I first met Caitlin Taggart in 1994 when my son Patrick enrolled in Purple Dragon Pre-school and became fast friends with her brother Chris. Our families quickly assimilated into each other. Rarely did a weekend pass without one boy spending a night or two at the other boy’s home. We fed each other’s family fairly regularly. At my house, we had chicken fettuccini, baked macaroni and cheese, and one-pot wonders. Katrina fixed what Patrick called “real meals”: meat, potatoes, salad. At the Holmes house we had desserts; at the Taggarts’, we had separate salad bowls and home-made dressing. Life could not have been richer for all of us.
I took Patrick and Chris on many outings, and Caitlin, five years older than Chris, six years older than Patrick, often accompanied us. She corralled the boys but with kindness, a deft sweet hand and voice, and good humor. She never lost her temper. We traveled to conferences at the Lake and picnics at the parks of Johnson County. I never tired of Caitlin’s presence — not then, and not ever since then. She provided the big-sistership that Patrick needed and enjoyed; she and her sister Jennie became my shared daughters. I took both Jennie and Caitlin to Victoria’s Secret on their sixteenth birthdays. The Taggarts gave us one of the pivotal homes in the village with which I raised my child, and Caitlin’s role was as indispensable as Katrina’s status as second mother.
This afternoon, Caitlin and her fiance Bryan Perkins will join as wife and husband in a Quaker ceremony here in Kansas City, with friends and family in attendance. Patrick’s class and work obligations keep him from being present, but I know he joins me in wishing Caitlin and Bryan the happiest of evenings and the most beautiful of lives.
I am confident of their future together. I’ve watched Caitlin for twenty years, and I’ve seen the two of them together for the last two years. They have the critical superpowers: Joy, Hope, Faithfulness, and Love. These qualities meld them as a couple and emanate from them to envelope others. They radiate kindness in each other’s presence. The fierceness of their dedication to each other and to their family and friends leaves me breathless.
Caitlin tells us that the Quaker wedding ceremony lasts about an hour. That’s a long time to sit in witness but I’m not complaining. I would sit all day to give tribute to this most wonderful couple. To Caitlin and Bryan, I send my very best wishes; but also, my humble thanks, for allowing me to remain a part of your lives as you set your feet upon this new path.