasn’t really old enough to get one of these, but she always let my nieces and I call her and her husband "Grandma  Pat " and "Grandpa George" when we lived next door, so she still qualified. Do we have some terrific people in our lives or what? — at  Crossings Community Center & Clinic .

Stop #11, 12, and 13-Handing out more roses:
-Walgreens parking lot-to a great-grandma
-At the Crossings Clinic to two ladies leaving (view from my back windshield trying not to be a creeper)
-At "Grandma Pat's" work (yes, another one that is not related by blood but that I love dearly. I told her she wasn’t really old enough to get one of these, but she always let my nieces and I call her and her husband "Grandma Pat" and "Grandpa George" when we lived next door, so she still qualified. Do we have some terrific people in our lives or what? — at Crossings Community Center & Clinic.

 Okay, Caleb, I told you I was listening, but you knew I was still skeptical. Stop #14: Dropping off vroom vrooms to a friend in honor of his elderly mother who has Alzheimer's and remembering your Aunt Danna.  Our friend takes recycled jars and puts fun little toppers on them. Then he sells them to raise money for the Alzheimer's Association. We are going to have him make a Millennium Falcon and Lightning McQueen jar so we can help support the cause and we gave him ten other vroom vrooms to sell at the store, too. He said it was perfect timing because he just received a bunch of jars but didn't have any toppers left. He also said people had asked for jars for kids. Imagine that.   Also, on my way to drop these off, yes, I did see the yellow Hummer. Wow.   — with  Darrell Willoughby .

Okay, Caleb, I told you I was listening, but you knew I was still skeptical.
Stop #14: Dropping off vroom vrooms to a friend in honor of his elderly mother who has Alzheimer's and remembering your Aunt Danna.

Our friend takes recycled jars and puts fun little toppers on them. Then he sells them to raise money for the Alzheimer's Association. We are going to have him make a Millennium Falcon and Lightning McQueen jar so we can help support the cause and we gave him ten other vroom vrooms to sell at the store, too. He said it was perfect timing because he just received a bunch of jars but didn't have any toppers left. He also said people had asked for jars for kids. Imagine that. 

Also, on my way to drop these off, yes, I did see the yellow Hummer. Wow.

 — with Darrell Willoughby.

 Stop #15: So our friend that is raising money for the Alzheimer's Association told me of a place where there might be some people here in need of some extra TLC. I wasn’t sure where I was going to hand out the rest of the roses but figured you would also direct that move. Looks like I was right. The remaining roses went to: -A lady who was on her way to see a musician. She lit up when she got her rose and kept thanking me. -A man who will be 104 in June and who gave his rose to one of the caretakers who works her butt off there. -An 89-year old from Hawaii who has been married for 66 years. She told me to start saving 10% of my money by the time I’m 30. I didn’t burst her bubble and let her know I was well past that age and have always been a frugalista. -The sweetest and most friendly lady who perked up and got out of bed when she got her rose. -A gentleman who loves grandfather clocks and started working on his family farm from a very young age. He was having a rough day, but the staff was so kind in holding his hand and letting him talk as long as he needed. I hope the rose let him know that no matter how many bad days he has had, someone is still thinking of him and loves him just the way he is. -Another grateful lady watching TV in her room.  -And look at that! A picture of a ladybug. I also saw a monarch butterfly one and a cardinal figurine. Hmmmm...   — at  Epworth Villa .

Stop #15: So our friend that is raising money for the Alzheimer's Association told me of a place where there might be some people here in need of some extra TLC. I wasn’t sure where I was going to hand out the rest of the roses but figured you would also direct that move. Looks like I was right. The remaining roses went to:
-A lady who was on her way to see a musician. She lit up when she got her rose and kept thanking me.
-A man who will be 104 in June and who gave his rose to one of the caretakers who works her butt off there.
-An 89-year old from Hawaii who has been married for 66 years. She told me to start saving 10% of my money by the time I’m 30. I didn’t burst her bubble and let her know I was well past that age and have always been a frugalista.
-The sweetest and most friendly lady who perked up and got out of bed when she got her rose.
-A gentleman who loves grandfather clocks and started working on his family farm from a very young age. He was having a rough day, but the staff was so kind in holding his hand and letting him talk as long as he needed. I hope the rose let him know that no matter how many bad days he has had, someone is still thinking of him and loves him just the way he is.
-Another grateful lady watching TV in her room.

-And look at that! A picture of a ladybug. I also saw a monarch butterfly one and a cardinal figurine. Hmmmm...

 — at Epworth Villa.

 Stop #16: (oh and I did swing by a fast food restaurant and grabbed lunch at about 3:30pm) Victorian Estates Assisted Living Centers -Daddy got to join me after work! -This happy soul keeps people who are confused from running away and trying to "go home." He doesn’t complain about the food and has a pretty impressive Polka record collection and saw clock! He has a positive energy about him and even though he never met me before May 1st, 2016, he always tells me that he loves me when I hang up. He told us that another man at the center didn’t like the way they cooked his bacon and he told him to just think of it as nutrition that his body needed. From then on, the other man ate all his food and has stayed healthy.   That's right. You and I met this man and his daughter the day before we lost you. Remember him? I hadn't seen him since that day I met him when you had an ear infection. It was Sunday so your pediatrician's office was closed. He walked in wearing a Gulfstream ServiceCenter jacket and my eyes immediately were drawn to it. That is where my dad worked when he was alive. Apparently it has been out of business for many years so I was shocked to see the familiar logo. I asked him if he knew my dad and he recognized his name immediately even though he has some trouble remembering things now. He told me that he loved it when my dad took him up for a ride along to check out an airplane. He also told me that he even let him fly the plane and was learning a lot from my dad/your grandpa you never met but that is with you now.   Mommy has a hard time remembering details but I remembered his first and last name even after I got home which is a small miracle for me. It really upsets me that you died by yourself without me and it is something I still agonize about every day. My oldest brother, your Uncle  Paul Lindo  told me that maybe you weren't by yourself and that maybe our encounter was a sign that my dad was there, too. I don't know if that is the case or not, but I DO know that I was meant to meet this wonderful gentle man.   — at  Victorian Estates .

Stop #16: (oh and I did swing by a fast food restaurant and grabbed lunch at about 3:30pm)
Victorian Estates Assisted Living Centers
-Daddy got to join me after work!
-This happy soul keeps people who are confused from running away and trying to "go home." He doesn’t complain about the food and has a pretty impressive Polka record collection and saw clock! He has a positive energy about him and even though he never met me before May 1st, 2016, he always tells me that he loves me when I hang up. He told us that another man at the center didn’t like the way they cooked his bacon and he told him to just think of it as nutrition that his body needed. From then on, the other man ate all his food and has stayed healthy. 

That's right. You and I met this man and his daughter the day before we lost you. Remember him? I hadn't seen him since that day I met him when you had an ear infection. It was Sunday so your pediatrician's office was closed. He walked in wearing a Gulfstream ServiceCenter jacket and my eyes immediately were drawn to it. That is where my dad worked when he was alive. Apparently it has been out of business for many years so I was shocked to see the familiar logo. I asked him if he knew my dad and he recognized his name immediately even though he has some trouble remembering things now. He told me that he loved it when my dad took him up for a ride along to check out an airplane. He also told me that he even let him fly the plane and was learning a lot from my dad/your grandpa you never met but that is with you now. 

Mommy has a hard time remembering details but I remembered his first and last name even after I got home which is a small miracle for me. It really upsets me that you died by yourself without me and it is something I still agonize about every day. My oldest brother, your Uncle Paul Lindo told me that maybe you weren't by yourself and that maybe our encounter was a sign that my dad was there, too. I don't know if that is the case or not, but I DO know that I was meant to meet this wonderful gentle man.

 — at Victorian Estates.

 Stop #17! Strawberry Fields Senior Living -As I said in my Facebook Live video, this was not part of the original plan, but is anyone surprised at this point? You had been in so many different cities already that I wanted our last stop to be a senior living center in Mustang, the town closest to where we live. Daddy wracked his brain and the only place he could think of was this place. What?? Also, if people do not believe in signs after ALL of these today, I can’t wait until you do something even more grand like you keep doing for Mommy and Daddy. I admit that I am a skeptic and a person who likes proof, so I'm sorry you have to work a little harder for me. However, as I told you, you know what I need and you keep making my mouth drop open when I’m not sure I should trust my own eyes. Also, the lady inside already knew all about you, Caleb Lennon and said she got emotional just seeing us walking in with our shirts. The goodies we left here are going to be used for this low-income retirement community’s bingo prizes.   April 2018-Nice On The 9th Recap:  7 cities (Norman, Moore, OKC, The Village, Edmond, Yukon, and Mustang) + 12 hours of being “Nice On The 9th” =PRICELESS day of spreading The Caleb Effect with our community.  I love you, Caleb. Now and always.   — with  Ken Toey  at  Strawberry Fields Senior Living & Retirement Community .

Stop #17! Strawberry Fields Senior Living
-As I said in my Facebook Live video, this was not part of the original plan, but is anyone surprised at this point? You had been in so many different cities already that I wanted our last stop to be a senior living center in Mustang, the town closest to where we live. Daddy wracked his brain and the only place he could think of was this place. What?? Also, if people do not believe in signs after ALL of these today, I can’t wait until you do something even more grand like you keep doing for Mommy and Daddy. I admit that I am a skeptic and a person who likes proof, so I'm sorry you have to work a little harder for me. However, as I told you, you know what I need and you keep making my mouth drop open when I’m not sure I should trust my own eyes. Also, the lady inside already knew all about you, Caleb Lennon and said she got emotional just seeing us walking in with our shirts. The goodies we left here are going to be used for this low-income retirement community’s bingo prizes. 

April 2018-Nice On The 9th Recap:

7 cities (Norman, Moore, OKC, The Village, Edmond, Yukon, and Mustang)
+ 12 hours of being “Nice On The 9th”
=PRICELESS day of spreading The Caleb Effect with our community.

I love you, Caleb. Now and always.

 — with Ken Toey at Strawberry Fields Senior Living & Retirement Community.

 And here is the lady from the airplane.   It would be so awesome to find her. She has or had family in the Seattle area in September of 2015 but I can't remember where she and her husband live.

And here is the lady from the airplane. 

It would be so awesome to find her. She has or had family in the Seattle area in September of 2015 but I can't remember where she and her husband live.


Hi Baby! I love you. I can’t even tell you how much I love you because there aren’t words that exist in this world that are even close to being adequate. Just know that Mommy loves you more than you loved any vroom vroom or even going “wimming,” and think of you far more often than you thought about how wheels on your toys went around and around. You are always on my mind, heart, and soul, and as I’ve told you before, I hope most of my soul already left with you so that you never wonder where Daddy and I went. My love for you is never going to be in the past tense. Saying I “loved” you is not the way I feel about you. You may be gone physically, but I love you and I will ALWAYS love you, Caleb Lennon. You are my everything, my beautiful boy and you always will be.

I still wonder constantly what you are doing and if your days (or whatever they are now) are still consumed with some version of vroom vrooms that keep you curious and able to tune out the rest of your surroundings. However, I know I probably couldn’t even fathom all the things you now know even if I kept trying for the rest of my days here on Earth.

I know this message is coming to you late again but I hope you have been hearing me when I talk to you and already see that it was not physically or mentally possible over the last couple of days. Because of you, Mommy is really trying hard to pay close attention and push herself outside what is comfortable. I’m still not always courageous enough to do the things I think you want me to do, but I AM listening, Baby Boy, and I really do feel you directing me. I want the whole world to know you even if it is just through stories, pictures and videos. I hate it with all my might that this is my only option I have left. Even though my heart is decimated (that means destroyed and crumpled so small there are only tiny pieces like crumbs left), I want to be able to put that aside so everyone can see you through me. I want to represent you even if it is just a tiny fraction of the person you showed me how to be. I know they can’t see your joy and love when I’m sobbing or despondent (that’s a kind of unhappiness that you thankfully never knew). I have to keep getting off the couch, keep trying, and continuing to tell everyone what I think you would want them to learn. It IS hard to answer questions and meet new people (the cards help though and for anyone reading this who has lost a child, you can make your own version from the “Be Nice” section of the website or click here: https://thecalebeffect.com/kindness/ ). I know the first few questions will always include “Do you have kids?” and it does hurt knowing my only baby isn’t in my arms anymore. It CAN be hard to smile on the 9th or when we visit places in the community for you, but I hope you really do know you are always worth it and your life is worth sharing. This is why we celebrate the 9th, because we want everyone to see the way you lived your life and feel your presence and good-nature as it applies to their own.

Maybe that’s why this was the busiest 9th yet because I wanted to send you in as many directions as possible. Did you see what we did for “Nice On The 9th” this month? We decided to postpone our original theme for this month THIS WEEKEND because we wanted to have more time to make sure when we tackle this upcoming topic, we get it right and have the best picture of the situation. Mommy was already running on borrowed steam, but you helped me make it through somehow. Thank you, Baby. I hope you already know everything I tell you. Maybe you even know things that are still to come, but I don’t live in the same dimension where you have been sent, so for now, this is just my way of telling you, and keeping a record for this life.

This month we chose to be nice to people who have been on this planet longer than us. Some of them have been in this universe for quite a bit longer than us and we wanted to make sure they knew they are still really important people in our community.

You LOVED older people and really did have a sixth sense about what they needed and how you could brighten their day. Daddy loved pushing you in the shopping cart backwards so you could greet everyone and I think you enjoyed entertaining the older crowd more than almost anyone else (except babies). Every time you guys would come home from the store, I would ask him to share the details of your new fan club. Each time you guys went, there was a new story about how you made someone’s day. Daddy turned grocery shopping into a fun outing for you and a way for me to get a few things done at home. I have to admit though, sometimes I was jealous that I didn’t get to see some of these interactions, too. I have been told I’m a pretty empathetic person, but I had nothing on you. Caleb, how did you know exactly what every single person needed from you and exactly how to give it to them?

I don’t know if you have memories of your entire life or how that works now, but there was a time when we were on an airplane flying home from visiting your family in Washington and you stretched out your arms to a complete stranger a few rows away. She asked if she looked like someone you knew or maybe a grandmother, but there was no resemblance to anyone in your routine life. She looked pretty harmless and since we were on an airplane, I knew she couldn’t get very far even if she wanted to. I hoisted you over to her and took my seat in our row. The lady lit up as you pointed out the window and jibber-jabbered something I couldn’t understand from where I was sitting. You sat with her for takeoff and went back and talked to her again for probably at least another 30 minutes until we landed. She thanked us for letting you visit with her and we found out that when we had boarded the plane, she was terribly upset because she had just left her own grandkids. She wasn’t crying and Daddy and I probably didn’t even notice her because we were too busy trying to figure out the best way to maneuver what your Uncle Lon termed “crappage” into the overhead bins. However, you did. You didn’t just notice her or even just perceive that she needed you, but you also did something about it. You weren’t even old enough to have your own seat on the airplane, but you found your own way to help her anyway. You stretched out your arms to her and took the edge off her pain. You went even beyond that and made her smile.

This is one of the most perfect examples of how you instinctively knew things that the rest of us couldn’t. I don’t know how I was ever chosen to be your mommy, but it is what I will be most grateful for for the rest of my life. You knew what I needed and always gave me the best tight hugs, extra kisses, the most delightful giggles, and play time spent cracking each other up that made all my stress melt away. I know I am supposed to keep carrying that love and pure joy you shared with me and make it last for the rest of my lifetime. I will cherish every nanosecond I had with you here and I will never stop trying to be more like you, Baby Boy.

Because of you, there are literally hundreds of people who experienced a thoughtful surprise (or are soon to experience one as the goodies are handed out in the coming days and weeks). You only aged two years so you never had to experience things that come with getting older. As we get more candles on our cakes, we usually become wiser and our priorities clearer. Unfortunately there are also some not so great things that come with every “Happy Birthday” song, too. Our health, favorite possessions (that’s stuff we own), privacy, independence, regular human interaction, participation in events, hobbies, and even just access to decent meals can be lost.

We say we don’t have time to visit others because we know sometimes it might take a while to chat or maybe some of our older friends might have trouble saying goodbye as your Uncle Thomas has dubbed “The Lindo Linger.” Booger Bear, you were the exception. You did not walk past an older person, dismiss them, or get angry when they took an extra few minutes to collect an item off the shelf or cross the street. You always made sure to wave at them, say “hi,” give a high-five, or let them know you loved them just as they were. Did you just know these things because you were a child and still so innocent in the ways of the world or were you given some supernatural gifts? We are taught that it isn’t polite to stare at people, but maybe we use that as an excuse to dismiss everyone else and only worry about our own needs. Is it just human-nature or part of self-preservation that as we become adults, we start focusing more and more on ourselves? Whatever it is, I think this may be a good reminder to stop and nonchalantly (that’s when you don’t make it obvious) people watch long enough to notice someone who needs us.

Baby Bear, Mommy realizes now that she has more energy than most people, but I hope the 17 stops (not including lunch) proved that even a small amount of quality time being present with people who need them is possible and necessary even if it isn’t done all in one day. I know Mommy is not the only one going at a 150 mile an hour pace trying to get it all done. There are work obligations, ball games, birthday parties, church events, and all kinds of other distractions, but even a 10-minute phone call on your way to one of these activities could mean the world to someone who spends most of the day by themselves.

Little Bear Cub, you were always the one person who could always keep up with me and I know you are the reason I was able to keep up with you without crashing. Thank you. I miss running around like a crazy person with you so much, but I also hope the 9th was a day that many others also took time to slow down and have a conversation with an elderly neighbor down the street, a grandparent, or a new friend who needs them.

Help us to see what people need and to go further by noticing others. Guide us to look up from our phones and really see people and sense their suffering. Let us reach our arms out to people who need us and encourage us to do go a step further and do something about it. Give us the courage to sit with someone in their pain and make their day. Your Uncle Andy was right, you were a superhero whose powers were to make everyone love you even if they didn’t intend on letting you in their hearts. You are my light in the darkest of places.

One day we will both be in the light and I will get to see you on a day that both of our arms will be stretched out as wide as your smile. I will squeal and sprint as fast as I can to get to you, and I will never let you out of my arms again. All of my pain will disappear and I will finally get to introduce you in person to every last fan you are making here.

I can’t wait to finally experience that kind of day where both of us knows what the other needs and the only thing we need is our little family back intact again. I love you forever, always, and completely.

One day.

I love you. 
Love, 
Mommy
XOXOXOXOX

#calebeffect
#Niceonthe9th
#eldercare
#SeniorCitizens
#alzheimers
#benice
#dosomething
#signsareeverywhere

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Tomorrow is the 9th! Celebrate a Senior!

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The 9th is tomorrow!! Caleb shared a special bond with his great grandma, and even said “I luh you guh..,” when he should’ve been way too young to have been able to say that. Whether it is an elderly neighbor who is lonely, a stranger in a nursing home, a little old man at the grocery store, or just someone wearing an “old man” style hat, we hope you will join us tomorrow in your new colorful shirts to buy a cup of coffee, sit with a new friend, or find your own way to spread some love! Don’t have a shirt? Link is in my Instagram bio, and pasted here as well. Shirts are only available until Tues (11 PM EST), so get them while you still can!
https://www.bonfire.com/4caleblennon/
#calebeffect
#niceonthe9th
#elderlycare
#benice

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Week 4-Hi "Peeps"

Hey "Peeps!" This will be my last video for SUDC Awareness Month-2018. I didn’t even attempt to stay under two minutes this time, but I hope you will watch and see why this month is so important to me.

P.S. The 444 other kids I refer to in the video only include the numbers from the U.S.

P.P.S. Caleb’s death would not have been categorized as SUDC if we had not hired a private autopsy, but that is a story for another day.

#SUDCawareness
SUDC Foundation
#calebeffect
#peeps
#backdropfail
#Jedimindtricksyoucanusetopretendcoveredthewholebackgroundthecurtainitdid
#mybrainissquishytoo

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Week 3-SUDC Awareness Month-Share the Facts

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Four years ago, Caleb was new to this world and we were just starting to come out of hiding from flu season to meet his sweet, new friends. 

Caleb was a very colicky baby but his youngest friends never minded. They loved holding and comforting him by rubbing the crown of his head and telling him it was okay. Caleb LOVED people, but especially babies and other children. I loved watching both the little faces excited to meet him and seeing Caleb's eyes light up in wonder. I wish I could bottle these moments and save them forever. These moments also hurt, because I also know I'm not going to get any more memories like this.

We tried to do our best as new parents, and some even considered us "helicopter parents" who were extra crunchy granola. After volunteering at The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center for many years, I had witnessed too many newborns with life-threatening issues after being exposed to well-meaning visitors who swore it was "just allergies." We WERE extremely cautious about accepting visitors. We tried to do everything we could to keep Caleb healthy and comfortable. We used cloth diapers; I breastfed; went to the chiropractor, prepared fresh, organic meals when he started eating solids; made sure he saw his pediatrician for every ear infection and strep incident; kept him home an extra day after those sick days just to be sure. The list goes on and on. However, none of this mattered. Our healthy, happy, beautiful boy was still taken from us and no one knows why.

Through a lot of losses in my life, I really did learn to cherish as many moments as I could together. I cuddled him and neglected the house. We played in the floor with "vroom vrooms" and "flew" like an airplane. I never got tired of chasing him or pretending when he "found" and "scared" me from my hiding places.

I know Caleb is still meeting beautiful, new friends today, just not at all the way we wish. As week 3 of SUDC Awareness month arrives, the goal is to educate at least one person each day with the facts regarding SUDC. 

Please tell Caleb's story, take that lunch date with your friend, refill your coffee and instead of just talking about the weather, show someone Caleb's picture and ask them if they've ever heard of SUDC. Print one of these fact sheets; hang it in your office or bring it to your doctor's appointment with your kids (or share it with a medical professional or first responder). Caleb's picture is second from the right on the bottom. We know it is not always easy to discuss, but if you could share this with one person at a time, maybe someday healthy kids like Caleb will still be here to make more memories with their playmates. 

Since we are sharing facts this week, my fact of the day is that Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood is a category of unexplained death, and 142 TEENS in the U.S. ages 15-19 years left behind their families and friends in 2016 as well. Those are just the 142 who were actually labeled into the SUDC category, so we know the number is probably much higher. Spread the facts and let us know where they are being shared. 

Thank you.

http://sudc.s3.amazonaws.com/AAA_Amazon/sudcliterature/SUDC%20One%20Page%20Intro%20Doc%20Pics.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJYVT3VLDMLUDFRZA&Expires=2145934800&Signature=M0m%2BKlqqgMJEWsrM8sGP4hS3AEY%3D

#sudcawareness
#calebeffect
#gomeetanewfriend
#sharethefacts

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Tuna, Street Papers and Kindness-Week 2 (continued)-SUDC Awareness Month 2018

 I’m still catching up from last week but we squeezed in a few nice things when we were feeling better. We left lunches around town for people who are homeless or likely to have to skip meals. This one was left for someone on a bus bench.  #SUDCawareness   #calebeffect   #benice

I’m still catching up from last week but we squeezed in a few nice things when we were feeling better. We left lunches around town for people who are homeless or likely to have to skip meals. This one was left for someone on a bus bench.
#SUDCawareness
#calebeffect
#benice

 I heard someone digging through the trash at a fast food restaurant so we left a couple of meals for this person. I tried to talk to them to tell them I had food for them, but they didn't answer me when I got closer. Makes me sad that people have to find food in these kinds of places just to survive. 😢   #SUDCawareness   #calebeffect   #benice   #EndHomelessness

I heard someone digging through the trash at a fast food restaurant so we left a couple of meals for this person. I tried to talk to them to tell them I had food for them, but they didn't answer me when I got closer. Makes me sad that people have to find food in these kinds of places just to survive. 😢 
#SUDCawareness
#calebeffect
#benice
#EndHomelessness

 We bought a “street paper” from a lady who is homeless and gave her a lunch kit, too.    The Curbside Chronicle   #SUDCawareness   #calebeffect   #benice   #EndHomelessness

We bought a “street paper” from a lady who is homeless and gave her a lunch kit, too.

 The Curbside Chronicle
#SUDCawareness
#calebeffect
#benice
#EndHomelessness

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Random Acts of Kindness-Week 2-SUDC Awareness Month 2018

 We know we are getting a late start for week 2 of SUDC Awareness Month, but it's Random Acts of Kindness Week! Sickness hit our house this week so we had to hide out at home and spread kindness by not spreading our germs to anyone else. We are no longer contagious so we are sharing Caleb's love and educating our community about SUDC. Come join us and do something nice this week as well! Use  #SUDCawareness  and get creative. If you need templates to include with your kindness you can print them from Caleb's website here:  https://thecalebeffect.com/kindness/   Also, it takes mail a while to make it all the way to Switzerland, but we love the fortuitous timing of this package! What will you do to brighten someone's day? #SUDCawareness  #SUDC   #calebeffect   #benice   #RAOK

We know we are getting a late start for week 2 of SUDC Awareness Month, but it's Random Acts of Kindness Week!
Sickness hit our house this week so we had to hide out at home and spread kindness by not spreading our germs to anyone else. We are no longer contagious so we are sharing Caleb's love and educating our community about SUDC. Come join us and do something nice this week as well! Use #SUDCawareness and get creative. If you need templates to include with your kindness you can print them from Caleb's website here:
https://thecalebeffect.com/kindness/

Also, it takes mail a while to make it all the way to Switzerland, but we love the fortuitous timing of this package! What will you do to brighten someone's day?
#SUDCawareness
#SUDC
#calebeffect
#benice
#RAOK

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Home - March 2018-Nice on the 9th

Hi Baby. I love you. I miss you. I've been more than a little distracted lately but I'm still trying. Remember the lady I was telling you about a few months ago when the eclipse was here? The one who sat with us and found paper plates for us to help enjoy nature's show? She was the one who despite living outside in the heat, smiled easily and was grateful for the sandwich and snacks Mommy gave her. Well, yesterday we decided to help people like her, and a few others who only recently found safe shelter in our state.

I know you know we miss you but we really hope by doing nice things for you on the day of the month that you were born, it really does make you happy. We are listening, Baby Bear, and other people are, too.

Mommy's first stop was more secret that our usual "Nice on the 9th," but your kindness has been there before so you probably recognized it. I didn't take any pictures and I'm not going to put it in the blog because some of the people there have to hide from others who are trying to hurt them. If people want to help, I will let them know they can just ask Mommy.

I don't understand how some people can be so mean, especially to kids, but the truth is that it still happens every day here on Earth. I'm grateful you never knew that you had to be careful when talking to new people, but I know if you would've grown up, we would've had to have more serious conversations about this, too. The world was still your oyster, Baby Boy and maybe somehow it still is even if it isn't in the way that we want. You had a 6th sense about what people needed and it taught us so much about being open to meeting new friends we were initially skeptical about approaching. However, some kids not much older than you have already learned first-hand that it isn't always safe to be carefree and friendly all the time. Luckily, every single person I've ever met who works for this organization has always shown that extra care and understanding for the kids, and the children there know these are adults they can trust.

Speaking of adults, when Mommy was dropping everything off, the lady who is in charge of one of the programs where Mommy used to volunteer already knew all about you! I never told anyone during my time as a volunteer our story so she HAD to have either read one of your templates, seen you on the news or in one of the publications, or heard about you from one of our donations or a friend. The Caleb Effect really is spreading!!

The next place we visited was the The Homeless Alliance, where multiple non-profits (that's a company that usually has a heart for others) who help homeless people have offices. (Thank you for the yellow Hummer on my way there, by the way). Instead of making someone try to take a bus to multiple locations all over town for things like seeing a doctor, talking to someone about all the things that overwhelm them, or just helping them get an ID, there are several agencies that assist them all in one spot.

Even just being 2, you had a lot of stuff, but imagine if Mommy and Daddy had to carry around everything you loved most, everywhere we went. You would be REALLY mad if we didn't take all your vroom vrooms or enough packets and Veggie Straws. You would also want to "read" your books every night, too. People who don't have a house or apartment have to carry around EVERYTHING that is important to them, and that can be a vulnerable (that's when someone feels like they are leaving themselves open to being hurt) feeling. One of the things they have at the Homeless Alliance is lockers so the people there don't have to worry about something getting stolen or having to carry so much on their backs. They also have the only day shelter in Oklahoma City. People who live outside and sleep in parking garages or in makeshift boxes can come use the computers; showers; eat breakfast, lunch and a snack; and even come take their doggies to play. A lot of people refuse to get protection from things like freezing or scorching temperatures because the regular shelters won't allow animals, so this is a place where people with animals can come without having to worry about leaving their furry friends behind. They also have a vet who comes and checks on the "woof woofs" and makes sure they are okay, too. Pretty awesome, huh? Your Aunt Nancy Viewfinder Photography and Pam North will be really happy to hear this.

We had no idea that so many wonderful things were happening under one roof, but one of the programs that we DID know about is called The Curbside Chronicle. It is a magazine that gives homeless people a chance to sell magazines and work their way to a better future. Instead of just standing on the street begging for money, it allows someone who might have trouble getting a traditional job a legitimate opportunity to make money. It also gives people like Mommy and Daddy a glimpse into the day in the life of someone living on the streets, and even displays a little humor in the section titled "Hoboscope," (AKA horoscope). Anytime we see someone wearing one of the green vests (and assuming we actually have cash on us), we buy one. I was a little bummed (no pun intended) that I didn't see any vendors while we were in the area but keep listening and you won't be disappointed.

We knew that a lot of people who are homeless don't have the basic necessities so we put together goody bags for 15 people (see pictures to learn what went into each bag). We also delivered tons of socks from Grandma and our friend, Jennifer; sticks of deodorants; bars of soap; stuff for ladies that you would be even more confused if I tried to explain; and snacks for our new friend, Ranya Forgotson O'Connor to keep in her office and offer to vendors when they are there. Some of our longtime friends and YaYa met us there and brought supplies, too! Baby Boy, did you see the faces of the people when Mommy opened the hatch on her vroom vroom? We didn't even have the bags unloaded yet and they were already excited and asking us for a bag! One of the ladies looked a little sad but Mommy told her how I was there to spread some love for you. I gave her a little encouragement and a hug, but maybe you could also watch over her, too.

We left the Homeless Alliance even more grateful for things like a computer to write you this message, a choice whether to share our space or not, and a hot shower anytime we want. You ALWAYS loved splashing in the bath, using your net to "catch" your rubber fish, and squeezing (and usually drinking) water out of your squirt toys. However, there is not a bath tub at this facility and no one gets to sit in a deep tub of bubbles or drop Elmo's colorful tablets in their water. I'm also willing to bet none of these people have a Mickey Mouse toothbrush to brush (or mostly just chew) their teeth, or a Monster's Inc or various animal-themed hooded towel to dry off with when they were finished. All of your things are as you left them. I wish there was some sort of magic trick we could perform that would bring you back just as shockingly fast as you were taken away. It still seems like you are going to pop out from behind the curtains and start laughing when you see our elated faces. Maybe that's what heaven will be like. It will come swiftly and we won't even believe what we are seeing. We will just be so happy to be with you again.

Not everyone believes in heaven, but the people at our 3rd stop most certainly do. Much like the Homeless Alliance, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City offers many programs to people of various walks of life inside one building. Some of the other social services agencies are only blocks apart, so they call this whole area the "Corridor of Hope." Catholic Charities recently moved to this new location and built in many symbols of their faith and community both in and outside the building. One fun fact of the day is that one of the more unique and artistic symbols (which also will be in the pictures) was even requested to be taken to the Vatican and replaced with a replica (that's a copy).

We came there specifically to learn more about their Refugee Resettlement Program and got to meet Maleeha Siddique, a former refugee from Afghanistan and Mark Chan, who run the program. I'd love to hear more about Maleeha's story, but we did learn that she speaks 5 languages which has proven to be highly useful to refugees coming into their new community.

I know this month we are highlighting homelessness so maybe you are wondering why we chose to "be nice" to refugees, too. Maybe you are also wondering what a refugee is. Well, my sweet boy, a refugee is someone who has had no other choice but to leave their home due to a "well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion." That sounds pretty scary to me.

You were fearless. It didn't matter if you were starting a new "school," hiding in a pitch-black room to scare us, or jumping into the water and insisting on no "floaties." However, we have always lived in America, in a place where you didn't need to worry much about someone coming to do mean things to our family. Not every place in the world is like it is here. I imagine if we were forced to live in a country where mommies got in trouble just for driving you somewhere or not believing the same things the head of the government believes, fear would've found you eventually, too.

I also know that refugees aren't "homeless" in the traditional sense, but to me, home means more than just four walls. Home means having the people you love with you and feeling a sense of safety and comfort. Many of these people have lost family members in terrible circumstances and have endured unspeakable trauma and hardships. When Catholic Charities arrives to pick them up at the airport, some only have the clothes on their backs and a small bag given to them by another agency. They do not know anyone, many don't speak English, and literally nothing except the family they might have with them is familiar. I'm sure it is very lonely and overwhelming to make such drastic changes all at once, so we hope the supplies we brought them help make them feel a little more welcome.

Some literally went from living in camps for many years to getting on a plane and walking into their first apartment of their own. Some of the refugees are not accustomed to the modern conveniences we enjoy in the Western world so it is an even bigger culture shock for them. The Executive Director, Patrick, was our tour guide and told us that they have had people who have tried to cook with charcoal in the middle of their living room because they are used to cooking everything over an open fire. He also shared with us that many of the refugees come from places where corruption is widespread and where bribery is expected. He said that since most refugees aren't familiar with how the laws in the U.S. work, and they have to be taught things like not giving a police officer or person of authority money when encountering them.

There are so many things we take for granted simply because we live in America. Mommy was raised Catholic and Daddy was raised Baptist, but neither of us are members of our original churches now. In many parts of the world, this would be reason enough to treat us with really terrible punishments way worse than time out. You are not old enough for Mommy to tell you all the details about these kinds of things, but just know that we were all fortunate to be born in the U.S. Although Daddy and I aren't Catholic, we appreciate the work this charity is doing (especially for refugees), and are also grateful they serve both the uppercase Catholic and lowercase catholic community. (In fact, we learned that 85% of the people they serve are not Catholic) Another fun fact is that the definition of "catholic" is "universal, including a wide variety of things; all-embracing." You, my forever "Little C," still encompass this better than anyone I've ever met. Help us to keep embracing those who need you and to welcome our newest neighbors so they truly feel that Oklahoma is home.

Mommy's last stop of the day was to the Sunnyside Diner, where they have a public pantry. The sign says, "Leave what you can. Take what you need." It is probably human nature to take more than we need, but something I've observed from the homeless community is that many seem to adhere to this principle. They know there are others like them who are still in need, so they leave enough for others and take what they need. We wanted the people who are in need to have food that is nutritious and will fill their bellies, so we left some tuna lunch kits and an assortment of protein packs. Originally, I was going to leave a third box of tuna kits inside, but something inside me told me that I should save one box back for anyone else I may encounter.

Well, guess what? On my way to meet up with the rest of our group, Mommy saw a lady selling the Curbside Chronicle! I pulled over into a parking lot and loaded a couple of tuna packs into my lap and circled back to be on the correct side of the road to buy a magazine from her. As soon as I got to the light, I flagged her down and she came to my window. I asked her if she liked tuna and she was so happy to receive a couple extra meals. Mommy finally got to buy her magazine. Pretty fantastic way to end another successful Nice on the 9th, Baby Boy.

I love you. I always will. Someday we will all be "home" together and none of us will ever have another fear or heartache again.

One day. One glorious day.

Love,

Mommy
XOXOXOXOX

P.S. For all your friends who read the entire super long post: Shirts are still coming soon, but I noticed a large discrepancy in the names, so I am looking into this to ensure that all families who want to have their child represented will have the chance.

#calebeffect
#benice
#NiceOnThe9th
#homelessness
#refugees
#humanrights

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Come Join Us for March "Nice on the 9th!"

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WOW! You guys rocked February's Nice on the 9th so much, it is hard to believe it is already almost time to do it again!

This month we will be spotlighting homelessness, so get out your new Caleb Effect t-shirts and spread some love wherever you are! 

We will be delivering items to a few locations throughout the day. If you are local and would like to donate an item or simply tour a facility with us, please join us! (comment below and let us know if you plan to attend one or both locations):

-2pm-Tour the Homeless Alliance and learn more about The Curbside Chronicle
(1724 NW 4th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73106) 

**Curbside Chronicle wish list includes:
-Packaged Snacks
-Bottled Water
-Hygiene Products
-Feminine Products
-Socks (sometimes these are worn for weeks or months at a time so the higher quality, the better)
-Hand/Body warmers

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-4pm-Tour Catholic Charities as they share information about their Refugee Resettlement program
(1232 N Classen Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK, 73106)

**Refugee Resettlement program wish list includes:
-Sheets
-Blankets
-Pillows
-Pots and Pans
-Household Items
-Hygiene products
-Dishes
-Cleaning Supplies (brooms/dust pans/mops/buckets, cleaning products, rags, etc)
-Trash cans

#CalebEffect
#benice
#NiceOnThe9th
#Homelessness
#HumanRIghts
#Refugees

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