Monthly Archives: May 2013

A Letter To Chad

Dear Chad,

On Christmas Eve 1979, Dad and I were so proud and excited to bring you, our beautiful new baby boy, home from the hospital. You being our first child, we had a lot of time to rock you and kiss your fat cheeks. We dreamed of many things for you but our biggest dream was that you would always be happy and healthy.

You and I have some things in common. We are both stubborn and sometimes beat to our own drum. Also, neither of us finished earning our college degree. For years, I felt really bad about that and thought I would finish before our first child graduated from college. Life got in the way and I never finished.

I say that life got in the way but what I really mean to say is that Dad and I structured our life the way we wanted it to be and it turned out beautiful. We were able to spend a lot of quality time with you, Kelly, Corey and Bryan and you all brought us so much richness and joy. Education is important but it isn’t everything.

We all continue to learn every day just by keeping our eyes and ears open. We should all learn not for school but for life.

Chad, you possess so much kindness and love for people, this is probably your dominant characteristic, and it is showing up in the two wonderful boys you and Kathy are raising.

For Dad and I, the richness in our life did not come from formal education, it came through our faith, family and friends and our love for these things.

Never stop learning, whether formally or through life’s experiences. We are already so happy with the way you continue to grow in wisdom and love for others.

One very important thing that we have learned is that whenever we reach out to help another person, the rewards that are returned are much greater. That’s not to say we should act with anticipation of getting something in return, for the blessings often come in unexpected ways.

Live life to the fullest everyday!

Chad, we love you so much.

Mom and Dad

“Success is not measured by the position one has reached in life, rather by the obstacles one overcomes while trying to succeed.” 

Booker T. Washington

What Are You Grateful For Today?

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Some of the things I am grateful for today are:

  • Rainbows.
  • Waking up in the morning, after getting a full night sleep, next to my warm and cuddly husband Mark.
  • Being able to speak with clarity.  Grateful for an amazing medicine.
  • Being able to shave my legs.
  • Having a husband that will help me dry my hair after a shower because my arms are a little weak.
  • Walking hand in hand with Mark on the shore of Lake Michigan this morning.
  • Enjoying nature and appreciating the beauty of the green in the leaves and the beautiful flowering trees.
  • The smell of lilacs.
  • Listening to the birds sing.
  • Having the opportunity to meet Ashley Goulet’s sweet Uncle Joe three days ago. Sadly, Uncle Joe died in his sleep this morning.
  • Naps.
  • Mark being a great cook.
  • Beautiful cards, e-mails, phone calls, texts and prayers.
  • And of course, all of the love in my life.

How I Feel

Physically I am getting a little weaker but have no pain. Mentally and spiritually I am getting stronger, which feels so good.

This picture may have no relevance to this post but the people in this picture give me so much strength, which also feels good.

Happy 25th Birthday Baby Bryan!

Oh what a wonderful journey we have experienced with Bryan these past 25 years. Bryan has probably experienced greater joy in his 25 years than most people will experience in a lifetime. His zest for life and his world around him is huge. He is not in love with material things but truly in love with life and learning.

Because Bryan was our fourth child, Mark and I were a little more relaxed with him. While in labor and two hours before Bryan was born, I decided it wasn’t time to go to the hospital yet and convinced Mark to just drive around for a while. We ended up at Pere Marquette and toured the USS Silversides submarine located in the Muskegon Channel. I guess I was calm.

While in junior high Bryan decided he wanted to become an exchange student. He ended up spending his junior year of high school in Germany with a great family. Weeks before he was to depart for Germany, his friends gave him several going away parties. Corey said, “You would think Bryan was going off to war with all of the fuss his friends are making.” After Bryan had been in Germany for nine months, Mark and I went to visit him. Our 15-year-old bearded son Bryan met us at the airport in Frankfurt with a girl on each side of him, a bottle of champagne in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Mark and I had flown all night, we were really tired and we weren’t in the mood to see what our baby had turned into. Even though I was ready to turn around and fly back home, we stayed and had a wonderful trip. Bryan had grown up, learned the German language and met and accepted people from all over the world. It’s funny because Corey visited Bryan in Germany a month before we went and warned us to keep an open mind when we saw Bryan and we thought he was joking. Corey wasn’t joking.

During homecoming his senior year Bryan invited his whole class to meet at our house one Sunday evening to participate in senior pranks. Before I go any further, the pranks were not destructive to property or people. After the fun pranking night came to an end, many classmates commented on how much fun it was and how much it meant to be included.

As a young boy, Bryan loved airplanes. When Bryan was in 2nd grade he was chosen student of the week and had to find pictures for his bulletin board. I came across a picture of that board and on it was a picture of an airplane. His love of airplanes continued through college in which he earned a degree in Flight Sciences and earned his pilot’s license. It was so cool seeing Bryan fly a plane and experience the thrill of flying with him.

Today, Bryan is all grown up and about to purchase his first home in Muskegon. He is in love with a beautiful girl named Ashley Goulet and together they share an adorable dog named Pongo.

I am anxious to see where Bryan’s world will take him.

Bryan, now that you are 25 years old I have to break the news to you; you are one of my favorites, but Chad, Kelly and Corey are too.

I love you Bry. Happy Birthday!

Corey’s Secret

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In the early morning hours of January 18, 2009 Corey tearfully told me a secret.

After a night of celebrating Jordan and Desirae’s wedding reception at Prince of Peace, we arrived home late and tired. The night was full of fun and dancing and while on the dance floor Corey said to me that I really didn’t know him but someday I would. In my own little world all I could think of was he was wrong because I think I know my kids pretty well.

Mark had gone to bed but Corey was still awake. I sat with him on the bed in our guest bedroom as he proceeded to tell me his secret. He said, “I’m gay.” At first I thought he was joking. I’m thinking, ‘How could Corey be gay and I didn’t know this? He is my 24-year-old son and to think I didn’t know something as important as this?’ I think I kept saying to him, “It will be okay. Please don’t worry.” He told me he has known he was gay since he was in junior high. At that point I was so sad for Corey because he had to keep this secret inside of him for so many years thinking he has no one to talk to because no one would understand. What kind of a mother am I that my son cannot tell me? I felt so bad and sad for Corey. Our conversation continued for a while but we were both so mentally and emotionally drained that we went to bed. I got into bed and shared Corey’s secret with Mark. He said, “Really? Corey?” Mark told me it didn’t change anything, he is still our Corey. Mark said he would talk to Corey in the morning after everyone got a good night’s sleep.

The next morning Mark went into Corey’s room and told him he loved him and that everything would be alright. That day Mark and I talked with Corey about how he wanted to handle his news in the future. Corey decided he wanted to be the one to tell the special people in his life personally before the news got out. I think it took Corey a year to tell everyone he wanted to and then he gave us permission to share his secret with our family and friends before they found out through the grapevine.

As my conversations with my family and friends took place I was so amazed by the respect for our beautiful son. This sort of news usually travels fast within a small community in a small town but this time the news didn’t travel fast. I found out that my friend’s kids knew for a year and never told their parents. In other instances, Corey’s best friends never told each other out of respect for him. Everyone I talked to told me they loved Corey and it didn’t change the way they thought of him because he was such a wonderful person.

My heart was broken on the night Corey told me he was gay. How can a kid hide a secret like that for 10 years and not share it with someone? I can’t imagine what Corey lived through during high school and college hearing stupid gay jokes knowing people are joking about him.

Corey is the same person to us that he has always been; kind, loving and our amazing son and we love him so much.