Team Charlie Lives

    lola turns 3 years old!
  
lola today
In October 2011, Lola served as a kind hostess with Captain Dan Fentress to Charlie's friends at his birthday party.  Like anyone who has lost a loved one, she loves to hear great stories of Charlie and truly appreciates those who knew him.  If she has your cell phone, she's gonna ask to see your pictures of him.  
Happy Birthday Charlie and Lola!

The sweetest little 2nd grade class who missed their final week with me last May, join our family on their October birthday for a quiet Friday morning Mass.
When Charlie's tragedy occurred I had been within yards of the church, having left the card store and entering the lot to have the students First Communion tokens blessed. And then I saw the missed calls on the phone I had left on the seat. I missed witnessing their sacrament that we had prepared for all year. They were scheduled for that evening and weekend... and now, on their birthday, I could see them receive these graces... 
  Afterwards, Father Rob blesses the students gifts to the twins-
Gorgeous, tall, ten foot twin trees planted on the school grounds closest to the church.  The kind of trees?
Just what Mommy wanted- "soon to be blossoming and tree climbing trees."
A beautiful Charlie marker resides at his trunk.
(The trees live at St. John the Apostle School, VaBeach)

Ironically, without knowing of this gift I had written this journal entry in July and I read it to Father and friends after the tree blessings....


Click the paper icon to read

Summer 2011
Lola's first friends are Team Charlie...She ran downstairs every morning to see the "Dragonfly People"

September- November

lola spends many days at museums, aquariums, library groups, and walks... We often go to quiet morning mass to visit with Charlie... or to run on the pews while mommy tries to grab at her coat...


now chatty lola wants 
more friends, so...
mommy find the closest thing to the feel of home...
a home but with friends like she had with Charlie...

December
Lola visits for an hour with the St. John's Little Rays 3 year old class. She makes a gingerbread man with 3 little buttons and a green wreath. Glue, construction paper, a table friend named Kendall ("Candle" as Lola says), and her first "put on the fridge" art work... 
Lola decides she'd like to go back in January three mornings a week.  Mommy knows she's ready when she hears teacher say that Lola would call out loudly, "I need more BUTTONS!"
It is her home. She and Charlie have run to that same classroom since little days as it serves as the church nursery also.
____________________________

And If Lola DID miss mommy?.... 
Well, I'll go WITH her...and be right down the hall teaching 2nd grade again... It's almost time to begin preparing for First Communion,  of course.  
And as an added gift, I have a student who I can speak French to all day long....
And the most fresh, little eager faces who heard the whispers weeks ago...Mrs. Normile's coming! I have chased these little faces on the playground with my lobster claw pinches since kindergarten. 
_________________________
Can I Teach Your Child?
Does your child want to be Lola's friend?

Stop by St. Johns and take a tour of the school...See me in my class, see Lola and "Candle" in the teeny chair room.  I would love to hear that a "Team Charlie" member is joining us.
The best thing you'll love about the school will be the children your child makes friends with.  Seriously.  The other parents will become your closest friends.  Good sweet children with fun, supportive, active parents.
And the teachers?  Me? and my friends?!  You'll be spoiled.
Meet the roots that kept us all from snapping.  
You deserve their care also
and I'd love to see you for years in the halls and classrooms.
No, you DON'T have to be Catholic to join us, 
we want all those who wish to laugh, learn, and love with us.





Sure, we have our moments, and realize that Charlie won't enter the classroom or make new friends... but it is unchangeable and we owe it to him to be Lola's Charlie so his absence isn't painful...

And she speaks about him less, never cries in her sleep anymore for him, never asks tough questions...  But, she does like to remember old times and she does mention him a good 10 times a day, and usually wears at least one thing of his a day. Today it was his fireboots....

But her love hasn't lessened...

And last week at Mass, as I sat in the last pew on the side as always, I snapped this pic on my cell phone...
We've never said this was Charlie's columbarium urn, but we do kiss it or kiss our fingers and touch it....
And then I turn to see this... imagine that.  She seems to be showing him her Charlie Normile Turkey Trot medal that bears his picture...  she had the exact location.
 A dear little widow....
We are so proud of u, little strawbaby. You're doing just beautifully.
This was Lola's update in December, 2011....  prior to the loss of her brother James.  
And she doesn't even know.... 
 As Lola poses with Miss Betty, the Charlie and Lola trees stand just 10 yards in front of her...
Yep-- she's home.
Lola is now 4 years old.  She is very aware of her loss of her twin brother, Charlie, and her brother James.  She has many questions that have no answers.  Why did they have to die?  Why won't they come back?  (Because heaven is better, we reply...)  BUT-- Virginia Beach is much much betterer than heaven!, she argues.
Her loss is profound.  Her future pains I can only imagine.  Perhaps of us all, as time goes on and we find our pain lessening, she may very well find hers increasing as the size of the loss becomes more understood.  As for now, she is a lovely, social butterfly with delightful friends and a sassy personality who loves life to the fullest.