I’m in Maine. I am looking out the window at the ocean and the sky. There is no sun or sparkling water. Today it’s just gray everywhere. Tomorrow will rain but next week the sun returns – guaranteed. It will lift our hearts and the gray will be a distant memory carrying no residue of worry or fear. As I think of your journey this evening, you are still exploring high school and getting to know yourself. Of the four of you – Ariel, Alia, Kayla and yourself – you might be the most sensitive of a group that majors in a bravado which covers and protects a well of sensitivity, tears and a desire to love deeply, fiercely and loyally. What an irreplaceable and invaluable gift that is. I love you all for that and I pray that none of you ever compromise, belittle it or allow anyone else to belittle it. I thank your mom for allowing me the gift of being your pretend dad in your earliest years. I thank you too, of course, but you were so delightfully **** and cute that the truth is you didn’t have much choice in trusting, a wee bit, the guy who played touch football with you and your sisters using an extra diaper. (yes, it was clean) as the football. I spanked you too as I’m sure you remember – out of love and concern, but you know that too. However, I now seek your forgiveness for my cardinal sin – you know what it was…taking away and losing your binky. I think that I took Alia’s away many years earlier as well but I’m not sure. I know a side of you that maybe some don’t know. If I am wrong and overreach here I’ll blame the dementia but I’ll give it a go. Number One – you have great vision into the desires of your own heart. When you were young and now, to some degree, it’s your affinity with the world of style and fashion that comes unadulterated and brightens your spirit as well as those around you when you dip into and use this talent and gift. Number Two – I think you are brave. There is bravery to be raised by your mom only – additional responsibility to be sure, the need to be mature before your time as well. Seeing what some fail to see because others are mean, not fair, or unforgiving and battling how to retain your values without having to change the whole world takes courage. Oh, you have your fears like the rest of us, but I believe your bravery will always surmount your trials and obstacles. I remember our Jesus magic shows where, at such a young age, you took the stage with your fat old uncle. If that’s not brave, nothing is. I don’t have to caution you that the world is, at times, a cold and unfriendly place. You know that you have a friend in me for a while, but a friend forever in your Creator that can bring a sunrise after gray days. Oh, God has plans for you young lady – plans to prosper you, not to harm you. If you search for Him with your entire heart, the promise God offers is that you will find the Creator in all His magnificence and he will teach you amazing, unimaginable things. This dementia will create distance between us as time wears on, but I will remember in my soul how kind and gentle you are – calling me for breakfast or dinner. Your commitment to do good is ingrained and a direct tribute to your dad, who had that same passion for doing right amid the doubters. My love for you is no less than my love for my own daughters. Amen (which means so be it). I hope you like your chapter.