A New Little One

baby hand
I have a new nephew.  He’s almost a month old now.  A precious baby boy who came and brought much joy with him.  Much needed joy.
His first full day home we went and visited him.  Mama joined us for the trip.  It was precious and sad all at the same time for her.  This sweet grandbaby, whom she cuddled and gazed upon adoredly…..the first grandchild who wouldn’t know his granddaddy.  That made us all a little teary.
He is a beautiful, healthy baby.  He is loved by his big brothers and sisters and his cousins talk about him a lot too.  He made us all smile and laugh together…..something this family needs on the path of finding our way back to a new normal.
While visiting with my sister, I had a thought that brought me comfort and peace.  I looked down at this new little face, thinking of the joy that each one of the grandchildren brought Daddy when he first saw their little faces and toes.   I turned to my little sister and said, “What if, as this little guy was heading out to join us, what if Daddy patted him on the back, gave him a hug and a handshake, and said, ‘Have a good one, son……’ ?”
Yeah.  I like that.
Welcome to the world, little one.  Have a good one.  We’re a crazy bunch, but we’ll love you no matter what story you’re carrying.

What Would You Do With It?

matchbox

Four months ago, Daddy took his last breath on this earth and left for a much
better place, leaving all the brokenness and sadness behind.

Today is my Daddy’s birthday.  We’ll be celebrating much differently this year.  Today
we’ll go out and see the marker that was just placed on his grave this week.  We
plan on planting a tea olive out there.  I once told Daddy that I hope that
Heaven smells like a tea olive.  He loved them too.   Daddy also loved Stevi B’s
pizza–especially the cheeseburger and the BLT.  My littles want to go eat there
today to celebrate.  I’m not sure yet if I can do that yet.  At the least we
will pick up some and eat with Mama at the house.  Then make our sojourn out to
the little church and the cemetery whose stones read like our family tree.

I heard a song the other day, Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying.”
In the song, he talks about a man who gets a terminal diagnosis and he asks him
what he did with the time he had left.  The man responded, talking about going
skydiving, mountain climbing, and bullriding, among other things.  Through the
tears I thought about what choices Daddy made after he “got the news.”  There
were no daredevil activities, but what he did took great bravery and
peace.

He never complained.
He made everyone who entered his hospital
room or his home smile, with his wit and smile and those big blue eyes.   He
said thank you.
He listened to stories his family would come and share with
him.  He loved hearing those stories, and then he’d share them with other
folks who came to visit.
He laughed.  And laughed.
He stared out the
window…..at the trees, at the birds, at cars going by.  He was quiet a lot
too.
He worried about my Mama.  He worried about what all this was doing to
her.
He disciplined children (me!) and grandchildren, from his hospital bed
in the living room, and he was still as effective as he’d always been.
He
bumped fists and did the “firework” move and said “Booyah” everytime we said
“bye.”  He said I love you.
And so precious…..he let my little four year
old guy, drive Matchbox cars around and around the railing and head/footboards
of his hospital bed…..over and over again.
“Is that bothering you,
Daddy?”  “No,” he always replied.  And it didn’t.  He loved seeing his grandson
playing with those Matchbox cars that he had amassed over the years.  They would
talk about what make and model the car was, and the ever important discussion of whether it was a fast car or not.

So Daddy didn’t take off to the rodeo amateur night or try to talk someone into taking him up into his plane, but what
he did took way more courage I think.  He gave us the gift of the time he had
left.  He taught us to be brave, to love, to share, and to see others through
the pain and uncertainty of a diagnosis that took him from this world.  No small feat when you don’t know what is coming next.

Happy Birthday, Daddy!  Thank you for everything.  I love you.