She had six younger siblings. I had six older siblings and have been around nieces and nephews from my family’s side since I was twelve years old. We had three of our own (that we usually claim) and they have brought us six, soon to be seven, grandchildren.
But right now I don't want to write about MINE... I want to write about: Other People’s Kids.
Back in 1993 when we moved to Des Moines, Colleen's youngest sister, Lora, produced two bouncing baby boys, David and Jordan. She was alone and we wanted to help because we love kids and we love her. So we DID. At least I THINK we did.
When they are NOT your own, you can posit yourself in a pleasant ‘observer’s’ role. You are not responsible for EVERYTHING they say or do or whether or not they become a good citizen or get perfect grades. But you can hug ‘em and love‘em with a deep caring and a watchful eye. I say watchful eye, keeping in mind the time they were three years old and David and I were cleaning the bathroom (gotta teach ‘em young). I swear I turned away for not even two seconds and he grabbed the cleaning spray bottle, points it right at himself and squirts an eyeball full of some potentially toxic substance into his precious little face. He was fine. No damage. Of course, we had to call his mom from the Emergency Room. Ahhh, good times.
Anyway, I will spare you the many memories and cute anecdotes. Suffice it to say, Jordan and David were special to us in a way that's difficult to describe. Our own children were older and helped out with the twins, too. We didn't do a lot, just enough, we hope, to make a difference.
So it came to be that I have had May 26th, 2012 on my calendar for a long time. I wanted to see those boys walk across the stage for their High School graduation. The challenge they have presented to their mom, and to step-dad Ron, have been in many ways typical. But we have kept a watchful eye from a distance, hoping they would stay focused enough to get to this milestone with success. They did.
Lora, you are an awesome mom with amazing fortitude and deep love. Ron, you are man of tremendous patience. Thanks for coming into their lives and doing everything you have done. You should get an award. Ashley, you are an adorable little sister who was annoying to her brothers at all the right times!
David, heading to Iowa Central College in Fort Dodge: study!
Jordan, heading into the Army Reserves: stay safe!
We love you guys.