Dear Kristin Welch

I'm writing a letter a day for Lent, but rather than a handwritten letter, I feel like writing you here.

Visiting with you was one of the highlights of my latest visit to Arizona. Overall, it was a wonderful trip, and my evening with you added to that. I loved being part the end of a busy day with your family that is twice as big as when you moved away from Oklahoma. When I think about how you have six children, nothing seems too out of the ordinary, but when I was thinking about you last night, I thought, "Kristin is the mother of one son and five daughters." That was a WHOA moment. You have five daughters. I don't know why this perspective is so different, but it is, and it's important to me.

Back when Kailey and Abigail were your only two, you said something about how people always asked if you were going to try for a boy, or if you really wanted a boy next. I loved your answer that it didn't matter, and that you loved your little family of girls. I loved that your third baby was a girl too. I was also happy to meet Cameron when I was there: "He does exist!" I'm happy that five young girls have a wonderful mother to look up to. You are so smart and loving. I've always enjoyed watching you with your children. You were an example to me of the kind of mother I wanted to be.

I've had these daydreams about moving right around the corner from you in Mesa. Cora and Magnolia would be best friends with Jessica and Megandee. And you and I would find random moments throughout our busy days to visit, and eat oranges. I know you've been back around the orchards for a while now, but I miss walking up to a tree and pulling some fresh citrus off. [And maybe someday Cora or Magnolia would marry Cameron, and we would share grandbabies, and we'd never get upset over where our children were spending the holidays, living right around the corner and all. ;)]

I shared with you that one of my friends (and fellow ward members) lives right across the street from your old house. And just yesterday, I went visiting teaching at another family's house in your old neighborhood. I always take the long way to their house just so I can drive by yours. Sometimes I feel like walking up to your old door and knocking on it, like the house will magically turn into a time machine, and when the door opens, you'd be smiling on the other side.

For now, I really appreciate that you have been part of my Oklahoma life, and that your homeland is my homeland. You exist in two of my favorite places, and I'm certain that seals a forever friendship between us, even if the time between visits equals years.

I love you.


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