Sunday, May 15, 2011

What's in a name? A lot.

Our son's middle name is James. We named him after my grandfather and favorite uncle, two of the most amazing people I've ever met. My grandfather left school at the age of 12 to help his widowed mother support the family. Through hard work and determination, he went on to become the Chairman of the Board of General Motors. My Uncle Jim married his high school sweetheart, ran a fleet of car dealerships and raised 2 amazing boys. Until the day he died, he referred to his wife as "his bride" and his eyes lit up when she entered a room. When his health prevented him from joining her on her travels, he sent her off with a hug and a kiss. Knowing her need to check in with him, he never once told her how much a ship-to-shore call really costs. (Sidebar - they cost A LOT!) He felt it was money well spent so she could have peace of mind.

If you asked either man what is the most important thing in the world to them, the answer was a quick and emphatic "family". Family always comes first. When my mom died, my grandparents, aunt and uncle were the first ones on our doorstep. They stepped in, took care of meals, arrangements, you name it. They were there for us in every way. My aunt even took on the dreaded job of cleaning out Mom's closet. She did it with a quiet grace. My entire life she has been there for me every step of the way. Not as a surrogate mom. She was always "Aunt Joan". And, let me tell you, she is an awesome Aunt Joan. My kids worship her. She flew in to surprise Sara for her First Communion. I can't remember the last time I saw Sara that excited. The idea that my aunt flew all the way from Florida to Indiana just to be with us for Sara's special day was unbelievable to Sara. To my family, that is just what family does.

If my son becomes even just a little bit of my grandfather and my uncle, he will be an amazing man, capable of anything, filled with dignity, grace, compassion and a devotion to family that is remarkable. It was a blessing to have these men in my life.

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