-Always picking him up when he cried as a baby
-Singing or reading him to sleep most nights until middle school
-Never spanking him
-Letting him fall asleep in my bed as often as he wanted until he decided on his own that he was too old
-That one vacation we took that I totally couldn’t afford but where he started to learn to surf
-Telling him I loved him each and every time we spoke, emailed or texted until the day he died
-Never, ever giving up on him even when he seemed to have given up on himself
-Making sure he was surrounded by a big family that loved him like crazy
-Taking him to hear good, live music early and often
-Rubbing his back and feet while we watched TV together, even when his feet got huge and smelly
-Giving him the gift of J, E and later, C
-The trip he and my grandmother took together to tour Shiloh battle sites
-Letting him climb trees and walk around the neighborhood all by himself – in Knoxville and Bell Buckle
-Spending far too much every year to make Christmas mornings as magical as possible.
-Taking him with me to vote
-All the nights I sat next to his bed to just watch him sleep and kiss him on the head before heading off to my own bed for the night
-Carrying him in my arms as often as possible until he got too big
-Spending every possible second I could with him during the five weeks he was hospitalized before his death
-Holding him in my arms and just being with him as he left this world for the next on May 31
I’d give anything to have a chance to spend just one more day with him.
Treasure EVERY SINGLE SECOND with your children, even the really hard ones. Be in the moment. Relish every kiss, every hug, and every boring school play. Never miss the chance to tell them how much you love them and believe in them. Go in right now and watch them sleep. Get on the floor and play with those legos or go for that tenth round of Candyland. Read to them long past the age they can read themselves. Be sure you keep a lock of their hair, and at least one baby tooth.
Parent in a way that wouldn’t leave you with too many regrets if you were faced with the unthinkable.
I love this video – fuzzy tho’ it is – of Henry playing his first guitar. He’s 11 here, and the Henry-sized guitar was a gift from his great Uncle John. This was the first song he taught himself, and he starts off by saying that he’s dedicating it “to my Uncle John.”