Monday, July 6, 2009

I Didn't Start Out to Brag -- But I Did

I can't remember the name of the movie, I think it was Dad, with Ted Danson and Jack Lemmon. Somewhere in the movie Jack Lemmon tells his adult son that regardless of how old your children get, they are still your children, you are always a parent. As I have gotten older, as my children have grown up to the extent I can let them (in my mind), I have come to really identify with that line.

Our two children, Matt and Erin, have grown up, and today, time stamp today, they are doing wonderfully. We feel grateful, we feel proud, we feel humbled by their love and graciousness, we feel really, really, really good about our kids.

Matt, the oldest, is soon to be 30 and a first time Father. Matt, I'm here to tell you, you have signed up for a life time commitment. It's worth it, but it's a long term contract.

Matt was the kid who always liked to read, loved music and really had a very adventuresome spirit, especially regarding food, he would try anything, and enjoyed most things. He loved words, still does, and grew up reading the encyclopedia. He was extremely thoughtful and full of thought and a philosopher at a very young age. Matt played baseball, basketball and football, he learned to ski when he was five; but it turns out, math and just knowing stuff, was his passion. I've never known a kid who liked to know "things" more.

Matt was the kid who introduced us to the dangers of bacterial infections. When he was, I think 14, he got hit in the shin with a discus. Somehow, this tiny skin break became infected and landed the young guy in the hospital for about two weeks on IV antibiotics. He got better and we came home. That night his leg became swollen and inflamed. Marty, God bless her, kept watch and kept talking to Matt and me until she made the decision that we needed to go back to the hospital, now. Good thing too. They performed surgery that night on Matt and cut open his leg and removed infected tissue. Our son was a sick little puppy for a while. He came home on IV antibiotics with a central line in his chest. I have always admired him for the courage he displayed throughout that ordeal. It was hard.

Matt went to Austin College where he graduated with a double major in Math and Computer Science. Matt then followed in Marty's and my geographical footprint and went to Texas Tech to get his Masters in Mathematics. I say geographical footprint because I never took one stinking math class in Lubbock. Can you say Hallelujah. Matt then married Sarah, went to work at Raytheon as a systems engineer, and is about to be Father to my 1st grandson, Larry-Bob. What a great guy.

Then there's my baby, Erin. Erin was born in Muenster. Not Germany, but Texas. She was born in a 24 bed hospital in a little German town in North Texas. It was a great place to be born, everyone in the delivery room knew us and knew her before she was born. Muenster was a very cool little town, 1400 people and four beer distributors. We loved it there while we were there.

Erin is and has always been the family do-gooder. She is the counselor, the listener, the girl with the advise. She has my empathy gene and her Mother's gift for problem solving, a very frightening combination. Erin was the kid who broke her wrist, playing badminton of all things. Erin was also a musical kid playing in the band and playing the piano, but her real interest has always been people and why they do what they do. She was never really a girly girl and is probably the best fisher-person in the family, though Matt is catching up.

My favorite story about Erin is when she was at Mo-Ranch, a church conference center, she laid out some guy when they were playing a pretty rough and tumble game. That's Erin, don't ever underestimate her fire, though she will feel sorry for you later. Erin is the kid who did PALS because she wanted to help, she's the kid who volunteered at a local hospital, she's the kid who worked with a social sorority at UT and later worked for two years with AmeriCorp working with Spanish speaking pre-K kids. And now, Erin is a Social Worker in Dallas working with autistic children. That's my daughter.

Now there's also Sarah, our daughter-in-law. Sarah the pragmatic, Sarah the planner, Sarah the organizer. I see a lot of Marty in Sarah. Like Marty, Sarah is plain spoken, she will tell you what you need to hear. Like Marty, Sarah is incredibly capable of doing so many things and she does. Sarah is a Dallas girl and is pregnant with my first grandson, did I say his name was Larry-Bob.

Then there's all of the other kids, now adults, who come through your life and impact you, who you feel a sense of kinship with, who you feel parental about, who you love and want to see continue to find success, love and happiness in all things. Elizabeth, David, Andrew and now Leah, Wesley, Kasie, Erica, Randi, India -- all these kids, all growing up, all making their parents and their sub parents so proud. That's what kids do, that's the best part of always being a parent.

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