Dixie Peach: All Grown Now

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

All Grown Now

Twenty-five years ago today my brother's oldest son was born. I remember my mother calling me at work to say that he'd been born just a few minutes before and that after supper we'd troop down to the hospital to see him for the first time. I was so excited to finally have a little nephew and I spoiled him as much as my brother would allow.

John was an adorable baby. Fun to play with and such a sweet natured little guy. My father, who was not always the most emotionally available guy in the world, was crazy for him. He was crazy for his other two grandsons who were born when he was still alive, but the relationship he had with John was special. The worst punishment that John could get was for my father to be cross with him for any reason. Having his granddad disappointed in him for any reason upset him no end.

John is the reason I believe that our behavior and mannerisms are more directed by genetics than by environment - at least in his case - because John acts just like my father in so many ways. He was only eight years old when my father passed away and still he has so many of his traits. John is quiet and reserved and has an air of determination about him. Not a bit idle or flighty or vague in his intentions. His mannerisms and way of speaking are just like my daddy's. He's very devoted to his family. Honor and integrity mean a great deal to him and like his grandfather John joined the US Navy. While my father went into engineering and worked on submarines for most of his career, John is a corpsman and is attached to a Marine platoon. And just like his grandfather, John's service to his country is important to him and he does his duty unfailingly, espeically when his skills were put to the test while he was on a tour in Iraq. And he's so handsome. That sort of handsome that makes women turn their heads when he walks by but like his grandfather, he doesn't pay it a bit of attention.

There's a lot of things about the relationship I had with my dad that I wish I could have changed. There were things about my dad that I wish were different. I hated the way he was sometimes and I wish I could have expressed to him how much I wanted to understand him better. But no matter how much my relationship with him was a failure in some ways - failures that were both my fault and his - I'm so grateful that he had a great relationship with John. I think those early years of John's life was spent with my dad when he was, well, perhaps not his best but at a time when his worst years were behind him have helped make John a wonderful young man.

Happy birthday, John. Your Auntie Baba is very proud of you.

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