It’s been awhile since I have written in your diary. I was back in Minnesota and Wisconsin to be with my mommy and daddy, your great grandparents. It was really sad, Kaylee, because my mommy died.
Great Grandma Hanson had been sick for a long time and her body finally wore out. She is at peace with Jesus now. No more pain and suffering. Grandpa was with her when she died. I was blessing her like you bless me by putting my hand on her head. I was saying these words…
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; (Luke 2:29 ESV)
…and then she had her last breath.
We are all very sad, but also filled with joy knowing my mommy is fully healed. I sure wish she could have held you like she used to hold your mommy. She would rub your mommy’s back and hug her. My mommy loved to hug.
My mommy also loved to plant flowers and take care of them, especially irises. Every time I see an iris I think of her. Always have. Because she was in her garden a lot, she had bees fly around her. She wasn’t afraid; she loved bees. She would slowly move toward a bumble bee that landed on a flower and she would pet the soft back of the bee with her finger. She never got stung. I think the bee’s knew my mommy was their friend.
I am so glad you are in my life Kaylee. You fill me with joy just like your mommy filled my mommy with joy. Even when I am sad, I just think about you and am so much better. I held you on my lap when you were napping yesterday. When I looked at your resting face, I knew everything was going to be OK…
Well, today is your one year birthday! We are so excited for you and are going to be with you at your party this afternoon. In the meantime, we had a great week last week and so I had to show a couple of highlights.
On the Fourth of July we went to the parade by your house. There were horses, cowboys, marching bands, dancers, a lot of classic cars, and even some little donkeys. We had so much fun watching the parade together, with your mommy, daddy, Uncle David, and your mommy’s friend Mary, and her kids. You enjoyed everything.
Then a couple of days ago, your mommy went to the dentist. I came along to watch you. We had fun just sitting and reading, but I decided to take you out in the hallway. It was long and carpeted and so a great place for you to practice your walking. This ended up being hilarious because you scooted along the wall instead.
I will have plenty to report about your birthday party, so I will finish for now.
Well, you sure are exploring now. When we put you on the ground on a blanket, you start moving in the “roll and scooch” method. Nana said you rolled over to the Entertainment Center and then couldn’t roll anymore, but you kept trying rather than roll back. You’ll get the hang of it.
My favorite picture of this, though, is what I call, “The roll, scootch, Oh Oh!” You see in the picture that you scooched under your jumpy thingy and were trapped. Love the look on your face.
“Hey, Nana, what the heck? How did I end up here?”
Nana just started laughing at you and you laughed back. Here’s the thing. You will “roll and scooch” a lot in your life. We call this “exploring” and “stretching,” like I talked about before. But, the most important thing to remember is this…
Your mommy and daddy and the rest of us are there with you as you explore and stretch. Your heavenly daddy is with us, as He is with you, too. God adores you more than the rest of us a trillion times over. You will understand that. In the meantime, we all will be there and make sure that if you feel, “trapped,” freedom is as close as our love for you.
I went out to spend the afternoon with you and your mommy on Monday. I wanted to go for a walk and watch you while your mommy could get some stuff done around the house. We ended up going for a walk to a restaurant and the grocery store. You slept most of the way and your mommy and I could catch up on life.
You see, Kaylee, having you in our lives is a double joy. There is the joy of watching you grow and how so many things you do now are new. Nana and I get such a kick out of your expressions and your mannerisms. We just enjoy Kaylee, period.
Then the double blessing is to see how joyful your mommy is. When you are with her, it is like going to Disneyland every day! We have never seen your mommy so happy so much! There is nothing more precious than to see your children filled with joy. Everything else in the world gets a little more balanced, a little less hectic, and a lot more “right.”
Nana and I are so blessed because we get “child joy” and “grandchild joy” at the same time. That’s a double dose!
What is going on behind those eyes of yours? I think at your age you can see clearly about 15 inches or so. I notice you like bright colors and patterns. So, close up, I’m holding colorful objects, shaking a small rattle back and forth, laying you on a colorful mat with stuff hanging above you and watching you look around- those kind of things.
When we are involved in these activities, I wonder if you are thinking,
“Why doesn’t that guy just relax and let me be?”
No, my hunch is you like to have things happening around you so you can get to know your world. Yet, it is at a very quiet, very focused time that I see you the most attentive. It is the time your eyes are most still and most focused, staring right into my eyes. It is when I am cradling you in my arm and feeding you a bottle.
I love that time of the day. You are safe, hugging close to your grandpa’s side, and the look in your eyes says,
Today is your Great-Grandma Hanson’s birthday. She will receive flowers from Nana and me today. Irises. Her absolute favorites! My mommy used to have irises bordering our yard, irises at our cottage on the lake, irises at their townhouse after I moved- Irises and more irises.
They are beautiful flowers and when I see one I instantly think of my mommy. That’s how it is with beautiful things. Beauty always points us to something beyond ourselves. Flowers are amazing, because in every culture that is capable of growing flowers, they have grown flowers. Who doesn’t like flowers?
People are just like bees and bunnies. They looove flowers!
And how wonderful that flowers come in so many gorgeous shapes and sizes, and especially, O, the colors!
This is just another reason I know how much God loves us. God could have just given us drab looking plants, and there you have it. Instead God is a thoughtful artist who uses all the paints on his palette.
Hey, Kaylee, guess what is my favorite flower? Iris.
And one of the funny things that some men like grandpa like to say? We call the women we love, flowers. When you put a bunch of flowers together, it’s called a bouquet, so let me tell you about my bouquet.
My most special bouquet is centered around your Nana, the most precious flower, worth more than the rarest orchid in the world. Then there is the Kristina flower, who is the the woman I love more than anyone except your Nana. She has a strong stem, with the gentlest of petals. Your Great-Grandma Lindgren is in the bouquet because she loves me lots, and she raised your amazing Nana. Then surrounding the whole bouquet is irises, because my mommy showed me how much God loves me by just being my mommy.
“But, what about your Kaylee flower?” I can hear you say.
Well, because you are new in my life, I have to admit, I think about you more than any of my other flowers. So, for now, you are my little boutonnière, closest to my heart. The rest of the bouquet won’t get jealous, though, because…they feel the same way!
I am Dana Hanson, husband to Nancy (m. 31 yr.), father to Kristina (24 yrs.) and father-in-law to her husband,Sean Herman, father to twin “boys,” Gregory (21 yr.) and David (21 yr.), and most recently-
I am a new grandpa! My beautiful granddaughter, Kaylee Marie Herman (b. 7/12/13), inspires me to connect with all of you grandpa’s everywhere!
We don’t have to be the greatest grandpas in the world; just good ones! We will journey together and share the joy and wonder of supporting and encouraging our children to raise and nurture the next generation!