Lauren had been on my mind frequently with Valentine’s Day coming up, not that she ever really leaves it. This day of “I love you’s” that most people look forward to and that I still gave her valentines and a little gift, even at 21. What kept coming back to my mind was those “3 little words”. You see I sometimes had trouble telling her that…oh for various reasons. She would tell me and when I didn’t always say it back she would try to coax it out of me. Maybe I wasn’t “loving” her right then cause we had fought or I just didn’t feel like saying it. Now I always loved her but sometimes didn’t “like” her right then and if you are a parent you know what I mean. I always told her I wanted to say “it” when I felt it not just because someone had told me first…parroting the words right back to them. She would say…”But Mommmmm….”. Before you misunderstand, I said those “3 little words” more times than not…but not always.
The Friday night before she was killed we went out to eat with our “Nacogdoches” family. Bryan and his brother live in Lufkin and their parents, one set of Lauren’s grandparents, live in Nacogdoches. Since Lauren, the first grandchild on that side of the family was born, they have come to Lufkin on many Friday nights to see us. So it was Lauren, Mimi, PawPaw, Todd, Julie, Elise, Bryan, Taylor and I having supper at Cotton Patch. Taylor, her brother, was working 2 jobs and had called in sick to his night job, although that was not the norm. So the four of us, as our family unit, were together one last time. We all laughed, visited, joked, hugged and the “girls” made plans to go see Hairspray at Temple Theater. The last thing I said to her that night was…“I love you”…I meant it…I felt it…I wanted her to know. I have no regrets in that department and am so thankful God gave me that last opportunity to say those 3 simple but powerful words to my beloved daughter.
I love you Lauren…..Mom