(if you know him, you know what the initials stand for)
Wt: 8 lbs 5 oz
Ht: 21″ long
Blue eyes, Blackish-Brown hair
Wt: 150 lbs
Ht: 5 ft 10 in
Blue eyes, Brown hair
As a baby, he was colicky so he cried a lot. He liked to be snuggled close, held tightly. He was a nervous baby, but he was funny and loving and excited by the world around him. When his little brother came along a couple years later, he helped soothe baby brother during baby brother’s crying bouts (which weren’t often, he was much happier baby). Mr. D was quite protective of baby brother and loved to play with him, make him laugh, snuggle him. In those toddler years, Mr. D was easy to potty train, loved being outside, was picky about his food, and enjoyed playing anything with a ball — as most toddlers do 🙂 He was always excited when his dad got home, wanted to ride the motorcycle with his dad, and couldn’t wait to ‘help’ his dad…..you know! Tools! With me, he wanted to be helpful with baby brother or whatever else I was doing, wanted me to keep him entertained, and wanted to play at the park.
Over the next few years, as he entered elementary-age childhood, he became more independent, he got involved in sports from a very young age. He enjoyed swimming, track, basketball, football, wrestling, and gymnastics (maybe a few more). With each passing year, he became a little more of who he is, his friendships grew stronger, and his sports involvement became more focused. In those elementary years, he discovered more about himself: his likes/dislikes, his comforts/sorrows, his strengths/weaknesses, and he accumulated some successes/failures.
As he entered middle and high school, he had pretty much narrowed down his sports activities to basketball and football, with football being priority. He has developed his own values based on what he’s been taught and what he’s fine-tuned for himself at his age. He’s spent more time building his friendships and one special relationship (she knows who she is ♥), meeting his responsibilities of work and school, and cementing the familial bonds over the last few years. He’s still an anxious person who worries all the time. He’s still a joy to be around and one who can make people laugh, but is not afraid to say what he thinks — within reason, of course. He’s got a wonderful personality and will only continue fine-tuning the fine young man that he already is.
It all seems to be going so fast now. To soon the little booger will be graduated and off to college.
I love this young man with all my heart and I am so very proud of him ♥♥♥
As you know, my husband and I recently learned of a congenital heart defect that my oldest daughter has. Repair is needed so a couple trips to Mayo are in our future.
Since learning of her diagnosis, I’ve been quite worried — as to be expected. I say lots of prayers and shed many tears. Bad dreams have been wreaking havoc on my sleep. And, of course, we can’t NOT include the rest of our life. All the kids. Jobs. School. Homework. Bills. Grocery shopping. Doctor’s appointments.
You know….just living.
Miraculously, my husband and I have been doing very well in dealing with everything on our plate. We are thankful for God’s presence in our lives, the support of our loved ones, and the friendships that are a source of encouragement, love, and joy.
Our home is busy from the moment we open our eyes until the last child falls asleep for the evening. Basically, our time clock runs from dark-thirty to dark-thirty.
And finally, when those quiet moments roll around, we enjoy that little space of time together completely uninterrupted by chattering, squealing, laughing, sometimes fighting children. We snuggle in for talking or a movie…..quality time. It’s in those moments when my mind slows down and my emotions are relaxed that my fears about my daughter sneak up on me.
At that point, my so-very-sweet husband provides a strength that I seem to be lacking after a full day of devotion to my home and my family. It’s in those moments that I don’t have to pour the 50th glass of milk or clean the sticky mess on the floor for the umpteenth time in a span of 10 minutes or step on that same darn Jenga block that has magically reappeared haphazardly under my feet. No more arguments about getting homework completed, who was talking first, or who’s turn it is to do dishes.
In that quiet time with my husband, my heart lets go and my mind slowly morphs into wife mode. In light of my daughter’s diagnosis, many of these nights have been spent held tightly in his arms, soaking up his strength, his words of encouragement and kindness, his reassurances as I cried into his shoulder.
That very quality in a man that the female persuasion is drawn to from the beginning.
Strength of mind, body, and soul.
Strength to keep going when the going gets rough.
Strength to be the husband who provides and protects, the father who meets his obligations without fail, the friend to all who come to him.
Strength to lead a Christ-centered home.
Strength to endure, overcome, grow, and teach.
Strength to be the man that God has created him to be.
Women everywhere, since the time of creation, look for that quality of strength in a man. We are attracted to it. We look for and eventually we find it. And then we depend on it.
Unfortunately, women also overlook the fact that a man who is providing strength oftentimes doesn’t divulge his own fears/questions/concerns because he is too busy being that strength for her. His struggles are just as real. Since my daughters’ diagnosis, my fears and tears have been quick to arise at any given time. If he happens to be home at the time, he’s more-than-willing to console me, to calm me down, to reassure me. He’s listened each time with patience and concern. I’ve not seen him cry, question, or show anything but faith that she will be right as rain after it gets repaired. Upon his reassurance that he is fine and he believes she will be fine, my own worries subside. I guess me knowing that his faith is so strong, makes me okay.
I learned recently that although he is that source of strength for me during this time, he’s had his own doubts. He doesn’t come to me with them because his character, the protective quality in him, is so deeply ingrained that taking care of me by providing strength for me, for his family occurs without thinking about it. It’s at this time he turns to God and his friends or family members.
It’s kind of archaic, but I get it. I even agree with it to some extent, but I do appreciate when he shares it with me rather than try to shield me from it. I mean, how can I not appreciate the -shh, don’t tell him I said this, but– the softer side of him?
I love this wonderful man that God so graciously crossed my path with.
There once was a little girl who loved playing outside. But no matter how many times she was coaxed, bribed, encouraged, demanded or asked politely to walk on the sidewalk, she couldn’t resist the WaTeR flowing along the curb. She giggled and she splashed. She toddled through it even though it covered her boots in the deepest part. She kicked at it and put her fingers in it. On that brisk, cool day she absolutely, positively could not resist the temptation of water.
The sidewalk was just plain boring in comparison.
The boring, old, crumbled sidewalk didn’t catch her interest in the least.
The water: that’s the place to be 🙂
Her face was the picture of pure delight. Her eyes lit up with laughter and a hint of mischief. And then, of course, the sweet taffy treat in her chubby, little hand just made the whole day a little more joyful.
Oh, she was a vision for sure: all dressed in pink and certain there was somewhere to go.
She’s older now by a few years, she’s taller, she’s much more active, she’s girly with a sliver of tom-boy, she’s…….perfect. She’s loved ❤
If you haven’t read it, please take a moment to do so. It’s traveling all over FB, but I want to share it anyway because, like the manager, I cannot understand what it’s like to raise a child with autism, but my husband and I have received the very same blessing as he gave, a couple of different times. We have also been given the same looks and heard the same whispers, but we have never been hastled by a manager over it. Fortunately. Both of these experiences are eye-openers. Our family of 10, yes 10 (2 adults, 8 children), for one random supper out on the town (family oriented of course), was blessed by a well-meaning and kind soul. He/she/they (we don’t know who), paid our bill and told the server who delivered that act of kindness from the stranger/s not to divulge his/her/their names/identity. They wanted to remain anonymous. And if you don’t know already, feeding a family of 10 in a restuarant is not cheap. The message delivered with that act of kindness was, “What a beautiful family you have. Your children behaved so well.” These moments, sometimes far and few between, remind me of the goodness that is God, the goodness that surrounds us, many times unrecognized. These acts of kindness are only a token of what God has promised us. It’s these random acts of kindness that come to mind when we encounter the rude comments, the soft whispers (as if we don’t know what they are saying?!?), and the glares from other patrons in different establishments, whether it be a restuarant, a grocery store, or walking through the mall. Remembering the kind acts from others in our wake make the rude/snide comments and otherwise unkind behaviors seem less powerful.
Another reason I wanted to make a post on the above article is because beings that our family is bigger than average, we often encounter praises and judgments from others. The praises are recognized and much appreciated and very well rememebered. For a short while, I began to let the judgements, looks, whispers, and snide/rude comments determine outings with my kids. I felt almost ashamed of the size of my family while in public (at home there was never any shame), but then slowly, my appreciation and the love I feel for my kids re-emerged, surpassing the shame. (**when i say my love for them, I don’t mean I stopped loving them because that’s absolutely NOT possible, I simply meant I let it be bigger, outshine anything anyone else had to say, think, assume, or judge).
And now, I look at my family in the light that God shines upon them with peace. I am in awe because they are the truest blessing from God and He entrusted them to me/ to us. Not those judgemental strangers. Not the kind folks that sing their praises to us about our children. Not our parents or friends or siblings, but US – My Husband and I.
And as the Bible says,
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. – Psalm 127: 3-5
And that is reason enough for me. Who else is there to impress, to prove anything, to strive for other than God?
Isn’t His judgement of us what matters most?
Yes! Yes it is.
For all the mothers and fathers out there with one kid, 3 kids, 10 kids, autistic or in any other way impaired, not impaired…no matter, if you have kids just remember this:
Each and every child, born and unborn, is a blessing from God. Each and every child is given for reasons that only God will ever know. Thank God for them every day and pray for anyone who has a judgement to throw at you.
More boys coming up in the house, but tonight I was at the first home game of my Picadilly’s last year of high school football – senior year.
First, before the mushy tribute to my 2016-2017 graduating young man, I’d like to say how exciting this game was. His team lost, but there were some very thrilling highlights. And, of course, it was awesome just being there to watch my son play!
Now for the mushy……
All the many years ago, when this little guy was still just a wee-wittle guy (crying all the time which could have been colick or the nerves/patience of your parents), my mind never looked to his future. Not because I didn’t envision a future for him, but because I was so busy — busy trying to get us both through those first couple of years (looking back, maybe I was more anxious than I realized), busy loving him, caring for him, raising him. When his dad and I broke up, I just got busier being his mom because time with him became limited as he lived/s with his dad. Over the years, I’ve watched him grow and change, throw fits and get mad, laugh and cry. I’ve watched him succeed and fail. I have watched him take what his dad and I have taught him to heart and to fine tune those teachings into what makes him who he is — his values, his convictions, his strengths and weaknesses, his quirks, his views. I watched as maturity began to set in. No, I am under no illusions that he’s as mature as he will ever be….only time and life experience can do that, but he’s as mature as any other kid his age.
I’ve witnessed his hurts. I’ve held him through his tears. I’ve nursed his broken heart episodes. I’ve bandaged his boo-boos. I’ve spent 17 years building a relationship with this softer-than-he-will-ever-admit soul who changed my world. I wholeheartedly and happily admit he’s the momma’s boy in our home who isn’t so momma’s-boyish that it hinders his growth (as I’ve personally witnessed with some of the male species I’ve met). I have been cause, a time or two…., for some of his sadnesses, angry outbursts, tears, smiles, and laughter. I’ve prayed endlessly for him. I continue to pray for him, his life now, his future – whatever it may be. I’ve been there for him and I’ve been selfish. I wasn’t there with him on his first day of grade school, but I volunteered in his classroom numerous times through his grade school years. I haven’t made every game of every sport that he’s ever played, but I’ve tried to make it to most of them. I’ve been his biggest fan his whole life, but I haven’t been the most visible one at times. I’ve sat quietly, for the most part, in the background – greedily taking all the time I could have with him. Throughout the years, that time has been consistent although at different points more frequent. Whatever it was, it was every bit appreciated and cherished. As with any parent, I have years of memories that we’re created sitting tucked away and safe in the Picadilly vault that comes built within every parent for his/her child.
And now we are here – his senior year.
I am not sure about most parents and their feelings about the first senior, but me….
Me – I am excited and sad. I am anxiously awaiting the impending date of his graduation. Anxiously, I say, because my heart is heavy with the thought of him beginning his life as an adult, stepping into this big world without a thought of what is to come. Anxiously because my heart is full of joy at the young man he is now, the young man he is becoming, and the future for him. I have all the doubts of any mother. I have all the hopes of any parent. I have all the dreams (my own and ones he’s talked about) for him. I am trying to convince myself that he’s ready to be in this world. However, the confidence that his dad and I properly prepared him is somewhat lacking.
Then, I have to remember, my dreams for him are not as important as his dreams for himself. My fears are big, but his are just as big, possibly bigger (although he will never admit it). As I sat to watch his first home game of his last year of high school football – his senior year, it took me back. Back to my senior year. Back to his father. Back to that moment in time, senior/junior year, when his father and I found out we were going to become parents.
Never, ever, ever have I regretted the decision to bring that precious little boy into the world. In fact, nothing else but delivering a healthy baby ever occurred to me when I found out about this wonderful bundle of joy. I have never regretted the relationship that allowed him to be created. I have loved every moment (even the hard ones and being a young mom there were plenty) of being his mom. As I sat and watched the game, I watched my ‘little’ big young man out on that field, willing him to enjoy every moment of this year. I said a prayer to the Lord, as I sat cheering in the stands, that he would make this year one of his most memorable ones yet, but one in which he remains safe and continues to make the right choices. As I sat and watched my not-so-perfect, but oh-so-perfect son scuff his cleat through the grass with some disappointment after a dropped ball , I witnessed – one more time – his strong personality, strong as it can be for his age. I looked at him to see what I’ve seen a million times over – my little boy who is now living in an almost full-grown body (a little more growing yet, I think).
My little boy.
My little boy with a heart of gold.
My little boy who cried at the boo-boos who now brushes off the boo-boos.
My little boy who gets anxious when something changes in his routine — I wouldn’t ever believe the anxiety if I didn’t witness it myself. (I am not an anxious person ??? – at least I don’t think so – and I am not sure about his dad as the years since our break-up are many).
My little boy who wanted to be just like his daddy when he was still a little boy, but grew up so different from his dad in so many ways, yet, not so different really at all.
My little boy who seems so gruff and cocky at first meeting, but who’s heart melts as he scoops up his little baby sister in his arms, to give her loves after not seeing her throughout the week. The very same little girl who’s nails he painted when she asked.
My little boy who has made mistakes because we all do, but never been in any real trouble. He’s shown much maturity and responsibility in his teen years. One thankful momma right here!
My little boy who shows much bravado, but a little boy who I know the ‘real’ him, that part of him he only shows to the people that mean the most to him.
My little boy who is so fiercely protective of those that he loves.
My little boy who’s never been in a fight with anyone other than his brother/s (that ever popular sibling fighting/wrestling), who (I’m hoping) tries to avoid fighting, but who would (I know) stand his ground when needed, who would defend someone who needed defending, who doesn’t anticipate a fight (encourage a fight) but would defend himself in a fight without succumbing to fear.
My little boy who deflects uncomfortable situations with trying to make others laugh.
My little boy who likes to be ‘in’ the attention at times, but who also likes to give the attention at times.
My little boy who shows strength, character, selfishness, love, laughter, forgiveness, rudeness and/or opinionated-ness, and kindness.
And I love each and every part of who is. I love the kindness in his heart. I love the love he spreads around him. I love – don’t always like, but always love – the stinky attitude he gets. Chalk it up to some rudeness just because, teenage angst, and being a boy (yes, because he’s a boy! wired completely different than me – a female counterpart 😉 ).
My Picadilly, this is written especially for you, for the first person I fell in love with without expecting anything back – the epitome of love. I was but a child when I had you who grew into a young woman, a mother, overnight. Being pregnant was the first step in my motherhood journey, but you made me into a mom. You have taught me a lot about myself, about life as a parent over the course of your life. I love you, buddy. I love you more than you will ever know. And I am so very proud of what you’ve accomplished thus far and of all the future accomplishments you are going to achieve. I am so very happy that I was blessed to be your mom, to bring you into this world, to watch you grow, and get to continue to be your biggest fan, now and in the future.
I am praying that you will make this a great year. In fact, I am demanding that you make this an awesome year. As they say, you only get this year once. When it’s over, it’s over. You can’t go back. You can’t undo. You can’t relive. So live it. Stay out of trouble but don’t be afraid to make mistakes — small ones ;). Enjoy this year because being a senior is a BIG stepping stone into the adult world. After this, you are pretty much accountable for every action you take, every reaction you make –even more so than in these previous years because when you graduate, the law (maybe not the world and never me, but the law) will see you as an adult.
Love mom ❤
One mushy writing down, a few dozen more to go.
Happy Senior Year, My Picadilly. I love you to the moon and back ♥♥♥
So, all of you know of the heart murmur that was discovered at our daughter’s well child check-up a week or so ago.
Unfortunately, it turns out that it’s so much more than that.
After the echo-cardiogram following that well-child check, the doctors have now determined that the murmur was in fact a sign of something called atrial septal defect (ASD), which is a congenital heart defect. As I mentioned in a previous post, she had heart arrhythmia (more on her story) when she was born and the doctors cleared her at her 2 week check-up.
When hearing the news – barely because as soon as I heard the doctor’s dreaded words that something was, in fact, wrong with my sweet little girl, I stopped listening (all I could hear was that something was wrong) – the question that came into my mind: What gets done to correct ASD?
After getting off the phone with the doctor, I cried. And then I called my husband, who in all his sweetness, was very reassuring. I told him as much as I could recall from the phone call and asked him to call the doctor so he could hear the news from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. I wanted him to get a better understanding so he could explain it more to me. It worked wonderfully. We learned that although it’s not an ideal experience for a child, it’s not uncommon. The doctor reassured us that it’s good that we found it at her age now rather than later in life.
Which leads me back to the question: What is done to correct ASD? The options are open heart surgery or catheter procedure, both of which sound terribly uncomfortable. However, the catheter procedure is probably more favorable.
At this point, my fears are running rampant through my mind. Will the doctors be able to fix it? Will something terrible happen during surgery? Is she going to be okay until surgery? She’s going to be so scared when she does find out. (We haven’t told her anything yet.) Reactions to the anesthesia. Surgeons making a mistake. Recovery time. After-affects of the correction. And so much more.
The uncertainty right now is like a knot in my stomach that won’t go away. Knowing about the ASD has not taken over my every thought as I have more children, a husband, a home, etc. to worry about and take care of, but it’s always in the forefront of my brain. It pops up throughout the day, more so in the evening after the kids are settled and in bed. I cry in the quietness almost every night as my husband holds me and offers his reassurance. He’s said to me a few times since learning of this awful news that I should stay positive, trust in God. At hearing his words, I’ve shown some frustration, but I know…he’s right. Again 😉 So, here I sit, thinking about God, trying to trust in Him…trying to do as I’ve been telling everyone to do for a long while. I remember all the times I’ve said it’s not God that causes heartache. It’s not God’s plan to hurt us. I remember not to long ago about a little child that was killed and my words of encouragement were to trust in God, turn the worries and concerns over to Him. Someone else replied with some nonsense about where is God when something bad happens. And, again, I responded to this person with the exact words I just spoke: It’s not God’s fault. He doesn’t cause the heartache.
And now I am here. Questioning. Doubting. Wondering what I did to create this hardship for my daughter. Asking why? Why my daughter? And I realize, as much as I believe in God and all His goodness….I don’t understand a darn thing. I understand that He is way more powerful than my mind, anyone’s mind, can fathom. As for anything else, I am lost.
So, I have been praying. I am asking once again that if you are reading this then please take a moment to pray. Pray for our daughter. And to pray for me as well. Is that selfish of me?
Anyway, back to my daughter’s story…..
What happens now? What’s next?
She has another appointment with a pediatric cardiologist through the health care system we primarily use coming up at the end of the month. Shortly after that, she will have her first visit with the doctor at Mayo Clinic for his evaluation to determine his plan of care. We will know more at that point concerning surgery/procedure, preparation for surgery, recovery time, restrictions/limitations, and after-care.
Until then, please just continue to pray for her. Also, I have been reading the Bible, looking for scripture to help me get through this time, if anyone has any verses in mind that may be helpful, it would be much appreciated.
It was a normal pregnancy for me except I was sicker for longer during the beginning. For all my pregnancies prior to hers, I was only sick (nausea) for about 2-3 months. With her, I was nauseous, I mean severely nauseous, for the first 4 months. All I did during that time period was lie on the couch, moaning in agony…..Okay maybe not moaning, but definitely felt like I was dying! And I laid there like that ALL. DAY. LONG. For 4 months straight.
I was excited about baby #6. I was exhausted. All. The. Time. She was born in September so I was, as with the previous pregnancies, very pregnant through the hottest parts of the summer. And with my pregnancies, I don’t stay small and look like I’m carrying a little rubber ball in my tummy. Oh no. Not me! I look and feel like I am carrying 3 watermelons in my tummy. I was excited. And I was miserable.
My heart was set on a girl as I already had 5 boys. We decided NOT to find out the sex of the baby because I was absolutely convinced that if we didn’t find out then it would be a girl. My theory: with the first four pregnancies we found out the sex and all four pregnancies produced 5 healthy boys so if we didn’t find out the sex then it would be a girl.
Whether my theory was scientifically based or not, it worked.
We finally had a girl!
I went into labor and everything proceeded without a hitch….
she has arrhythmia.
Oh no! I finally got the girl I had been dreaming of for forever only to have a medical concern.
It wasn’t severe and she got to go home with me, but doctors did say she’d have to have another EKG in two weeks.
With lots of prayers, within that first couple of weeks she was cleared. The arrhythmia went away on its’ own. She proceeded to grow healthier.
She was a beautiful baby, hardly squeaked at all. She was happy most of the time, mostly only fussy when hungry or sick or needed changing. She got held. Alot. Being the only girl (besides me) in the house, she was doted on and spoiled by everyone.
At each of her check-ups since then she’s been healthy as a horse. She continued to grow. Soon enough she started crawling which -as we all know – leads to walking. She talks non-stop. Sadly, she has night terrors. Once she made up her mind to be potty trained, that was that. No accidents. No regressing. She’s active and funny and caring. She’s full of joy and love of learning. She’s interested in the world around her and loves to dance. She’s a little social butterfly with a very friendly disposition. She’s sweet and sassy and only she can be the little girl we all love.
My little girl is almost 7 and we are truly blessed.
By definition, murmur is a soft sound made by a person or group of people.
ex. Eliza heard the murmur of the crowd inside the gymnasium as she drew closer to the door.
One can also reach a little further to conclude that when a person falls in love, the heart murmurs softly as that love reverberates through his/her soul. Maybe a little far-reaching, but hey, it sounds romantic enough and I am nothing if not a hopeless romantic ♥
But then we have something completely different when speaking of murmurs of the heart. These murmurs are scary.
A medical prognosis: Heart Murmur – sounds during the heartbeat cycle (such as swooshing or swishing) made by turbulent blood in or near your heart. Read here for more information because I really suck at explaining medical jargon. Basically, a heart murmur is a sound in the heart that shouldn’t be there, either considered an innocent murmur or an abnormal murmur. If innocent, the murmur can go away on its’ own or last a lifetime without ever causing further issues. If abnormal, the murmur could pose serious heart problems right away or later in life.
When I conjure up images of murmurs of the heart in my head, the images always have an aura of romance…cuz you know, that’s me.
Never in my wildest dreams did my daughters’ face appear before my eyes when I thought about murmur.
But alas, my little girl….my sweet, innocent little 6 y/o daughter so full of life and excitement is scheduled for an echocardiogram coming up soon in order to gain further understanding of the heart murmur (according to the doctor) discovered during her well child check-up.
And this mama is as nervous as all get out. You see, my sweet little girl was born with a heart arrhythimia. Thankfully, it went away within the first couple of weeks after she was born.
I have always considered myself pretty blessed in regard to my children’s health. Outside of my twins who spent 3 weeks in the hospital after they were born, none of my children have had any major medical concerns other than the normal ‘wear and tear’ of childhood: bumps, scrapes, bruises, a concussion, stitches, a couple broken bones…..none of these issues have been as serious as they could have been. I’ve been thankful for that. Very thankful.
Now, I am completely inside out with worry.
So, I’m going to step outside of my ‘normal’ (I’m kind of an ‘in-house’ problem solver) and ask of all who read this
Please, please, please say a prayer for my little girl.
A special shout-out to my parents on this very unforgettable day for a couple of reasons.
Forty years ago, my parents said their “I Dos”. The relationship, albeit a rocky one, withstood the test of time and I am so very excited and proud to say that they have made their marriage work amid the troubles they faced. To bless their marriage even more, my sister was born the very next year, to the day.
Yes, their one year anniversary gift was the birth of my sister.
I have much faith that my husband and I will one day celebrate our 40th anniversary.
In this life, it’s a blessing to meet someone whom you can spend your life with….growing and learning and changing and falling in love with over and over again.
To my parents, I would like to say how much we learned from yall growing up and how much we continue to learn as adults. Thank you for keeping our family together all of these years. It’s not been a perfect life, but it was always full of love and that’s what matters. We didn’t have the most money, the grandest home, the nicest car…actually, we didn’t have much at all. There were plenty of times we had more on our plates than it seemed we could handle, but nobody gave up. You both kept striving to make our life the best yall could. As an adult, I have never wanted that relationship that ended in divorce because of how heartbreaking it can be for everyone involved. As our parents, you taught us that foundation of marriage, you both taught us to work through the troubles of married life. In my adult years, in my own marriage to a man who was also taught that firm foundation of marriage through his own parents and their beliefs, I have furthered my understanding of marriage now in the biblical sense. I appreciate what yall taught me about mothering and being a wife. I appreciate my childhood and the love that sustained us which is now carried forward to my own family. As children, we witnessed unfaltering love between a husband and wife. We witnessed forgiveness even when forgiveness was hard to give. We witnessed kindness in times when kindness was not warranted. We witnessed hard work, commitment, and strength. We witnessed sadness and joy. And we witnessed more love. Thank you. I love you both so much. Happy 40th Anniversary! I hope there are many more.