"Take care of yourselves and each other, and always remember my motto:
It’s ok to work hard, as long as you play harder."

-Joe Milligan,
in an email to his parents 7/02

July 17, 2007
6:26 PM

I just discovered this website today...don't know why it took me so long. I had the glorious honor of being Katie and "Joey's" nanny for several years. They are held in my heart as some of the best years of my life. I have so many memories of Joey (he will always be Joey to me).

He loved books and reading and some of our best times were spent at the library. He found a book about spiders...not one I was anxious to read to him...but nevertheless did. There was information about how spiders do not have nerves like humans and consequently they did not feel pain the same way. Joey's question to me was, "So if you step on a spider, does he know he's dead?" This is just one of many questions he would ask that would send me back to the library on my own for information.

Then there were the piano lessons. These weren't the favorite part of his day. I would be doing other things and he would start out with a passion. He would think I had moved beyond hearing range and he was "doing his time." And of course, I would not be the wiser. One time I slipped into the study and he was sitting there completely wrapped up in a transformer, and absolutely surprised at my presence. Although he would continue to whine sometimes, he actually practiced after that.

Joey and Katie were in many ways typical brother and sister. “I love you to death,” Don’t you dare come into my room” (that was usually Katie). But they had a bond that I recognized from the beginning. Even though Joey was the younger of the two he was absolutely Katie’s protector and defender.

He loved to play the game Battleship and was quite good at it. We would play often. (This was back in the day, before electronic battleship, when you actually had to call out the coordinates) If you ask the Milligans, I think they will all agree that my sense of humor was and is a bit off beat. Every time he would say B-4, I would ask him “Before what?” Which would always lead to fits of laughter and of course slow down the game.

Then there was the day that Amanda (their dog at the time) managed to find her way onto the roof of the house. Joey came running in the house telling me she was on top of the house and was going to jump down. Now I loved Amanda, but she didn’t always seem to use her brain to it’s best use. Upon seeing us at the front of the house she of course decided to come see us. Joey just knew this was the end of their beloved dog. I told him and Katie to keep her attention until I could get to the back of the house and lure her down to safety. The mission was accomplished and Amanda lived to see many more days. I was Joey’s hero (for awhile at least). I should mention that dog rescue and climbing on the roof a two story house was not a part of my original work description.

I will forever cherish and love the Milligan family. I will forever love and miss Joey. To this day I still have a Christmas ornament Joey gave me and a little plaque that says “I need a hug.” Oh and Katie...I still have the wooden horse you did on the black board.

But I know that Joey is ok. I know that he is held in the hands of God and is completely and utterly safe.

For Julie, George and Katie, I wish you God's blessings, fond memories and that y’all will continue to take gentle care of each other. And I know you will.

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