I want to start out wishing you all many blessings for a wonderful and peaceful year.
Since the last blog the girls and I had a wonderful Christmas celebration with our family and friends! So many of you all texted, called and even stopped by with hugs and Christmas love, it meant so much to me.
We even got a few minutes of snow flurries Christmas Eve, it was a big God Hug knowing Ronnie was with us. We talked about him, remembered some fun Christmas memories and Santa even left HIM a gift!
It's for a brick that has a special message about him on it that will be laid at a new building near our home this spring, I will keep you all updated of course!
Our New Year has started off very nice too, for New Years Eve we were invited to a friends house for fireworks and pizza. The girls had a great time and I got to meet some awesome new friends. And come to find out we all had something in common, the recent loss of a loved one. When you find people who have gone through this and get it, it's pretty incredible and brings up incredible and healing conversations. So at midnight our group toasted to Randy, Ronnie and Josh. It was small but meant so much to me XOXO
The January days so far have been a little more relaxed than the holiday rush. I packed up all the Christmas decor and have tried to replace it with some cute snowman and warm white lights, I think it helps keep the holiday warmth somehow.
We had fun seeing the Dawgs with a down to the last play win on New Years Day and filled the last few days of winter break with some putt putt and a trip to see the Gym Dawgs in Athens!
I have not made any New Year's resolutions except to just keep going and keep going after that. I know a lot of people like to have a word for the new year, the one that keeps popping up in my head for 2021 is endurance. Something about it makes me think that is kind of where I am right now. I have also had a lot of thoughts about peace and how valuable it is. When you have lived with an unpeaceful situation and then it changes, I think there is a new appreciation for peace and you learn you are in control of it. And you treasure it.
I'm also been feeling a lot of hope again, like some excitement about what is ahead for us or maybe its because things can only go up from last year, right?!?!?
Aren't they gorgeous?! The look of love!
The Portmann genes run deep, she looks so much like Ronnie to me!
In our text though we had a similar feeling thanks to some Valentine decor we both saw...ughhh!!!
I told her I had run into The Dollar Tree looking for some snowflake decor, nothing to be found except an explosion of Valentine hearts.
As someone who loves celebrating, this is a first for me.
I imagine it is the same if you have a loved one who passed away near Christmas, seeing all the decor can bring up a lot of mixed emotions. That seems to be what is happening with me. On one hand love is incredible and should be celebrated.
Then on the other it takes me right back to Valentine's Day Eve last year when Ronnie passed.
The flowers that were from him that came in with a card that had song lyrics on it felt like a ghost.
All the gifts and candies he had is his passenger side car for the girls and I they had packed up in a box when Mom and I picked up his stuff from the police department. The message he wrote on my mirror asking if I would be his Valentine.
All the hearts representing love when it feels my love left.
The Valentine cards he wrote his last words to us on.
I am like this will go down as the WORST Valentine the 3 of us will ever get.
I want to cry/scream/hug/punch/kiss him and say, "What were you thinking?!"
Trying to figure out how to balance this one.
How even when at times it has seemed like a year of winter, there has been a c0nstant light shining on the girls and I. Not a minute has gone by where I did not feel all the love, prayers and support we have been so grateful to receive.
And I am learning that He is not done with us yet.
There is a mission He has.
There is purpose in the pain for all of us.
I believe that deeply.
So if for whatever reason, Valentines Day or any celebration may bring out some not great emotions for you too, know you are not alone and are loved deeply.
We are promised 3 things will always remain (no matter how bad it feels), faith, hope and LOVE.
The greatest of these is LOVE.
And that will go down as the BEST Valentine we will ever get.
Through the years of many ups and downs my family has stayed right by our side always offering their support and prayers. One of my biggest supporters has been my sweet brother Garrett. I asked him to join me this month and share some memories of Ronnie with y'all. I have tried to share the many sides of Ronnie, one of the best was him having a strong relationship with my brother.
G has stepped in many times this year and been a fantastic rock of an Uncle G and always there to listen to me when I have needed it. He makes me laugh and he's a big teddy bear!!
G has been there from the very first date!!!
When I first met Ron, I knew there were two things that were going to work in his favor, at least for me, that I considered a "plus" when Lindsey first started bringing him around our family. One, he was a fan of the Georgia Bulldogs and loved Georgia. If you have that going for you, then you were already way ahead of the game in front of everyone else when it came to Lindsey's boyfriend introductions. Secondly, Ron not only loved the Georgia Bulldogs, he loved sports. He specifically loved the teams I loved: Atlanta Hawks, Falcons, Braves and United. Throughout Ron's time with us, him and I bonded over sports and our love for the Dawgs more than anything else. Sports was our gateway with each other. We'd talk about anything and everything but it always boiled down to our love for the Dawgs and our Atlanta sports teams.
Why I was so close with Ron, among other things was our love for sports. I was never the most athletic type and never was really good at any sport I played when I was little. However, as I grew older, my love for sports grew that much more. I felt if I couldn't play and really be good at any sports, I'd just grow up loving to watch them. Ron was that way too, however, he did have a little more athleticism than I did playing soccer when he was a kid and coaching soccer, whether it be for his middle school or coaching his daughter's team. Ron loved sports. Just like me and that carved our relationship with each other so much where he became a brother to me.
Now, being a Dawg and Atlanta sports fan, we went through TOO many lows with heartbreak and heartache but also had some really special highs. We shared the agony of defeat when the Falcons blew what many people to this day still can't believe, when they let that coveted 28-3 lead evaporate for their first ever Super Bowl victory. Man, that hurt us both hard. We shared in the Braves having so much success with good teams but then when the playoffs happened, they'd fall on their face in true Atlanta fashion. Even the Hawks we shared despair (yes, you heard that right). Man, how that special season they had when they went 60-22 and went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals but lost hurt us deep too. Atlanta United came on the scene later in our time knowing each other but they provided a nice trophy for us when they won the MLS Cup, Atlanta's first world championship since the 1995 World Series win. However, there was nothing that Ron and I bonded over more than our love for the Georgia Bulldogs, specifically UGA Football.
When it came to UGA Football, Ron and I couldn't get enough of it. We'd text about what we thought about the upcoming game(s), how we thought the season would pan out, recruiting, everything when it came to UGA Football, we digested and couldn't get enough of it. Before Lindsey and Ron had their girls, we made an informal pact that we would go to one SEC away game every year and make a trip out of it. We did just that and had a good run for a while. Obviously, the thing called life eventually hits and when they decided to start a family, those trips dissipated but we were able to knock out a lot of SEC football stadiums BK (Before Kids, haha). Ron, Lindsey and my entire family have shared SO many UGA Football memories that it's hard to nail them all down because each holds a special place in my heart. There are two special games I'll talk about that I treasure in my memory that I've had with Ron and why we were so close.
The first game was when Lindsey, Ron and myself went to Tuscaloosa and watched Georgia, Mark Richt, Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno and Mikey Henderson take down Alabama in Saban's first year as Head Coach in what Bama fans called "200-Saban. (2007)." We went up there I believe that Friday and watched a Cahtholic high school football game that Friday night which was really cool because we just kind of wondered to the game driving around the city and campus. Then on gameday, we had seats at the very top of Bryant-Denny and all I can remember is how high it was and the climb! If you're a Georgia fan, you know how the ending was with Stafford hitting Mikey Henderson in the corner on UGA's first offensive possession of OT. The play happened all the way in the corner of the endzone, opposite of where our seats were and we couldn't see what happened at first. We quickly realized when Georgia players were in a dogpile and the Bama students were throwing their trash onto the dogpile what happened. Georgia had won and Lindsey, Ron and I danced hugged and jumped for joy with each other. It was a feeling I'll never forget. I still remember walking back to my SUV and dancing with random Georgia fans on the street. What a time it was....
The second game I wanted to share is the most dearest to me when it comes to Ron and I. It was the UGA and Miss. St game in 2017. That was a special season for all Dawg fans for obvious reasons but that game I hold dear to my heart. All the girls decided to stay at the condo that night and watch the game on TV so that left myself, my dad and Ron to go to the game. Yes, we got to have a guys game with no women around! (Can I say that in 2021? Oh well...haha). As any Georgia fan knows, that game was never close and Georgia stomped Miss St from the first snap to the final whistle. I still remember when Fromm hit Godwin with the "flea flicker" and Fromm threw that ball in the air. I can still see it in the air with Godwin running under the ball, wide open. When Fromm put that ball in the air, I put my arm around Ron because I knew the TD was there and I started rocking with him with one arm around him and one arm in the air knowing that if he caught it, TD. It was a nervous squeeze of Ron but when Godwin caught it and ran into the endzone, it was pure pandemonium in Sanford. I hugged and jumped with Ron, he did the same with me, we high fived everyone around us. Pure joy on everyone's faces. The rest of that night was so special as Ron, my dad and me just enjoyed a stress free beatdown of Miss St. We were grinning ear-to-ear from the beginning to the end. I was so thankful to have Ron and my dad there to share that time and memory together and it will be one that I will hold onto for the rest of my life.
I don't know how Ron and I would have been if he didn't share the same love of sports as I did. I'm sure we would have still been close but our sports love made us like white on rice. He went through the same ups, downs, agony of defeats and joys of victory as I did. I'll always treasure all the special times we had together which always seemed to revolve around UGA Football and sports. I do miss not being able to talk to him, text him about this play, or that recruiting class or get his thoughts on what the upcoming season will look like. However, there ain't no doubt in my mind that he's keeping track of it all up there in Heaven knowing that soon his beloved Dawgs are going to deliver him and us that national championship and when they do, oh what a party he is going to have with all his other Bulldog buds up there!
Besides his girls, I always told Ron his other true love was his love for the group Phish!!
I will be honest, I never really understood it, but I could clearly understand it was Ron's favorite group of ALL TIME. He would always be jamming to them in the garage while working on something. Typically in August when the band was touring they would come to Alpharetta. While we were together I remember he went 2 different times. His last concert with them was on August 5, 2018 and will go down as one of the happiest I have ever seen him.
That is why I wanted to share these pictures from his phone.
I don't have much to say about them because I was not there, but I do know he was over the moon to take Taylor to her first Phish concert!
You can see it in his huge smile.
I hope Taylor will always smile seeing these, her Daddy loved her so much. They truly had a bond, she made him smile ear to ear!!
I do remember it was a HOT August day!!!!
Ronnie always would carry the girls on his back, he would tell them, "Hold tight! Daddy won't drop you!
He bought her a pretty head wrap and necklace!
Although at the time I had some deep reservations about him taking Taylor to the concert, I will forever be grateful I did. Wonderful memories were made and he gave Taylor an experience I hope she will always treasure and I think that is a big part of it is all about!
"With you I'd travel thick and with you I'd also travel thin and all the spaces in between I'd travel with you. You're my sweet one"
Love you all,