Born in the Family
Judah is 96 years younger than his great-great grandfather.

And he is fortunate in a way that I wasn't. He was born into Grandaddy's family. I wasn't.

A little over six years ago I asked Andie to marry me. She said yes and I started to meet her family. The entire time I was ready for the men of the family to give "the warning".

All you guys out there know what I mean.

The time that somebody (usually Dad, sometimes Uncle, Brother, Grandfather) pulls you aside and lets you know that you better take care of their little girl 'cause they're watching you. I was actually very welcomed in to the family, but I got what I was looking for when I met Grandaddy for the first time.

Now you need to know a few things about this man. He lost all hearing at age 11. His vision is starting to fail him and he is the oldest person I know.
When I met him I reached out my hand for a handshake and started to give him my well-practiced smile, which was meant to convey: it's nice to meet you, I've met 30 other people today and will forget your name in the next 2 minutes and {quick breath} I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of each other in the years to come, it's so great to be a part of this family.

People, I thought I was shaking hands with a vice. My smile faded as I realized the somber mood of the moment. There was a crowd around us and no one else knew what was happening. He couldn't speak clearly to me, and I don't know sign language. But I understood more clearly in those few long moments what his eyes were telling me than if we had sat down and spoken for hours. I shut up and listened to a look. We were very suddenly on the same page.

He loves me now and I enjoy every minute I spend around him. He is the Patriarch and that's what I want to be someday. I have deep respect for that man then and now. Grandaddy has five generations to watch over and knows clearly that they are his descendants. One of those is Judah. Maybe someday my son will come home and tell me about an old man with a firm shake.

But for now I just love to watch Grand-daddy hold my son with true unconditional love.

It's good to be part of the family.
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