Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hudson Chaney on Dook

Tonight is the first of two matchups between Dook and Carolina this season. Like any two double Tar Heel parents worth their salt, Ed and I worked hard from the very beginning to indoctrinate Hudson in her role in the greatest college basketball rivalry in history.

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.


  1. Mandy, weird as this sounds, this post really cheered me up on a sad day. Hudson is so cute and boisterous, doubly so in UNC gear. Thank you for sharing her smiles, even when bittersweet for you. She continues to spread joy.

  2. What great pictures and memories. On the last video, when Hudson turned to look at the camera, I was struck by how much she looks like you. I think the family tradition of the UNC sleeper is a wonderful idea, and I know Jackson will like knowing as he grows up that he and Hudson wore the same outfit home.

    Allyson L.

  3. C'mon Heels! Do it for Hudson!

  4. Mandy, love the outfits!!! My kids have many themselves. And like you, we have the "undisputed champion" thing framed, hanging in my husband's office. Scary how you Tarheels are! :) My husband always said he wouldn't have married me if I'd gone to Duke.

  5. Aw, it's so good to see those videos of her and feel her energy. Hudson was wearing a UNC shirt the first day we met her :) Such a proud little Tarheel!

  6. Given that most babies are incredibly picky about pacifiers, and you apparently got her to take the UNC binky, I'd say she's greatest tarheel baby ever.

  7. The pictures brought a smile to my face Mandy, as they always do. Hudson was a Tar Heel at heart. I love the idea of Jackson wearing the same outfit Hudson came home in! What a great tradition to start.

    I wish Hudson was in a Tar Heel chearleading outfit today rooting the Heels on with her pom poms. I am glad you and Ed were able to create these wonderful memories to hang on to on days like this.


  8. I'll be thinking of ya'll tonight , including Tar Heel Hudson, as I cheer on those Heels. Much love to you, as always.

  9. That coming home outfit is awesome. And, the photo of her wearing it smiling at two months is precious.


  10. Love the coming home outfit...DEFINITELY a family tradition in the making!!


  11. This is such a precious post.. and hearing Hudson's voice just melts my heart...

  12. Those photos are so great. It is so great that you have all that video (it isn't enough but I'm still glad that you have them). I've never met a Carolina fan who wasn't a Tar Heel through and through. You'd think it was Carolina Blue running through those veins!

  13. Mandy~
    You dont know me but..
    this post was on my home page cause i am a friend of laura workman. when i saw the title i had to click on it and read it....i have not watched the videos (to hard for me at the moment) just looked at her precious pictures, she was beautiful. Our daughter passed away, 17 years ago this past monday (feb 7th) and i watched some video of her...surprisingly it gave me joy and not heartache this time. anyway many years have passed now and it still hurts...but she was here for a purpose, once we realize what that purpose is/was it makes the loss a little easier. Jesus has a rocking chair, that song by the Greens has givin me a lot of comfort, dont know if you have ever herd it but if you havent you's a blessing.

    Take care~

  14. I love these photos. She is a beautiful girl. And completely adorable.

    So, I'm certain you've already done it, but just in case... have you backed up all these photos in another location (web, CD, jump drive, external hard drive, etc?) My husband is a photographer so we're a little anal about backing things up. Since these photos are so precious to you, I thought I'd ask. The peace of mind is well worth the time it will take if you haven't done so already. Just want to make sure your treasured photos are well-protected.

  15. Ah, Hudson as a Tar Heels fan, and Jackson in her footsteps. Wonderful. You made me smile.