It started the day she came home from the hospital:
(I recently went looking for a new UNC going-home outfit for Jackson and nothing, absolutely nothing, came close to being as awesome as this. Initially I had some reservations about sending him home in the same outfit that Hudson wore, but now I think perhaps it will be another one of our family traditions for each of our kids to wear it on that special day).
It continued in February of 2009, when Hudson geared up for her first big game day. Note that the sleeper she wore home finally fit her more than 2 months later—their newborn size was huge! And check out her sweet kicks, courtesy of her Aunt Lindsay:
And then she stayed up with us to celebrate the victory (yes, that says 101-87... remember those days?):
And in March 2009, her mom and dad got lucky enough to get tickets to the Dook game at the Dean Dome. Hudson stayed home to watch the game with her Poppy, decked out in more of her Tar Heel finery. I love how she looks so worried in this picture, like she really hopes they pull off the V. They did. (This was probably the most consecutive minutes she ever spent in front of a TV.)
Last year was even more fun (despite the dismal state of our basketball program at the time). Dressed in her Tyler Hansbrough jersey and UNC hat, both compliments of her Grandpa, and her “BEAT DUKE” button, Hudson learned about the silly fun of pom poms (although towards the end of this video, she doesn’t seem so sure…):
And then, the crowning jewel. Ed taught Hudson the best party trick ever learned by a toddler in all of history. This video was taken last May, a week before Hudson got sick, eleven days before she died. It is the last video we have of her. It is the only video we have of her saying any words. It is precious in every possible way, not least of which is the joy it still brings us to watch it, and the joy it will undoubtedly bring her younger siblings every year in the future when we watch it on game day:
If Hudson were with us today, she’d be heading to school in a Carolina shirt for game day (just as her mama is wearing a Carolina blue sweater and her dad a Carolina blue tie). Maybe we would have made Tar Heel cookies for her to share. She’d be trying to teach all of her friends to say “NOOOOO!” whenever she said “DOOK!” And I’m pretty sure she would probably be able to sing the entire alma mater and fight song by now, too, since I sang it to her every night before bed. I bet she’d be especially forceful with her ending: “DON’T GO TO DOOK!”
How I wish she were here to do all of that.