I Can’t but I Will…

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This entry was written for a friend last night whose son was deployed earlier in the day for locations unknown.


Kim, my heart hurts for you. Being a mom is the most rewarding yet most difficult job there is. Our children come to us with no instructions so we must rely on our instincts and the wisdom of our own moms and others to nurture and teach our children. I learned early on that I would never be a perfect mom but I knew that I was going to do my best each and every day. Prayer and listening to that still, small voice also guided me. You are a good mom and your children are blessed to be able to call you their mom.

I wish that I could tell you that you shouldn’t worry but I can’t. I wish that I could tell you that time will pass quickly and he will be home before you know it but I can’t. I wish that I could take the fear of the unknown away but I can’t.

What I can do, however, is promise you that if you ever need to talk, cry, scream or whatever, I am just a phone call away and I will be there for you. What I can do is remind you how much you are loved by so many even when you don’t love yourself. One of Jennifer’s favorite songs was “His Eye Is On The Sparrow”. She loved the line, “His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me”. Those words are so true. I believe with all of my heart that God is watching over all of us. Finally, for now, what I can do is promise you that both of you will be in my daily prayers and I will pray for you to find peace, comfort and strength in the days to come.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

**To all military moms and families, thank you for the service and the sacrifices that your brave sons and daughters are making each day so that we can continue to enjoy our freedom. May they all stay safe and soon return home to their families.

The Little Redheaded Girl

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A decade ago I met her when she came into the office and sat down beside me. She seemed to be very focused on her task at hand so any conversation during that initial meeting was limited. I could tell that she was not going to stop what she was doing to engage in idle chitchat. Subsequent meetings were pretty much the same…come in, sit down, turn on laptop, click away at the keys, fax a few things and out the door she would go.

Over time I was able to get her to talk a little bit more but even that was hit or miss. Why did she have to be so focused? Didn’t she know that I was not going to stay quiet? I had things to talk about, questions to ask, opinions were sought, including hers. Look up from the dang laptop and breathe three big cleansing breaths! I figured that would give me an opportunity to get her attention for a minute at least. It didn’t. Even though she was looking at me and smiling, I could tell that she was not really listening. She was thinking about how much work she had to do before she could go home. She wasn’t about to take her work home with her because as I eventually learned, she wasn’t going to work for free. It was then that I cringed and thought about the times that I had waited until I got home to complete everything and by doing that, I had “worked for free”. 😩. The little redheaded girl had a point and I tried to follow her lead. It usually didn’t turn out the way I wanted. I’m sure it wasn’t because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.🙂

Our jobs were stressful. People depended on us. We became part of their family. It was impossible not to let our professional lives spill over into our personal lives. Our cell phones were attached to our ears; the calls were many and the time of day or night didn’t seem to matter. We were their lifeline, their hope and their reassurance. As much as we loved what we did, burnout was setting in. Something had to change.

On one particular fall day, I was leaving a patient’s home when my phone rang. It startled me because I was so far out in the country and cell phone towers were not plentiful out there. I mean, you just about had to pump in sunshine; I was out in the sticks! In fact, I did have to drive up the road just a little bit so that the static would subside and the garbled voice would become clear. Quite out of the blue, I was being asked to come in to be interviewed for the assistant director of nursing position at a healthcare facility. Wow! We talked on the phone for a while and plans were made to continue the conversation in the office. I continued making my visits that day but I had one lingering question in the back of my mind. I had been in middle management for a number of years and it just about broke me. Did I want to do that again? I did not but I had someone in mind. The little redheaded girl would be perfect in that position. I called the facility, expressed my appreciation for being contacted and told the director of nursing that I knew just the right person for the job and it wasn’t me. It was the little redheaded girl.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. She got the job; I left home health and that was that. Only it wasn’t. The job that I had taken after leaving home health didn’t work out like I thought it would. I called the little redheaded girl and told her that my job was not working out and to keep her ears open for any available positions. Less than a month later, we were working together again, It was great. I had missed her.

We worked together for about seven years. I was in management again, reporting to her. It felt more like a mother-daughter team instead of a manager/assistant director of nursing team. I was the mother,🙂 During that time, she became the director of nursing and a friend of ours was hired to be the assistant director of nursing. We were a team for sure now and I was still the mother. We had some good times and some not so good times but through it all, we had each other.

I retired three months ago. Having been a nurse since 1973, it was time. The trio became a duet. They continued to work in healthcare and I began baking more bread. Our days were quite different. Changes were being made. We all began to focus on other things and as I said earlier in this post, the little redheaded girl could focus! Better than most I would say.

Last Friday was her last day. She will still be in healthcare only now it will be working with young people, not geriatrics. She will do a great job and I am excited for her. Watch out you high school students. She is little but that red hair…don’t mess with her or you may regret it! Oh, and she is from Texas and you don’t mess with them either.

The trio that became a duet is now a solo. Gina, you keep everyone straight and in line. If anyone can do it, you can. The 506 is always open if you need to get away for a bit. 🧡

Enjoy this new chapter in your life. You will be great. No more late night phone calls or texts. No more worrying about staffing ratios…Little redheaded girl, now you truly are back in high school.😉

Go get ‘em, Shauna. ❤️



Change Begins With You

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A comment, a look, not hearing or understanding what was said…these are examples of things that can create friction or misunderstanding among individuals. It happens and often the person most affected has no clue other than his/her observations that something has “changed”…but what and more importantly, why?

Passing judgement on someone, pointing fingers, making false accusations, jumping to conclusions, asking everyone but the one who should be asked can all lead to hurt feelings and confusion. Friendships, work environments, are strained and sometimes damaged beyond repair. The mental stress that is created can weigh heavily on the mind and is hard to forget; sometimes impossible to forget. Actions or lack of and most importantly the lack of communication can cause irreparable damage and that is so unfortunate because it can be avoided.

The environment in which we live has become so caustic. So many people seem to be in a defense mode much of the time trying to protect their turf, their space, their feelings of self-worth. What happened to focusing on the problem at hand and working together to solve the problem? Where has the trust gone? Have we become an “it’s all about me” society?

Colleagues working together for a common cause can achieve so much. Colleagues who are suspicious of others with whom they work can achieve very little. It is so easy to jump to conclusions or misinterpret what an individual said or didn’t say, did or didn’t do. The saga begins and often it is one-sided because the individual is clueless as to what is happening. How sad this is when adults forget that they are adults and begin acting like they are in middle school. Sides are taken, gossip becomes rampant and trust is no more.

We are all on this ride together. It is not about color. It is not about religion or sexual orientation. As individuals we should all try to work together. The world is becoming so complex and unpredictable. Attitudes need to change. Trust needs to be renewed. Respect for others and not being so harsh or quick to judge needs to relearned. Communication has to be a priority and this applies to all levels including in the homes, the workplace, among friends and acquaintances, etc.

We can make a difference. We can be the light that others want to follow. It has to begin somewhere so why not let it begin with YOU?

Code Name – Butch

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Sometimes you just can’t reference people by their given names and you can draw your own conclusions about that.  Nothing is wrong with that concept; sometimes names need to be changed to protect the innocent. 😉

I first met Butch several years ago. Immediately impressed with Butch’s sense of humor, smile, obvious love of life and all things orange, I knew that we would be friends for a long time.  Our visits have been scattered but rest assured there was always laughter with a little critiquing about food, weather, opinions, etc.  Other obligations meant that these visits usually were brief but a lot can be said in a short amount of time.

Fast forward a little and laughter and smiles becomes tears and concern. Anxiety and worry have tried to settle in but family and friends are trying to keep anxiety and worry at bay. Not going to bring Butch down. Too many prayer warriors; so much love. Those bothers can just move on out of here. Not gonna have it if at all possible.

Next Saturday will be filled with anticipation and hope. Spirits will be high, friends and family will gather around in support of their team. Old friendships will be rekindled and acquaintances will become friends. Tailgates become feasts, stories are told and memories are made.  Working together, that which could be challenging becomes easy and much can be accomplished.

This type of comaraderie is evident in so many situations.  People come together to help others because they care. That is what friends and family do…it isn’t necessary to ask or wish…it just comes naturally, sometimes when least expected. It happens because people care. Butch, the militia is coming together to help so just be gracious and say thank you. 🙂

Now go get ‘em!

What If…

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What if you or someone you loved or truly cared about was suddenly faced with life-changing events? What would you do?

What if someone you loved or truly cared about called you and it was obvious that they needed to talk? What would you say?

What if that same person was frightened? How would you comfort them?

You tell them that if they ever need anything, all they have to do is ask. What if they did ask? Did you really mean those words? Would you be too busy with your own life to help them?

What if you do nothing, offer no support, no comforting words or a simple touch of the hand to show that you care? How would you feel days, months, years from now when that memory suddenly comes to mind?

What if you had little to offer but for a few dollars? Would you give it to help someone or would you save it to buy something for yourself? In the Bible, the widow’s mite was more meaningful than the treasures that were being given by the wealthy. She gave all she had, literally. I have no doubt that she was blessed beyond measure because of her selfless sacrifice.

Even the smallest gift is valuable. The smallest gift may be just the amount that is needed to start a new program, continue research, help a patient, etc…No gift is too small.

Please take a moment out of your busy day or better yet, as soon as you finish reading this blog, and make a donation to the ALS Association. Lou Gehrig’s Disease is a progressive neurological disease for which there is no cure – yet. Your donation may just be what it takes to tip the scales to success! Go to this ALS site: http://web.alsa.org/goto/wsexton and make a donation. The monies will stay in this area and will help families while research continues. All “likes” to the blogs are appreciated but “likes” don’t offer monetary assistance, but you already know that…

I pray to God that you and your loved ones never have to hear the words, “You have ALS.” If you ever do hear those words, I know that you would be educating everyone that you knew about the disease, the progression and the promises that research is so close to making a reality.

Think about it and donate today. Join the team to walk in the ALS walk in October in Greenville, SC. You will feel so good knowing that you are helping someone who very well could be a total stranger, but in the eyes of Christ, that person is your brother or sister. That total stranger could become one of your best friends.

Our brother was diagnosed with ALS 3 weeks ago. He and other ALS patients need your support through donations and prayers.

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46 Years

Rob and I were overwhelmed today with the love and well wishes extended to us on our anniversary. 46 years ago we had not a clue as to how things would happen. We were young and foolish but we were in love. We quickly learned that love was a great thing but love was only part of the recipe for a successful marriage.Not always 🎵raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens🎶 .not even a few of our favorite things would make things right. We learned to depend on each other, to trust each other and to respect each other. We learned it was ok to disagree but we vowed to never go to bed mad. We learned the importance of communication and listening.We learned that money is a powerful thing. Lots of uses for money..some good and some not so good. Had to be careful. Pick your battles and pick your friends. Talk. Discuss. Disagree but be reasonable. Don’t try to live above your means. Go to church. Surround yourself and your family with a family of faith because the day will come when you will need someone to hold you up. Read the Bible. Attend church. No one is perfect. Everyone has needs and the church provides the peace and comfort and a place to reflect and renew and not be judged. Set aside some “us” time. No electronics, no interruptions. Focus on your spouse. Things are different in a marriage 46 years later and that’s ok. Things that were important then aren’t so important now. Being friends with “the right people”…what makes them the “right people” ? Social status can be lost in a heartbeat. Look for genuine friends who aren’t concerned with your bank account but rather are concerned/interested in who you are as a person and they will be there for you. So many lessons over the years. So many changes but the one constant is that our love remains and at the end of the day, we still have each other. We may not be rich and we mli

ay wish we did not have to struggle so much at times but that is life. So. here’s to the next 46! I’m ready for our next adventure! It may be more than we expect but that’s ok. Let’s go for it! I Love you, Rob. Forever.

2,012 Miles

Over the past 14 days we have visited 5 national parks, 6 state parks and multiple little towns in Utah, Arizona and Nevada. Flying into and out of Las Vegas was quite an experience. It has changed so much since we were stationed here in the mid-70’s. Wouldn’t want to live here now!

We had seen some of the beauty of the Southwest 2 years ago when we visited Arizona. Caitlin’s uncle, who lives in a Flagstaff, was gracious enough to suggest an itinerary of “must-see” places and also the “if you have time” places. His suggestions were appreciated so much and our trip was amazing.

Fast forward to March 26, 2019. Once again Stewart provided us with some excellent suggestions for our trip to the 5 national parks in Utah. In addition to his many talents, he is a wonderful resource for visits in the southwest and if time permits, is an excellent personal tour guide.😉 We missed you this year, Stewart.

I always like to check the projected weather predictions when we are planning a trip. It just helps to know what to pack. Well, Accuweather let me down this time. We had plenty of warm weather clothes; it was going to be great. In the past 2 weeks, however, we saw more snow than we have seen in our lifetimes. We woke up to freshly fallen snow and although beautiful, it was not on our agenda. The mornings were the worst but thank goodness the temperatures would be friendlier by the afternoons. Thank goodness for snow plows that had prepared roads for us before our arrival because as everyone knows, southerners do not know how to drive in snow.

Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches National Park(s) should be experienced by everyone. There is a reason they are identified as national parks. The beauty that surrounds those areas is magnificent, breathtaking, spectacular…not enough adjectives to describe the beauty of this part of our country. If you haven’t visited these wonderful parks, I hope that one day you will be able to do so. A greater sense of appreciation for nature and the environment is achieved through experiences like this. It made me proud to see that people were really wanting to protect these areas. There was almost a sense of reverence around us. That is the way it should be. Protect it. Do not destroy it.

I have always been more of the adventurer. You never know until you try it, right? Glamping. Sleeping out in the middle of nowhere to see the night sky…put it on your list. Quite the experience. We met nice people that night. Lots of interesting conversations. Some things can’t be made up…🙂 Was on our (my) bucket list…✔️. So was sleeping in a teepee or in a Conestoga wagon but it wasn’t “the season” for that…two weeks too early.😔. Reasons to return, I would say; not sure about Rob.

Bumbleberry ice cream. If you haven’t had an opportunity to be in a place where it can be bought, find a place. We had bumbleberry pie in Nova Scotia and it was delicious, so I was excited to see bumbleberry ice cream in Springdale, Utah. Bumbleberry bushes are not native to South Carolina. Apparently the bumbleberry seeds have to be planted at a depth of 50 feet and it takes 40 years for the giggle bush to grow. I actually had a packet of seeds in my hand to buy until I looked more closely and realized that the seeds looked like purple and pink nerds. She had me hook, line and sinker. I really thought there was a berry called a bumbleberry. Actually bumbleberry is a mixture of apple, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry and/or rhubarb or a combination of whatever the cook desires. Dang. I would have loved to have shared this with Wesley and Britton! Maybe I will make a southern bumbleberry concoction one day but what should I call it? We will have to think about that.

State parks should not be ovelooked. We visited several state parks during our 2,012 miles trek. All of these visits were very impromptu visits. Saw a sign, peaked our interest and so we stopped. Again, we were not disappointed. From little “goblins” to a “valley of fire”, each state park had something very unique and magical to appreciate. I wonder why these state parks have not been designated as national parks. I’m sure that funding is an issue.

I take pictures of signs throughout the parks so I can better remember the details. So much to see in a short amount of time and so much to absorb makes it difficult to retain all of the details. So grateful that we came across a sign that explains the “probable “ meaning of some of the petroglyphs. Some of the symbols are pretty self-explanatory but it helped to have explanations of those that were questionable. It amazes me how well the ancient civilizations communicated with one another by simple drawings. Perhaps we all could learn from them.

When we planned our trip we were not sure of timeframes, distances between the “must-see” places, etc. The majority of our trips around the country and even abroad have mostly been with two certainties in mind; when we arrive and when we depart. We hesitate to make advance reservations because we don’t want to be committed to being somewhere by a certain day/time. As Jennifer and Robert so often heard, “you just never know what is around the next corner”. That practice continues to this day. We did plan for our night of glamping, though, because there are only so many glamping tents…🙂 With that being said, we had no problems finding acceptable accommodations each night and, once again, thank you, SWT, for your suggestions. They were great. As it gets busier this spring/summer, though, I would hesitate to be so carefree especially around the national parks. Moab was especially busy.

Our most cherished times were the 2 days we spent with Karen and Jim who live in Sandy, Utah. Karen is my second cousin and I have always loved her dearly. Her dad and my 2 brothers were very close and we all felt like one big family especially during holidays. Unfortunately time and life in general got in the way and over the years we grew apart; not in caring for each other, but in seeing each other. Rob and I had discussed visiting with Karen and Jim when we began planning our trip but again, we were unsure of plans and didn’t want to mention it to Karen until we were sure. Thank goodness that plans worked out and that hopeful visit became a reality. We had such a wonderful time with Karen and Jim and their daughter, Tracie and her family. Sorry that we were not able to see their other daughter, Krissie and her family…next time for sure🙂. Karen took us on a tour of Salt Lake City which was great and much appreciated but again, the most special time was spent at their house with them. We love you, Karen and Jim. By the way, never again will we hear “that’s nice” and interpret it as we used to. 😉 Bless your heart….❤️

There is so much about this trip that I would like to write about but time and space will not permit. Just know that national parks are to be experienced, not just read about. State parks are amazing and need to be visited, not just thought about. To those who, like me, have recently retired, don’t procrastinate. There is a huge world just waiting to be experienced so you better get busy. Lastly, live life to the fullest and it will be particularly sweet when experienced with someone you love…❤️❤️ Just don’t tell that person to “make it quick” when they are wanting to get out of the car to take a picture. 😉😘. That does not make for a pleasant afternoon. Love you, Rob, even after that comment. 😍😍

I Didn’t Want to Like Her

We met her for the first time the weekend of Clemson’s homecoming. We had heard a lot about her but we had not had an opportunity to meet her until then. She and Doug came up and she watched the Tigers beat the Louisville Cardinals. It was her first Clemson game and I wanted everything to work out.  I had texted her the week before they were to arrive and told her that I (we) were looking forward to meeting her.  I meant it.  I had also prayed that I would be able to maintain my composure and that she would feel welcomed.  I think that I succeeded and I think that she had a good time.

She seemed to be a very genuine, caring person.  She had a great personality and any concerns that I had about being able to carry on a conversation with her were soon put to rest.  She was very easy to talk to and seemed to be interested in our conversations.  We had a good first visit, BUT…I didn’t want to like her.

That weekend we saw Doug in a very different light.  For the first time in a long time we saw him really having a good time.  He was laughing a lot and smiling even more. He seemed to be enjoying each and every moment.  For that, we were grateful. We knew that he had been sad and lonely since the death of his wife, our daughter, almost three years ago.  It was time that he found happiness again and it was obvious that he had.  Still, though, I didn’t want to like her.

We had brunch on Sunday before they left to go back to the coast.  When Doug was not at the table I told her that I knew she had been nervous about meeting us but I had also been nervous about meeting her.  It was then that I began to tear up and I apologized for that.  She looked at me and said that if I needed to cry,  she would cry with me.  I believe she really meant that.

On the anniversary date of Jennifer’s death I received the sweetest text from her.  She will never know just how much that text meant to me.  I think that she really was concerned about all of us on that day.  I called her to thank her and I cried.  I cried for our loss and for memories that would not be made.   I cried and she listened and suddenly it was ok.

It was then that I knew that by liking her I would not betray Jennifer.  I knew that by liking her, she would not take Doug away from us.  I knew it was ok for me to finally admit what I had known all along.  I didn’t want to like her but I did, almost from the moment we met.

She said “yes” today and we are thrilled.  We love Doug and we love her.  She makes him happy and that is so important to us.  He will always be an important member of our family…he is Britton’s godfather…Wesley’s uncle and our son-in-love. Now we get to welcome Kayla into our family and I hope that you don’t mind being a part of this family, Kayla. It can be crazy at times but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We also look forward to meeting your family. Let’s hope that happens soon.

Lots of love and many blessings to you both.  Have a wonderful cruise. ❤️

 

 

Nighttime

I dread nighttime. When the sun goes down so do my spirits especially during this time of year. I think that maybe it would be good to live somewhere where the sun never sets, at least from November to March when the nights are so long.

During the day everything is ok usually. I stay busy and don’t allow my mind to wander. My thoughts are happy; the memories are precious and there are times when I close my eyes and we are together sitting on the beach laughing and talking. We may be shopping but mostly likely just people watching or, we may be just sitting on the sofa and I am holding your hands or your head is lying on my shoulder as we talk. I still find myself needing to call you or looking towards the door expecting you to walk in the door and with your big, beautiful smile say “hi mom”. Oh how I miss those moments.

As soon as I lay my head down, no matter how tired I am, my mind revs up and it begins. I begin reliving the days and weeks that you were sick. I question myself over and over. I should have known how sick you were. I’m a nurse so why didn’t I realize the severity of your problems? Until my last breath I will always feel like I failed my baby girl. This was not supposed to happen. You and Doug were going to start a family and I couldn’t wait to hold your baby and love on your baby like I was doing with Wesley. All you ever wanted was to be a wife and a mommy. You would have been a wonderful mommy, too. I should have known….why didn’t I pay closer attention to the little things? In 45 years of nursing I recognized issues, symptoms and listened to my gut. Multiple patients over the years have told me that I saved their life. Multiple times over the years, patient’s family members have thanked me for helping their loved ones and doing what needed to be done even when the doctors didn’t want to listen. There were times that I had to go out of my comfort zone and really plead my case for the patient. There were times when the doctor would be upset with my persistence only to apologize later for not listening to me initially. Why didn’t this happen with one of the most important people in my life? Why? I failed my baby girl and I am so, so sorry. We prayed to have a child for 5 years before you were born and then I failed. I will never forgive myself. I should have known.

It will be 3 years on December 19th. Still as raw as ever and time doesn’t heal. Learning to accept is a constant process but through it all, the pain remains. It does not change.

I love you and miss you so much.

Mom

Mimi and CC

We don’t see each other very often; wish we did. Sadly, the distance between us is too far for frequent visits. When she and CC do come down, however, the lively conversations  quickly begin. No time for being “proper” and reserved although I can’t see that happening with either one of us anyway! One big hug and we pick up where we left off at the last visit.

We talk about hair color and style, comfortable clothes, keeping up with our reading glasses and so much more. We laugh; sometimes we shed tears; sometimes we just sit but no matter what we are doing or saying, we truly enjoy each other’s company. I think that speaks volumes because Mimi and CC are “the other grandparents”! There is no jealousy, no comparing one against the other, just mutual respect and admiration for each other. Actually I prefer to think of it as love. It is hard to believe that less than ten years ago we had not even met. My, how time changes things…

Last night was so much fun. The grandsons did not disappoint in their antics, the food was delicious as always, and watching Wesley and Jarren (next door neighbor) make s’mores was the best. Their excitement was contagious!

Perhaps the best time though, was golf cart sitting, watching cars drive down the street and turn around in the cul-de-sac in front of mommy and daddy’s house. Was it the aroma of the wonderful s’mores, the music, or all of the smoke generated from the fire pit? I prefer to think it was the s’mores. 🙂

Our visit with Mimi and CC was too short. I am so glad that the weather cooperated most of the time that they were visiting Caitlin, Robert and the boys. I know that their time with Mimi and CC was much too short and I know 4 people who are going to miss Mimi and CC when they leave tomorrow. Why does time seem to fly by so quickly when you don’t want it to?? On second thought, make that 6 people…😪

Take care and safe travels tomorrow, Mimi and CC and please hurry back.  We have more golf cart sitting to do. ❤️

 

 

 

Caitlin

It seemed to rain almost every time she visited from Chicago. In fact, we started joking that she must be in town because it was raining. She would earn a few points only to lose some of them when she brought the rain; I worried that she would soon end up in the negative column! She never did, though. There were too many special things about her that would “earn” her some points.

We would tease her about her lack of knowledge or understanding of the South and the southern customs. How could someone not know about fried okra, biscuits with gravy or chicken and dumplings? Bless her heart. She couldn’t help it that she was from a foreign place called Connecticut and her relatives were all “up north”. It was our responsibility to expose her to the finer things in life.😉 She called a buggy a grocery cart; she referred to a toboggan as a stocking cap. Mercy. Poor girl. In spite of her lack of familiarity of “all things southern”, there was something special about her. She had manners. She was quiet and unassuming. She was respectful. Qualities that you hope to see in every person were very obvious in her. Good job, Kathy & Chris. I imagine that Lucy and Bootsie also contributed to her becoming the person that she is today. Caitlin is the kind of girl that moms hope their son will marry one day.

We hit the jackpot or I probably should say that Robert “chose wisely”. Of all the girls that we had met, as nice as they were, something was missing. Not with Caitlin, though. We knew she was special the first time we met her. In a short amount of time we grew to love her and we began to hope that Robert would realize just how special this sweet girl from Connecticut/Chicago/Higgins was. Soon we realized that this “friendship” was more than that and we were thrilled.

Fast forward to today, Mother’s Day eve. We are very proud grandparents of two awesome grandsons. Robert and Caitlin are doing an exceptional job as parents. I will occasionally laugh out loud watching Robert, Wesley and Britton as he is teaching them something or playing with them. Caitlin has three boys to keep in line and I imagine that challenge is going to intensify as Wesley and Britton get older. I can see the three of them now singing all of the words to Robert’s favorite songs and, of course, watching a movie and reciting all of the lines verbatim along with the actors. Help us all when some of the Sexton uncles and cousins get together with them! There will be a competition amongst them as to who can remember the most lines and act them out. Thinking of that makes me smile even now.

Being the person that she is, Caitlin will probably shake her head and say very little. She understands the Sexton boys. She understands and she loves. I have said on more than one occasion that Caitlin was hand-picked by the angels. Parents pray for their sons to marry someone like Caitlin. Parents pray for their grandchildren to have a mom like Caitlin. Parents pray for a daughter-in-law like Caitlin.

We are the lucky ones. Our prayers were answered on all accounts. Robert chose wisely and we are grateful that Caitlin said “yes”. Caitlin is so much more than a daughter-in-law to us. She has a very special place in our hearts and she is loved more than she will ever know.

If all moms could be like Caitlin…if only. Our grandsons have the best mommy in the world. The. Best.

Happy Mother’s Day, Caitlin. We love you.