To this day, I can close my eyes and see Adam and Jesse coming across the driveway at Nanny and Papaw's house. This happened a good two or three years ago, but the memory is still fresh. I hope it never fades.
For my sons, there's no place on Earth like their grandparent's house. There, they can do no wrong. Jeanie's parents love them and ... well ... pamper them, and Adam and Jesse love them right back. When Jeanie and I have to leave them at Jean and Tom's, the boys are pumped.
When they were just three or four, they both pitched fits when we got there. Getting them out the door and into the car was a battle, from start to finish. As I was strapping them into their car seats, I asked in frustration if they wanted to just move in Nanny and Papaw. Jesse very politely undid his harness and came up out of that seat like a bullet.
He hadn't known THAT was an option.
However long ago it was, I again pulled into the driveway to pick them up. When I did, I saw Adam come running across the yard, hollering for me to stop. I put my SUV in park, and he told me to close my eyes and to not open them until they were ready. I heard some sort of commotion, but I'd promised. I kept my eyes shut.
"OK, Daddy ... open 'em up!!!"
I choke up even typing the words, but I looked and here came Adam and Jesse dragging an eight-foot cross that Papaw had helped them nailed together. They were so young at the time, they struggled under the weight of it.
My God ...
What crosses will they have to bear in the future? Dear God, please, if anybody in my family has to get sick, please let it be me. When they do walk through the valley, will I be around and able to help pick them up? There was a time in my life when I was completely and utterly alone in this world, and that will not happen to Adam or Jesse or Richard as long as I'm alive and they'll allow me to be there for them.
That old rugged cross is just outside the window of my office, leaning against the house. I look at it often, just as a reminder ...