i can’t think of many things much better than an instant of today.
i drove up to spend some way too infrequent time with Renee Hoskins and her daughter Kinsley. Renee served in the Marines, is now going to school full time with plans to get her masters in gerontology health and wellness (or something like that: Renee straighten me out if this is wrong), working, continually fighting the VA Bureaucracy to obtain her rightful benefits, and taking care of her daughter. She is nothing short of amazing.
After several months of trying to get together again after a long layoff — Renee lives in Carlsbad, in the north, while we are almost to the border; her schedule, our schedule and the distance makes it difficult — we finally connected but even then, Maureen could not join us due to other commitments.
i drove to the Escondido, arriving at the Children’s Discovery Museum a bit late. Renee and Kinsley were waiting at the door. When i got out of the car, Kinsley jumped up and down, waved, and ran toward me yelling, “Uncle Jim, Uncle Jim.” She ran into my arms; i picked her up, and she gave me a hug around the neck.
And folks, it just doesn’t get much better than that: a great feeling of joy flowing into an old man.
We had a wonderful couple of hours at the museum and a quick lunch. Kinsley is a delightful, well-spoken, obedient, and energetic young girl. Her mother is caring, a strict parent who lets Kinsley grow and develop, and the love between those two is a beautiful thing to observe.
In many ways, Renee reminds me of her grandmother, Nancy Orr Schwarze. Being with someone who resembles a cousin who is so close she is more like a sister can also make my day.
It ain’t quite like being with my grandson, but it’s close. Boy, is it close.