Sunday, April 1, 2012


All our grandchildren are exceedingly special to me. We first became grandparents in 1999 when Alexis was born to our daughter Laurie. I had a very special relationship to Alexis as she lived with us for seven years and I was the only father figure in her life for most of those years. I thought I would maybe die from missing her so badly when she went back to live with her mama  almost two years ago.

So do I think hard of our daughter? No, I know she was missing Alexis badly herself and it was hard to be apart from her. It was a difficult situation for everyone involved. Life has gone on, and while I still miss her a lot, the awful ache in my heart has subsided. And we see her every week or so.

This is Alexis several years ago in the creek below Crabtree Falls
Ashten was the next one, born to our daughter also.  I was in the room when he was born by c-section; I saw him and held him before his mama did. He is cute as a button, smart as a tack and loves to ride with his Pa-Pa in anything that moves. He was saying "knuckleboom" when other kids his age were still just saying one syllable words. When he comes out he usually asks if I have any "truck books" (logging magazines) he can take home with him. He's a big fan of "Swamp Loggers" on TV.

Ashten's dad is a musician on the side. About a year ago he was playing his guitar one evening and asked Ashten, "Are you going to be a musician when you grow up?" "Nah," Ashten said, "I'm gonna work at the sawmill!"

Now Caleb is the most recent one we are learning to know. But I better write this quick because Caleb is supposed to be getting a baby brother just several weeks from now and he'll no longer be the most recent arrival.

We waited for a long time in the hospital for Caleb to be born. A long labor that finally ended in the doctors doing a c-section. Finally after yet another long wait, son Myron came down the hall with the nurses wheeling Heidi on the stretcher. They stopped where we were in the waiting room and Myron proceeded to announce that they had a son and his name was Caleb Merle.

I have to confess, I felt more than just a little emotion right then. It didn't give me the big head at all. Rather it humbled me. It made me want to be the best Pa-Pa I could be for this little soul that carries my name.

We were buddies right from the start. He was never afraid of me. He was saying Pa-Pa right about the same time he was saying Ma-Ma and Da-Da. I'll tell you one thing that will warm your heart is to walk in church and hear a little guy saying (and not very quietly either) "Pa-Pa, Pa-Pa, Pa-PAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

Caleb (18 months) just several days ago on an outing with Grams to the library
We live only a couple miles apart and Myron's live right beside the sawmill so I get to see Caleb almost every day. In fact if I miss seeing him one day I'm awfully lonesome for him by the next. He'll come into the office while I'm eating my lunch and say "Pa-Pa, up!" He's wanting to sit on my lap and help eat tidbits from my lunch.

I sometimes watch out the window when Caleb and his mama are walking back home. I get a lump in my throat when I see Heidi stop for a few minutes to let him inspect the Long Island Lumber big truck. I can tell she's gonna let him be a little boy for sure.

I get the biggest lump of all when I've been at Caleb's house when it's time for him to go night-night. It's a pleasant routine. He's all shiny from just having his bath and he's in his 'jamies. The lights in the living room go dim and there's a lullaby instrumental hymn cd quietly playing. Then it's time to cuddle up on dad's big chest with his blanket and "Bup", his favorite stuffed puppy.

It's the absolute picture of serenity and security. It's what every child needs and deserves. I get a lump in my throat just from the beauty of it, but I also feel like crying for all the many children who will never know this kind of love.

Caleb Merle, you are very blest. Sleep well, my son. 

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