Perhaps I will start by expressing my gratefulness to the most generous husband a woman could ever ask for. After 1 day to ride his tractor until next summer, Tim patted his John Deere goodbye and helped pile all the children in the car before driving 13 hours of the 16 hour trip. I remember falling asleep on the floor of the van beneath Charlie's dangling feet in Connecticut and waking up in Richmond, Virginia. After a quick shower and a hasty dumping of all the luggage and boxes, I left him alone with all 5 kids, including still-nursing baby Timmy. He kept everyone fed, clean, and busy during the few days I spent in Virginia. It was likely a shock for him, since the last time he watched the children alone for more than a day we only had 3 children. I could tell he was overwhelmed on my return by the sight of the house strewn with toys and books, unmade beds, and a clean laundry pile that almost reached the ceiling, but I didn't hear any complaints. He is a rare gem of the highest quality and I love him with all my heart.
The other person I will be forever grateful to is my friend Jennifer up in Maine. She watched some of the kids, along with her 4, so I could pick up Tim at the airport and pack boxes. She graciously took all our groceries, including the last 2 quarts of wild blueberries. She is a sweet woman who gives me a good example of what a Catholic mother should be.
Thanks to many prayers I was able see my mother before she slipped into a fog of unconsciousness. When I walked into her hospital room she grinned and said loudly, "Katherine!" Over and over people told me how she said she was trying hard to hang on on so I could make it to her bedside. It was truly a blessing to be able to tell her how much I love her and that I was grateful for her being my mother. Less than a week later we will put her to rest and I will resolve to be as strong and brave as she turned out to be.
Julia G. Todd
May God hold you in the palm of his hand