I love Sweetarts, lemon drops...those yummy treats that simultaneously satisfy my sweet tooth and lock my jaw😂
I also love and hold dear those bittersweet moments in life; those moments that bring both a tear and a smile. We’ve all experienced them: that moment of pure exhilaration for what lies ahead and nostalgia for what is left behind. I have many of these in my memory files. I will never forget holding our youngest son, Tucker, not wanting to put him down for the night. I’m not sure why, but that night it hit me like a ton of bricks that my time of holding him like this would soon be over. He was growing so fast-faster it seemed because he had older brothers to show him the way. I held him tightly because I knew that due to some health complications he would be our last child. I held him tightly because I wanted to always remember, always treasure in my heart, always have etched in my mind how it felt to hold our sons in my arms when they were little. That night it was as if I were embracing all three of them, embracing the sweet memory while holding Tuck in my arms...bittersweet.
I have often said that when it comes to our sons, even now that they work with us at Y&S, we have to hold them in our hands with palms up, hands open wide, fingertips spread. It would be so tempting to hold on and squeeze tightly. Letting go and letting God lead them is easier said than done! Note to self: enjoy the season God has planted us in, but always know seasons change.
Just as we were basking in this new season of having all three of our sons working with us, basking in the new adventure of Ya Ya’s, God had a change in mind. You see, while Darren and I have three biological sons and have been blessed with three incredible young women, our boys wives whom we consider our daughters, God has knitted many other “children” in our lives. We have known Whitney most of her life and watched her and her sisters grow up. Whit came to work with us at Y&S in August 2006 right after high school. Although she is not ours, we claim her as ours. Since she has been here, we’ve watched her grow and mature into such an incredible young woman. We have watched her come in early to get her work done so she could leave early and go do her college class work. We’ve had the privilege to walk through triumphs and heart breaks, peaks and valleys, sharing life, sharing work, becoming family. Rick was her work dad, Darren, her way older, protective, big brother and the boys, well let’s just say that they filled the role as pesky younger brothers quite well. Karen, Mack, Rob, Danny, Jeremy, Joe, Morgan, and so many more here in the Y&S family have been blessed by this sweet girl and I’m quite certain have countless fun “Whit stories.” I can’t help but smile my memory of multiple times that I would get busy and forget about picking up Tucker from school...LOL!!!...no judging! She would sweetly come in and offer to pick him up for me. It got to be a bit of a joke around here.
When graduating from college was becoming very real, I can remember several conversations with her about all the possibilities that were just around the corner. I remember telling her that although we hated the thought of her leaving, she would be qualified to work anywhere downtown OKC with the very best of them. Darren and I had to be with her just as we are with our own kiddos - hands out, palms up, fingers open wide, and words spoken, “we want you to do what God wants you to do.”
Well that day came, and I knew as Whit and Darren walked into Ya Ya’s, both with that knowing bittersweet smile on their faces. My first response was to grab her and cry, “NO!!!”, but I had to practice what I preach...I had to be brave, supportive, excited and encouraging all the while my heart was breaking and my mind was flooded with so many sweet memories - happy, sad, ordinary, thrilling...bittersweet. Memories of her beautiful laughter filling this office, her caring heart, her coming into my office and asking to take on more so I could work on my dream of Ya Ya’s. There have been lots of heart to hearts the past few weeks, lots of laughter, lots of tears… Whit was in our office trying to dot all the i’s and cross the t’s when her eyes filled with tears. She quietly said, “This is so hard.” I gave her a big hug and told her that if it wasn’t hard, it would make me a little sad. When you love BIG, goodbye’s are hard!
Whit is leaving us to work at not just any ordinary job, but a great job with incredible people, a family company that her grandfather started! We are so sad for our loss, but so excited and proud for her. We will always treasure that God saw fit to knit Whitney into our lives and look forward to seeing the next chapter unfold for her. We could not bear to see her go from us for anything less worthy. With tears in our eyes, we hold you with hands out, palms up, fingers open wide. We love you dearly Whit and no matter where God leads you, our love and prayers go with you…bittersweet.
Now, go make your sweet Pappy proud!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.