Vicki's children, Curran and Caroline, both say they had a special relationship with their stepfather from the moment he entered their lives. "I was this little shy 5-year-old, and I didn't quite know what to make of this man who, as mom said, came to dinner every night and was this amazing presence," Caroline says. "He just really made an effort to connect individually with me."
Curran, who was 8 years old when he met Sen. Kennedy, says his stepfather played more than just a parental role. "In addition to being this father figure that was always there and always so supportive, he was just such a great friend," Curran says. "He and I shared a love of sports, which he kind of spent a lot of time to get to know well to have that bond with me."
Sen. Kennedy took his role in Vicki's children's lives very seriously, she says. "It was such a surprise to me when we were still dating he said, 'Well, it's Halloween. I'll be there to take the children trick-or-treating,'" she says. "My neighbors were in shock. It was the talk of my street."
Those were the moments that made Sen. Kennedy the man he was, Vicki says. "He loved those kid things so much," she says. "I think his life was defined by family."