This past week I’ve spent some time writing stories about children living with extremely rare and life-altering medical conditions. As a writer it can be hard to write about children who are hurting or suffering. While I don’t have any children of my own, all three of my sisters have blessed me with several nieces and nephews to interact with.

All of them came with their own complications. My one nephew was born with all of his intestinal organs on the outside. He spent weeks in the NICU with his parents staying in the Ronald McDonald House during the ordeal. They were in Florida and I was in Idaho at the time. The distance made it hard for me to get out there and see my sister’s newborn baby. Nonetheless, I was able to meet the trooper when she got him healthy enough to travel.

I have another sister who had a pair of miscarriages. That was really hard to see her have to go through that once. It was devastating the second time. Whenever I meet a child that is facing hard times, a kid who struggles to do the things many of us take for granted, I am reminded how special kids really are. Whenever you meet one of these kids while us adults might fixate on his or her condition, as we see the things the kid is missing out on or struggling with. But, the children see life. They just want to play and learn and laugh like their peers.

We’ve been very fortunate that despite a few medical hiccups along the way, my family has not had to experience the suffering and hardships some parents go through.

Last week I went over to my sisters house after only being away for a few days. Her youngest daughter ran up and gave me a hug like she hadn’t seen me in ages as she often does. The thing is I live in a house right next door. Sometimes I have to stop and remember how much those kids mean to the people around them. Other times I have to be reminded how much they rely on the adults in their lives being there for them.

Happy birthday to Jabarien Phea, Leaodus Phea, L.D. Morgan, Saundra Rhea and T.O. Gilbert, all of Sherman; Rebecca Lyn Thomas of Savoy; Jackie Cole and Shona Taylor Sr., both of Denison; Malena Furch of Bonham;

Happy anniversary to Richard and Eula Patterson of Sherman, 10 years.