Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Never Ending Love Letter To My Daughter, Laci!




Laci,  this letter is long and pretty random. I just wrote things as I thought of them. This is in no certain order. Just memories I always want you to have. I am sure by the time I hit send, I will remember something else that I should have said, and I am sure I will continue to think of things I should have said so this letter will never truly


be finished. I will over time keep adding to it, so if you bring it out and read it again sometime, and think, I don't remember that being in there, it probably wasn't.  It's something I may have added later. I also, don't have most of the photos that I want to put in this letter also. They are in our storage unit in Florida. Hopefully I will get some of them on my next trip at Christmas, 2013, in 3 months. 


Dear Laci,

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart. Today you are 27 years old. You just spent a week in Washington and have been in Belfast Ireland for exactly one week now. You will be there for 10 months to do your internship with IJM.  I am so so proud of you. I am so thankful I was able to spend the last few days with you before you flew out of Washington, DC. It was a great few days. 

Now, I sit here writing this letter to you while flashing back to the day you were born.





I couldn't wait for you to get here. Back then, we didn't have all the sonograms to tell us if we were having a boy or a girl. It was anyone's guess.






 There was never any lack of trying. Your Aunt Jane and Uncle Bill



 were making  there observations. Was I carrying high, or low, how much were you kicking or not, but the biggest worry was, yikes!  Your ears. You know how Dumbo has big flappy ears. 


Well, there seemed to be an on going worry with the Tiller family, Jymina, Billy, Joey and Cheryl included, that you would be born with really huge ears. They have no idea how much I worried about that. Lol They even gave you a nickname  which I don’t know if we ever told you about. Before you were born, you were known as, are you ready, Doom-bo. I spelled it like that so you can understand how it was pronounced. They kept insisting that we could even have them pinned back if they got in the way. lol If I remember right, I think Cheryl even made you 




something to hang on your door with your “name” on it. 
And here is what your Aunt Jane and family got you before you were born. Any guesses!!!!  


They were so convinced you were coming into this world with big flappy ears. lol

I know most mothers check immediately to make sure there are 10 fingers and 10 toes. Nope, not me! Thanks to Aunt Jane and family, I first checked those ears. I was so excited that they were perfectly cute and small.  Whew!! One hurdle crossed. Lol.  Your Aunt Jane adored you. You would have thought you belonged to her. We saw them as often as we could but it was never enough. I loved being around this family that just had  so much love and respect for each other. I loved being around them as much as they loved being around you.  I have on a VHS tape somewhere, where your Uncle Bill was holding you, and talking and cooing to you. He had you in his hands, on your back, and you were looking at him and cooing. When all of a sudden, the unexpected happened. You vomited in a straight line,  straight up into the air that Uncle Bill was breathing in, and threw up all over him. It was so hilarious.  And to have caught it on tape.  Priceless. We talked about sending it in to America’s Funniest Videos but for some reason we never did. I will try to find that and have it put on a cd so I can upload to this letter for you. 


The whole time I carried you, I would sit and talk to you. I would tell you things like, I couldn't wait to meet you face to face. To count your little toes 



Mom counting your toes yet again

and fingers. I would "will" your ears to stay small. I would tell you how much you were already loved.  I would read you stories, sing the ABC's to you, do simple math problems with you. I don't know if any of it helped you in any way, but I don't know that it didn't either. School work has always came easy to you. You have never really had to "study". You just seemed to learn things so easy.


 I will never forget the doctor, looking at me, worrying about why I was  crying and couldn't stop. Then with concern in his voice, he asked, "Is this going to be ok?" I told him, everything was wonderful, and that I wanted a baby girl so bad, that I couldn't believe you were really a girl.




 And you were perfect in every way.




Your father was beaming and so happy you were finally in our world, he took over 70 pictures of you in the first 2 minutes of your life. And back then, it was a film camera. He was using film that took 36 pictures in a roll. That means in that 2 minutes, he also had to change the film. He was so so proud of you. And he has been ever since. He wrote you this card on the day you were born.




.  We brought you home





and watched you grow, day by day. You were the best baby anyone could ask for. You were hardly ever sick, and was always so happy. You smiled so easy at every little thing. And you still do that today. We took you everywhere to get photos taken. 






You had a blanket, that you took everywhere.




You would wrap a corner of it around your little thumb and it would have to be just right, then you would suck your thumb with your blankie and be very content. I still have that worn, tattered little blanket and wouldn't take a million dollars for it. Your thumb at some point became infected because you always sucking on it. I went to the pharmacy and he gave me something called 



THUM. I put that on your thumb before you went to bed that night. You wrapped your blankie around your thumb, and as soon as you tasted your thumb, that was the last time you ever carried your blanket. I guess you didn't need it if you couldn't suck on your thumb. But it broke my heart, because I knew how much you loved your blankie. 




Now Suzy lies on your blankie waiting for her new mommy. 


I worried about your terrible two's because you were such an amazing one year old. But the two's came and went and you were still the perfect baby. You never did go through any TERRIBLE TWO'S.

 We had a lot of fun when you were little. We had lots of parties. I loved planning your birthday parties. 



A pirate birthday party


They were so much fun. Growing up, you were a lot of things. From a princess, 
to a cheerleader, an alien, a pirate, a mermaid, and many other things, you always loved dressing up and wow, you still do. Your daddy and I both always enjoyed dressing up with you. It was so much fun then and still is.




 You did a lot of things, took singing lessons, rode horses, guitar lessons, piano lessons, dance lessons, you roller skated




,ice skated, took swimming lessons



                                   Your first swim lesson

You did pageants for a very short time. Your very first pageant, you walked away with 5 trophy's and a crown. You loved it until we went to one in Crystal River and a mom was yelling at her little girl for not winning. She was telling her that if she stopped feeding her face and looking fat, she might win something. You were so upset that we decided that was enough. We stopped taking you after that. 





When you were 4 years old you just had to have a telephone in your room. It was a real phone and 




it was a Mickey Mouse phone.  You traveled a lot, you went on cruises, planes, buses, and traveled to a lot of different states. I took you and a little friend of yours to North Carolina because you were crazy about The Spice Girls.
 I said you were going to see them if I had to fly you to California. We had so much fun on that trip. Our seats were great and you were so happy to be their.

Your daddy was an ice cream lover so of course you were too. You always called it Os crem, and it was so cute how you would say it. One day your daddy tried to get you to say it the right way, and you did. After that, he was so sad that he taught you to say ice cream. He knew he would never ever hear os crem again. And I don't think he ever did. :(


You were a real daddy's girl. You adored your daddy. 



Tater-bug with her daddy


He always called you taterbug, and I always called you my little princess. I will never forget, one Sunday, we were in the car, coming home from church, and you were standing in the middle of the seat between us. You were 3 years old. Your daddy was driving, and you had your little arm around his neck. You looked over, very serious, and asked me, "Mommy,  where are you gonna live when I  marry my  daddy?"  Wow, was that precious.






You loved when he would take you fishing. 


Nice catch!!!

You had no problem at all putting that squiggly worm on the hook. I couldn't believe you would put that worm on that hook. . Your daddy loved it. You and your daddy were always very close. And you still are. That is awesome. He loves you with his whole heart.








We took you to church and sunday school from day one, for the first many years of your life if the church doors were open, we were there. We were founding members





 of Highlands Baptist Church and over 25 years later we still go there every chance we get. 



Mommy's little princess






 I remember when you were 3 or 4, not sure which one,  you told us Jesus was in your closet and had talked to you.



 You were so excited when you were telling your dad and I about this. You weren't frightened at all. And I am so happy that you continue to walk with God in all you do. I do believe God has his hand on you and I believe he will keep you safe in your travels.


 I remember when you thought there was a monster in your room, under your bed. I took you to the store to get a can of "monster remover", spray, 




which actually was a can of glade room freshener, and we sprayed your room to rid it of monsters.  (It was to my advantage that you couldn't read yet) This became a nightly ritual for awhile. (Now you can actually buy "monster spray") Go figure!

Then one day, you told us the monster spray wasn't working anymore, and they were still in there. I told you they were a different type of monster. These monsters were lonely and just looking for a friend. So we started playing with them , and talking to them and it wasn't long, we had monsters following us everywhere we went. We were in the car one day, and all of a sudden, out of no where, you screamed, mommy, there he is. Who, what, I wasn't sure what you were talking about. You started giggling and said there was





 a monster sitting on the side mirror of the car. We waved to him and from that day on, for a very long time we seemed to always have monsters where ever we went. In the car, in the pool, sitting in the windows, on top of the fridge. Kind of reminds of the "Elf on a Shelf", only with monsters.  But very friendly monsters. We loved our new friends.


 At bedtime, I always tucked you in and told you a bedtime story. Sometimes, I read you books at bedtime, but most of the time I would make up stories to tell you. You always loved my stories. I remember 



Shannon and Laci

your brother, Shannon, would sneak into the hallway, and sit outside your door to listen to the stories  I would make up for you.Sometimes, your dad would join him in the hallway. I always thought that was so cute of them.


We built you an amazing playhouse. It had real windows, with screens, a door with a screen door, and a nice little porch on it. We added all the little girl stuff in it for you. A little stove, table, a refrigerator and a sink. You loved playing out there. You were always getting us to come over to your house and have food and drinks you made for us. So so cute. I remember when we made mud pies together. Wow, talk about messy. But it was so much fun. I loved being your mom then and that has never changed.


  When you were about 1, we took on an exchange student named Phillip. He was from Paris, France. You adored him. He loved being around us so much that his parents let him come back each summer for a couple of years. It was because of Phillip that we spell your name Laci. When you were born, it was Lacey, but Phillip asked us why we didn't spell your name the french way. He said that would be Laci and I loved it. So I sent in to have your name changed from Lacey to Laci. And I still love it.


When you were three, you went with me to a yard sale and found a little doll you said needed a home. 




We bought her and brought her home, you named her Suzy, and she went everywhere we did. If we went to a restaurant, she had to have a highchair. When we went to the grocery, you pushed her in your little cart. We ended up getting about anything a real baby would need, for Suzy. 


One Sunday night, we were at church, and you left Suzy in the nursery. It was about 9 pm when you realized Suzy was gone. You were so upset, we tried to tell you Suzy was asleep, and we would get her before she woke up the next morning. You went into a panic and said,"No, if she wakes up and I'm not there, she will be afraid."You couldn't stop crying. (You were such an awesome little mommy to her. I know you are going to make an amazing mother someday.)  Your daddy went and called the pastor to see if there was anyway we could possibly get Suzy out of the church. The pastor called his brother, Dennis, who met your dad at 11:00 pm, at the church, to rescue Suzy. You were so, so happy when Suzy came home that night. The following Sunday, the pastor, took Suzy in his arms, and explained to the entire church what had happened with Suzy getting locked in. From then on, everyone was watching out for Suzy. She has always had a special place in our hearts, and she still does. I am looking at her as I type this. She sits in my bedroom, in one on her little chairs, waiting for her new little mommy someday. I know your little girl, will someday, love and care for Suzy as much as we have.



You also adored anything to do with the little mermaid. 




You had so much little mermaid stuff, the newspaper came out and did a front page story on you. You seemed to always be in the newspaper growing up. On the pony, in vacation bible school, your pageants, if there was a reporter around, they seemed to be drawn to you. So is it any wonder, you are still in the news, on tv, and  appears you will continue to be.  There is something about you that is very special and everyone that comes in contact with you seems to get that. 


You grew up with ponies. We had a photography company called Pony Portraits,Inc. 











You always had little friends and you were always sweet and kind to them. You shared your things with them very well. We always told you that when they were at the house playing, you were to let them play with your toys because when they left, you would still have them to play with. I only remember one incident where you didn't share. You had just gotten a brand new baby doll that you had been wanting. Amber and Jen came over to play and had a new little girlfriend with them.  I heard you and them arguing. I listened and realized you were being mean to the new little girl because she was wanting to play with your new baby. I called you aside and reminded you that it was ok for her to play with her, because when she went home, you would still have her to play with. It wasn't long before another argument started and I told you if you did not share the baby, the baby would be going home with the little girl. It wasn't long, you were back at it. I took the baby and put her up. When the little girls mom came, I explained what happened and asked her to please let her daughter take the doll home. It was hard for me to do, but I really wanted you to learn a lesson in sharing and being kind to others. Your dad backed me up on this also. The little girl took the baby doll and you, to my knowledge only had one other incident with sharing. But you didn't lose your bike that day. You realized I was standing there, and you happily let Amber ride it. You never lost anything else from not sharing, so as hard as it was to do, I do think it was the right thing to do.


One thing we did every year during the holidays was help a family in need. One year when you were 4, I remember in the newspaper one day, there was a story during the holidays, about a family who lost everything in a fire. It was a grandmother, raising her granddaughters. We decided this was the family that God had sent us this year. We started gathering up blankets, pillows, and things we knew they would need right away. You went into your toy room and put a bunch of your toys into a big bag to give to the little girls. I was so touched by your thoughtfulness. I will never forget watching you load your big bag of toys on the van that day. We went and found this family and you were so upset because the one little girl was so sad. We took care of all of their Thanksgiving needs and we took the girls shopping for new clothes and new shoes. We invited them over to our house for Christmas and they opened their Christmas their with us. We always had a Christmas Eve party where Santa would come and pass out presents to all the kids. I also always made Angel Food Cakes and for every child there, we would place a candle in the cake,then we would all hold hands and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus right before midnight. Then your dad would lead us in a prayer, then it would be time for Santa. We always had our friends and neighbors in. There was usually 30 to 50 people their. But there was certain friends that came faithfully every year. Until this year. They were two couples that actually told us if we invited the little girls from the fire, they would not be coming. Why? Because they were black and they didn't want their kids playing with black kids. Wow!!! Really!  We told them we were sorry they felt that way, and we would miss them. That was really sad to think they stayed away because these precious little girls who had nothing, were coming.


I remember when you were probably 8 or 9 years old. There was a doll you just had to have. I remember her being a larger doll, that talked. We did end up getting you the doll and we were at the Countryside Mall one day right after you got her. You and your dad went to play games in the game room while I shopped, (mall ritual). When we met back up, it wasn't long I realized you weren't carrying your doll. I started to panic, thinking you left her lying somewhere. Your dad said, "Wait, we have something to tell you." You and your dad were walking through the mall, and you saw a little girl with her family. They looked very poor and you started talking to the little girl. I guess she didn't have any toys, so you gave her your new baby doll. And you were afraid I was going to be mad at you. When in fact, I couldn't have been more proud of you. And you still have that big heart today.


You always loved hanging out in the kitchen with me. You had a little pink apron, that you always wore.



The pink pinwheel hangs with your apron. Brittany made me that in 2011
 when she was here and went to Vacation Bible school

 I have a picture of you sitting in the sink, hair in soft pink curlers, with your apron on, eating a green apple. I always loved that picture and that little pink apron. To this day, it hangs on the wall in my kitchen. I guess that will have to go to your little girl someday also.



I remember the first day you ever got on a bus to go to Kindergarten.




 I got on the bus with you, got you seated, kissed you bye, got off the bus, jumped in my car, and followed you to school to make sure you were ok with riding the bus. It was so hard to let you go then and it still is today.

From the time you were old enough to squeeze a puppy or hug a chicken, you were an animal lover. You always seemed to have a cat or dog in your arms. You loved all animals. 




We used to call you little EllieMae, (from the Beverly Hillbillies show) because you always thought we should have two of everything. Which is how we ended up with a Children's Petting Zoo 





named "Laci's Ark". 





And yes, we did have at least 2 of almost every animal we owned. We had over 300 animals with a lot of exotics. I will never forget seeing you walking around with George and Gracie, our two then, 







baby ostriches. They were adorable in your arms. 




They grew quickly into very large birds. And you feeding "Pinkamoo", Our 




Scottish South Highlander cow, that giant baby bottle.  

Laci and Pinkamoo

She was so so gentle when she grew up.  

The petting zoo was the most fun thing I have ever done. A lot of work, but so worth it. So thank you for pushing me to take that adventure on.









You even had your very own unicorn!! 





This is the petting zoo in the very beginning before all the animals showed up. 


The one thing I said you could never do, was leave without, hugging me, kissing me goodbye, and telling me you loved me. You were always so great at following that simple rule, until one day in I think it was 9th grade. You left, went to school, and WHOA!!!!  You know where this is going, don't you? You didn't come in and kiss me and tell me you loved me before you left. It really bothered me so in my car I got, and headed to your school. I went into the office and had you called out of class. You came down and was worried something was wrong, I told you I came after my hug, kiss and my I love you. You couldn't believe I did that. I told you, next time it happened, I would not call you out of class, I would walk in your class and get it there. To this day, I don't think you have ever left me without my hug and kiss, and I love you. And I hope you never do!!!!


Some of my favorite things I did with you were "Our days". Where I would keep you at home from school, and we would go play in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg all day. We always did the bumper boats.




 That was one of your favorite things to do in Pigeon Forge. Those days were so much fun. Or I would come to school and get out in the middle of the day, to go sit


in Barnes and Nobles all day and read books. Which was one of your favorite things to do. Or take you out of school to go to the park and play. I loved, "Our days", and still do.

You had been on planes, boats, cruise ships, taxi's, a one horse open sleigh, but you had never been on a Greyhound bus. 


We were living in Tennessee at this time, and NASA was going to send





 a shuttle up into space. I decided to take you out of school, put us on a greyhound, and head to Florida to watch the shuttle take off. Well, it was a very interesting trip, and we had a good time, it was just you and I, but we decided we would fly back home. :) I had had enough of the bus system. And you had some awesome pictures for show and tell. 


Some other things we did, was ride our horses, take a lunch and a blanket with us, ride over to the lake, and have lunch. 



Then we would lie on the blanket and look at the 




clouds and see what all we could make out of them. I remember one day, we went to the lake on the horses, but it was cold so we curled up under the blanket and just laid there and talked and giggled about different things. Those were great days.


Then of course, there's the time you were planning on going





  to Paris, France with your school, and I was petified of flying at the time But.I was so afraid something would happen and you would need me, and I wouldn't have been there for you. So what did I do. I went and took flying lessons to try and get over my fear of flying. I could never imagine flying that far. Well, it worked. 





I loved flying those little planes around. Your sister, Kisha, hated me doing it. I would call her from the sky and tell her I was riding go carts in the sky. She would tell me I needed to land that plane and stay on the ground. So,  I just happened to plan a vacation, to where else, but Paris, France with a hotel not far from where you were going to be. So, I showed up in Paris after all. .  And we ended up getting  together a couple days while you were there. That was awesome. And we did. :)

Laci and Mom in Paris (1st Trip)




Then when you were 16, I planned a trip for just the two of us to England and to Paris again. That was an amazing trip. We had so much fun. We flew into London, and went to see 



"The Phantom of the Opera", which was incredible. We rode the Chunnel from England to Paris. We went all over Paris, and had such a great time. We had a pillow fight at 3 am and laughed until we couldn't laugh anymore. I fell between the beds and couldn't get up because you had me laughing so hard. What great memories.


A very special day in your life was Friday, May 24th, 2002. You went to a church bonfire 




and you met your best friend for life, Brian Mahon. I first met him at your 16th birthday party. He was there and nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof. He wanted to ask your dad and I, if he could date you. He was 20 to your 16 years of age. You liked him so much and he was so sincere, we agreed you two could date after talking to him. He was the perfect gentleman. You two did so many things together and went everywhere together. I loved when he took you to the prom. You, Brian, Jessica, and Dustin all went together. 





You had to have the perfect dress, make-up, hair and jewerly.





 We got you a limo and you had a wonderful evening. You looked so beautiful, a real princess, and Brian, a real prince, was so handsome in his tux. 




 After that, it was 4 years of you two together. After that you both had different dreams and decided it was best to break it off. The best part was you parted as friends. And have been ever since.




Brian will always have your back and you his. 

The day you graduated high school was a beautiful day. I was so very proud of you. 

Check out that Class Motto


I remember how much you wanted a Volkswagen Bug. It had to be a certain color. I was so excited when I found it and was able to present it to you. You were so, so, so excited. That was a wonderful day. 




Now your journey in life is taking you to a whole new level. It will be at times very challenging but you will rise to the occasion and do great. At times I am sure you will be very lonely out there in this great big world all by yourself, but you will feel in your heart the love we all have for you. And remember, you will make your way back to us eventually, and there is always the phone and Skype. 


You have one of the best support systems in the world. You have learned to trust the advice of those who love you because you know that advice comes from hearts that care about you. You've done so many things right already! I know you will continue to do so. 


 When life gets you down and nothing seems fair and you think your heart will break into, remember to trust those whose heart want your best interest. You have already proven to be a great problem solver and you will





get through this also with your strength from God, your family and friends. You are so very loved. 

You seemed to have learned that by changing the way one thinks from negative to positive thoughts, you can change the world. Look where you are at now. Wow!!! Truly amazing. 


 You have always seemed to enjoy your schools and education. Remember education is power and no one has too much knowledge on the road to success. I love that you just want to keep learning. You have always been one to do so many things hands-on and it has gotten you far.  

Don't ever settle for less than what God intended for your life.





 He has been leading you and preparing you for this your entire life. We have seen miracles happen to get you where you are today.



 I am so happy that you believe in miracles. I know you




 are going to be a witness to many of them in your lifetime. Always have a vision because without one, a person won't get very far. You have always set goals and always strived to reach them. Keep setting those goals, just not so many that your plate needs sideboards. :)

You are strong willed and make a great leader so choose your path well to lead others down because you will be responsible for where you lead them too. I know you already know that. I'm just reminding you. Love yourself, respect yourself but always give to the less fortunate. I remember the old man sitting at the side of the road, lonely, homeless, and hungry. 







 I was so proud of you because every time you saw him, you stopped whatever you were doing, got him food and drink and took it to him. I loved that you did that so much. My heart has always had a special place for the less fortunate, and for you to feel the same way. I can't pu
t into words how that touched my heart.  Work hard because that's where character building begins. You have a great heart, a tender heart and I know you have so much more to give!
Always remember God sang on the day you were born and the angels danced. He has a special plan for you and everyone seems to know this. You do not belong to me but to Him, and I am so thankful that he trusted me to be your mom  when he decided you needed to be on this earth.


 Pray always. Call out to God and He will save you.But you already know that. It won't always be easy, but he will always be there to pick you up and carry you if need be. 

I am thankful that you took your math skills from your father and not me. I have never been good at math.  I am thankful you took your creativity from me and not your father. :)  I am thankful that  you are way smarter than either me or your Dad, but this will cause you a lifetime of distress, as the world is full of stupid people, which you already know all about. 

Some of my favorite things: One of my favorite things is my grandmother's vase. My mother gave it to me because she knew what it would mean to me. So thank you, mom.

  My favorite number is 13. It's funny when I was in my teens and early 20's I was probably one of the most superstitious people on the planet. I finally got to a point and said no more. And I have never been 



superstitious since. I decided I would love the number 13. So that's my number.  

I have two  favorite colors, pink and red. 


One of my all time favorites things is the picture Kisha did herself  in 9th grade and she gave it to me. It means 

the world to me. I wouldn't take nothing for it.



One of my other favorite things ever is the Mother's Day Card you made me. I love that so much.




Another one of my favorite things is this pink scarf that you made me. I thought I lost it when in Scotland, but I backtracked and couldn't believe it was on the path. I was so very happy I found it. 




I have many favorite flowers.Plumeria is my no 1 favorite flower. Roses in any color, gardenias, and lilac are my other 3 favorites.


  I love Santa Claus. I just love that jolly little fat man in the red suit.

 He just makes me happy.  I love that you still love Santa Claus. Believe whatever you want so long as you realize the true meaning of the holidays is family and giving. I grew up without a lot of toys and Christmas was always hard. There just wasn't money for toys. She did the best she could but if we got things, it was always clothes. I understand why now, but I didn't back then. I do remember one year we all got a bike. Wow, that was so great. I guess that may be part of the reason you always had so, so, so many toys. I always tried to give you everything I never had. I never gave you clothes at Christmas. Just lots and lots of toys. It's so funny when I reflect back over my life and realize how so many, many things affect how i do things today. You will someday do the same thing with your children,  I am sure. 

One of my favorite things is surprises.




I love, love, love surprises. Doesn't matter what kind. A gift, flowers, a surprise visitor, or anything else.  I have always hated when someone tells me what I am getting from someone else. It would take the surprise away for me and I hated that. You also get that from me. You love to be surprised. And I have always enjoyed seeing the happiness in your eyes, and hear the joy in your voice when you are. 



As a child, I was shy and lacked confidence.   Thankfully, you have not taken after me in that department… although your lack of patience has “mom” stamped all over it. I was a very lonely child. I hope you feel you weren't. I was the biggest little bookworm ever growing up. I would sit and read, rather than go out and play. 


My favorite books were about mythology. I loved those books. I also loved all the stories about the princesses. And now I have 3 princesses of my own and even more if you count Willow, Jordie and Brooke. I loved the way books could take me  to those places,  make me feel like I was there. That was my prince rescuing me. I have always loved books and still do.   I love that you are a book lover like me. Keep reading always. . I never came from a "happy" home. I hope you feel that you did. We tried so hard to give you everything we thought you needed, to teach you everything we felt you needed to learn. To let you grow and become your own person, (which you did at a very early age). My mother was never home. She worked two full time jobs to raise 6 kids all by herself. She was always a proud woman, and never took anything she didn't earn. She never took welfare or food stamps because she didn't think she should. Looking back, I wish she had. Then she would have been around more to talk to, to feed us, not only food but all the other things kids need that we just didn't get and were starving for. I can't say I grew up feeling loved, because I didn't, except for my grandmother.  To this day, up until I was well into my 50's, I never, ever heard my mother say "I love you". I can never remember her hugging me or holding me.  I know now, looking back on so many things, why I do  so many things that I do, with you and Kisha. I never end a conversation, or walk away from you and Kisha, or hang the phone up without telling you "I love you". I always, always, always hug you.So, while I didn't have that, I think because of that, you did. So, I can't fault my mother at all. She actually made me a much better mom because of it.
I always wanted to protect you and keep you safe, which I thought for years I did, but now I find out I didn't do the one thing in life for you that I wanted more than anything else for you. To keep you safe and protect you against all the evils of this sometimes very cruel world. For that, my heart breaks and  I am truly sorry. 

My side of the family suffers from depression and anxiety. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you ever feel that way yourself. Just don't get caught up in all the pills and medicines out there. Find someone to talk to, but I have never thought pills were the answer. Lots of water, work  and healthy exercise will do the trick. Stay busy and work yourself through it. I believe medicine and processed foods are mostly what is wrong with the world today. All the diseases and cancers come from all of that. I truly believe that. 

My grandmother and mom have always told me a story about my grandfather who I sadly don't remember.

(only picture I have of him)
Now that's a snapper)

They said he was holding me one morning, and looked at them both, and told them to take very good care of me always because there was something very special about me. Grandma has told me that story so many times when I was little and growing up. I really believe I got a lot of strength from hearing that over and over and it helped me get through some tough times. Hearing good things about myself was not something that I got when I was little. We didn't have that kind of home. But the one person, I adored, loved, and could always count on to build me up and love me was 




That's me she's holding

my precious, precious grandmother. I always called her "my special lady." She had the most beautiful blue eyes. The kids always called me grandma's favorite and said I was her pet. That was fine with me. I was happy to think that I was. I know she felt the same way about Kisha as my grandfather felt about me. She was very ill at the time of Kisha's birth. And we didn't know how much longer she would be here. She told me she wasn't going anywhere until my baby was born. I took Kisha to Salem against everyone's wishes, as soon as I could after she was born. The weather was really bad,



 the roads were bad and we had lots of snow.  But as soon as I felt it would be ok to go, I went.  I caught a lot of grief over it but I insisted on taking her and I was so happy I did. Kisha was only 11 days old. Grandma seemed to know who she was, even though she didn't seem to really know anyone at this time, and she wouldn't let go. We had to remove Kisha out of her arms when it was time to go. She just wanted to hold on to her. I am so happy I went when i did. That was Sunday April 4th and grandma passed away on Saturday, April 10th.  I know she would have felt the same way about you. I would have given anything for you and Kisha to have known her. She beamed of love. I still get to visit with her in my dreams sometimes. I  love dreaming about her. I wish it was more often. I can't wait to see her again someday and feel her love again. It's funny how some things just get passed on and on and on. Granddad said I was special, Grandma said Kisha was special, and all that come in contact with you, say you are special. I know Kisha has passed her "special" down in her kids, and I know I did. And I know you will do the same. You are very special. Never, ever doubt that. Never forget that.

I know sometimes when it's just you and I, we sometimes get real silly. Remember how we would get in the car, go to the store, get lots of

 root beer and drive around and see who could burp the loudest. Who could burp the best song out. Yea, that was fun. I have passed that one on down to Kisha's children. Jackson loves it.  

I hope I taught you to always take time for the beauty all around you. I tried always to stop, no matter what kind of hurry we were in, ( your dad was always so patient with us, and still is) and



 smell the flowers if they were on our path. Remember how we would stop along the roads, when we were on trips, or just out driving, to pick flowers, or remember how we would stop and break off





 icycles to eat while we were traveling in the winters. Or stop along the road and





 pick strawberries. Remember how we always stopped and chased




 the big strobe lights in the sky, no matter what we were doing. It was always fun to see what was at the other end of those lights. Two of my favorites were the baby lions 


and tigers we found at the end of one of the lights. Another time we were following them, it took us forever to find the end, it was right before Christmas in Georgia, (we were heading up north to see family), we found at the end of it was a tiny little church,


singing Christmas carols. We stopped and went in and joined in. Don't forget to take time to stop and be in awe with all the beauty around you. 


I will never stop wanting to kiss your cheeks or smell your hair. I will never stop wanting to hug you and hold you close. To give you advice when you ask me for it. I love it when you and Kisha want my advice on things. It has to be one of the best feeing's in the world when your kids truly need you to help them figure things out.

  When the time comes and I am no longer here, when  cleaning out my stuff, you’ll find boxes of  pictures, and papers, things I have written and all kinds of stuff that you may feel you have to keep because it was mine. Please don't feel that way. If you or Kisha can use it, do that.  If it's stuff that is just going to take up space and you will never do anything with it, it's ok to just get rid of it. You both will know what meant the most to me. Keep those things to pass on. But don't feel you have to keep everything I have ever hung on too. You will always have my heart and my love with you. That will never disappear. 

After you were born, I really started taking care of my health — regular exercise,  and eating healthy foods — because I finally realized that what I put into my body affected what came out. And I wanted to be around for a long time to be with you and Kisha.  I used to love watching you exercise with me.



  I got you the Mickey Mouse , mousercise children's exercise tapes and you were so cute doing your workouts with Mickey while I did my Tae-Bo and whatever else I was trying at the time. 

I was terrible at learning languages and musical instruments. Thankfully, you have been much  better at learning french than I was and as far as musical instruments go, it just wasn't your thing. You tried guitar lessons and piano lessons. You just didn't care for it.

I know you now know the truth about Barbie: she has fake hair, plastic skin and an empty head.

 You were always so much cooler than Barbie could ever be, but you did love her very much and all of her stuff. I am really happy you didn't take after her. There is nothing fake, or plastic about you. And you certainly are not an airhead. Other toys you loved were






 My little ponies,Teddy Ruxpin, Tamagotchi, an electronic pet, and you just about lived in your Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Car.


 You loved all Disney movies and still do today. Alice in Wonderland, The Land Before Time and The Jungle 

Book




were among your many favorites.





Some of your favorite cartoons wer Rainbow Brite, The Chipmunks, the Smurfs, and





The Berenstain Bears to name a few. 
Two of your favorite cartoon like movies were like Japanese movies.





 Unico and I don't remember the name of the other one but you watched them over and over and over again and again. 



 Some of your favorite books were the



Berenstain Bears, Alice in Wonderland, your book set about ants, and your favorite was The Sticky Cheese Man. 


Some of your favorite people when you were little were 

Tammy Mauro. We hired her because when she came for an interview, you loved her



. And she has been a true friend for 25 years. You also adored Sandy who lived next door to us on Hurricane.




You called her Nana. You would take off and walk next door to see her when you were a little bitty thing. We had to put a gate in between our house and hers so it was easy for us all to visit each other. She left and moved back to Vermont and we all missed her so much. ''We did make a trip up to see her. There's a story in that, itself. Her daughter Tonya was your buddy. She looked 

out for you and is now a mama herself. She was such a sweetheart and she still is today. 






You loved your Aunt Jane and always loved it when we could visit with her. She adored you and she was always so much fun to be around. My favorite saying about her was, "That Aunt Jane is really a hoot". And she could always make you laugh. She was the most gracious hostess anyone could ask for. Her door was always open, day or night. A real gem of a lady. 

 You loved Memaw who lives in Candler, North Carolina which is right outside of Asheville.



We stayed with her for awhile and you and her were like best friends. She is one of the most amazing women I have ever met.  




You also loved your Uncle Ervin. He was always so much fun with you. He is the biggest, old hippie you will probably ever meet.  He adores you and worried about you like you were his own. And I love that you and his son Josh get along so well. 

Your best play friends were Amber and Jen. They were always at our house or you were at theirs. 


You and Kisha weren't around each other much when you were growing up. I am so glad you and her get along as well as you do now. I love it when we are all 3 together. Especially at Christmas. Such a special time.





 I married your Daddy for his sense of humor and for the solid foundation of friendship we had built. So — if  and when you marry — marry a friend who makes you laugh.


I also hope that someday , you'll have a child of your own, and so you'll know exactly what I mean when I say: I may have given you life, but you gave it right back to me, every minute of every day.

Thank you for bringing so much happiness to my life. 

You have some little ones that really look up to you and I am so proud of you for being such an amazing role model for them. 
Brittany

Brittany just absolutely adores you. 

Jackson


Willow

Jordie

Brooke


So does Jackson, Willow, Jordie, and Brooke. I know there's others, I am just not thinking of them all right now. 

There is just something about you. Something out of this world and I respect it. I always will. I promise to support you in whatever you decide to do in life because I know it is your journey to have.  


 Whatever you do and wherever you go, I will hold your hand like I always have, and I will walk with you through it all. I remember feeling very sad when I realized I would never feel your tiny hand in mine again, because you were growing up. I knew I was going to miss how you would hop and skip over every crack on the sidewalk when we were out walking. Nothing ever stay the same, buy one thing does, my boundless love for you. That will never change. 

Sometimes, I feel like I have been able to freeze moments in time with you.  If I stop and think about things, I can  still remember walking past your room and find you playing on your floor, singing into your play microphone, or reading a book. I love how you express yourself in your art, many rainbows and hearts, happy pictures reflecting the happiness in your heart. When you were two, you drew a picture of a nest with little birds in it and it hung on my refrigerator forever. No one could believe you made that picture. But you did, you were very artistic then and you still are. Remember when we were going to replace the carpet and paint a bedroom in our house in Kingsport, Tn. I let you and your friend Michael, turn it into an art canvas.




 I gave you lots of Glow in the Dark Paints and told you, you could paint anything you wanted on the walls.You couldn't believe I was going to just let you paint that room in a really fun way.  I loved it. Your artwork today is truly amazing. I am so proud for your and Kisha's artwork to hang in my house. Kisha is extremely artistic also. Really not sure where you girls got that talent from. I can't even draw a good stick man. Your happiness seems to bounce off the pages of your artwork. It just comes right on through. I hope you always stay this happy. 



 I am just grateful you chose me to be your mother. I waited for a very long time for you, my little gypsy princess. And, yes you were a surprise, but like I told you, I love happy surprises and you didn't disappoint. I couldn't imagine life without you and I pray I never have too. 

I see you as the stunning grown young woman you have become, but I also see, sparkling and twirling in your eyes, the innocent tiny girl with her beautiful little blonde curls, bright shiny eyes, mismatched clothes, big smile of baby teeth and the little hand that wraps around my neck and whispers, “Mommy, I wuv you so much. You the best Mommy” and I reply, “Laci, you are the best baby.” 

I’m not worried about you (well, I try not to), because you know what you are doing, even when you don’t think you do. You will always be safe, you will always be protected, and you will always be loved. I will continue my prayers for you everyday, every morning and every 
night.
Go find your adventure, be brave, be bold, be courageous because you are meant to discover, to create, to learn, to experience it all and I will love you every step of the way, no matter what. 
I love you Laci Lou.  

Laci, I love you more than I thought one could love. You and your sister are the loves of my life. Being your mom has been the greatest gift of my life. Raising you to fulfill your purpose in life,has always been my purpose, and the one I cherish. 

I think my biggest fear in life if that there will come a time when  I won't be able to get around as well, I may not be able to care for myself, or feed myself. The one thing I never ever want to be is a burden on my girls. I have always prayed and still do, that that will never happen. I know you and Kisha would feel that you would want to care for me but I don't want that. I pray the good Lord will take me home before that happens. I never want to be on life support, if God wants me to live, he will make it happen. If not, it's time to go home. And I will be there waiting with open arms, for you and Kisha. I want you girls to live your lives, and not be worried about mine. I have a very personal relationship with God. Him and I kind of have an understanding. I need to stay here long enough to see my grandchildren raised, yours and Kisha's but then it's time to go. Thats really all I wish out of this life. If for some reason God calls me home early, let your babies know how much I love them even now, before they were ever  born. And remind them often, how very special they are. 
There will come a day that I won't be on this earth anymore but I will always be with you. 

I love you, Laci,(I know I keep saying that, I just want to make sure you don't forget it):) with every fiber of my being. You amaze me every day, and I am honored to have been a part of your life. I am proud to call myself your mama. 

Because of you, my sweet angel, this world is changing for the better. Thank you for all of your love. It has been of the sweetest things in my life. I love you, I love you, I love you.

 Love,
Mom


  PS. Here's some things I hope I have passed on to you for your children and maybe there children. 

Always keep God first in your life. Teach your children to pray, love, and always be kind to others less forunate. 

Always take time to stop and smell the roses, and see all the beauty around you.

Find different ways to have fun. As in when I decided to wrap your entire rooms. Even your games and art supplies weren't safe. 
My partner in crime-(Brittany Belle)

Remember, we never did spank you or Kisha. We just never believed that striking someone for doing something wrong was a way to teach them what was right. Hitting someone and telling them you love them is so confusing. Please never confuse your children with that kind of thinking. I know you never will. Violence teaches violence. Love teaches love. Not sure how with my upbringing, I ever learned this, but thank goodness, I did. 

Don't let people get you all caught up in the med's for kids. I see teachers ringing a little bell, and all the kids lining up for their ADD and ADHD meds. Really. Kids need to be kids. To run, play, be rambusious, be loud, be silly. To many kids are walking around like zombies because I know parents that think if one pill can slow him down, two will really calm him. Zombies. I do believe there are children that can be helped by some of this, but on a short term basis. Not forever. I believe if you start your children out taking this pill and that pill they grow up depending on medicine instead of finding themselves. I pray you will never fall into this trap.

Teach them the true meaning of Christmas and somewhere in all the fun, stop everything for a few minutes and say a prayer together, sing Happy Birthday to Jesus, or read a Christmas story from the Bible or their little books. 


Teach them it's only ok to keep secrets if they are happy secrets. Sad or upsetting secrets should never be kept.

Never tell your children if anyone ever hurts them, you will kill that person. I learned this lesson the hard way. 

Never let them go to bed without hugs,and kisses. Ever
Take time to play, and laugh together. Often. Everyday.

Take lots of time to read together. Teach them to use their imaginations, to go outdoors and explore the world. To see the awe in the beauty all around them. 

Teach them to get small goals for themselves then do everything in your power to help them reach those goals. It will set them up to do great things later in life. (Use yourself as an example in this)

Teach them always to be gentle and kind to all animals. 

Never start smoking. It's nasty and stinks and such a hard habit to break. 



Don't be a follower. Always be a leader. 






 



  

Much Love FromYour Biggest Fan,
 mom


click on link to read this one,
congratulations-laci-renee




HAPPY BIRTHDAY LACI RENEE!!


Today you turn 29. Wow!  This has been a fun and exciting year for you. 

It has also been a sad year as you lost your big wonderful, fun loving brother. I know how hard this was for you but you will see him again someday. 


You two were always so close


He was an awesome brother and son. 


On a happier note:

You knocked Eyecon-One Tree Hill off of your bucket list, 




while getting Don and I both hooked on One Tree Hill. We watched all 9 seasons in record time. We hated for it to end.  



You also knocked something off of my bucket list.  I loved it. 


But one of the best things that happened this year,






you graduated college with your bachelor's degree. 
Its so awesome to finally have that behind you. Congratulations, 

YOU DID IT!! WITH HONORS!!!

You chose not to walk for Graduation, you wanted to be at One Tree Hill. I loved how you wore you cap to Tree Hill the day you would have walked. 
You decorated the cap so cute. I loved how you would call 
me or text me when you would see or do something new at 
One Tree. 
Thanks for letting me share so much of that with you. It meant so much. 

You have a job you love with Disney, 



which also allows for you to use your amazing imagination in your artwork. 

You did an awesome job on this little lady from 
Wreck It Ralph. She's adorable!

You also joined up with Origami Owl 


and went to Chicago 
for their convention. 

Origami Owl had a Great Gatsby Party 
while you were in Chicago

that I know was a blast.  

You looked adorable in your costume. 

You called me while sitting in the parking lot to tell

me everyone was in jeans and casual dress while you 
were dressed for the party. You wasn't sure you wanted to 
go dressed and thought about changing clothes. I told you
you should march right in like you owned the place and 
show these people how classy you are. You ended up 
going in and were so glad  you did. You hooked up with 
another lady that dressed for the party too. Class all the way honey. Thats you!! 

You and Brian also went on a cruise with family and friends

and I loved having you there. It was so much fun. 
I have always loved traveling with you.  especially love 
those trips where it was just you and I.
England, Paris France and Mall of America in Minnesota.
We have been taking trips with just the two of us since you were two. We used to go to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg Tn often when you were little. Those were great times.


This past year you have made a few trips with just you and your dad. I am so happy you are 
getting so many great memories together. He couldn't love you more.


Two years ago we were spending your birthday together in Washington DC.


 You were there with IJM preparing to leave for Ireland for your internship. 
We had so much fun running around DC together. 

You taught me how to use the subway 

although you also showed me when we went to Paris and I still am not good with it. It was awesome that you were. 

I really enjoyed our late nights when we would 
lie in bed and just talk for hours.  
When it was time for you to catch a plane bound 
for Ireland, I watched your plane leave and just 
boo-hooed. I couldn't wait for you to come home.

Wow! How times flies! 

I can't tell you how proud I am of you. There's not enough words. I love you so much Laci Renee. 



Happy 29th Birthday Sweetheart 
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