A letter to Kaitlin
It’s been a while since we’ve written. So much has happened in our family–and in yours, too, I’m sure!
Congratulations on Reese and Brooke’s graduation! And even more congratulations on their wedding!
And, is it time yet to congratulate you on your divorce? (Does one even congratulate a friend on a divorce or offer condolences?)
Well, since the divorce paves the way for you and Leroy to get married , I will offer congratulations. So, congratulations!
Norm feels terrible because he really laid into Newt when he found out about Newt’s past with you. He was furious when he answered Newt’s letter. I told him maybe it’s best to work through the feelings first, and then correspond, but that minor detail hadn’t occurred to my brother. I hope that Newt is OK. I mean, he’s got enough to deal with without having to deal with my raging-bear mode brother on top of it!
How are all your kids and grandkids? Everyone healthy? Everyone happy? How is Ben doing?
We are great. Jena has grown into a big, confident, know-it-all five-year-old–and we love so much that our hearts burst! She has a terrific attitude!
Nothing can stop her. I’ve read a lot about how girls lose their confidence when they enter middle school, and Mizuki Suzuki and I are already doing research to find ways to beat that trend with our girl. I hope she carries this strength with her all through her life.
Remember when you first wrote me, years ago, and my house felt confusing and full to me with just one little two-and-a-half year old in it? Well now our home seems to be always full of children!
Jena is so out-going and friendly. She brings home loads of friends after school! It keeps me busy making cookies, slicing apples, and brewing hot chocolate! I love it.
Mizuki Suzuki loves it, too.
Sometimes in the evening, I’ll see her sitting in the living room with one of Jena’s toys.
“Our house has space for more children. Don’t you think?” She used to always say.
I always thought of your old two-room apartment, and how you filled it with children and teens. And I have to agree: Our home does have room for more.
And it looks like we just may be getting another!
One of my other pen pals told me about another group of refugee children who need homes. She’s sending me the contact information for the agency in charge of placing them, and I have a feeling that within a few months–if not sooner–we will have another little toddler, originally from somewhere very far away, filling our home with laughter and cries!
My life has changed so much, dear Kaitlin, from knowing you. You’ve shown me how to look outside of myself and notice others. I have always cared, but I have never known how to be caring. Now, all I need to do is think of you and how you are, and the road is clear to me.
Thank you so much for changing me, Kaitlin. When the person I am now looks back on the person I was when I received your first letter, I can’t help but chuckle wistfully, the way we do at our younger selves. I have grown so much, and so much of it has come from knowing you.
Wishing you all the best, and sending you so much love!