December 8, 2011

This is an email I received today from Mattie’s teacher. I want more than anything for the girls to be able to put their heads around what is happening to me, to us, to our family. I want them to know they have support and most of all that I will always be with them, no matter what. What I received today, in a note from a wonderful teacher and an essay from my daughter, was an answer to both prayers.

From: KH
Sent: Thu 12/8/2011 3:21 PM
To: Gaubatz, Ronnie
Subject: Thank you


Thank you so much for inviting me to your holiday party. The chicken noodle soup was absolutely amazing.

Please find attached a gift from Mattie. She wrote it on Tuesday. I have scanned it, but it is a bit faint in places, so I sent her home with a photocopy today. You might need a box of kleenex as you read it. I did.

Mattie has been really happy and chatty this week. It’s been nice to see. She is excited about trying out for the school play. Her work in class continues to be completed at a very high level.

Please let me know if you need anything at all.
Warm Regards,


This is Mattie’s essay (unedited- except for some spelling corrections).
Reprinted with permission, from my daughter.

The Strongest Mom, Will Always Be Here

No kid could be more anxious and excited on this day. What I didn’t know was that all my joy was going to come to a major halt later at the dinner table.

It was just a couple of day before summer vacation. I was extremely excited.When I arrived home, my mom seemed to be unsure of herself, like something was wrong. I just thought to my self, maybe it was a hard day at work. I run upstairs and wait for the delicious dinner that was going to be served.

Dinner was finally set on the beautiful table. We ate and talked about our day. As we all began to to finish mom looked even more [ ] than I had seen her earlier. I could feel the unsteady vibes floating through the air. She looked up at us, straight into our wondering eyes. She announced that she needed to tell us something and that it could be the hardest thing to tell us.

My mom, the mom I look up to and cherish is now announcing that a terrible disease has taken over her body. Tears fall from my eyes and [ ] dripping from my cheeks. I feel as though someone punched me super-hard in the stomach. You never know why they did. You just know it hurt. I look around. My wonderful sisters are crying with me along with our mom. My dad stays strong and comforts us just like an amazing dad should.

I was in denial. I was so sad. I know things happen for a reason but why my mom? I can’t believe that my mom, someone I thought was so strong could be diagnosed with…cancer.

As I look back on that night, I still see it as one of the saddest things I’ve ever been through. After a year, I started to see her become so much stronger. Not once did she think about herself. She fought for her three beautiful gifts, her three daughters. I want to pay her back for being so strong, though there is not one thing that can add up to all the love I have for her.

I know this has changed my life. My mom and I have been talking more, and been doing more fun things. When I remember our past events sometimes I just want to give up and cry like when our time with her could be short. Other times I want to laugh like when we shaved her head and made a mohawk.

Not everything is bad about cancer.

My mom found her strengths and weaknesses. I found that I have the strongest most loving mom in the world. No one could ever replace her. I also found that lots of people are here for me. I have lots of support. Though what I will always remember for my whole life, til the day I die, is that no matter where my mom is, she will always be here with me. I love my mom.

Mattie Gaubatz

From: Gaubatz, Ronnie
Sent: Thu 12/8/2011 3:43 PM
To: KH
Subject: RE: Thank you


First of all I am thrilled that you came to the party and that I got you meet your little sweetie-pea. Children are such a blessing and motherhood, as you likely already know, is such an honor. I am glad you enjoyed the soup. It makes me quite happy when I can prepare a meal and share it with people who enjoy it.

Thank you so very much for sending me Mattie’s essay. You were right to warn me that I would need a tissue, as tears are still streaming down my face as I type this now. But they are tears of joy really, because Mattie’s understanding of this situation is a true gift to me. And one last thing, you are an important part of the community of support that Mattie now knows is hers, and for that I am ever so grateful.



A caring teacher is a gift from God. Thank you KH and thank you to everyone who helps to provide this kind of support for my girls. It has been said, “It takes a village to raise a child”. I am so grateful for the village. Gifts indeed.


4 Responses to “gifts”

  1. Jamie Hogan Says:

    Glorious affirmation of doing it all right, Ronnie. Mattie’s essay and her teacher’s recognition of the importance are gifts indeed.

  2. Mama Says:

    Mattie you have been blessed with the gift of being able to paint a picture with your words. This is a talent you get from your wonderful mother. You are right in the fact that she will always be with you everyday of your life. You girls are the reason she keeps fighting everyday of her life. Your love for her is forever as hers is for you. Your heart beats because of her and her heart beats because of all the love in it for her girls.

    You should continue writing. You are very good at it and I know Mom would love to work with you on some stories. Maybe the two of you could work on a book together. I know Ma-ma would love to read that book. Please make some of the stories funny ones because this one made me cry. It was tears of joy about my wonderful, sweet and oh so loving grand-daughter.

  3. jlze Says:

    I second Ma-ma’s idea of a Mattie & Mom writing team! Two wonderful storytellers in one family … what a powerful gift.

  4. Tami DeLand Says:

    Counting those gifts. Thanks for sharing.

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