The First Sunday Since

I woke up Saturday morning at 3:30. It wasn’t on purpose. I had to pee and grab a drink of water. When I lied back down, I wasn’t sleepy. Typically, this isn’t a problem for me. But this wasn’t a typical morning. It’s a day I was dreading. And, mostly because of that, I never did get back to sleep outside of 20 minutes before the twins woke me up a little after 8.

Jax died on a hot, sun-filled Sunday. Yesterday was the first June 24 that was a Sunday since he died six years ago. It was definitely sunny, and mostly hot. And I was dreading all of it. I didn’t want to pretend to be okay, and I really didn’t want to have to talk to anybody.

I managed to wear enough of a smiley face once we arrived at Angel Stadium, and it helped to watch the kids play at the Family Sunday zone before the game as friends and family snuck some shade under a tree and listened to mediocre kid-bop cover songs of some decent artists.

Soon it became a place of warmth (not just because it was hot), positivity and love. It wasn’t anything that was said or done. It was just loved ones, being with us in support, all together in whatever each of us were feeling – and not doing it alone.

I’m continually overwhelmed by the amount of love and support everyone has, continues to, and will give us as we continue to mourn the loss of Jax. I get lost in my own junk, and it clouds my vision of what’s real and what’s imporant, and it’s a day like yesterday that helps me to see and feel what is real, and what matters.

I love you all. My family loves you. And thank you.

Jax Remembrance 6/24/18 – Angel Stadium

JAX REMEMBRANCE 2018

Just a quick note that Jax’s remembrance this year will return to Angel Stadium, as the Angels host the Toronto Blue Jays for a 1 P.M. game on Sunday, June 24.

Tickets are $16 and the seats will be in the shade. However, seats are getting low in the section we want, so I need to know by Sunday, May 6, if you want seats. Please let me know how many. You can reach out to Kristina or myself to RSVP.

Thank you for your continued love and support of our family as we remember Jaxson forever.

Happy 10th Birthday, Jax

Last week, Kristina text me that National Puzzle Day is today, January 29. She came across a link about silly days of recognition. For example, February 5 is Chocolate Fondue Day. Go wild, people.

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Jax loved puzzles. He started young, and enjoyed them up until the time he left us. At 3 he was assembling 100-piece puzzles. He had a distinct pose when he was in his puzzle zone – one knee on the floor, one knee up at his chest, with laser-like focus.

After the pool party the day he died, Jax was supposed to clean his room. Toys and puzzles covered the floor of his room, including the one below, which we’ve framed. IMG_0417

For today – Jax’s birthday – to be recognized as National Puzzle Day blows my mind. Puzzles were such a piece of him that we’ll always remember (sorry for the bad pun).

Today we’ll spend his birthday like we always do. We’ll drop off dinosaur cupcakes to his beloved preschool teacher and her class. We’ll pick the twins up early from school and head out to the National History Museum to explore the dinosaur exhibits and whatever else strikes our interest. Then we’ll meet up with family for dinner at Ruby’s Diner, one of his favorite places to eat.

Moving forward, it seems like we should add a new tradition to the day – putting together a puzzle.

Happy Birthday, Jax. My love for you knows no limits. My heart aches beyond comprehension. And my soul longs to be with you again.

Love you,

Dad

Five Years

5 years later

A couple of weekends ago I was driving all three kids home from an over-night stay at their great grandpa’s with their cousins. They conked out about five minutes after getting on the freeway, exhaused from staying up late and suffering from excessive sugar hang overs.

I was somewhere between Cerritos and Buena Park on the 91 East when it hit me, hard, like a punch in the gut from late-80s Mike Tyson. Jax has been gone longer than he was here.

That’s fucked. Lonliness filled me with despair. For whatever reason, a quiet car has been a magnet of super shitty thoughts for me since Jax died. In that moment, all those feelings came rushing back. It only lasted for 10 minutes, but it left its mark. Then, as I do, I crammed those feelings way down deep. And now, here we are. Five years that I last rubbed my fingers through his hair, heard his voice, made him smile and gazed in to his gorgeous eyes.

Saturday, the day of the remembrance, was rough. It was the hardest remembrance for me emotionally since the first year. The lack of booze didn’t help. At least at the Angel games I can numb myself up some. Disney’s El Capitan Theater offered no such relief. I didn’t want to be in my own skin. Acting natural felt forced, and I had trouble relaxing and just being.

Kristina missed most of the movie as Phoenix, who was missing his nap time, didn’t want to sit quietly. She was having a hard time Saturday, too, and this didn’t help.

The movie experience itself was terrific. Jax would’ve loved this so much. El Capitan is beatiful and the preshow, which I can only describe as a 13-year-old’s idea of a fun day on acid, was pretty cool. And the movie, Cars 3, was a fitting end to the franchise. Garvey, who is slightly older than Jax, said it was the best movie in the trilogy. I think Jax might’ve agreed, especially with the emergence of namesake Jackson Storm. It was an apt way to honor our missed little boy.

After the movie we gathered in the lobby, trying to catch up and say hello to those that joined us. At one point I looked out to the front on Hollywood Blvd, and what do you know, a fire truck inched its way along traffic. That’s our boy for us. Much needed. A few minutes went by and I couldn’t hold my emotions in check any further. Hugs made my eyes swell and at some point I lost it, breaking out in a hard, loud, ugly cry. The climax of my awkwardness.

I’m pretty sure we held the El Capitan crew up from opening doors for the next show time, but they never asked us to leave and were very courteous. We headed back to the parking structure and began our voyage out of Los Angeles, stuck in 101 traffic. We ate lunch with friends at an Island’s in Long Beach and then went home.

Kristina crashed on the couch. She didn’t sleep well the night before, with the day looming. Gray pulled out his Cars toys to play with, so we raced together while he recreated the movie on our living room floor. At night, my mother-in-law picked up balloons and we wrote notes to Jax and released them.

Then Kristina and I headed back to the theaters to catch a 10:30 PM showing of Cars 3. We weren’t the only ones in the theater, but it was pretty bare. No baby to hold or kids to rush to the bathroom, so Kristina could an enjoy an uninterruped viewing. I tagged along mainly for security. I didn’t feel great about her going to the movies late by herself. When we walked out back to our cars after midnight, I asked her thoughts, and she said it was cute. And agreed Jax would’ve loved it.

Saturday is a reminder that none of this gets easier. Some days are just shitty. And it’s normal, even after a string of non-shitty days, no matter how many years after the fact.

Thank you to those that joined us Saturday and those that couldn’t, who continue to honor our missed little boy and support our family with love and kindness. Sometimes, because of my own shit, I’m not able to express it. But it does mean so, so much to us. We love you.

CHOC Walk 2017 – How to Register

REMINDER! The CHOC Walk is August 27 this year. 

Two goals with this post:

  • Remind everyone that the timeline for the CHOC Walk was pushed up by two months this year. Remember to register if you plan on joining. And if you can’t join us but would like to make a donation to team Iron Jax, you’re more than welcome to do that as well.
  • Assist those with the registration process. CHOC has decided to use another new platform this year, which means another new way to register. Hopefully the instructions below are easy enough to get you signed up and fundraising in a jiffy.

How to Register

1. Go to CHOC’s registration page here.

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2. Sign up for a new account by entering your name and email address and creating a password, or click the Sign Up with Facebook button.

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3. If you’re signing up as a Walker, click the bear on the left.

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4. Fill out your Account Information (name, address, fundraising goal, t-shirt size, etc.).

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5. To join team Iron Jax, enter “Iron Jax” at the very bottom where it asks for Team Name. From there, it should switch your options of create or join team to JUST join team. Then click Next.

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6. The next page confirms your information, and then click Continue.

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7. After choosing to add a donation under your name, you’ll be taken to the Complete Registration page. Sign your rights away and then Complete Registration.

Bam, you’re now signed up for team Iron Jax. If you have any questions, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help.

Thank you for joining us in this very meaningful experience for our family. Whether you’re Walking or Donating, it means more to us than you’ll ever know.

Thank you.

Jax Remembrance 2017 – Cars 3 at El Capitan Theatre

jaxremembrancegraphicWe’re finally able to share the details the Jax Remembrance. We will be watching Cars 3 on Saturday, June 24 at 10 a.m. at the legendary El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.  Walt Disney Studios is reserving a bunch of seats for us at this show time. Tickets are $11 per person.

The past three years we’ve been fortunate enough to all gather at Angel Stadium and celebrate our sweet boy. This year, however, the Angels will be in Boston. But Disney (and maybe a higher power than The Mouse) scheduled Cars 3 to release the weekend of June 17, providing us a fantastic alternative to celebrate Jax and things he was passionate about. Which, no doubt, includes Cars.

Also, in the you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up category, Cars 3 features the debut of Jackson Storm, a rookie to the Piston Cup race scene, and beloved Lightning McQueen’s new rival. How cool is that?!?

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Jackson Storm

Please let us know by June 8 if you would like tickets.

Note about parking:  El Capitan will partially validate if you park at Hollywood and Highland. Bring your parking ticket with you to get validation, and then parking will cost you just $2 for up to 4 hours. 

Happy 9th Birthday, Jax

Jax turns 9 today. Last week I tossed grounders and pop-ups and threw batting practice to kids between 6 and 12 in our Little League for evaluations. It wasn’t lost on me when the 9-year-olds came up that Jax was missing.

On Wednesday night, as a Board member and Minors player agent of the league, I ran the draft for the 9 and 10-year-olds (and some 11s). It was at the house of the league’s president, who just happens to be the father of a boy in Jax’s first preschool class that he adored. One of the managers in the division is the mother of a player on Jax’s t-ball team.

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I haven’t been able to stop fantasizing about what Jax would look like physically, and what kind of baseball player he’d be. The few 9-year-olds that I recognized at evals looked so grown up, and different, really. If I didn’t know their names, I wouldn’t have recognized them. Would I recognize Jax if I crossed paths with him?

It’s been a hard week, emotionally. The longing for him, the missing him. I mean, it always is leading up to his birthday. But throw evals and the draft on top of that, and I’m really having a hard time this week. Jax should be out there, too. It isn’t fair to leave him out of it. It’s B.S.

Today we’ll drive out to the Los Angeles Natural History Museum and celebrate Jax at one of his favorite places, then meet up with family at Ruby’s in Orange at the train station for what should be a beautiful night. It’s our tradition for our boy, and the only way we know how to celebrate his birthday at this point.

And the fantasies return. What would Jax want for his 9th birthday? What would he play with? Would he like riding bikes and scooters? Create Nerf battles with his brother and sister? I have no idea what 9-year-old boys do. Lego?

But I’m confident he’d still love baseball. As my uncle Bob posted a comment in a past birthday post “it’s in our blood.”

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Happy Birthday, Jax. My love for you knows no limits. My heart aches beyond comprehension. And my soul longs to be with you again.

Love you,

Dad