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Letters to Cari #2 August 20, 2014

Today is your 2nd day of school.  Your 2nd full day as a 4th grader, I only say this to give you a point of reference when you read this.  Most likely I am long gone, and you have matured a quite a bit, this is just my way of staying a part of your life.

Today I am going to talk a bit about our relationship, and one of the key components of our relationship.  That being trust.  Below is a picture of you and me taking a walk.  It was at a football game. a Hudson High Homecoming.  The red tee-shirt you have is a Hudson High Cougar tee-shirt I believe.  Your mom at the time was the coach of the cheer leaders, and your dad was actively involved in the Home Coming program that would take place at half time.  Your grandmother and I had been invited to come to the game and sit with you as your mom and did their thing.

Grandpa and Cari

Your grandmother took this picture as we began our walk.

At the time this photo was taken you were getting bored, and I invited you for a walk, it was before my disease had taken full force, and I wasn’t on oxygen at the time.  But that is immaterial, we got up from our seats, and began our walk. I reached down, you reached up, and we held hands, you showed your trust in me, you knew I had your best interest in my heart, and you knew I wouldn’t let anything bad happen.  Of course you didn’t say any of this, you were a little over 3 years old at the time, and your communications skills weren’t nearly as refined as they are today.  But this simple act of holding my hand exhibited so much trust.  We walked in the middle of the track, I was about a ¼ step in front, just enough to offer a buffer of protection, as we sundered around the track.  To my mind this was the 1st time you truly showed you trusted me.  You let me lead you, and we kinda chatted, I don’t have any recall of what we said, but I am sure you pointed out things that interested you, and I am sure I pointed out things that interested me.  That day we ended up walking one half way around the track.  They were setting up for the half time show so we decided to turn around the way we came, we stopped in the bouncy room, and then took our seats for the game.

This moment of trust, was the start.  In the coming weeks, months and years, we would  countless times of exhibiting trust towards each other.  Sometimes it manifested itself when we would play “sit on me Grandpa.”  Where you knew I would indeed sit on you, but that I wouldn’t put my entire weight on you.  You would giggle like mad, screaming joyfully “sit on me” “sit on me” “sit on me” as I squished you.  But never were you totally squished.  Else you would be a pancake now.  In other times it manifested itself in the pool, as we played countless games, and I took part it either dunking you or throwing you.  It also showed itself when you were learning to jump into the pool.

As children we are given the greatest gift in the world we trust everyone unconditionally.  We never think anyone or anything will harm us, our trust is so complete.  But as we age, even as children, our trust begins to faultier, we don’t trust that dog down the street as much, we don’t believe that kid is going to be kind, that adult doesn’t quite seem right.

Today you’re 9 years old, you are beginning to develop your own sense of trust, and you’re looking at things with your own eyes, and making your own decisions.   Your mind is setting up the guidelines by which you will soon be making the rules by which you will live the rest of your life.  This is an important time for you.  You are blessed with 2 wonderful parents that are doing everything in their power to ensure you have a good foundation by which you establish those rules.   You have good grandparents that all are trying to help influence you, you have a wide range of cousins helping, and you have your church and the influence it provide.  You have all the tools before you.

As you have trusted me in our childish games, and our quiet times of softly spoken conversations in my office.  I am trusting you to continue to make the good decisions, I am trusting you to grow and be the good person you’re heading towards being.   Cari, again trust me, you will make mistakes, that is a given.  Some mistakes will seem unbearable, others will seem very trivial, and still other times you will be greatly confused by your mistakes.  But Cari, they are all opportunities to learn and grow.

Cari, the growing process never stops.  I am 64 as I write this, and I am learning each day, and yes sweet granddaughter I make mistake, some big some small, and I learn from them just as you will.

Love Grandpa.

Folks as always if you have any thoughts, comments, concerns or questions please feel free to ask.  Take care, Bill

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Letters to Cari, Treasure Box Stories

 

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A Tribute to my Mom – Ila Hamilton

Cari, this is a story about your Great Grandmother Ila Hamilton, she was my Mom.  You met her twice during your very early years, once when you were a few months old, and again when you were 3 almost 4.  My Mom thought you were very special, and quite a lovely baby (don’t get the big head).  You are still lovely and you are indeed special.  During your 1st meeting with Mom you sat in her lap and did all the baby things that great grandmothers truly loved.  You smiled, you goo’d and giggled, you waved your little hands all about, and your eyes sparkled when you look at her.  She truly loved you.

Mom was born on February 12, 1927 in Lincoln County Kentucky.  She passed away on November 30, 2011, in Louisville Kentucky. Her maiden name was Ila Belle Williams.  And she absolutely hated the “Belle” aspect of her name.

She was raised on a farm in Waynesburg KY.  Mom attended elementary and high school in Eubank KY, and college at John Hopkins University, School of Nursing.  Mom was a nurse her entire professional career.  In all of our conversations when she spoke of working it was either as a nurse or as a kid working on the farm.  I have seen the farm she grew up on, I have worked on it a tiny bit, and I have spoken of it in other posts.  It was no picnic living and working on a farm in the 1930’s and 1940’s.  At one time I almost believed Mom when she said she had to walk up hill  going to school and coming from. She also rode to school on a horse-drawn sled (go look that up). As a farmer’s daughter mom had all the required chores a farm kid had, milking cows, plucking chickens, gathering eggs, picking all manner of wild fruits, cleaning the barn, weeding the vegetable patch, and chores I can’t even imagine.  I got my work ethic from Mom, I got my sense of self from Mom, and I my stick to it-ness from her.

Cari, I loved my Mom, just as you love yours. I loved her like a son should love his mom, and I respected Mom because she was Mom, but I also respected her because she had earned every ounce of respect she got from work or the neighbors.  I looked up to Mom, I trusted her, I hid behind her many a time when Dad was mad.  She was the 1st person to give me a book with the word “fuck” in it, (I was 19) which I thought was so cool, but it also embarrassed me at the same time, that mom would have books with that word in them.

Even though I put forth so little effort in school, Mom always found ways to support me in my efforts.  I am sure she was quite proud of me after I got out of the navy, and started college.  She was probably even prouder when she I was actually making very good grades.  I know she was proud of what I managed to accomplish during my professional career.  Mom wanted to know everything about each promotion, the change in title, the increase in responsibilities, would I be travelling more, how many people reported to me, and of course how much more money did I make. LOL

Mom and I used to have wonderful conversations (one such conversation was regarding the Weeping Willow Tree), she would ask about my job (not having a clue as to what I did) and acted interested and amazed at my ever changing responsibilities, and accomplishments. We would talk about, the places we have lived as a family, what it was like growing up on the farm, how special it was that she and her sister both got to go to college, and on  an on. She gave her support without reservation.  She always made me feel loved.  I am sure that each of my brothers and my sister all have similar memories and feeling about Mom.

It couldn’t have been easy being Mom to the 5 of us, hell I can’t image a tougher job.  I know I struggled being a good dad, and a good parent to Allison, I can’t imagine having 4 additional children demanding attention, having different needs, having different abilities, having different emotions, having different needs for attention, and finding a way to balance all of it.  But Mom did!  Then she also worked full-time, she was a nurse forever and a day, and from every word I heard regarding Mom during her career she was an extremely caring nurse and very highly regarded and respected.

Mom also was the main bread-winner in the family, and yet she put herself aside and allowed Dad to be the man, chasing jobs, changing careers but always at his side.  Mom was always willing to start over at a new hospital, no matter where Dad’s career choice took him.

Mom’s last few years were difficult, health issues were winning. Mom had several small strokes before the major one in March 2009.  In addition, post-surgery hip issues made it difficult for her get around.  The stroke she had in March 2009 put her in the assisted living home.  The only good thing from her being in the home was that her short-term memory had gone away, and that allowed her to live there on a daily basis without the anger of knowing she was in the home for the long haul.  Her memory issues did make for some interesting conversations. And sometimes John would call me from her room (or shortly after leaving her room) to give me an update and just explain that Mom didn’t feel like talking that day. It was just how it was, and I didn’t have issues, I understood.

I wasn’t there when Mom passed away on that gray wet chilly day in November 2011.  I have mixed emotions, a large part of my heart wanted to be there, but because of her struggle, and pain she suffered at the end, I am grateful that I wasn’t.  According to Nancy, Mom’s exit wasn’t a quiet slipping away it was supposed to be, but more of an ugly struggle.  I guess that says a lot about Mom.  It was always a struggle and she always fought, she never gave up, even to her last moments.

Cari, I hope that someday (when you’re a bit older) I will have the opportunity to share this with you face to face, smile to smile, but if not, then hopefully these words will help you understand my Mom.  Love Grandpa.

As always if you have any comments or questions. Please feel free to leave them.  Take care, Bill

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2013 in Grandpa Stories, Ramblings

 

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