When Amy’s grandparents were sixty, they were fostering a newborn baby, named Patrick, and fell in love with him. So much so that after having five grown children of their own and multiple grandchildren already, they adopted him – and became parents. Again. Because, as a friend told us just the other day, “Our children on Earth are the ones God gives us, no matter how He delivers them.”
For the next eighteen years, Grandma and Grandpa were Mom and Dad again. They went to school plays and football games, had sleepovers at their house, drove carpools, helped with homework and, every day, found the energy to do in their seventies what most people do in their twenties: raise a little boy to be a young man. One who, this week, sparkled in his uniform like his mom shined that diamond to be: bright, bold and brave. Just like her.
One year ago, our sweet Grandma lost a battle to cancer. And we don’t think it’s a coincidence that she waited to go to Heaven until the little boy God handed her was the one at her hospital bedside so many years later. Just the two of them. Alone. Strapping and strong. Shining and sparkling. Uniform and all. To be the one to walk her to her eternal home and hand her back to Him.
Yesterday, just over a year since Grandma went to be with Jesus, Patrick graduated from the United States Air Force Academy. And we couldn’t have been prouder.
We hopped a plane and were in Colorado for less than 24 hours this week, but it was just enough time to bear witness to a culminating moment in our family. We’re so, so thankful we got to be there. It was a day we’ll never forget.
It was raining in Colorado Springs all week, but somehow, the sun came out in full force the day of the ceremony, just in time for Patrick to shake the President’s hand, get his diploma and a brand new title: Lieutenant Richards.
Call us crazy, but we don’t think the weather was a coincidence for the occasion. We think God moved the clouds, so Grandma could have the best view in the house.
Because, just like the Scriptures promise, where there is loss, there is always new life.
Congratulations to our favorite “Uncle Patrick.” The only uncle we’ll ever have who is always going to be younger (and so much cooler!) than us. Our favorite Christmas cards are the ones where you tell us to “Hurry up and have kids already so that I can be a great uncle.” We’re making no promises there, but we can say that we are so incredibly proud of you, and we know your mom is too.
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