Saturday, June 12, 2010


I knew it was coming....I was in denial all year long. Somehow - I decided that playing "ostrich" was better than facing reality...Cory was going to graduate and leave us eventually.... UGH!

I guess I better back up a bit. Twelve years ago when Tim and I got married, we joined a small country church. Not that many people belonged there - and we were quite a tight knit group. A few years later - we were asked to begin helping with the YOUTH group at the church. One of the first kids to steal my heart away was Cory. He was about 8 when we first met him... and when he joined the Youth Group he was 12. I don't know how to describe him any other way - he was just one of the BEST kids I had ever met. Fun, sweet, kind, a hard worker, honest as the day is long... just an all around great kid.
I remember the days when I was actually taller than Cory... ha ha ha! But those days didn't last too terribly long.
A year or so later, after our girls came home from Guatemala, and my "time" seemed to be consumed with tea parties, coloring, playing on the swingset and reading "Goodnight Moon"...I needed a little help with my outside chores. I love to mow and do my yardwork... but with the girls...I had different things that needed to be tended to.

So Cory began coming to help me out on the farm as often as he could. Bless his heart... he is such a hard worker. The first day he ever mowed for me...I had NO IDEA what a perfectionist he was. I joked with him telling him that I really preferred mowing the place diagonally - then I went inside to feed the girls and put them down for a nap. When I came outside a little later - our 10 acre mini-farm looked like a well manicured golf course - perfectly mowed and trimmed...and all diagonally.

A couple of years later - when McCaleb came home he was afraid of most all men. But not Cory. Cory just has an easy going nature and a confidence about him. McCaleb was fascinated with Cory... who called him "Paco" and treated him like a BIG BOY. If Cory needed to go out on the tractor and work, he took McCaleb right along with him. If he was going to work with the animals, you would go out to find McCaleb tagging right along. All the while Cory would be telling him what he was doing, how to do it the "right" way, and giving him instructions on being careful and safe.

Cory and Kim :)

Cory began to work at Hi-Tech after school... and his excellent work ethic and attitude helped everyone that he worked with. He still managed to keep up his grades in school, keep up the work on the farm for me - and would even help me transport kids to dance, or dog club, or karate...

I don't know when it happened actually - or when I realized how much we began to love and adore Cory. Honestly, I don't think we stood a chance! As much as I felt that my heart was completely and totally wrapped up in my own four children... I realized that Cory has worked his way into our hearts and into our lives completely. He was just this incredible kid, that grew into this wonderful young man... and it has been a privilege and honor to be a part of his life.

So why was I shocked when graduation time began to roll around?? Why was it so difficult for me to think about him going away to college?? Why did I tear up and almost cry each time Kim (his mom) and I met on the road? We mostly just rolled the windows down and said... Two more weeks....sniff sniff... I know....sniff sniff....and then we both choked up and drove away.

You see, Cory only lives up the road. I pass his house a few times... a DAY. So it isn't like I'm never going to see him again. I knew this. But things would change - and that was just so sad to me.

You spend years investing your time and energy in young people's lives - hoping that you have an impact on them. You pray for them and cry for them. You talk to them... you cry with them... and in the end, you hope that you have made an impression on them. You hope that they will take with them a little piece of you and your "wisdom" and that somehow you might have influenced their lives in a way that might point them to the right choices later in life.

It's a sobering thing, however, when you sit back and realize the impact that the YOUNG PEOPLE have had on your life. When you realize that YOU are the one that is blessed for having known these young people, and that your life would not be as rich or as blessed had you not spent the time with them.

That's how it is with our Cory! Our lives will never be the same - because it is much richer because we've known and loved Cory! And not just him... his sister Katie... his cousin SWEET SWEET SHELBY (who also works with us at Hi-Tech when she's not away at college...), Shelby's sweet brother Little David (who Ali plans to marry...) and then of course Cody and Jacob. They are just the very best of the best... and we are so blessed to have them all in our life!

Cory however, will always hold a very special place in my heart. He went out of his way to take care of me and the kids. He would check in with me each and every day after school before doing anything else to be sure that I didn't need any help or any errands run. I would come home to find that the dogs were fed, the horses were fed, the fields were mowed, trash was up at the road...and most of the time he did all of this without ever being asked.

If he knew that Tim was working out of town, he would check on me during the evening or before he went home for the night.
He also came to Rachel's Friday Night performance at her recital when he found out that no one else had planned to come that night. He sat with me on the 5th row - through 2 1/2 hours of kids dancing - to watch her in her three routines. Afterward, he waited out front for her... and when he saw her and she went running to him - he swooped her up in his arms and headed for the door. They were going to McDonalds for sundaes. :) Made my heart melt.

He taught my son many things... some of them not so good... ha ha... but most of it was amazing. Most of all - he set an example of what a good "son" does, as McCaleb saw Cory take care fo his mother and sister, especially after his dad was hurt so badly. I can never thank him for the wonderful example that he set for all my kids... and I laugh a lot about the many things they picked up from him that he doesn't even realize. ;)

To get back to the "point" of this story... GRADUATION time had arrived. It just seemed like it came soooooo fast! However... for us it was even sooner, as the college that was recruiting Cory to be in their Trap Shooting Team - wanted him to report the very next week. YIKES! (Did I mention that he was an incredible Trap Shooter?? Championship level...seriously!)

So Thursday night was Baccalaureate...I didn't cry at all. I was so proud. :)
Friday night was his graduation party at the house.... and I didn't even cry then. I waited until we got home. Saturday was the actual graduation - and we didn't go. We had family in town - so we skipped that. I saw him again on Monday...and on Tuesday he headed up to Illinois to go away to college.

A chapter in his life is closed...and he is on a new and exciting adventure. We are so proud of Cory - and so honored that we could be a part of his life these past 10+ years. Our lives are much fuller and blessed for having known him and for having him in our life! Congratualtions Cory! We love you!!

Oh - and as for me? Well, the first two weeks he was gone, I broke the weed eater, ran out of gas in the tractor, broke one of the fence planks, flattened a tire on the small mower...screamed, cried and stomped my feet a lot... but we got by. (It doesn't look nearly as good... and it CERTAINLY isn't mowed diagonally...) Yep - we sure do miss you Cory! But not just for those reasons... we miss your smile!