Thursday, March 01, 2007

Happy Birthday Nichole!

I left a little brother and sister at home when I joined the military. Time passed and they grew up in the blink of an eye. Once I started a family of my own it became increasingly difficult to make the trips back home. Laura was living in Maryland in an apartment at my dad’s house and I was in the military when my niece, Nichole, was born. I could not get leave to come and see Nichole when she was born. My dad sent me a picture of this beautiful little baby girl.

(I used the scanner to get my photographs on my computer. I am disappointed with the quality of the pictures.)

I remember when I first laid eyes on this little cutie pie.

I brought Nichole some country clothes on one of my visits.

We shared a wonderful Christmas together. Both of these pictures were taken at Henry and Evelyn's home in Maryland. I remember the shine and happiness emanating from both of these grandpa’s! Love filled Henry’s house that year. It was a beautiful experience for me to share this very special christmas with them. My Dad is in the first picture with Nichole and Laura. In the second picture is my sister’s father in-law, Henry. I am not sure of the year that Henry passed. (RIP Henry)

Nichole loved her rocking horse!

She loved her blocks.

I still remember my trips to Maryland. This one was from an Easter. Nichole was so cute hunting for the eggs. She spotted an egg way up in a tree. When Jaycee saw and held these pictures today she said: “She has good eye sets!”

I moved back home for a period of time to live with my Mom. It was during those years I got to know Tim and Laura as adults. Although they didn’t live very far from my Mom they were very busy with lives of their own. We gathered on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas and had a wonderful time. I had a blast playing with Nichole one Christmas baking with her new Easy-Bake oven!

This picture is my mom, Laura, Nichole and Joe.
I remember the Christmas Nichole got the doll of her dreams.

I took a trip to visit Laura and Nichole at their apartment in Maryland when I was living in Pennsylvania. It was not long after this picture that my sister bought her first house.

The last time I saw Laura and Nichole was when I stopped at her new house for a visit on my way to North Dakota with Joe in 1995. I miss them!

The difficulty involved in making trips out east was overwhelming. I had to schedule time off from work. We lived on a farm and all of the animals(horses,dogs,cats,rabbits,and fish) needed to be looked after. The money was the hardest thing to get together. It took me years to pay off the credit card debt that I needed to help me make the trips. Often times a trip meant that we had to eat some pretty skimpy meals for a month or two. I had to use the word “no” for the many little things Joe wanted that I normally could afford. It took every ounce of resourcefulness I had in me to accomplish my many visits over the years. Every trip was worth the hardship. I would not take back one single trip. I treasure my dad’s hugs, the love in his eyes, the warmth of his smile, the sound of his voice, his laugh, all of these and more are worth more to me than all the money in the world. I was able to make a trip home in 1998 and one more in 2001. Laura was very busy and could not bring Nichole to come and visit us at my dad’s place on either of our trips. My visits are never long and we fly there and back. I have not laid eyes on my precious niece since she was 10 years old!

I cherish the many phone calls we used to share. My sister and I could not afford to make many long distance calls. I think we both experienced the same panic when our phone bills hit the size of a car payment! We both had our long distance shut off.

I was able to see my Mom in 1998 but she was away when I visited in 2001. My Mom came to see us in 2002 when Jaycee was a few months old. I did not see her again until her visit here in November of 2006. I miss my family very much. When my mother came for her visit in November she brought this picture. My mom thinks Nichole was about 18 when the picture was taken. Isn't she beautiful?

I have not been home now since 2001 and I don’t see the possibility of getting there anytime in the near future. On that note I am sending my long distance love from one thousand seven hundred miles away from my heart to yours. I love you!

Nichole is 20 years old today.
Happy Birthday Nichole!
I love you more than words can express.

Always remember to forget
The things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember
The things that made you glad.
~Irish Blessing

Dear Nichole,
There is a hardship and price for being in the military and for living great distances away. I am feeling that pain today more than I normally do.
I hope you understand.
I hope that you know I love you with all my heart.
Every March 1st since the day you were born I think of you on this day. I hold tight to memories that are fewer than I would have liked. They are cherished memories. They are fond memories. I feel blessed for every single moment I was able to spend with you. My thoughts are for you today. I am proud of you. Although you are many miles away you hold a very special place in my heart, today and always.
Every conversation and visit I have with your Grandma or Grandpa I ask about you. I have heard of your many struggles and triumphs and I hope that your triumphs will outnumber your struggles this year and in all the years to come.
All my Love,
Aunt Sara

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raggedy You are on newspaper!

March 01, 2007 1:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures and sweet memories. Happy Birthday Nicole. May luck never leave your side.
Drop into my blog on birthday ecards for some beautiful e-greeting cards and other interesting info.

March 01, 2007 1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a sweet post!

March 01, 2007 2:39 AM  
Blogger cube said...

What a lovely tribute. I hope you are rewarded with a pot of gold!

March 01, 2007 8:23 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

This was a very touching post. So sad you don't get to see your family very often. She is a beautiful young lady!! Happy birthday Nicole!!

March 01, 2007 1:12 PM  
Blogger TJ said...

What a beautiful post!!
Happy Birthday to Nichole!!

March 01, 2007 2:18 PM  
Blogger Deb @ Sugarfused said...

She's a beautiful young lady and you're a remarkable aunt! Happy birthday to Nichole :)

March 01, 2007 6:52 PM  
Blogger Tamara said...

Awwww....You are such a sweetheart! What a terrific aunt you are! I'm sure she knows how much you love and miss her,and how you would give anything to see her more.This is a grrrreat post,Raggedy.

March 01, 2007 7:43 PM  
Blogger Marcia (MeeAugraphie) said...

Bittersweet, but heartwarming post.

March 01, 2007 8:57 PM  
Blogger Walker said...

That was a beautiful post
Happy Birthday to Nicole

Its hard being so far from those you love and limited to the resources you need to be with them.
I hope you find a way to get there soon :)

Have a nice weekend

March 01, 2007 8:59 PM  
Blogger Heather in Beautiful BC said...

Raggedy, that is a lovely birthday tribute to a beautiful young lady! Happy Birthday Nicole.

March 01, 2007 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awww. That was sweet.

You're a good Auntie!

March 01, 2007 10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

looks like I visited your blog on a good day; happy birthday; was fun looking at all the baby photos...
and how happy is mom (below)to be holding a sleeping baby again???!

March 02, 2007 12:10 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I hope Nichole had a wonderful birthday.
It is so sad that you haven't seen her for so long.
Your sister and you could sure use a miraculous reunion that would bring your two families back together. I pray that will happen!!

March 03, 2007 10:44 AM  

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