Today I wake with joy in heart. I was feeling like some moms do at times when you wonder whether the things you do make a difference. I have 4 sons ranging in age from 6 to 20. They are four totally different beings. They are smart, funny, inquisitive, sensitive, exasperating, and loving. At any given moment, I might have one that is trying to explain why we should allow him to buy a car that he can't afford, one that has "misplaced" his $100.00 calculator for the 5th time, one that can't understand why he can't play video games for 12 hours on Saturday and last but least, one that brings his mommy a glass of ice water and says, I love you mommy without fail everyday. How blessed I am to have them. They keep me sane. They force me to use my brain so that I won't be consumed by the chaos. They make sure that I am never bored. I am constantly tweaking my parenting skills to stay on top of what they might throw at me next. And believe me, they throw double fisted handfuls. When people see me with all of my boys, we always get the obligatory question, "Are you gonna try for that girl?" I always wince when I hear that because, I did have a daughter. Her name was Camara. She was a beautiful 81/2 pound bundle of wonder. We were so happy to finally have a girl after our 1st two sons. Her brothers thought she was cool. My family bought tons of pink stuff for her. Unfortunately our happiness was short-lived. She contracted Group B strep meningitis only 3 weeks after her birth. She spent 3 weeks in the hospital and succumbed to the disease on Nov. 18th, 1999. She died in my arms with my husband by my side. I can't even describe the feeling in words. Our 2nd son was turning 4 on the 20th. How could I deny him his party? I found the strength to go out and shop around for his Toy Story cake topper and put streamers up. He had his party and it was nice. It gave me a moment to be thankful for my healthy boys. We buried her on a beautiful, unseasonably warm day. I only remember bits and pieces. Holding my niece, who was only 2 months older than my daughter, making sure my boys didn't see me cry, watching my husband place our daughter tiny casket into her grave, the fire engine from his job parked nearby, looking up at the butterfly balloons my brother had released. One staying behind, caught in a tree overlooking the scene. I wondered when I would wake up from this dream. 11 years later I am still waiting.