Coming from a large family and family line, my desire to have children has always been strong. However, it wasn't until meeting my wife, Casey Johnson Judice, eight years ago when my dream could become a reality. I have truly always felt that tug. Before we married I already shared my love for her previous two children. I consider them as mine. But, before we married, I also told my wife of my strong desire to have a biological child. Casey is 15 years my junior, so despite my being in my mid 40's when we dated, Casey was absolutely in safe child bearing years. Initially, I must admit, my wife was skeptical. Having two previous children she was concerned how they might adjust. It had always only been the two siblings. Would they be jealous? How would the family cope? I understood, but my heart kept tugging. But, as with most matters in life, love prevails. After trips to the doctor for testing to see if there was any reason we were not conceiving after 2 years, I decided to lace my faith in God and relied on prayer to see what His will would be. The highlight of my heart was born, January 24, 2014. My life finally felt complete. Then, July 28, 2017, my newest blessing arrived, (as if I deserved more), and another light to my life. Adeline, entered this world.
I had 4 siblings growing up, so life was always filled with laughter, tears, fights and of course, childhood shenanigans. But, as with many childhoods, it was also filled with some level of dysfunction. We tend to piece things together and make more sense of matters better as adults, but my childhood definitely left a few scars.
My father (RIP) was a hard worker, but he lacked showing affection to his children. This left me feeling a little ignored. But, later in life I came to learn of his conditioning as a child, which led to his aloofness. He hadn't had the greatest of childhoods and after coming to understand him, it was easier for us to make peace. We shared many wonderful years as adult father/son. My mother is and always has been an amazing woman. She was the “glue' in many senses and has always been there for us. She was a good mother and wife who taught us the meaning of the words love and commitment.
I recognize how important certain conversations are. I have also learned a wealth of knowledge about forgiveness in my time. But most of all, I have recognized that children matter most and sometimes parents don't have the proper tools to guide the way. I think this is one major component which brought me to my career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
I spent much of my time counseling military children in Ft. Hood, Texas and Ft. Polk, Louisiana. I witnessed time and again where most of the families and children I have worked with over the years revealed distant or nonexistent relationships with their fathers. Even though fathers were rarely in the picture the children often viewed them as heroes or someone they desperately wanted to connect with. Boys were especially negatively impacted by the father’s absence. My heart could relate to them in a way and I grieved for them as well. This only made my desire to help others stronger, as well as have a family of my own.
When working with school age children, I would often ask them: “If I could grant you three wishes, what would you wish for?” I loved hearing the different answers they would come up with. In part, this inspired my first published book and the “I Wish” series I am working on.
Why an Author? I remember writing a poem in one of my English classes in High School and I enjoyed writing. Furthermore, I remember the positive feedback my teacher gave me. Positive feedback was not something I had become accustomed to in my childhood. It felt good knowing I had a talent and someone took note. I admit, in college I was not very mature and didn’t focus on school. This is where I really began my adolescent rebellion. I definitely was a late bloomer and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I guess that's how Casey got stuck with me! One of the bright spots in my undergraduate studies came when I took an elective in creative writing. I enjoyed it and I liked the professor who was also a poet. I continued to write off and on most of my adult years. I became more focused when I joined the Writer’s Guild of Acadiana many years ago. I am now VP of the group. Ultimately, I am a Christian and I know that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of us. His Mercy and Grace in my life still amazes me. I am so thankful and humbled by His love for me and all of His children. I believe God speaks to us in many ways. I read a Christian Inspirational book and believe God was talking directly to me. I wanted to write something like that one day. And now I have my first published book, dedicated to my father, a man I always looked up to, but through my adult years, came to admire. So in the end, it is almost akin to a fairy-tale, or at least a happy ending we are working on. I love my wife and my beautiful family more than life itself and now that I am achieving my dream of publishing books, I truly could not ask for more. I'm hoping one day I can publish books that might help those in need. The children who seek encouragement and can't find it and to help them with uplifting praises and prayers. Those are who truly matter in this world.
So, MY wish? Is for ALL children to live safely with the proper love and guidance needed to become strong, vibrant, emotionally healthy adults.