Kelley had one very beautiful smile, and my kids tell me she loved hats!
I imagine that we would sit down with our cups of coffee and, all jealousy aside over both of us so dearly loving Monte, I think we would have a great conversation.
Kelley and the kids (from left to right) Iain, Colin, Ellis and Claire on the day of Colin's baptism.
There are a lot of questions that I would love to ask her. I would love to know what her dreams were for her children. I would love to know where she envisioned them years down the road as they move into adulthood. Did she know that Claire wants to be a neurosurgeon? Was she aware of Iain's dream of playing baseball for the Phillies? Did she see Ellis's love for outdoors as something that will follow him into adulthood and a career? What did she dream for dear, sweet Colin (who was only 2 when she passed away)?
Kelley, Colin, Ellis, Claire and Iain in the pool on a family vacation to Breckenridge, CO.
I would love to ask her how she dealt with the stress that can come with raising so many kids. I would love to know if there was a system she followed in her day-to-day routine, or if she was able to just "wing it". I want to know how she handled it when one of the kids would sink into a "funk" of a mood and what she did to help bring them out.
Ellis, Iain, Kelley and Claire dealing with a funk of a mood while on a family hike!
I want to know what she dreamed her relationship with her kids would be like. Did she see her and Claire being incredibly close? Would she and Iain enjoy playing sports together? Would she jump in on a game of hunting with Ellis and Colin? Part of me truly believes that the answer to all of these questions is a big, loud YES! Knowing her love for her kids, I have no doubt in my mind that she would have given anything she possibly could to be close to them and make them happy.
Kelley and Claire on a paddle boating trip.
More than anything, I want to ask her if she knows how much I truly love her children. I know my love for them can never be what her love for them was - there is absolutely nothing that can replace or match mama's love; but my love for them is fierce. I want the absolute best for them in this life. I want them to know each and every single day how unconditionally loved they are. I want them to know that our home is always a safe place for them and that they can always come to Dad and me about anything, anytime. And I really want Kelley to know that.
I want her to know that I think I'm doing a good job raising her kids - because, I promise, I am trying with absolutely everything in me.
I want her to know that everything is alright. I really do.