Laura Harvey became a mother in 1996. She said that it was “scary but breathtakingly beautiful.” Today, she is the mom of three children: Erica Estrada, 27; Kelly Cogan, 24; and Joseph Cogan, 22. “Erica is all girl mixed with a tomboy attitude. Kelly is the quiet one to watch out for,” Laura says. “Joseph is my sweet one with a heart of gold. I have loved watching each of them figure out life and succeed.”
One of Laura’s favorite memories relates to past trips taken with the children. “When Erica was a year old, we lived on Fort Hood Army base and took a day trip to Waco, Texas. We went to the Texas Rangers Museum and purchased a really cool souvenir cup in the gift shop. As the three children got older, they argued over who got to drink from that cup. So when planning our spring break trip, I decided to return to Waco to find each one of them their own souvenir cup,” Laura says. She took the children back to the Texas Rangers Museum to increase their knowledge of the Rangers and their job duties. They even learned the history of the Texarkana Phantom Killer, which became the coolest part of the children’s time spent there. “Sadly, they no longer have the really cool souvenir cup.” The next day’s adventure included the Dr. Pepper museum, where their family found Dr. Pepper made with Imperial Sugar in glass bottles. Laura remembers, “That has been the best flavored Dr. Pepper we ever tasted. Seeing all the logos and bootlegs through the years was exciting to see. They even have a life-size horse made out of bottle lids and cans. We all were amazed to be able to look down the well that they pumped the water from to make the drink when they first opened.” Their final day was at the Cameron Park Zoo, where all the animals were very entertaining. “Watching each of them being in ‘aaahh’ of the animals made my momma heart happy. We got to see real-life ‘Timon’ and ‘Pumbaa’s’ along with leopards, chimpanzees, tigers, birds, otters, tortoises, and a komodo dragon,” Laura says. “This trip was my all-time favorite memory because seeing the children come to life with excitement, adventure, and curiosity at each place was fun and exciting.
Laura’s biggest challenge as a mother was having to do it all on her own. “I was a single mom, but I never used my status as a crutch for sympathy. I just did what I could to give them the most normal life they could have while guiding them,” Laura says. “On the hard days, I have always received my strength from God, my mom, and a handful of wonderful ladies God has put in my life as a blessing.”
During her childhood, Laura felt she was always supported and loved, and she wanted her children to feel the same. Her favorite memories of the children always revolve around the love and enjoyment Laura experienced as a mother to them and their friends. “My children’s friends were always hanging out at my house. It was always full of laughter. There was always a messy kitchen (thanks Cam), girls screaming, boys rough-housing, sleepovers, serious talks, and life lessons. I loved every minute of it,” Laura says. “Being a mom to all my children’s friends really made my heart full. Each one of them is still a blessing to me.”
If she could go back in time, Laura would tell her younger self how hard it would be when her children grew up and became adults. “I would have done some things differently, such as going on more adventures to make memories,” Laura says. “But motherhood has been my greatest JOY. I have loved every aspect of being a mom and now ‘LaLa’ to my granddaughter, Brinley.”