Yesterday I spent a portion of my day making plans. PLans that are pretty exciting, to me and my family. See, a few months back, I was also making plans. PLans for Jari and I to make a trip to England for my aunt Lucy's 90th surprise birthday party! I bought train tickets for the two of us to go, happy I was able to be there to represent my family. To visit with these people I don't see often enough, to be there to celebrate the life of an amazing woman I have come to treasure over the years of my own life. So, Jari and I were going to make the trek across the sea and spend five days enjoying London.

Then, yesterday, new plans were made. My dad, impulsive though he is, decided he was bringing my gramma to her sister's birthday party to surprise her! She decided to make the trip, so I made the reservations for my dad, mom, and gramma to meet us in London! And, the thought of being encircled in the bosom of my family has me feeling pretty good!

Even more, I am so so so happy that my gramma and her sister will be reunited once again. The surprise on my Aunt Lucy's face is one already etched in my mind before the event takes place. These two women, my gramma and her sister, have shared a very special bond in life. As babies, they were given up by their parents and lived in a children's home in London. When Lucy was old enough, she left and married, and took my gramma home to live with her. When the war broke out, my gramma was once again on her own, serving in the women's force of the army. This is where she met my grampa, and when the war was over she moved to America to begin a life with him, having seven children of her own, never giving them up.

Lucy and gramma have visited each other throughout the years, both in England and America. They have kept a close bond throughout the years, and on Lucy's last visit to America, they said their goodbyes, knowing it was the last time they would see each other in life. But, it wasn't the last time, because come her 90th birthday, my gramma will be there to share it with her sister...one last visit to share their laughter and smiles. It brings me a feeling of euphoria, this passion filling my heart, of two sisters having lived a terrible childhood, yet bringing them a connection that even great distance would survive.

And my dad and mom, bless them, know the importance of such family values, and are making it happen, this chance for them to be together one last time. It makes my heart sing and I am so glad I will have the opportunity to be present and witness the love that will be able to be felt and nearly touched. I am so grateful my parents have passed their values of family onto me, to allow me this joy in seeing two sisters united.

Plus, my kiddo, Jari, is so excited he gets to see gramma and grampa and great-gramma again! And me too!! When my children have the opportunity to be with their grandparents, it's like a light of love surrounds me and I feel complete happiness. So, it's a good thing, this planning, because it gives me something to look forward to, and something to bring joy upon impact!



I am a college graduate. I have a bachelor's degree in elementary education with a minor in art. It's something that I worked very hard to achieve, and I am proud of the fact that I made it. During my school years I had a child and was a single parent. My child was very ill, for much of the time I was in school. We spent many weeks in the hospital where my son lay under tents trying to stay alive. It was not an easy task, for either of us. Early in the morning I would drop him off at daycare, attend my classes, go to my teaching experiences, then pick him up around dinnertime to spend a few hours playing before bath and bedtime. While he slept, I studied, or later, made my class schedules and prepared my lessons. We were busy, but we did okay. My grades were excellent, considering, and I sincerely enjoyed my classes once I got into my area of study.

I also had some night classes. These I did not enjoy. It was tough enough to find a daycare open during the day, let alone babysitters or a daycare during the evening. But I searched them out and found sitters who took my son in during these evening classes. None of these turned out to be good experiences. Though I loved our regular daycare and felt very secure and safe with my son there, the babysitters gave me a sense of discomfort. At the time, I had no choice. If I were to do it again, I would have searched further.

One evening daycare was a place that was also a daycare during the day. It was in a family home, but the family was less than stellar. Though the lady who cared for my son seemed kind, her own adult children living with her were less than appropriate. They drank, smoked, and were in jail for one thing or another. The lady also cared for her grandchild, a little girl who had criminal parents and was placed in grandma's care. Whenever I picked Kaeden up from her care. he seemed happy enough, but I always felt a tiny niggling doubt in the back of my mind. Something just wasn't quite up to par. I never did figure out what it was as I went with my gut instinct and found a new childcare provider.

This was in the form of a highschool girl living in our appartment complex. In the beginning, I really loved her. She came to play with Kaeden even on her 'off' hours, and we became friends, going shopping together, going to movies. Her own mom was a single working mother, so she found a place with me when she had noone else to turn to. It was a good thing, and I knew I could trust my son with her. I paid her well, and she enjoyed having her own spending money.

The problems started when she started dating a guy. He changed her. He would often come along to babysit, and Kaeden took a real liking to the guy. He was a bit older than our sitter, and had his own car. They asked if they could take Kaeden out for dinner, to go to the park. At first, I said no, but as I got to know them more, I allowed them short outings. However, one night I came home late from my class, when Kaeden should have been long in bed. The house was dark, and they were nowhere to be found. I went all over the apartment complex asking if they knew where my son was. There was no note, no phone call, and his car seat was still in the house. Brandi and her boyfriend showed up finally, just about the time I was planning to call the police. I let them have it as I held my son half-asleep in my arms. They were no longer allowed to take Kaeden out, and Brandi's boyfriend was no longer allowed to come over while she was working. Our relationship also changed, and she no longer liked me as much due to my becoming so hard. We quit doing things together, and our relationship turned into a working one.

One evening, I came home a bit early as I had an exam and finished early. When I got home, I saw my son watching tv on the couch and just a foot away from him were Brandi and her boyfriend doing more than just making out on the couch. I threw them outside, along with their clothes, and never saw her again. Not even around the apartment complex. I took her last pay to her mother, and discussed the situation with her. They moved shortly thereafter.

It was tough. But we made it through, my son and I.

A few days back my mom and I were discussing my cousin, who graduated from high school this year. She will be attending college and we were discussing what college means. I was 17 when I started attending college. I was not ready. My grades were horrible and I did a lot of partying. I lived in a dorm and then house with other college students. It was fun and adventurous, but studying did not fit in my calendar of events. I eventually dropped out and went on to New York to be a nanny and play and enjoy and explore. When I returned to school, I was 21 and went parttime. When I was 23 I had Kaeden, and when I was 24 I got serious. My little boy gave me the opportunity to find myself and know I had to make a life for him. I chopped down and my grades were perfect. I enjoyed my classe and loved teaching. I had finally found the place I belonged.

My mom never went to college. My dad did, while I was in high school. My mom regrets not going, and talking to her a few days back was the first time I ever knew this. She has had what I consider a successful life. She raised a family and created a successful business. She wishes she had attended school.

I am proud of my degree and all I went through to receive it. However, I have not been able to put it to use living her ein Europe. It frustrates me. But I know that what I accomplished was something big, and I feel pride within myself for doing so. And pride that I now am a stay-at-home mom so my children don't have to keep up with the demands of a lfying schedule. They come and go and mama is always there to give them security. One day, i will use my degree in the field. Today, I am using it to be smart enough to give my boys what they need, before life overcomes them and they have to start making adult decisions of their own.