Tuesday, January 24, 2012

To the First Man I Ever Loved...

It's been 11 years since I last saw you. But even then you didn't know I was there. You lay there sleeping, never to awaken. We'd prayed and hoped that that wasn't the case, that you'd wake up, but I guess the Lord had other plans for you. I remember that night so clearly. The final goodbyes, the songs and blessings. It didn't seem real. As any child can tell you, Daddy's are invincible and they are always there. I always knew you would go before me, but I hadn't thought it'd be so soon. I thought I'd get to see you be grandpa to all my kids, to be at their blessings, birthdays & baptisms. I thought you'd be there for graduations, missions and weddings. You were supposed to be just a phone call away, to hear about all the cute (and not so cute) things that your grandkids would do while growing up. And although I'm sure you're still there and seeing all those things, it just not the same. I can't hear your laughter when my little Eddie jabbers at us like he knows what he's saying. Or see the twinkle in your eyes as Kailyn would climb into your lap to cuddle. I missed getting to watch you take Sterling to a KSU football game or teach Emmy everything she ever wanted to know about anything. You didn't get to build lego creations with Joe or watch Cori's excitment as you gave him some useless thing (keys, string, rope, rocks, etc.) to add to his collection of other useless items. I missed seeing you be a grandpa and that breaks my heart.

 I wish that my kids had gotten to know what a incredible person you were, and to love you even more than I did. Cause, we all know kids love their grandparents more than their parents loved their parents. It's just the way things are...or should be. I just miss you.

 You were the first man I ever loved. You showed me what my Heavenly Father's love is like because I saw it reflected in everything you did and everything you were. You taught me what a man should be. You were my first example of what it means to love. And because of that, I found a man that is as wonderful as you are. I was so blessed that you were here to meet him and to walk me down the aisle to him.

I was so glad that you held your firstborn grandchild in your arms on the day of his birth. That you got to hold and enoy him at christmas and at his blessing. I only wish i would have taken more pictures of you with him. But I thought I'd have a lifetime to do that. As it is, I have only one with you and Sterling...just one precious, priceles photograph to show Sterling all the love that you had for him. I remember how excited you were to become a grandpa, the pure joy! Oh, how I wish I'd brought him to see you one last time when you called that weekend. But I didn't know! I didn't know that I would never have the chance to bring him to see you again, that you'd never have the chance to hold him again. If I would have known I would have come! I would have stayed and not left your side until your last breath. But I didn't. I'm so sorry. Instead, the last time you held your grandson, you were in a coma. So many regrets.

I want to call you and ask you questions, to tell you about all the things that are going on. I miss being daddy's little girl. I miss your hugs and your advice. I miss your smile and your laughter, your sense of humor and your love. I know you're still there, just out of my sight, but the pain is still real. You are and always will be the first man I loved. I will miss you every day until I finally get to see you again. And in that moment I will run into your arms and hold onto you as tight as I can. I will still be your little girl and you will still be my Daddy. Until then, know that I love you and miss you. And give my baby boy kisses for me. I'm sure you decided that after sending all these other kiddos down to us that you just wanted to hold onto one for yourself. I love you Daddy...forever.

Love your little girl,

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

We had a fun and busy holiday season. Rob's family has a tradition that each year the weekend before Christmas we head to the farm for a family Christmas celebration. The kids always look forward to this. They get to play with their cousins there and this year was especially nice since the weather was still so warm. Sterling has a cousin, Sam, who's close to his age and they love to see each other. They spent the day just running around outside, being boys. Another of their cousins is Olivia. Although she's a few years younger than Emmy those two have a fabulous time together. Of course Joe and Cori have Will and Finn to run amok with and this year there was a new addition to the celebration, Zoe. She was the hit of the party!She's the new baby of Rob's cousin Natasha and her hubby Jared. Kailyn and Eddie were enthralled with her! It was a wonderful day and I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Rob's family and just having a relaxing day.

For Christmas day this year we actually broke tradition. Normally we open presents at our house then head to Manhattan to split the day between Rob's family and my family. Instead Rob's parents and sister came to our house after their midnight mass and slept here. When the kids woke up at 6:00am we all opened presents together. The four older kids got MP3 players from Santa and several books from us. Sterling and Emmy both got art kits from us. Emmy also got a snow globe, which seems to be a new obsession of hers. Emmy, Joe and Cori got Nerf guns, which they have already lost the ammo to. Cori also got a cardboard spaceship that he can color and play in. Kai Kai got a new baby doll that talks and sneezes. She loved that doll! She also got a new kitchen which she wasn't too happy about Eddie trying to play with. Eddie got a remote control bus, a Leapfrog Laptop and House as well as a Weebles bus. They were so excited about all their gifts. But I think the best part was that Sterling, Emmy and Joe all gave each of their siblings gifts from their own stuff. Emmy even gave Rob and I some money she had saved after her birthday. She also earned a $10 gift card to Barnes and Noble and instead of spending it on herself she bought each of her siblings a book (with a little help from me). It was so touching to see the kids giving their prized possessions to one another without any prompting from us. After that we had breakfast and then Rob's family had to go home. I really liked having them over and so did the kids. It was fun way to spend Christmas morning.

Of course, Christmas fell on Sunday this year so we had church in the morning. After that we came home changed and headed to John and Clara's for the rest of the day. My mom, Jordan, Blake and Rori and Taylor all came over from Manhattan. There was LOTS of food! The kids played, the adults talked and mostly just enjoyed the company. I love the chaos and noise of our family get-togethers. It is so fun to see the relationships that our kids are developing with their cousins. I'm so grateful that we have family that lives so close to us.

For New Years our family and John and Clara's family headed to Manhattan. We hung out at my mom's house. We were joined for awhile by the Smith family. Again, lots of food, noise and just a good time. Clara, Rob and I were stayed up with the kids watching movies. Jordan, Mom, John and Rori all went up to bed. A little before midnight Rori woke up so Mom came down with her. We broke out the sparkling juices (blueberry, cherry and grape) and toasted the new year with the few kiddos who'd managed to stay awake. As fun as it was, I have to say that New Years was a lot more exciting for me when I was a kid. Now, I'd be happy to just sleep through it! It's tempting to just set the clocks ahead a couple hours and pretend! ;-)

We had a wonderful holiday season and a blessed 2011. I'm looking forward to whatever 2012 has in store for us!

Robert Allen