It doesn’t matter how long it’s been. I still cry.

I’m thinking of my cousin, Curtis, who died when we were in the fourth grade. I’ve talked about him before, and losing him to leukemia. It’s amazing to me that the tears can still flow so easily, even after thirty years. But they do. He is missed.

This past weekend was a rainy one; it was far too soggy for our plans for the corn maze and pumpkin patch. But the rain held out long enough for the kids and I to do our first 5K Run/Walk together.  Erin was excited because her running club at school was participating, and Nicholas felt like ‘the man’ when he walked through the crowds and heard, time after time, ‘hey Nicholas.’ I think he’s missed being surrounded by familiar faces at his new school, but he was right in his element on Saturday.

We participated in the Pumpkin Run/Walk, held in honor each year of Jared and Jayne Coones. I met Tom Coones at my very first Olathe Chamber Coffee when we first moved to the area. It took place at the then-new WalMart, and I remember being embarrassed that I cried, right there in the produce department, when I listened to him talk about his son Jared and the yearly event they created to remember him. I didn’t participate in the Run/Walk then, but I did donate baskets. I remember having a lovely conversation with Jayne when she came to pick them up that year; I admired her strength, and the fact that she still smiled after losing a son.

So it’s no surprise that this year I teared up at the table that displayed pictures of past races and the quilt that commemorates each year of the event. It’s no surprise that I choked up when I explained to Nicholas and Erin what the event was about, and why it was so important.  I can’t imagine losing a child or a spouse to cancer. But I admire this family for smiling through tears, honoring the memories of their loved ones so beautifully and sharing their smiles with the community.

And, through those tears, I am reminded just how very blessed I am. I have healthy kids who love to run and yell and be silly. I get to be their mother. Nothing else really matters, does it?

Next year’s Pumpkin Run/Walk will be held October 12, 2013.  We’ll be there.