Well, I talked to my Mom tonight and as always she gave me great advice and input on where I'm at in my life. I was going to write something deep and meaningful, but I was interrupted by something more important than I could ever write.
For those that don't know, our son Hunter has struggled slightly with a speech delay that he has been seeing a speech therapist for tha past few months. Come to find out, he doesn't have much of a problem at all.
Tonight I pulled up this blog and sat him on my lap and scrolled down for him to look at the pictures. Talk about a light bulb coming on!!! He got really excited and started pointing to pictures of his cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles. He was so happy to see their faces. When he would point to someone in a picture I would say their name and he did pretty good at repeating them. But he didn't even need my que for "Nana Nyndi", and "Bo-BO" and (Aunt) "Kee-gee" (Katie--by the way, he loves saying your name!) and cousin "wiwee" (Brylee), Uncle "Mit", and Gnmpa Coe (Kurt). He wanted to look at the pictures over and over again.
I was touched that he was so excited to see his extended family and that he recognized them.
My Mom said something on the phone tonight that I think suitably fits this small moment that I'll never forget. But first--since I've moved to Utah, I've noticed that my parents and siblings have grown up so much. You all have become such great, loving and selfless people. You have accepted me and my wife as an important part of the family, and it has meant the world to us. I feel I could be better at keeping touch with you all, but I do finally feel like I belong in this family and that we are going to have alot of great times ahead. I guess I'm trying to say that I feel like my family has grown so much, and are truly living the life that Jesus Christ wants us to live (not that you all weren't before, it's just that I feel like you all have become much more Christlike). For example, I was sick for Sophie's blessing and in the past would have felt that my family might be a little upset with me for not just sucking it up and going (this is probably just my own negative projection and has to do more with my own insecurity). But that was not the case. I felt like everyone would understand and that I could rest and recover without worrying about hurting my family's feelings. I was re-assured when the next day Angie called me to make sure I was okay and to see if their was anything she could do to help. "Anything she could do to help?" Wow! Angie reached out to make sure I was okay. That really made me smile.
Like I said, this all ties back to what my Mom told me tonight.....and I'm paraphrasing a bit here but basically she said that if her getting cancer is what it was going to take to unite her children closer together then she would gladly accept the challenges this disease is bringing her. That is being exemplified in seemingly insignificant moments--that are actually moments that really make me feel alot of love for my family--like Angie's phone call, spending New Year's eve with Katie and Travis and their friends, my Aunt Amy letting me kick it at her pad and chatting with me for a few hours when I was going through a difficult day, Aunt Donna and Uncle Kevin giving us a couch, Tara giving us a TV for Hunter's room, Nana Cyndi and Aunt Katie getting me a PS2 and game for my birthday, my Dad driving Nicole and I to Arizona and back to move our stuff, Mandi borrowing me 40 bucks when I didn't have gas to get to work, Amy wanting to go to a concert with me and talking to me about music we both like, Angie and Steve having us over for dinner and football--and finally, the connection no better being exemplified than by Hunter's excitement tonight at recognizing and even naming my siblings, parents, grandparents, and uncles.
Before we moved up here Hunter would not even go to anyone's arms but mine and Nicole's. Now, he will usually jump into any of your arms. And he loves looking at pictures of his Nana Cyndi. I guess what I'm trying to say is that even Hunter at 2 and half years old, just as Nicole and I do, can see the beauty in all of you blossoming and feel your love each and every day.
I know that I have not been the big brother you all have needed for most of my adult life. I am grateful you all seem to have moved on and let that go. I don't know if I could have forgiven someone for some of the things I did to hurt the family. When I was a kid, I felt like it was my job to make sure you guys were all being "good" and "behaving" for Mom and Dad. Little did I know that one day you would be showing me how to live a healthy life. I am so touched at how much support you all have shown my wife. I was telling Aunt Amy yesterday that I told myself I would never move back here. But I am grateful I did. For I'm supposed to be here with you all. I'm supposed to be here for Mom, and Dad and all of you. I hope that I can help the rest of you one day as you have helped me.
OKAY, I know by now you might be thinking--blabber blabber, let's whip out the tissue box, have Kenny G play some Bette Middler songs, and ask Doctor Phil to say a few words and ride some unicorns on the beach as the sun goes down, stopping at a garden where chocolate grows from lucious trees and angels their horns along to Kenny G (except they don't have gay hair like Kenny G)-- so I'm sorry. But one more thing before I finish.
I am grateful for my Mom and Dad and siblings, as well as my grandparents, cousins, nieces, nephews and bro-in laws (Come on Mitch, get a chick already so I can just say "in-laws"). In a way, we have all fought our own cancers and we will face many more challenges down the road. I do feel Mom's cancer was a way for us all to unite and be closer to each other. It is nice to know that we will be there for each other as we face our own "cancers". I am honored to be part of this family and love you all forever!
Except you Steve--you are a wuss and I'm going to give you a wedgie next time I see your ugly face. Oh yeah, and you don't keep your head still on your backswing and are a terrible putter!
Love ya'll. Stay in touch with me!