I remember the day we asked him to be my baby to be’s godfather. It was a happy moment for me, but it was not quite so for him. I don’t mean he wasn’t joyful, but he took it very seriously, and he thought about it before just blurting out “yes.” From that moment on, he has loved this child of mine as though she were his own.
And she is.
She has been his since he came to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning to greet his new goddaughter just over twenty years ago. She has been his since he held her in the recliner that had been her great grandfather’s. He held her for HOURS, not wanting or needing a break. Just holding on to the small bit of wonder in his arms, only a few weeks old. She’s been his since his cards and notes and letters always put a smile on her face. She’s been his ever since he has been at all of her big moments–the sad ones, holding her hand and hugging her tight, and the happy ones, high fiving her and watching her soar with his chest filled with pride and love in his eyes.
She’s been his all of her life. He’s a doting godfather, but he’s also the kind who reminds her to be her best self and to “take the high road.” Even when things get hard. Even when other folks try to bring you to do battle on their path. Take the high road. Always.
I am thankful for the vision that came to me that summer of 1995. The idea of this man, who was known and loved by my new family for almost all of his life, being in my child’s life just seemed natural. It was important to me for reasons I could say and many more I could never quite put my finger on. All I know is, in that moment, I chose wisely. Very wisely.
Today I had an appointment with someone I saw last week. He made the comment that I was much more relaxed than I had been the week before, which was funny since I arrived a few minutes late. The thing is that this person is full of grace. A few minutes late is NOT worth stressing about in his book, as he has impressed upon me time and again. That right there. That grace–that is why I was less stressed today. I wanted to tell him that the relaxed me he saw had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the good and beautiful and grace-filled people I find myself blessed to have around me.
And that’s why tonight, on the eve of Aub’s godfather’s birthday, I give thanks for him. He has taught her by example what a good man looks like and does. He has shown her unconditional love and challenged her to be her best self. He has sympathized with her and then told her to rise above. He has celebrated everything in her life from birthdays to graduation to an evening of listening to her and her college classmates yelling and cheering. He asks questions when boy’s names are mentioned, and he pays attention to her dreams and goals and cheers her on. He is one of the good and beautiful and grace-filled people who surround her as she continues becoming the best person she can be. Those folks are rare treasures indeed.
I remember one evening before she was born, after our childbirth class I think it was, that Aub’s “Uncle B” was going to join us for supper. We exited the elevator to see him waiting in the lobby of the hospital building. The sun was going down behind his head. I remember being struck by trying to see him with all that light behind him. I don’t remember anything else about that evening, like the class before that moment or the supper after. But I remember him. And that light. And that’s how it has always been. No matter how hard or sad or dark things have gotten in the past twenty years, he has been a constant, steady presence, a light in the darkness, reminding us that we are loved. Just by being there.
Tonight I’m thankful for this man who has always been there for my girl. On this day that celebrates his presence in our world, I am thankful for his presence in our lives. Happy birthday, B!
Love to all.