• 66°

Sharon Randall: For the love of Wiley

By Sharon Randall

Why do people get married? Most of us, I hope, would say that we married for love.

Love is no guarantee that a marriage will last. But without it, the chances for happiness — let alone for fun — are pretty much slim to none.

I married twice for love.

My first husband was a teacher and a coach. It was a good marriage that grew better and stronger over time. It lasted 30 years until he died of cancer.

It gave me three children who will always be the crowning achievements of my life.

It also gave me a gift I never wanted: For four years, I was a health care advocate, spiritual cheerleader and end-0f-life caregiver for someone I could not imagine living without.

Getting married is like being a parent. It’s best not to know at the start all it might require.

I was pretty sure I didn’t want to get married again. I missed my husband but never really felt lonely. I had a full life, three great kids, family and friends and a job that I loved.

I traveled, published a book and read more in two years than I had since college. I learned to make my own decisions and spend my own money. And I began to figure out who I was, now that I was no longer who I had been for most of my life.

Then one day, my editor and good friend found the nerve to tell me he had carried a torch for me for a while and thought I should give him chance.

So I did. Five years later, I married him. Yes, for love.

I loved not only him but the way others loved him. My kids. My friends. My cat. His family. Even my sister, who told me if I didn’t marry him, she would.

I never thought about future grandchildren or what kind of grandpa he might make. Neither his kids nor mine showed any signs of reproducing.

But after we were married, grandbabies started coming out of the woodwork. We now have six, ages 7 years to 7 months.

They all adore Papa Mark. And why not? He’s one of them. He plays video games, watches cartoons, builds Legos with them for hours. He takes them out for ice cream and knows all their favorite flavors.

Henry, who’s 6, said, “Nana, are you older than Papa Mark?”

“Just a bit,” I said. “Why?”

“I knew it!” he said. “Papa Mark is such a kid!”

If I show up alone at their door, they give me hugs, then ask, “Where’s Papa Mark?”

They like me, too. But I’m a mama person. I feed them, kiss on them and tell them to quit doing whatever they’re doing before it breaks their necks.

Papa Mark is all fun. And no one likes fun more than Wiley.

Wiley is 4. He suffers no fools.

We recently spent a month in California, visiting Wiley and all our family. My husband had to go home to Las Vegas before I did. The next day, Wiley stood at the fridge, staring at a photo of himself with Papa Mark.

“Nana,” he said, pressing his finger on the photo, “can you take me to see Papa Mark?”

“Sorry, buddy,” I said, nuzzling the back of his neck, “he’ll come see you again soon.”

“Oh,” Wiley sighed. “I just really, really want to see him.”

The following week, I flew home and spent the evening watching my husband’s eyes light up as I told him things the kids had said about him.
And if that wasn’t enough to make him want to move back to California, there was this:

The next day, as Wiley dressed for preschool, he asked his mom if he could take the photo of him and Papa Mark off the fridge.

Why? Because he wanted to share it for “Show and Tell.”

There is no sweeter gift than the love of a child. It’s a blessing not just for the one who is loved, but for the entire family: For Wiley’s parents. For his brother and sister and cousins. For the grandpa he is named for and will never know. And for his nana, who is glad she married someone her grandbabes adore.

I married, yes, for love. And for a little boy named Wiley.

Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson, NV 89077 or on her website: www.sharonrandall.com.



County begins accepting restaurant grant applications


Blotter: Salisbury man charged with nine more felony sex offenses


Biden team readies wider economic package after virus relief


Spacewalking astronauts prep station for new solar wings


Cuomo sorry for remarks aide ‘misinterpreted’ as harassment


Trump calls for GOP unity, repeats lies about election loss


Rowan County administers 700 vaccines, with majority going to local educators


Shoplifting at Walmart presents challenge for Salisbury police


Commissioners will hear details about changes to solar energy policies


After overcoming obstacles, local barber Daniel King earns registered status


39th annual K12 student exhibitions go virtual


Biz Roundup: Chamber of Commerce to host ‘Salute to Agri-Business’ at March Power in Partnership


Local legislators back bills ranging from new restrictions on sex offenders to Holocaust education


After surviving COVID-19 scare, Lois Willard set to celebrate 100th birthday

High School

Carson rolls over South 41-0 as about 600 allowed in to see season opener for both


East Spencer after-school program looks toward opening, nonprofit status


Frank Ramsey inducted into the NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame


Livingstone’s Stoutamire inducted into 2021 CIAA Hall of Fame


J&J’s 1-dose shot cleared, giving US 3rd COVID-19 vaccine


13 deaths reported in Rowan, county stresses need to receive second dose


10% of Rowan residents receive first dose; eight COVID-19 deaths reported this week


North Carolina State Highway Patrol commander to retire


UNC School of the Arts may go for online learning due to COVID-19 spread


Greensboro site to administer 3,000 daily vaccine doses starting March 10