In the darkness of every school morning, seven children stumble their way through my bedroom and kiss me goodbye. Every afternoon, these same seven children get off the bus, and before they can even open their mouths, I know whether they've been good or bad, stressed, happy or sad, or just plain glad to be home.
But no matter what, I'm happy they're home. All nine of my children are complete blessings to me. Randy, the oldest is everything I ever dreamed I'd be when I was his age. Heck, he's more. As a matter of fact, all of my kids are better than I ever was. How they got to be this way? I'll never know. But then again, maybe it's a thing called love.
On my way to work every day, I pass by at least one, sometimes two homes where at the dinner table tonight, there's an empty seat. Be it due to suicide, a sickness, and accident, a knife, or a war, every time another child leaves our area, I cry.
I'm a welder. An old Hank Jr. outlaw type. An ex-alcoholic. An ex-everything rough, rowdy, ragged and ...wrong. But still I cry. I get tired of putting myself behind the sad eyes of the parent, or even the child. Love makes you do that sort of thing. Monroeville, we're a small town with a big city "bad news" rate. I don't know what to say. I'm proud of my kids, and I'm proud of your kids. I used to tell my two sons in the marching band that I'd be glad when Monroeville lost and the driving them to the practices and games stopped. Yet, when I picked them up every night, in the darkness I'd smile when they told me we won the game. I'm a Billy Martin of old times man. Go for number one. I've seen the kids on myspace.com, and to tell you the truth, for the most part, I'm proud of my son's classmates. It's a good group in the school. I believe the best we've had in years.