Over the years, I haven’t always worked. I was a stay-at-home mother with Nichole for many years. Therefore, vacations were never something we took very often. Usually, vacations consisted of going south to Mississippi to visit my mother. I did manage to get my kids to Niagara Falls once though. Most of our time we spend together is more local, such as the trips to the zoo or going canoeing.
When I took the kids to Niagara Falls, Nichole was four years old, Cassie was seven, Robbie was nine, and Darcie was twelve. They really weren’t impressed at all. I was. The falls were beautiful. But I suppose I understand that a bunch of water isn’t all that interesting to kids. You can really tell looking at their faces how much they truly didn’t care. A decade later, it kind of makes me laugh….
I’ve managed to get them to Mississippi quite a few times over the years. As I gather more of my pictures later and scan them into my computer, I will add them here. For now, here are pictures from:
One of the things I started doing a few years ago for my children’s birthdays is little day trips. This year, Cassie chose for us to go to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Last year, for Darcie’s birthday, we decided to go canoeing down the Mohican River here in Ohio. I hadn’t been canoeing in 18 years, so I was particularly excited to go. My kids had never gone before so I knew they’d have a blast. She’s wanting to do it again this year, so this Sunday, we’ll be canoeing once again. Pray for me, as I’ve divorced my canoeing partner, so I guess I’ll have to paddle myself this year.
Last year, we took along Darcie’s boyfriend, Jason. He’ll be attending again this year. This year, Cassie’s boyfriend, Ryan, will also be attending. Robbie will not be attending, due to recent life changes he’s made. Nichole doesn’t want to attend either, but her beef is merely because of the water. Asperger’s children tend to migrate away from certain textures that make them uncomfortable. Water is a hot button for Nickie, especially since our canoe tipped last year and she and I both went under water (which was a little more than knee high at that time).
Hopefully, this trip will be even more fun than last year.
Darcie and Cassie have had a handful of friends over the years that had practically moved into our house. One actually did for a short while. I loved a lot of their friends like my own kids, and occasionally I miss seeing their faces. Try to enjoy your children’s friends. Family is family, but friends are random people you meet and adopt into your life. How long they stay in your life is entirely up to you. It’s amazing to think that your children can make friends at such a young age, and manage to keep those friends for years.
Poor Darcie has been hanging in with me since 1995. She only got to be an only child for three years, and didn’t get all that much out of it past chicken pox. She was handed a baby brother in 1998, and tried her best to trade him away in exchange for a bologna sandwich. She learned to appreciate him eventually. In 2000, she was handed a baby sister. By then, she was pretty used to her baby brother and was looking forward to having another sibling. Cassie was supposed to be a boy, according to the ultrasounds, so Darcie was definitely thrilled to find out she had a sister instead of the expected brother. In 2003, she was handed yet another sister, which thrilled her to pieces again. All three of them were tickled pink to have a baby sister.
Darcie has almost always been a model big sister. She’s tried to set an example in almost all areas except keeping her bedroom clean. She played with her siblings constantly, and as the years went by, developed a very close relationship with Cassie. After she graduated high school and went into the work field, she got involved with a man that had a daughter from a previous relationship. Because of her experience around younger children (yay being the oldest!), she was able to relate better to her boyfriend’s daughter. Someday, she’ll be an excellent mother….
I’ve raised four children and three of them are total water babies. Darcie, Robbie, and Cassie turn into fish as soon as they step foot in water. Nichole…not so much. Over the years, we’ve taken them to lakes (such as Rustic Knolls Campground) and bought the little inflatable pools and such. A few years ago, I broke down and bought an above-ground pool that lasted two years. When we tried to put it up for the third year, there were tiny holes all over the floor of the pool. Enclosed are some of my favorite photos of my little swimmers over the years. I’ll try and caption each of them to label who is who.
Tomorrow, I get to watch another of my children graduate high school. I keep reflecting on the first one though. Darcie graduated high school from ECOT in 2013. I remember that day so well. It was a beautiful day, warm with a cool breeze. I had never been to the Jerome Schottenstein Center at OSU in Columbus before, so I was just blown away by how huge the place was! If I remember correctly, there were a couple thousand graduates that walked with Darcie that day. I don’t remember, as I really only heard one name: Darcie Renae Stewart.
Next to me in the audience was my husband at the time, Eric, my ex-husband, Rob, and Cassie. We all sat on the edge of our seats waiting patiently as they went through all the names of all of the graduates. Each graduate walked across that stage and received their diploma with so much happiness and pride that the stage practically blinded the audience. Such a happy, happy day!
I’m so excited to do it all over again tomorrow, with my son.