As I considered my blessings, my family always comes to my mind, especially when I think about my daughter, Leslie. My girl has forever maintained an amazing spirit and such a loving heart. She has always tried to help those around her, and she sometimes has taken on too much extra work because she often forgets that “no” is part of her vocabulary.
Throughout the years, as a wife and a mother, her home has often been filled with people who just needed a safe place to land. When she was a military wife, she always invited “her boys” over for the holidays, so that they wouldn’t spend the holidays alone. Most family dinners included an extended family that enjoyed all of her home-cooked meals.
During those military years, she often found places to help the hungry and the homeless. It wasn’t unusual for her and the grandkids to help feed those in need, even on holidays. She always kept supplies in her van to help the homeless too.
While living at Ft Sill in Oklahoma, she often helped others, including one vet who carried everything he owned in a duffle bag. This quiet individual could usually be found around town, and when I visited, many times I spotted him at Wendy’s. He would sit in a booth with something from the dollar menu, chili and a cup of coffee. Whenever he saw Leslie, his face would light up with a smile, for she always ordered something extra for her friend. Although the two never spoke, their affection for each other expressed volumes. Even now, I wonder about her older friend and I know he must miss her dearly.
After military life and for a time, she opened her heart and her home to foster children too, for she always wanted to adopt, and she loved the idea of having a large family. As the children came to her home, three left a lasting mark, for they almost became a permanent member of our family. Sadly, the social service’s entity did not completely do their research, and at the last minute, the adoptions did not go through. One sibling group could not be adopted because they were Choctaw, and our little bundle of joy, Jonah, eventually went to a home with his sister. The heartache and loss for her and her family was devastating. My daughter loved and cared for her foster babes, and her excitement over becoming their mom brought much joy into our lives. After losing Jonah, Leslie just could not take anymore heartache and stopped fostering.
My daughter’s life has not always followed an easy road. After many years of marriage, she and her husband divorced, and she became a single mom of three. The foursome moved back to her hometown, and she began a new chapter in her life. Always putting her children first, she found work that would still allow her to homeschool her children.
In time, she reconnected with her high school sweetheart, Aaron. He was a single father of three too since his wife had passed. An old flame reignited, and they married and lovingly blended their two families. Six children were just not quite enough, so they added one more to the mix. My daughter finally had the large family she always dreamed of having, and with her sizable brood, she still has found time to homeschool her children and support the local high school as a booster club mom for her teenagers who are involved in sports.
My daughter and her family have continued to volunteer and find ways to help others in her small mountain town. Often her children’s friends can be found hanging out somewhere around their home. Her dinner table has always found room for one or two more. The family has persisted in helping others in their community, and every year the family assists with The Wounded Warrior Project when they come to spend a weekend on a nearby ranch.
As her mama, I have always been proud of my daughter’s heart and all that she has accomplished. My sassy, spirited daughter has made my world a better place, and I have been blessed to have her as my daughter.
Mercy Daily Prompt