Looking Back at The 4th of July

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Dear Lincoln,

I told you I would catch up on some writing today and I just had to share some photo’s from the 4th of July parade.We had a great time.  It was just you, me and Nana because momma had to work.  We had a blast little man!  The highlight was when the horses came by.  You got so excited and wanted to pet one of them in the worst way.  One rider noticed you in all of your excitement and pulled out of formation and came over to let you pet his horse.  It made your day.  This is just another example that there are good people out there that are willing to go out of there way to brighten someones day.

I love you little man, Puppa.
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Adventure or Mission? Maybe Both!

IMG_2235Dear Lincoln,

I have the next 4 days off of work, a little mini vacation now that the busy holiday season and inventory is over, and its just you and me little buddy.  Well at least during the day.  Nana went up north to visit Great Grandma Boo and your momma has to work the next 9 days from 9:30 to 6 every day.  So it’s Lincoln and Puppa time.

We played a bit  a whole lot this morning, I made an awesome breakfast for you as usual, (at least you think so) played some more and then you were happy just watching Cars 2 while I cleaned up the kitchen and washed up the dishes.  It was while I was washing dishes that you decided to take me on a little adventure…wait, an adventure or did you give me a mission?

You came over to the gate into the kitchen, the gate that keeps you out of the cats dishes, the cupboards, the refrigerator and everything else you try to get into (your not that bad really).  IMG_2223You started talking to me and then you got quiet and then a strange look graced your face, that face, that look that says I’m pooping look away.  Now this was great news because momma says you haven’t pooped in 2-3 days.  Little dude you love bananas and cheese way to much.  You also love, love prunes.  Guess what?  The prunes kicked in and every time I thought you were done, you started bearing down again.  You finally finished and immediately let me know that the diaper had to come off NOW!

We went into your room to change you and lets just say I had to lay a towel down underneath you and after one whole box of baby wipes, the burning sensation in my eyes, the cats running for cover, holding my breath for what I think could be a new world record, (we might have to burn your footy pajamas), and wondering how a full grown black bear pooped in your diaper the mission (or adventure depending on how you look at it) was over and you were once again the sweet little boy I know and love.

I still wonder how 5 lbs of poop could come from such a little behind.

Your momma is so happy you finally pooped.  I really think she is more happy that it happened to me and not her, gotta love her.

It’s nap time little buddy, you look so tired.  I’ll put on some tunes, maybe Van Morrison, you really like him, and we will rock a little and when you wake up, let’s do it all over again.  Except the poop thing, you can wait for momma right?

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I love you little man, all the way to the moon and back, Puppa

 

Errands and a Nap

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Dear Lincoln,

Today has been a good day. Your momma had to work and Nana is up north taking care of great grandma Boo so I got to spend the day with you. Once your momma took off for work I got you and myself ready to go out to do some shopping and run some errands.

We started by taking out the trash, which turned out to be much more than I thought it was gonna be. (Note to self, take out trash more often). Your momma and I switched cars because your car seat was in her car, and she was on empty. After a trip to the gas station we were on our way. First stop, Verizon for a new case for my iPhone. Then off to Bed Bath and Beyond in search of a wall mounted mail sorter. No luck. Next stop, Kroger for groceries. While we shopped you snacked and chatted up a storm. Talk about a flirt, every pretty girl that walked by you smiled and giggled, tilted your head and looked at them with that look you have that gets the girls to notice you. Player.

Once we headed for home I could tell that you were getting tired. It wasn’t long and you were out. Unfortunately we were home soon and I had to wake you. I got the groceries put away and while we watched the last 7 minutes of the Lions game we had lunch. (The Lions scored the winning points with 10 seconds left. GO LIONS!!) We played a little and then it was time for a nap.

As always I took my iPhone in the bedroom and played Van Morrison’s “Into The Mystic”. You love that song. Anytime its playing you quiet right down and intently listen to it. You seem to find it very calming and soon you drift off to sleep. Just as I went to lay you down your momma called and woke you up. So we started again. I was sleepy too so I decided to sit in the rocker with you and rock you a little before putting you in your crib. You laid on my chest, your little hands on both more shoulders and you nestled your head into my neck. I could feel every breathe you took, every once in awhile you would whisper some little sound as you drifted off. I treasure moments like this, it reminds me of when you momma and Aunt Carlee would fall asleep in my arms as I rocked them. I’m reminded how blessed I am. I could feel myself starting to drift off so I laid you down in your crib, two muffled cries from you and you were out like a light and I quietly step out of the room.

It won’t be long and I’ll get you up, don’t want to throw your bedtime off. Until then I’m doing some writing and playing with photos on the computer. We are still juggling things and I don’t get to write to you as much as I would like to. Nana will still be up north for a few days while great grandma Boo starts chemo. Hopefully she is strong enough to go through the treatments. The doctors give her anywhere from 3 months to a year depending on how the treatments go. Tests this past week showed that the cancer has spread and she is in the advance stages of her cancer. But we still have hope, great grandma Boo is a fighter, and with family all around her supporting and loving her, no one is giving up.

I should probably bring this to a close and get you up for dinner and a bath before momma gets home. And of course some playtime with Puppa. I’ll keep writing when I can, just know that although the letters frequency have become farther apart, you and I have spent so much time together. I will always be there for you, whatever you may need I will provide. Spending time with you is something I never pass up.

I love you little man, Puppa

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Called Home to Heaven

Dear Lincoln,
Your momma recently reminded me that it’s been a while since I have written to you and that it was time that I get back to it.  It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write, I’ve jotted down stuff in one of my many notebooks, I just haven’t been on the computer very much in the last few months.  As I explained to you before sometimes life gets hectic and you have to stop and re-examine your priorities in life.

At the beginning of May your Nana’s daddy, Great Grandpa Buck’s health started to decline.  Throughout the past few years he has endured more than one heart surgery, bone spur surgery on his spine, and most recently a battle with cancer.  So priorities change, it was more important to me, us, to spend as much time possible with great grandpa Buck than be on a computer.  We traveled up north to visit every chance we got, your Nana sometimes spent long periods of time at great grandpa’s to take care of him, she loves her daddy so much and she wanted to be there for him just like he has been there for her.

It still amazes us that as weak as he became, it didn’t stop him from playing with you.  You both made each other laugh and smile.  I want you to know how much he loved you.  He took great pride in knowing that you were his great grandson and that you were being raised by an amazing momma.  A lot of who your momma is comes directly from the time she spent with great grandpa.  He had a big influence on her life.

Every time great grandpa had to go to the hospital, you were there to visit.  Something he treasured very much.  When great grandpa returned home the decision was made that it was time for him to have Hospice care, not an easy decision to make.   Let me explain what Hospice care is all about.  Hospice is a philosophy of care. The hospice philosophy or viewpoint accepts death as the final stage of life. The goal of hospice is to help patients live their last days as alert and pain-free as possible. Hospice nurses try to manage symptoms so that a person’s last days may be spent with dignity and quality, surrounded by their loved ones. They treat the person rather than the disease; they focus on quality rather than length of life. Hospice care is family-centered — it includes the patient and the family in making decisions.  Great grandpa’s nurse Carrie was nothing short of incredible, to your great grandpa and the entire family she was simple a blessing from God.

We were warned that as great grandpa’s time of passing drew close he may experience a great day or two and that we should not take that as a sign of him getting better, but rather that his time with us was close to ending.  Those 2 days came on June 16th and 17th of 2012.  You, Nana, and your momma went to visit great grandpa Buck that weekend and it was a great time for all of you.  Great grandpa had been using a wheelchair for awhile, but on this weekend he slipped out of the wheelchair and got on the floor and played with you.  You so enjoyed playing with him your momma told me, and so did he.  We went back and visited the next weekend, the 23rd and 24th, and although he played with you in the kitchen, him in his wheelchair and you sitting on the little kitchen table, we could tell that he was struggling and we had to accept the fact that the end was nearing though no one wanted to say it.

Three days later at 2:30am of Wednesday June 27th, your Aunt Kathy called Nana and said that great grandpa was being taken to the hospital and we needed to come now.  Your Nana and I told your momma that we were heading up north and that we would call as soon as we knew something.  The drive is usually 2 1/2 hours but I needed to get your Nana there as quick as possible to be with her daddy so that she could say her goodbye.  I don’t approve of speeding, you should never do this, remember that, but this time I broke my rule.  It wasn’t long after we got to the hospital that great grandpa slipped into a coma.  That afternoon you and your momma arrived and you were able to come into the room.  I want you to know that he was not in pain, the staff did everything possible to make sure that he was comfortable.

The next day was June 28th, Nana and my 32nd wedding anniversary.  At noon while the rest of the family was down the hall, your Nana and one of the hospice nurse’s washed great grandpa up and freshened up his bed.  As they finished, with Nana at his side your great grandpa passed away.  We entered the room just after he had passed and only minutes later you and your momma walked in.  While everyone was crying and saying goodbye to great grandpa, when your momma came to the bedside with you, you looked down at great grandpa, smiled, and reached out to go to him.  In your own way you said goodbye to great grandpa.  For the next few days with family all around we celebrated great grandpa’s life.  We cried, we laughed, we told stories, we even sang.  Although we lost someone we dearly loved, it’s important that we rejoice in the time we had together.

Over the next month we were busy helping great grandma Boo get things in order and odd jobs around her house.  Then on August 7th I got a call from my dad, great grandpa Jim, letting me know that great great grandma Laurel had passed away, she was 105.  You, your momma and I had just been up north to visit just a few days earlier and her passing was unexpected.

So as I stated at the beginning of this letter, life has been a little hectic and I promise I will write more.  I hope as you grow you will learn that the time you spend with the ones you love far out weigh anything else you will do.  And that is why I have stayed away from the computer, I have been spending time with you.  You will always have my undivided attention and love.

We did receive some exciting news in the midst of all this, you have a new cousin on the way, Uncle Jesse and Aunt Carlee are expecting their first baby next March 1, 2013.  We found out on June 30th and if it’s a boy they already have a name picked out, Oscar James Pierce, named after great grandpa Buck.

I know I went on a little long this time so I’ll draw this one to a close with one request.  Although your new cousin will be living in Georgia and you in Michigan, stay close.  Family is very important and as close as your Aunt Carlee and your momma are I can foresee you and your cousin having a lot of great adventures together.

As always little man, I love you so much, Puppa

Reflecting on a Sunday Morning

Dear Lincoln,

It’s Sunday morning and as always I’m in that reflective mood.  Today I’m thinking about your Great Grandpa Buck.  Great Grandpa Buck is Nana’s dad, my father in-law, and best friend.  I thought today would be a good day to share with you something I wrote about him back in 2008.  That year I wrote a book titled Lake Effect for the family for Christmas.  As you grow up you will learn the impact Great Grandpa Buck had on my life.

The following was the dedication I wrote for the book.

Dad you are the main element of how I have become me. I think things through, long and hard, before I make a decision. Once the decision is made, I stick by it and make the best of the situation.  Because of you, I know the value of a dollar and how hard it is to earn it.  You love unconditionally.  I’ve messed up my life so many times and you were always there to love me anyway.

You are always there with advice when I need it.  And, you always know when to back off. You will drop everything to come and help me or rescue me out of a situation.  Whether it be car trouble or the police calling (of course the police thing has never happened-but I’m sure you would still be there).  At times, you made me take a hard look at myself which sometime hurt, but as I have grown up, I realize it was for my own good and I respect you for that.  

You are generous beyond what most people would consider generous.  You will give your last $20 if someone needed it.  Even though your very manly, you have not been afraid to show your emotions.  I’ve seen you laugh and I’ve seen you cry.  Your tears shot through me like an arrow and I realized how much you loved your family and didn’t want to see anything bad happen to them. You encourage me to the point that it makes my heart smile. When I’m hungry you will feed me, when I’m crying you will listen to me through my tears, when I screw up you don’t say I told you so.  Your always ready with a ear to bend.  

You have worked to give your family a good life, and you have never really wanted for anything.  You never complained.  You put everyone else first, yet you know how and when to say NO. Okay, I’m still trying to learn to do that with my girls, so it’s a virtue of yours I am nowhere near a master of.  My complete love and loyalty toward my family was learned from the lessons you taught. Because of the husband and father you are and have always been-I knew exactly what kind of man to be: honest, loyal, gentle, carrying and with a slightly odd sense of humor.  You are quite the role model. Notice how my marriage to your beautiful daughter is still strong and romantic after over 28 years?

What I’m trying to say dad-without you……… there would have never been a me.

 

As always, I love you Lincoln, Puppa.

 

5 Lessons on Life

The following was written on October 6th, 2011, the day after Lincoln was born.

Dear Lincoln,

You have just been born, and I have a feeling our way of life is about to change.

When you read this letter, you’ll be 18. (I’ll be what, 69? I can’t even imagine being that old!) I know how you’ll see us, because it wasn’t long ago that I was 18. Parents are semi-human beings who like to shout out a lot of orders and make your life in general very miserable, right? (And yes, right now I’m counting myself in as your parent, I say this because I promise to always be there if you need me, and as your grandparent I’d like to apologize in advance for any unforgivable mistakes I’m destined to make…)

My point is that even if we all seem old now, we were young once. We had lives…rather melodramatic lives, actually, good for a few stories when you ask. We’ve had struggles and heartaches. We’ve lived through more than you’ll ever know, and we’ve learned a lot of lessons from the mistakes we’ve made.

That’s what this letter is for: to tell you of the precious lessons I’ve learned in life before I forget, and believe me, by the time I’m pushing seventy, my memory will be going fast.

Lesson #1: Never underestimate yourself. Always keep your full potential in view and act on it. You know the old cliche: “you can do anything you set your mind to”? It’s very true. Don’t forget who you are or who you want to be.

Lesson #2: Surround yourself with people who won’t let you forget who you are or who you want to be. Don’t be alone. Let your friends and family be your safety net. Be their safety net in return.

Lesson #3: Be open-minded. Be nonjudgmental. People often believe what they hold to be true, to be true for everybody, but what you believe now may not necessarily be what you believe in the future. We may all differ in opinions, culture, skin color, or abilities, but there is one thing we have in common: humanity. Never esteem yourself better than another.

Lesson #4: Never betray yourself. Know what your own values and morals are and hold to them. Respect yourself and your actions. Expect others to treat you with respect, just as you would treat them with respect.

Lesson #5: Open your eyes to the world around you. Don’t be so focused on yourself that you are blind to everything else. See a person in need, and assist that person. Listen to politics, and choose a side. Notice a sunset. And Lincoln, this is important: don’t step on an ant just because it’s there. Life, at any level, is an amazing thing.

I love you, Puppa.

Date Night for Mom & Dad

Lincoln, last night your mom and dad went out for the first time since you were born. They went to the movies to see “New Years Eve”, this meant that Nana and I got to babysit you. There’s nothing that we love more than spending time with you. This night was special because we got you all to ourselves with no one around. We sang to you, fed you, changed diapers, laughed, took pictures, and of course loved every minute of it. These photos are of you and Nana enjoying a little quiet time together, you were talking so very quietly to her, you melted her heart as you always do.

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