I often hear people say that they wish they could go back and be a kid again. I would not want to go back to my childhood to save my life. It was less than pleasant much of the time. The thing that got me through those tough years were people that God placed in my life. I had so many amazing families that came along and made me feel just like their very own family.
I was in high school struggling through my business accounting class. I had been attending a little church for awhile and I knew this sweet lady that went to church there was an accountant. I was a little shy but I asked for her help anyhow. I went to her house a few times for help and she was an amazing help with my accounting homework! That was just the beginning of a wonderful relationship.
When I was a senior in high school, Audra asked me to move in with her. She had two children - Rachael and Riley. I would help with the kids and she would be like a mother (yet not nearly old enough to be) to me. Rachael and I spent many nights yelling at each other as I tried to help her with her homework. We once snuck a kitten into the house and hid it in the closet. Riley and I would run and slide on the hardwood floors in our socks. I adore those kids just like they are my own brother and sister!!!
I got in trouble once for smoking on the rooftop of the school building and Audra never said a word. I knew she was disappointed and that was the worst thing in the world!!!! I spent a couple of years in a horrible relationship with a boy and Audra always encouraged me to not allow him to treat me the way he was. I should have listened sooner because I also went through the greatest heartache of my life while living with Audra. She was always encouraging, always loving, and always there waiting to hug me when I felt like my life was falling apart.
Audra took my friend Christy and I to eat every Wednesday night...anywhere we wanted to go! She would buy me Christmas and birthday presents just like I was her own child. I went to her family gatherings for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Audra was there the day I graduated from high school. She drove me to college with the car packed down full of things for my dorm (yes, that she purchased), she was there when I graduated from college, she was there when I got married, she came when my babies were born, and through all of these years, she has always made me know how much I am loved by her.
A few years ago, Rachael was in a tragic car accident and she did not survive. I was devastated and even more so, I was heartbroken for Audra. She had lost her only daughter.
Audra now has a daughter-in-law, step daughters and beautiful grandchildren, but she has never stopped allowing me to know how much I mean to her and her family. I will be forever grateful for Audra and her family. Each year, we remember Rachael and will miss her forever.
God has been so good to me! Far more than I deserve.