I’ve often said my first real understanding of all my Dad has done for me really didn’t start until the day my son, Marshall, was born. In that one instant I immediately had a different perspective on the relationship between a father and a son, a son and a father, a grandson and a grandfather and so on. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had a strong relationship with both my parents. But it’s easy to take the importance of that for granted until one day you are a father yourself.
My grandfather, Ralph, our grandaddy as we all called him, was a pillar of immense strength to each of his 3 sons and their families. Similarly, my Dad has been the same for Mary Beth and me, and our families. In a world where too many children don’t have that strong male presence in their home, we’ve been so fortunate to have not just one, but two generations of strong fathers, and great role models, who have made us all better sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters and yes – a loving adviser and mentor as we’ve both experienced the blessings of being parents ourselves.
To some extent the only thing certain in life is death. But for the lucky, a great father, provides a measure of certainty each and every day that provides encouragement, confidence and security. I’m lucky to have had that and will continue to cherish that for whatever weeks and days we have left together. As my journey with my own children continues, I can only hope in some measure that I have passed and will continue to pass forward a fraction of that same certainty to Marshall and Jordan.
The pictures below are 2 of my all-time favorites. The one on the right was taken when Marshall was about 5 months old in 1998. Pictured are me, my niece Jenny, nephew Matt, Dad, Grandaddy, Mary Beth, and of course Marshall. On the left was this past Christmas with Marshall (now 21), Dad and me.
Dad is still hanging in there. Basically stable, but episodes of extreme shortness of breath when he exerts himself are more common. Phone calls and visits are still welcomed and continue to lift his spirits. We continue to grateful for your prayers and ongoing support. It means so much to all of us!