“In life, you will realize there is a role for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you, some will love you, and some will teach you. But the ones who are truly important are the ones who bring out the best in you. They are the rare and amazing people who remind you why it’s worth it.”
I met Kaylee during the North Dakota State Fair Parade in Summer 2016. The football team and coaches walk in the parade each year, and the fair was by far my favorite memory of North Dakota. Within a few days of arriving in North Dakota, there was a full week devoted to country concerts; of course, I like to think it was my welcoming party.The first concert was Billy Currington. That night I informed Kaylee she was “mom goals.” Great first impression on my part. But really, she is a mom of four and absolutely beautiful. During one of the tailgates at the concerts, I remember I was pressuring Kaylee with the “rum wine” I had brought. Needless to say, we had quite the night. After that week, we were inseparable. I came to her house during away games, we cooked food, drank wine, talked, laughed, and watched movies. She provided me such comfort in a new place.
I consider Kaylee my third sister, and even a second mother at times; only the most special people can play both of those roles simultaneously. North Dakota was good to me, but that doesn’t mean every day was easy. However, because of her, when things became difficult I always had someone to trust. As a coaches wife, Kaylee has experienced this life for many years and is the one person whom I can confide, whether it’s a venting session, a celebratory discussion, or anything in between. For real, I even send her pictures of my game day outfits each weekend to ask if they are cute. On a serious note though, every coaches wife/girlfriend needs a “Kaylee” in their life. She makes me want to be a better girlfriend of a coach, person, and future mother. Quite simply, Kaylee is my “football person.”
Remember that “rum wine” I spoke of earlier? A few weeks into that season, Kaylee declined an invitation to hang out because she felt under the weather. I remember walking through Target asking her via text if she was pregnant. She responded with “I plead the fifth.” Our wine dates soon ended and quickly turned into binge-eating dates, which was certainly fine by me (even as someone who wasn’t “eating for two”). I remember being so excited when she shared the news; there would be a new member of our tribe! With the help of close friends and other wives/girlfriends, we planned a surprise baby shower for Kaylee. It was absolutely adorable, and we had so much fun. Kaylee was beyond grateful for all the love and support she received that night.
The following Monday, I received a text from Coach saying, “Did you hear?” Obviously, that is never a good text. He called me and informed me of the absolutely devasting news. Haven Grace was born, and the first thing her beautiful little eyes saw was the face of Jesus.
There are many things in life that I will never understand, but I am a firm believer that God gives his toughest battles to his strongest people. Kaylee has mentioned that maybe we were brought into each other’s lives to be there for each other during this year, each other’s “angel on earth.” I think she is right.
In 1988 President Ronald Reagan declared this month Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. During that month he said, “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.”
Despite the pain, heartache, grief and so much more, Kaylee has remained so strong. Instead of being angry, Kaylee is doing all she can to remember Haven in all the best ways. She has created a boutique called “Haven’s Place.” The shop is filled with custom tutu’s, bows, and much more. As you can see, the items are absolutely adorable and perfect for all occasions. You can find her on Facebook by searching @HavensPlace3717. She also is pouring her heart out to others. She has created memorial packages to send to the local hospital. The packages include a blanket, outfit, beanie or bow, book and teddy bear. The proceeds of Haven’s Place are helping make these memorial packages possible. I bet Haven is in Heaven saying to all her angel friends, “my mama is amazing!”
Today is Kaylee’s birthday!
Kaylee. I wish I was in North Dakota with you to celebrate our teams’ victories this past weekend. We would be sippin’ wine, crushin’ food, and eatin’ lots of cupcakes. I hope your day is as amazing as you are! I can’t thank you enough for being such an amazing friend to me. I miss you so much, but am forever thankful for technology that allows us to stay in touch! Thank you for always being a text message away. You are an amazing friend, wife, mom, and person. Go get your nails did and treat yo self. Time to start planning our reunion!