All My Children

IMG_0193It’s been a busy week and I am finally getting a chance to savor the amazing photos from last weeks Steamboat Springs Balloon Rodeo. It’s early Sunday morning and the patio doors are wide open, the sounds of the birds chirping back and forth outside. I am thinking about how much joy my family brings to my life.

img_0159-1From our new little pups who are in training to become therapy dogs who will eventually visit hospice centers, to my loving son Jason and his sweet wife Sarah and my two precious grandkids who live only ten minutes away.

IMG_0373On my husband’s side of the family, I have a step-son with the same name as my own son Jason. I also am blessed with a handsome 12-year old grandson and am looking forward to his visit this fall when he comes to Denver with his dad.

IMG_1620I also have a beautiful niece Cindy who conquered her smoking addiction of about 30+ years last year and I am so proud and happy for her as well as her family. She has one daughter, my great-niece Susan who is really more like a grandchild, than just a great-niece. She was born 17 years ago this week and we have been with her every step of the way. We were at the St. Louis hospital late the night she arrived after a bit of coaxing, born with a full head of black spicky hair and I have loved her ever since.

She’s visiting with us now, her last summer trip to see us before graduating from high school next May and moving on towards her college life, pursuing all of her dreams and aspirations that she is passionate about. Maybe someday she and I will graduate from college at the same time, two fearless ambitious women seeking knowledge from the well of life. To quote Albert Einstein, Susan knows that “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.”

That is the link that ties us together for eternity, no matter what happens in our lives. We both have vivid imaginations, no fear of anything and a thirst for knowledge. You go girl! I love you to the moon and back.

IMG_1618She has grown into an absolutely amazing, brilliant, articulate and strong woman who will soar through life, unafraid to take on her world. She will have many challenges along the way, but everything she wants in life will make her do things she’s never done before. She is exactly like her strong and independent mother Cindy who practically raised herself alone from 16 years of age. Cindy is the daughter I never had but have loved since she was a young teenager.

I watched Susan take her first steps, I washed her in a sink at less than a month old, her little body fitting perfectly in my hands and I helped her move out to Denver with her mom and “Yia Yia” when she was still a little baby. But I also sobbed for weeks when she moved back to St. Louis four short years later with her mom. My heart was completely broken and it took ten years to heal, and to stop hating her mom, my “daughter” from taking her from me. That was stupid of me of course, but I just loved that little girl so much, my first little “granddaughter.”

IMG_0322My young granddaughter Maggie who will turn five in September will follow in her footsteps. Another fearless girl, she is at times even braver than her older brother Aden who has always had more moxie than most young boys his age.

How lucky I am to have all these wonderful fearless children and grandchildren in my life, these loved ones who will lead the world someday, away from the hate and intolerance that exists in our world right now. I pray that as they grow up, we will have leaders who demand the very best for people of all colors and religions all around the world not just the very few wealthy and privileged ones.

I count my lucky stars and say thanks to God every single day for my many blessings and all of my children.



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