Dear McKenna

Nov. 22, 2011

Dear McKenna:

Now we are on our 11th Thanksgiving letter – hard to believe.

Incredible to see that next year you are going to be 12 and then a teenager.

As I write this, over the weekend, my next to oldest sister Debby was recently reunited via online with her daughter Amy, who’s now in her 30s and Debby’s son Anthony, also in his 30s, both of whom live in Carrollton, GA, ironically where I went to college. She had been looking for them for thirty years. She had placed them for adoption in 1980. Amy enjoys karate and has a young son named Robert James.

He’s very cute and I just saw a picture of all three of them this week.

I remember playing with Amy when she was a year or two but hadn’t seen her since I was 12. Now we have been writing messages to each other on Facebook. I haven’t seen my nephew Anthony since he was a baby.

I understand you had to get two shots yesterday, a tetanus and a meningitis booster and your arm hurt really bad after. I’m sorry you had to do that. I always hated shots, too. One time, when I was 13 at the dentist they had to hold me down to give me four shots in the roof of my mouth.

I have really enjoyed seeing you this year, like I always do. I especially loved getting back on roller skates for the first time in 30 years (probably). You were so much fun and encouraging. You were just like me at 11, whipping around that rink. I was fearless at that age, too!

And you published a book, so awesome! I enjoyed reading it a lot! Your creativity really inspires me! I have your book on my bookshelf in my bedroom next to my other books.

Watching you cheer in October was such a treat! I can’t believe the cheer “Firecracker, firecracker, boom, boom, boom” is still around. We did that cheer when I was a kid! I told my sister Cindy because I knew she’d get a kick out of that. We cheered Little League together. You were so adorable in your little uniform and the way you cheered. There are so many cheers you have to know. I don’t know how you learn them all, but you do. I see why you got the Spirit Bear Award! When I watched you cheer I had such pride and my heart swelled with happiness seeing you out there and how animated and dedicated you are.

Even though I’d seen you cheer before, this was much different. Maybe because you’re older and more experienced.

I didn’t expect to get to see you again until next year so when I found out I’d get to see you again this month, I was thrilled, of course. Seeing you perform at TCU again was great and you had improved from last year. But before that, seeing you walk up the sidewalk with your hair in pigtails really made my day. Just seeing you or knowing I’m going to get to see you turns my whole day around.

I’m so thankful you are my daughter, one of many bright spots in my life, but the one that shines the brightest.

I know you had a rough time losing both of your pets this year but I know you’re strong. They’re still with you in spirit because love never dies. I’ve gone through that myself and I understand how hard it can be. But I have faith that with your family’s love you will get through it and be okay. Toby and Tara knew how much you loved them and they were lucky to have you and your family.

This is what my sister Cindy taught me when I lost my cat Chaplin so I’m passing it on to you.

You have a tender heart and a lot of love to give. That is what is great about love.

There is always more to give and receive.

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving and that you enjoy your time off from school!

I love you,


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