Well considering Ellie and Mark have both played a major role in my life, my entire life, I struggled with what I wanted to speak aout today. I hate public speaking and I was nervous I would get up here and pee the way I did the day I met my uncle Mark (but that’s a whole other story).
As a young child, some of the happiest memories I have are with Ellie and Mark and their daycare Babymacaroni. I did not have much stability but I always knew that when I was with them, I would be having fun. The toys, the art and crafts, the field trips, the friends, the love.
I distinctly remember the summer after I turned 11 years old. Ellie and/or Mark would drive into the city and pick my sister and I up every Sunday to stay with them for the week. We would go to babymacaroni daily to be Ellie and Mark’s “helpers”. As an adult, I now realize that WE were the ones being helped. Ellie and Mark were helping us escape from our real lives, even if it were just for the week.
That November, we ended up moving in with Ellie and Mark. All of our lives drastically changed that day. Ellie, Mark, Beau, Samantha, and myself. It was a day NONE of us will ever forget. Ellie and Mark were in their early 30’s and Beau was just 1 year old. Now I have to wonder, what kind of crazy people would move-in two adolescent girls into their home and turn their lives upside down? They interrupted their own young happy family just to give us a better chance at life. I am very thankful for that.
I also have to wonder, what kind of man would allow his wife to take in her two nieces? And treat them as if they were his own flesh and blood? Only Mark Bradley. When Nana died in December, I couldn’t help but think about what an amazing job she did raising her children and how different my OWN life would be had she not raised my uncle Mark to be the awesome man he is today.
My uncle Mark and Aunt Ellie always have and always will be like parents to me. To this day, they both treat my daughter Amariah, as if she were their grandchild. I know she feels their love the way I did as a child. I appreciate ALL the love they have given myself and Amariah more than they will ever know.
Without Ellie and Mark, I would not know what it is like to have a family. Without Ellie and Mark, I would not know HOW to be a loving parent. Without Ellie and Mark, I would not know how to FIGHT for my child. Without Ellie and Mark, I would not have the values and morals I have today. Without Ellie and Mark, I would not know what a real marriage should look like. Without Ellie and Mark, I WOULD NOT be the person I am today (Although that may be debatable on whether that’s a good or a bad thing! (Just joking). If I have never said it before, THANK YOU for everything you have done for me. I know that none of this would have been possible, without your strong healthy marriage!