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-Staci Goodheart  (Matthew's Mom)

There are some memories mothers never forget. They stay in our minds and hearts forever. Guess what, I’m no different. I remember when...

I saw you for the first time. You had such big brown eyes and long eye lashes and still do. I couldn’t take my eyes off you.

The way I felt holding you in my arms for the first time, my heart was bursting with joy. You were my treasure and I would cherish you forever.

I was amazed you were getting such a great tan. When “the tan” turned to yellow, I called the doctor because I was sure you were sick with a terrible disease. They told me the doctor wanted to immediately see you. I drove very quickly, but carefully, to the doctor just knowing something was terribly wrong with you. 

The nurses took the first look and started laughing and told me how cute you were. I said don’t tell me how cute he is. Tell me what is wrong with him. Now Dr. Hendrix walked in the room and announced that you had the best Carotin coloring that he has seen in a very long time. He asked me if you were eating lots of yellow vegetables. I proudly said, yes because I’m a good mom. He explained you were eating so many vegetables with Carotin - carrots, squash, yellow beans – that it over absorbed in your skin so you were turning yellow. He told me you were a lovely yellow color and assured me if I stop feeding it to you for a while, your color would return to normal. 

Of course, I was very happy to hear you were okay, and I did feel good that he said you were a lovely yellow color but I did feel a little silly that I turned you yellow. So, I made the best decision a mom could make under the circumstances, you and I went to A&W and shared a milk shake!

Your first words were “Da-Da” and your dad’s face lit up so bright with joy.

I would see the joy on your face every time you saw an airplane on the ground, in the sky, in a magazine or boarded one. I still see the same joy when you board an airplane, but now it is with curiosity and appreciation that such a glorious machine can stay in the air.

You saw Karen for the first time as we deplaned at the arrival gate. You were 4 years old, your eyes were big and bright and Uncle Mike was trying to keep you in one place until we got to you. You wanted nothing to do with waiting for us to come to you. You made your way to us. You hugged your sister so tight and told her “I love you Karen”. Now I had 2 treasures that I would cherish forever.

You boarded the school bus for the first time at 5 years old- you walked up the steps filled with courage, turned around on the top step, waved and told me “Go home now mom, I’m okay”. So, I waved, blew a kiss to him and cried all the way to my house.

You told me you were glad I was an “old mom” because I sit on the floor in your classroom without worrying about looking pretty. It was an interesting way to compliment your mom.

You wanted the “Reptile Man” at your 9th Birthday Party. He brought his snakes and lizards, including a very long boa. As he passed around the reptiles for everyone to hold, one of the snakes decided to climb on my lap and then up around my neck. I wanted to scream like a crazy lady but when I saw the look of pride on your face, I took a deep breath, held very still and asked the “Reptile Man” if the show and tell hour was over.

You put bright neon green tape on your football shoes so I could see you from the stadium stands when you were playing football. It worked!

You tried to be so brave when confronting the challenges at school because you wanted to take care of it on your own.

I explained that we needed others to help us with the sadness and anger that you were feeling. You looked at me with crocodile tears and asked if it meant living away from home. After I replied “yes”, you asked what would Dad and Karen do without us living with them. When I explained I would not be with you, you asked, “Do you still love me?” All I could do was nod my head “yes” and  said, “more than you can imagine." We sat quietly and had a good cry together.

You prepared your list of questions for our visit to Forest Heights Lodge. You gave it so much thought and you were thinking about things your Dad and I didn’t think to ask. By the time of our visit, you had 72 questions.

You asked me to hold you while you slept the night before coming to the Lodge. There were many tears but you never asked us to change our minds.

On the morning of bringing you here, your Dad drove up and down the mountain 4 times. He kept driving past the driveway. On the fifth drive by, you told him, “It’s time Dad. I need to go now.” Your Dad quietly turned in the driveway.

You hugged me “goodbye” in Linda’s office. You told me, “It was okay” and walked away with Jody.

Two years later, you told us you were in the Honors Program. We looked at your Honors Book together. We were so happy and proud of you!

LET ME FAST FORWARD … there are many more memories, but the most recent one that touched me deeply was a month ago. You sent a single sentence email to me. It said, “I’m glad you’re my mom.” It’s wonderful how a simple and clear declaration of love can burn a memory and feeling in a mom’s heart and mind forever. Now it’s time to make new memories. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready – let’s do it!


Forest Heights Lodge has been serving kids and families for over 60 years.