From Chicken Soup for the Soul Daily Inspirations for Women

February 9

Justin was my sister Roxanne’s first child; two years later, Shaun was born. When Roxanne divorced, I moved in to help so she could work and go to school. Later I moved out, and Roxanne met a man I didn’t care for (an IV drug user) before finding Tony, who loved her and the boys. But something was happening to Roxanne.

“It’s advanced AIDS,” the doctor said.

“Rhonda, I want you to take my boys,” she said to me.

I wasn’t there when Roxanne told the boys that they were losing their mother and would be leaving their home. Two weeks later I was awarded custody.

As Roxanne worsened, I knew I had to be strong for the boys. At church I met Jerry; Roxanne must have thought, This man may raise my children. The boys stood at my side as Jerry and I took our vows.

Today, if we’re out and someone says to the boys, “Your parents . . . ,” I always correct them. “We’re Aunt Rhonda and Jerry,” I say. I could never take Roxanne’s place—and I don’t want to. I just want to raise the boys to be the fine young men she wanted them to be.

Rhonda Adkins as told to Carla Merolla

Sometimes we must help carry out
other people’s dreams
when they can’t do it themselves.

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