A Lesson In Unconditional Love
I love asking people questions about their lives. I often learn new reasons to empathize, respect, admire, and appreciate them.
Jodi Franks is one of them. I have known her for years…beginning from way back when, when she was a producer on Warm 98 (98.5 FM). We stay in touch a lot through Facebook and usually see each other at Broadway in Cincinnati shows. (I was even sitting next to her on the evening when this photo was taken.) Still, when I asked her about an act of kindness that changed her life, I wasn’t expecting what I heard.
Those beautiful girls who were sitting beside her (and me) that evening, have an incredible reason for which to celebrate being together. Through sadness and family hardship, Jodi taught them lessons in unconditional love. Before Daytona’s second birthday, she already experienced the loss of her mother and was uprooted to live with her grandparents. It was seven years later – after the death of her grandfather and the toll of dementia set in on her grandmother – that Jodi drove hundreds of miles to bring Daytona to Cincinnati to be part of Jodi’s family.
Please read Jodi’s story in her own words.
“On November 27th, 2006, my sister-in-law was involved in a fatal car accident. Both of my brothers were also in the car, and both were critically injured. Due to legal issues, custody of my niece was given to my elderly mother and father.
Daytona was just a little over a year old, and I tried to convince my mother and father that because of their age, it would be difficult to raise a child so young. My mother insisted that they were fine, but should there come a time when they could no longer care for her, she would make sure that custody passed to me.
Sadly, in June 2013, we lost our father, and due to several strokes, our mother’s dementia began to take its toll. By the end of August 2013, I took the long drive to central Kentucky and brought home a little girl who barely knew us. The first year was hard for everyone. My daughter had to learn to share her things, her room, and her parents. Day had to learn how to grieve for not only the loss of her beloved grandfather, she had to deal with being separated from her granny who was the only mother figure she had, and move 300 miles away from the only life she had ever known.
Day is stoic and brave. She’s also wonderfully creative and funny. She completes our little family.
It’s been my honor to fulfill my mother’s wishes. I’m also eternally grateful for the gift I was given, another child that I desperately wanted.”