I am number 13 in a family of 17 children. We grew up on a farm where everyone did everything. No one was excluded from contributing to getting the chores done. It was hard work and we never lacked for anything that was important. There was sibling rivalry and a lot of laughter. We played as hard as we worked. Mom was the glue and the disciplinarian. The lesson ingrained was: Family is always important. Be true to yourself. Mom and Dad had their issues, yet you saw those flashes of love. I had the pleasure of getting to know my mother as a woman first. Once we developed that relationship, I have always respectfully treated every adult as a person first and parent second. As adults, we have needs and those needs do not always get met as parents. That gift alone is precious beyond words. A tear escaped my father while he read a piece I wrote for him. I have been writing all my life. Life changes have sparked my creative energy to write. This was not the book I began. This was the book that I always wanted to write: my poetry/prose.