Here we are, a little over a year later...and mom is gone. I can't get that love letter to her kids in her words like I had planned. Well, when I realized that this draft titled "Helen" was intended to be a love letter from Helen to her kids, I started trying to think what mom would say to them. Well....Larry, Sondra, Linda, Jimmy and Paula (me) - you all could probably write this, but I think you would be harder on yourselves than you need to be, so I am going to do my best to say what I think mom would have said.
Sondra - On the day you were born, I was so excited to have a little girl. You had the biggest ole blue eyes I had ever seen and I couldn't wait to make little girl clothes for you. You were so smart and even had to be your older brother's interpreter when folks couldn't understand what he was trying to say...you always understood him. As you grew into a beautiful young woman, I knew that I would have to keep an eye on all those boys that would be calling. I stood by the door when they brought you home from a date and turned the porch light on and off because I didn't want them trying anything with my girl. Being the oldest daughter couldn't have been easy on you and I know I was hard on you at times. Always remember I loved you more than I can say here...I trusted you with your siblings because you were not only responsible, but you loved them almost as much as I did. When you graduated as Salutatorian of your Senior class, your dad and I couldn't have been prouder. We knew you were smart, now everyone else did too. As I grew older, you knew how much I loved to make quilts and would keep your eye out for supplies and patterns...that was so thoughtful. If I didn't tell you enough....I love you Sondra!
Linda - You have always had the bragging rights of being the only child that your dad and I actually "planned" to have. When your dad came home from the service, we decided it was time to have another child. He had not been around as much as he wanted to be when the other two were babies and he wanted to experience that too. When you were born, I thought you were the cutest little baby. Those brown eyes just shot out at me and stole my heart. You were always so special to me and there was something about your personality that made your peers want to be like you. You were my second daughter and I was overprotective of you too...I wanted so much for you to be everything you were capable of being. You were head strong and there was no talking you out of getting married before graduation. Being a little stubborn served you well in your life though. It helped you to get that college degree by driving 2 hours everyday for college classes. It helped you to take in two sweet boys as foster children and then to adopt them when the time was right. It gave you strength as you tried for 10 years to get pregnant to finally see that happen and have that little boy. It meant that you would be one of the first I called on when I needed something and you would stay with me at the hospital the night I slipped into something even the doctors couldn't explain. Your name was one of the last names I would say and that is fitting since you were one of the first I called when I was not feeling well. For those reasons and so many more...I love you Linda Bug!
Jimmy - Two years after Linda, came a surprise little boy that lit up my life. You were always such a cute little tow headed boy, with a voice of an angel. You were singing for people even when you were in grade school. I always knew in my heart you would be something, and something your were. Some of my fondest memories were of me and your dad going on those family vacations with you and Becky. Those were times that I would laugh until I cried...you all knew how to make me laugh. I remember the first song you wrote and all the many songs that you wrote after that one. You have never given up on your dream...your songwriting has been recognized by folks you would have never thought of when you were a teen. I can't think of you without telling you how proud I am that you followed the call on your life to preach. You are such a good preacher and many have the assurance of heaven because of listening to your messages and praying. I know that when you prayed with me and for me, the love that you had for your mom was evident. I enjoyed every time I was able to spend time with you because you had a way to always make me smile. I love you Jim Bo!
Paula - My baby girl...another surprise...but one that has been wonderful. I know that I probably spoiled you a little more than the other kids, but I knew you would be my last. You always tried to be a good little girl and therefore you were pretty shy as a little one. I worked and you had to go to a sitter, but seemed to adjust when you needed to. Before your dad passed, he and I moved to be closer to you and our doctors. I am so glad that I was able to spend that time with you and your little family. I know that was a lot of responsibility when you had to make sure we were taken care of, but you did it without ever complaining and we noticed. It was during that time in my life, that you would stop by my duplex and we would visit until your baby boy got out of school...I loved that. Even after I moved back to my home town, I knew that I could call you on the phone and you always had time for me. I'm thankful that when you went through a rough spot in your life, you knew that I was on your side and loved you through it all. I looked forward to those visits you made to my apartment, Larry's house and then to the Nursing Home. They just never seemed to last as long as I wanted. But if I had my way, all my kids and their families would've lived right next door so I could see them all the time. I love you Paula Pete.
I hope I did mom justice in sharing how she loved all of her kids. Larry, Sondra, Linda and Jimmy...I love you too!