My Brother Rory

I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother and I found all three.-author unknown

I ended my night by corresponding with my soul brother, Rory. I love that man more than words can convey. When I started writing just over a year ago, this wonderful writer started following me. Why he’s not published is beyond me.

I don’t have too much more to say about him, except that I’m happy he’s in my life. He doesn’t judge me. I don’t judge him. He’s the best brother a silly woman like me can have. Wish I could tell you all who he is. I promised I’d protect his identity.

I love you my dear, sweet brother. I breathe easier knowing that you’re out there rooting for me. And loving me.

Love, Nee

The Two Most Important Days in Your Life

Einstein

I was born April 3, 1968. The day before MLK Jr. was assassinated. The day before civil rights as we know it changed forever. Daddy was a MI State Trooper. A Boy in Blue. He strapped on a gun and went to work in the D after that dreadful day. He tried to establish order to the chaos. He and the other men that swore to serve and protect. Another baby that was to be my mother and father’s slipped away. Mom was devastated, but God had a plan. That plan was me. The mistake of my conception and birth was to fill a void in the life of Patty and Don. It was to fulfill a dream. It was my beginning.

After almost 45 years on this planet I have figured out why I was born. The realization came on January 4, 2012. I am here because I am a writer. I didn’t figure it out on my own. A dear friend pointed it out. Most days I still don’t believe it. This used to be a journal. It’s so much more than that now. The words, stories, pictures, music, poetry, inspiration, everything pour out of me. To finally realize why I was born leaves me in awe. I still have so much to learn. I want to feel everything and write it all.

There’s a book I need to write. A tragic one. About love between a poet and an American girl studying abroad. Drug addiction and rock bottom. Does she leave? Does she stay? Does he die? Does she? I promise it won’t be schmaltzy. I’m a romantic and I like to write erotica, but I HATE schmaltz. I want to keep writing my blog, but I have to get the book out. I’ll keep doing Friday Fictioneers. If I find a photo that rocks my world I’ll bring it to life. I can’t post every day and write a book though.

Now where did I put my notebook and pen? It’s time to get to steppin’.

Love and hugs from a silly Sparkly Girl.

Me In the Water

Sweet Child O’ Mine, A Meeting with an Old Friend

She was drunk. She had hoped it would help her sleep. She had hoped it would help her to be able to finally climb into the bed that she had shared with her husband of over 20 years with. She was so tired. So fucking tired. Her husband had been convicted of hurting a child. Her youngest son had run off in response, while her oldest stayed by her side. She’d been barely holding it together for too long. Living in a little cocoon. But at that moment of trying to get into bed, she finally broke down. Finally, she laid on the floor and wailed. Her oldest son, her child, her baby, had to see her in her weakest state. Drunk, and sobbing uncontrollably because she couldn’t get into the bed she had shared with a man who was now in jail, as he would be for years to come. She begged her son to call her mother. He did, while taking care of her as well. He waited for his grandma to get there and put his mother to bed, so she could get some rest after living a nightmare that actually came true.

She walks into the bar and I see her as she once was, when we were just teens. Striding towards me, she is statuesque, blonde, violet blue eyes, and wearing a huge smile. As she zips to the table, so many men turn their heads to look at her. Some of them appear to get whiplash as a result. She’s a ravishing beauty after all that she’s been through. We hug for what seems like forever. We haven’t seen each other in 26 years, but you’d never know it, by the sounds of our laughter and the constant exchanges of “I love you.” I think to myself, “Oh my God how did I ever let this light out of my life?” We were best friends at one time. But life pulls us in different directions. Even though we lived just a few towns away from each other, our lives were busy. She was married, and so was I. We’d each had two children. We were part of our community, and our kids kept us plenty busy.

I’ve already ordered her a Bud Light. I’m sipping white zinfandel and water, because I have to drive home after our meeting. We sit down and start talking. She goes first because she has a story to tell. One that is difficult to hold in. I let her have the floor. I let her go, and let go she does.

But this story is not about her ex-husband. This story is not about her sons. This story is about her. A beautiful woman, that was my best friend during our teenage years. She and I fell away as high school friends often do. We find lovers that we marry and plan on staying with for the rest of our lives. We have children that mean everything to us, that make us better somehow. That we in turn make better by raising them up right. We become involved in the places that we live, in our communities, in our children’s activities, in our lives. It becomes our lives and nothing else matters. But then the unthinkable happens: your husband is accused of taking advantage of a young woman.

She told me that she knew that the light had switched in his brain somehow. They’d been married for 20 years and he started becoming abusive – mentally at first, and then physically. But she had been living with the mental abuse, or as she called it, “passive-aggressiveness” for so long she knew how to diffuse it. For some reason though, this time she no longer could. He started hitting her. Why after so long? She has no idea. But he did hit her. He made her feel small, like she was inadequate. He turned into a stranger. Someone she didn’t even know. She stayed though, for her kids, for the idea that they were “pillars” of the community. They took good care of their kids and the kids of their friends.

When her husband eventually went to prison, she hid herself away. Her youngest son started his senior year of high school shortly thereafter. He told her that he was dealing with some aggression at a home football game. That was what brought her out of her funk. She said to her self, “no one is going to make my child pay for the sins of my husband.” So the next football game, she went. She dealt with the animosity, so that her son didn’t have to. She is one tough momma bear and she loves her boy immensely. While she was there she saw a good friend of the family who, taking her hand said, “If you need anything, anything at all, call me.” She looked at him and knew that he meant every word he said.

She did eventually call him, and they became inseparable. He brought her back to life. He helped her figure out her way, helped her figure out how to continue to take care of her boys, even though she was damaged. He helped her to realize that the man she had married all those years ago was no long the same man. He helped her figure out that the men that were contacting her with offers of help, were only wanting to take advantage of her. To fuck her, own her, hurt her even more, and then disregard her like yesterday’s trash. If she didn’t have this wonderful, flawed man in his own right by her side during this time, who knows what mistakes she might have made.

She finalized her divorce as quickly as possible. She lived in utter poverty for two years. Sometimes, without even electricity, warm water, heat, or food. In short, all the damn things that we normally take for granted. She had nothing. Every time she went to an interview, they would uncover her history and the job offer would disappear. She would think to her self, “They have no reason to judge me. I am NOT the sins of my husband. I am ME!”

Taking a break, we both look at the crucifixes around our necks. As our conversations have progressed, we keep touching them throughout. This recognition turns our conversation towards the topic of faith, and therapy, but mostly faith. We realize as we hold hands across the table and cry, that our faith is what’s gets us through. I told her I haven’t taken my crucifix off for 14 years. When I had to have an MRI recently, it killed me to remove it for even that hour. She told me that her original crucifix broke, and she found herself lost without it. She then acquired the one that she wears now, and she finds herself touching it daily. It’s her center, as it is mine. She says that without her boyfriend, her faith and her therapist, she would have never made it through this part of her life.

She’s grown. She’s changed. Yet she’s still the wonderful and fun girl she always was. With a twinge of jealousy, she looks at me and says, “You are so lucky. You get to grow old with the man that loves you. My ex-husband stole that from me.” She does tell me though that she has been redeemed with her new love. The man who simply took her hand at a football game, and said if you ever need me, call. God, she is so glad that she did.

I think she’ll make it, I do. I think she has found her happiness. She’s found it in her children and in this new man that accepts her for what she is – good woman, with a tough past. But then again, who doesn’t have a tough past? Who doesn’t have a broken road? Isn’t it astonishing when that broken road leads us to the right one?

As I leave her, we hug some more. We once again exchange our “I love you’s.” We promise to not leave 26 years between us again. And we haven’t. We talk almost daily. She is of my heart and one of the strongest women I know. I love her now and forever. What her husband did, doesn’t define her, or her grown up babies. I admire her strength and the ferocity of her love. She is a good woman, a strong woman. And she always will be.

***Edited by t from aslongasimsinging.wordpress.com. Read him. The man rocks my world, and makes my pretty words more beautiful with his touch. This may be my last post for awhile. I promise to come back. Just not sure when. Take care my dear readers and followers.***

It’s Time to Begin Isn’t It

Amazing interview tonight. Can’t wait to write the story. Gotta let it brew for a few days. Other stories coming to me, finally. Had an epiphany. Found my way back with a lick and a prayer, I did.

So enjoy a little Imagine Dragons. I’m NEVER changin’ who I am…… Never…..

So this is what you meant
When you said that you were spent
And now it’s time to build from the bottom of the pit
Right to the top
Don’t hold back
Packing my bags and giving the academy a rain check

I don’t ever want to let you down
I don’t ever want to leave this town
‘Cause after all
This city never sleeps at night

It’s time to begin, isn’t it?
I get a little bit bigger, but then I’ll admit
I’m just the same as I was
Now don’t you understand
I’m never changing who I am

So this is where you fell
And I am left to sell
The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell
Right to the top
Don’t look back
Turning to rags and giving the commodities a rain check

I don’t ever want to let you down
I don’t ever want to leave this town
‘Cause after all
This city never sleeps at night

It’s time to begin, isn’t it?
I get a little bit bigger, but then I’ll admit
I’m just the same as I was
Now don’t you understand
I’m never changing who I am

It’s time to begin, isn’t it?
I get a little bit bigger, but then I’ll admit
I’m just the same as I was
Now don’t you understand
I’m never changing who I am

This road never looked so lonely
This house doesn’t burn down slowly
To ashes, to ashes

It’s time to begin, isn’t it?
I get a little bit bigger, but then I’ll admit
I’m just the same as I was
Now don’t you understand
I’m never changing who I am

It’s time to begin, isn’t it?
I get a little bit bigger, but then I’ll admit
I’m just the same as I was
Now don’t you understand
I’m never changing who I am

The Joy of Walking in Wheat

;

Photo credit: Steph Ellis

With her eyes to the Heavens, she looks at the clouds. She shields her eyes from the sun with the back of her hand, then lowers it. She breaks off a piece of wheat, pinches the stalk in her teeth, and grins. She starts walking through the field and feels the softness of the stalks on her hands, her fingers and her bare legs. She is clad in a short cotton dress. The tiny cilia at the tops of the wheat tickle her fingertips. The wind caresses her face like the hand of God. She takes her fingers and removes a tendril of hair from her mouth. She keeps walking through the middle of the field. She’s heading to the barn, but she didn’t want to take the path. She figures why take the easy way, when the unbeaten path is so much more fun? There’s nothing like the feel of the wheat caressing your hands, fingers and legs in the warm summer sun. These moments of joy are few and far between in this life. They may be simple, but some days they are the only joy we feel.

Then She Prays

“Seldom is a wheat field as terribly sown.”

She stands staring at the sky, in a field filled with wheat ready for harvest. She places her hands in it. She grips the stalks in her fingers. Feels the course beauty of it. Smells the wholesomeness of it in the air.  The wind makes it sway to and fro as she releases it. Her head is spinning and she wonders how she got here. All she remembers is running. Away from the pain of the news she’d just heard. Of the phone call and what they said.

She looks up again and sees the blue of the sky. The clouds like cotton. The sun’s golden rays passing through them. It’s like seeing God when she stares at those streams of light. She has to mourn her grief. Her loss. She wonders how she’ll go on without him. Without them. Where does she begin? How does she live?

She raises her fists into the air and wails. It’s not the cry of a small child, but the scream and rant of a wounded animal. She keeps screaming until she is spent. Her hands raised, she keeps cursing at God. She keeps asking why. Finally, her knees buckle at her utter exhaustion. She falls to the ground. She lays in that fragrant and warm wheat field. Finally after many minutes, she gets to her knees, clasps her hands together, and closes her eyes. She feels the breeze blow her hair as if God himself was touching her. Her trembling subsides and she begins to pray.

Sometimes our Greatest Joys are Born of Happy Accidents

And when our baby stirs and struggles to be born it compels humility: what we began is now its own.-Margaret Mead

Adam Boy was a Happy “Accident”. A surprise. Something that I didn’t know would turn out to be one of the biggest blessings of my life. He came to be because the condom broke. I was petrified. I had just been diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder. Hell, I was still dealing with post partum depression from having Meggie. She was just six months old! She never slept. So neither did I. Roger Darling worked midnights. I was petrified. What the hell was I going to do with two babies?

On the day of his birth I’d been so sick. I had the flu. I’d thrown up most of the day and felt miserable. Roger Darling was in the kitchen, reading the paper, and drinking coffee. I told him that I was heading upstairs to our huge claw foot tub to soak, and to get the baby off my back a bit. The water was warm and tranquil. I instantly fell asleep, only to be awakened ten minutes later with the most intense pain across my abdomen. I couldn’t be in labor. I had two more weeks till my due date!

I looked down at my belly. I saw it harden and contract. I felt the pain stab in my back. Yes, I was in labor. I tried to relax. Breathe. The next contraction came two minutes later! I thought to myself, if my water breaks ,we are having this baby at home. I’m not a good one to talk to about labor and delivery. I had Meggie one hour after my water broke. I pushed her out in three pushes. The pushes took ten minutes, max. See, woman reader, now you’re pissed off, aren’t you? Some of you pushed for hours only to be told you had to have a C-Section. Don’t get me wrong, I labor with the best of them. My labor was in the back. It felt like someone took a hot knife, stuck it in my back and turned it from side to side.  But the delivery, now that was always a piece of cake for me.

So back to Adam Boy. I pull myself out of the tub, dress and waddle my contracting self down the steps. I tell Roger Darling to grab Meggie because it is time to go to the hospital. He’s in shock. He packs Baby Girl up and we head off to Papa Dale’s and Grandma Marge’s. She’s as happy as a little clam. We head off to meet my mom at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. Fortunately my bag of water stayed intact. Until we got to triage and they checked me for dilation. With one touch of a skilled finger, the fluid rushed out of me. I looked at Rog and said he’ll be here in an hour. He smiled his sweet smile.

I guess the LDR was nice. I really didn’t give a shit. Labor had advanced and so had the pain. I didn’t take meds. There is something so powerful about not doing so. I dealt with the pain. Breathed. Almost bit Roger’s hand off at one point. My mom was there with us. She and Rog chatted while I labored. One hour later, Adam was ready to come. Just like I said he would.

We knew he was in distress. We knew that he could be really sick. He could even die. We were prepared. Mom held one of my legs, Roger held the other. Dr. P. told me to push. Adam’s head crowned right away. He had a full head of hair just like Meggie did when she was born. But my boy, he was green. This was not good news. I pushed again, his shoulders turned, and his torso emerged. Dr. P. made me stop pushing. How do you stop the progression of the natural birth process? I thought I was dying. But I would have chosen my death to save him. To give him life. Dr. P. suctioned Adam’s little lungs, his throat and his nostrils. He was meconium stained, and had fluid in his lungs. I was writhing. I wanted to push so badly but had to wait for the doctor to get as much fluid out of his tiny body as she could. I had to stay still to save him. Save me. Finally I was told I could bear down.

Mom and Rog still held my legs, I gripped the handles on the birthing bed. I lifted up off the bed and pushed with everything I had. As Adam came into this world so did more amniotic fluid, blood and placenta. Dr. P caught Adam as he exited my body. Caught him! Mom and Rog let go of my legs to keep from being splattered with fragments from my utuerus. Hey, when I give birth, I do it up!

I didn’t get to hold him. He was whisked away by the pediatrician that was standing by. I turned and looked over at the warming station. Mom, Rog, the nurses, the doctor all stood around him. I ached for him. To gain a glimpse of him. To touch him. My beautiful baby boy. He was so close to me, but I couldn’t hold him, talk to him, touch him. Mom said he was gorgeous even though he was green. That green, sickly little baby was mine. I asked if he was going to die. They said they didn’t know. My mother was floored by my candidness. My baby might die, I wasn’t beating around the bush. I had to know.

 His APGAR at birth was 2, grave. His APGAR at five minutes was 5, critical. He was carted off to NICU. I was stabilized and taken to my room. My body was sore and still contracting, but I was cleaned, and stitched up. I was ready for my first walk. I walked to the NICU, and peered into his cradle. He was domed with an oxygen apparatus. I held his little foot. His little tiny foot. I spoke softly, smiled, cooed, and cried. I don’t think I’ve ever loved more intensely than I did in that moment.

Adam is grown now. He’s almost 21. I wonder where the time has gone. I’m proud of him. I’m anxious to see what his future holds. I’m so thankful Roger Darling and I got to raise such a wonderful, funny, bright, charming and silly young man. He was the best surprise I’ve ever received.

I Still Love You, New York

I remember the day the world stop turning. I remember where I was, and how I felt. The helplessness. I remember watching it unfold on television. I realized right then that our lives would never be the same. The security I felt, was gone. The arrogance of knowing what a great country I lived in, was gone. The innocence of my children, was gone. What it was replaced with was fear. What would happen next? When? Where? Why? How?

We had news feeds going on all of the televisions in the SSW. Classes were eventually canceled for the rest of the day. Staff were told to go home. We weren’t getting anything done anyway. We were too devastated. So many of my colleagues and friends were trying to get through to loved ones that were in NYC, and DC. Everything was jammed up. No calls in or out. When I got home I turned on the news. We had satellite television so our local stations came out of NYC. I live in Michigan. Go figure. I was riveted. I watched every bit of coverage that I could. I sat and cried. I listened to the screams and the cries as the towers came down. I saw the horror on the onlookers faces. The dust, the debris, the screaming, the running, the blood, all of it. I thought of the human wreckage. I thought of what to tell my children when they came home from school. The questions that they would have. Like why would people we don’t know want to hurt people that they don’t know? How do you answer that? How do you tell a 9 and 10 year old that there is evil in this world that can’t be explained? How? I thought of the intense hatred I felt for whoever did this to us.

A few years later I stood at Ground Zero. It was Fall. The air was cool. The sky partly cloudy. The patches of blue in the sky were lit by a beautiful Fall sun. I looked into the tomb. The group of teenagers I was with, were being respectful. Which was unusual. Hell, it was unusual for this sparkly, crazy momma to be respectful. But we all knew we were at a grave site. That it was our duty to be respectful. We looked at pictures, flowers and other artifacts that were placed on the various fences. We took pictures. K and I cried. It took us back to that day. It was strange being there. In such a loud and vibrant city, it was so peaceful. We went across the street to St. Paul’s Church and went inside. There were shrines, notes, flowers, posters, pictures. Everything you could think of. We didn’t speak. We just took it all in. We lit candles. I know, I know I’m no fan of organized religion. But I’m a Christian first and foremost, so I lit a damn candle. I said prayers for those taken from us, the survivors, the first responders. Everyone of us.

I think about the folks in the towers before they collapsed. I think about making the choice to jump or burning to death. I’m sure I would have jumped. I would have grabbed my Broseph’s R and K. My two favorite colleagues that I wouldn’t mind dying with. I would have wrapped my arms around them, kissed them both sweetly and passionately. Hell if you’re going to die, you might as well go out with a bang. I would have locked hands with them and jumped. We would have prayed to sprout wings on our descent. But known we would have earned them on impact.

In the days, months and years that followed people have asked me, did I know anyone that died. No I didn’t. I knew none of them, but I knew all of them. They were humans sharing my planet, my country. Therefore I mourn for them. They were people with families, with lives to live, bills to pay, babies to be born, and shit to do. So because they were all of those things and more I mourn for them. We all do. We always will. I still believe I live in the greatest country in the world. I do. I still believe that if you work hard you can make it here. That we have endless opportunities and we have endless possibilities. Planes crashing into buildings and killing thousands did not dampen our American spirit. I believe it only intensified it. It also brought other countries to our side. We did not realize how much we were loved until tragedy hit. But isn’t that the way it usually happens? You never know how strong you are until tragedy does hit? And hit us it did. Every single one of us, whether we knew someone personally that died or not. It changed us. All of us. Forever.

When I Grow Up I Wanna Be Just Like Marjorie Jo!

Anyone who doesn’t miss the past never had a mother-Gregory Nunn

My mother-in-law, Marge.

She’d laugh when I’d say the word fuck in regular conversation.

She taught me to be strong-willed. Stubborn. Outspoken. To fight if necessary.

She told me when I was wrong.

She liked a good drink. Or two. Or four.

She taught me to make my specialty, Pineapple Upside Down Cake. It really IS the shit!

She taught me that life has no guarantees. That you have to live every day the best you can.

That you may get sick but you can’t ignore it. You have to live even when you are dying. Force yourself to get out there, even when you are in pain.

She taught me to be strong, even in the face of death. I saw her put up one hell of a fight, every damn day of her illness. Colon cancer. Even when she knew the inevitable end was coming.

I sat in on the consult the day we had to decide to turn off the machines. It was my sister-in-law, Anita and I that told her three boys that they had to let their mom go. That she needed to be with Dad. She had waited a long time to be with him again. If she had been able to get up out of that bed, she would have kicked our asses for waiting for so long to let her go. It was a week, but it felt like an eternity.

On that mild November day we turned off the IV drips, the monitors and all the machines keeping her alive. We gathered around her. Prayed, laughed, shared our happy and sad memories. We waited for her last breath. For her release. I moistened her tongue with water. Applied chapstick to her dry, cracked lips. Told her how much she meant to me. That I loved her.

I had to leave the room. I headed to the maternity ward. I had to see new life. I looked at the babies in the nursery. I smiled. Realizing that life really does go on. They gave me hope. My brother-in-law walked up to me. Told me it was time. Mom was going to die soon. As I walked back into the room, she took her final breath. There were tears. Relief. For her and for us. I smiled, because in those first few moments after she died, I knew that Dad had found her. He took her hand, and their love story would continue on in Heaven.

Mother’s Day, Creatopia and Fireball Jaw Breakers

 

After not much sleep and one of the Wonder Schnauzers jumping on my face to greet me this morning I decided I better get up and get ready for a fun day with Roger Darling and the kids. I have two wonderful, funny, talented, smart and generally amazing kids. They are my heart. They decided to surprise me this Mother’s Day with a fun gift. I pretended not to have any idea what it was. Secretly I wished it was to head to this cool little place in Plymouth called Creatopia. A pottery store where you can pick out your own little bit of art to decorate. They then fire it for you and you can pick up the piece a week later. I was super excited to learn that was exactly where we were going! Meg informed me that there was this groovy little store next door to it that sold nickle candy in bulk. I told her if that was the case I was going to throw myself into a vat of their suckers and just roll around in it for awhile. Suckers are my new go to sweet since I don’t eat chocolate anymore. Oh, and lovely Sweet Tarts. And big rolls of Smarties. And Sour Patch Kids. Wait, what was I talking about again? Oh yes, Creatopia…..

There was so much to choose from and since I have OCD and ADHD it took me FOREVER to decide what I wanted. The family was already painting theirs when I finally sat down with a large, lovely  bowl. “Think I’ll use it for fruit at Sandy Pines”, I told Roger. Of course the inside of it was going to purple. Meg just looked at me and shook her head. She has no idea why I love purple so much. I guess because it’s kind of a whorish color. No I’m not a whore at all. I’m just haughty. So it kind of goes with my personality. I looked around at my family sitting at the table, Roger and Adam on my left, and Meg and Claire on my right and thought about just how lucky I am. I was missing Chris, my future son in law. He had training for work so it was just the five of us instead of the usual six. I missed him so. He always adds such color to our conversations. He’s a super goof ball so he fits right in. Sometimes people get nostalgic for the original familial unit they used to have. I, on the other hand love that the six of us make a family. It just didn’t seem complete until there were the six of us.

As we worked on our little treasures, we chatted about life in general. We talked about family. About a wedding coming up in June that we’ll all be attending. What to wear, when to be there. That kind of thing. We laughed about farting and the F word. We tried really hard not to say it as there were children in the shop. I think I said Fucktard at least once. Roger told us a couple of times to clean up our mouths. I think I then proceeded to say oh shit and get pissy with Meggie for contaminating the glaze color of my bowl. She said she was sorry but then laughed while she said it. I really don’t think she was that sorry at all. Ha! Adam had taken a shower the night before, so he hadn’t done much to himself before we left. We laughed hysterically at the wings in his hair. He didn’t find it really that funny, but oh well. In this family if you look funny you get teased. It’s all in good fun though. Claire, the artsy fartsy one of our group was making tile coasters and having a lot of fun making different designs. I think one had a dinosaur on it. They should make for great conversation starters in the apartment that she and Adam will be moving to very soon.

Everyone was already done with their pieces and I was still putting different color polka dots on mine. I had to wait for the paint to dry so Roger and Meg headed next door to the candy shop. When I was finally done, Rog walked back in with a bag of lovely hard candy. He fed me a root beer barrel and he ate a squirrel nut goodie. His candy sounds dirty I know, but it really isn’t at all. I then got a red hot fireball jaw breaker. Talk about taking me back to my youth. I remember eating them in school and having the tears stream down my face when I was trying to hide that I was eating them from my teacher. I just love the burn of the cinnamon on my tongue. As we headed back to the car, I thanked the kids for a perfect day. It’s hard to believe my kids are 20 and 22. It’s hard to believe they don’t live in our house anymore. It’s hard to believe that we did such a good job of raising them. I don’t take that last sentence that I wrote lightly. And I’m not arrogant about it. I know that Roger and I are good parents. We’ve raised them to be good, funny and kind people. I’m so, so proud of them. I thank God for them every day.