Buckeye birthday, and a nickel's worth of comfort

Wow, ok, finally have a minute to sit down and unload my thoughts onto my blog. I have been neglecting this page quite a bit recently, as I have become a man whose free time has dwindled to nearly nothing in this holiday season family running and my work day starting at 6:30 am and  not ending til after dark most days. I know, I know, you all have been dying to hear updates from my boring life, all 4 of you who actually read this after I exclude the spammers and phishers. Get down off the ledge and enjoy this latest rambling from me, the least interesting man in the world!

I spent this weekend at my Father's home in Springfield, Illinois. As a geographically stretched family, we have quarterly birthday parties to celebrate milestones in the family about once every three months. And at this gathering, we celebrated the womb evacuation days of 3 nieces and my youngest son Tanner, who turned 11 last Thursday. More about his actual birthday a little later, but this weekend also marked our annual Christmas party. A lot of joy packed into two days, let me tell you.

As we were preparing to leave today, my Dad asked my brother Josh, my sister Angelia, and myself to join him in the dining room. We all complied and he sat us down. Suddenly I saw the man in him that my mother had married in 1986. Grayer and a little frailer than then, his stern voice echoed through that dining room like when I was 15 and did something wrong (that was the only time, of course, since I was the near perfect child;).

The merits of that meeting are our family's business and I will never publish it on this blog. However, at one point in time, with Christmas upcoming and the birthday celebrations held the day before, we spontaneously decided to thank this remarkable man for the greatest gift anyone could ever ask for. He gave us a Dad.

When he fell in love with our Mom and said I do 28 and a half years ago, he was stepping into a misfit family that had just escaped a living hell. Our practical examples of what a father should be were my birth father, who was more like an urban legend, and the monster of a man who terrorized our lives for more than 5 years. So if not for the interference of a man named Michael Bromberg, none of us may never have known what a great father figure was like. Today we thanked this amazing Dad for shifting the entire course of our lives on that day, that June 7, 1986.

With a tear in his eye he thanked us, and we all wiped our own tears away. Another moment I will never forget.

Speaking of unforgettable moments..................

I was mentioning Tanner's 11th birthday was Thursday. And on that day, my youngest son had his mind blown. Yes ladies and gentleman, he was speechless. See, his favorite Buckeye of all time is Zach Boren. A Buckeye fullback and linebacker who became a legend when he stood over a _ichigan QB and did "the pose"(pic below). And I happen to do business with a company called Boren Brothers hauling. My contact at that company is none other than #44 himself. So when a lunch meeting was scheduled at my office with him and my staff, Tiffany took Tanner out of school and gave that boy the surprise of his life.

The started the day with breakfast at Bob Evans. Then she told him they had to stop by my office. After they were there a few minutes, I turned the corner with Zach and Tanner's jaw hit the floor. He was in shock, and even more stunned when his favorite linebacker pulled out the autographed photo below. Made out to him. He couldn't speak, but Zach was so engaging with him. It was a great moment, one I know my eidetic memory kid will remember forever.

Tiffany took Tanner to the car and they left. As they drove away, all of the sudden he had 100 questions he was kicking himself for not asking. As for Mr. Boren, we had a great meeting and re-affirmed a solid working relationship that will benefit both our companies.

Tanner Christian Brady - yeah I gave you a long name. You have more in your 11 years than most people do in a lifetime. You are so much smarter and funnier than I could ever dream of being, and your mind amazes me everyday. I have said it before and I will say it again, I am so grateful and honored that God chose me to be your Dad. You really are my Awesome McAwesomesauce JR, and I cannot wait to see what you do next! Mark my words kid, you can change the world!

In closing, I wanted to share one more quick story. Before I can tell you the story, I have to tell you something you may not know about my mother. Like my Grandpa, she never saw a penny or nickel or a dime in a parking lot, on a sidewalk, in the middle of the road, or anywhere, without picking it up. And about once a year, she would sit down and roll it. Actually we were all required to help. When I was younger, I am pretty sure that's how she bought our food. As she got older, I think it was because, well, she was Papaw's daughter.

I go to the cemetery to see her every time I am in Illinois. In the dark days after the divorce and her passing, I can even recount 4 times I drove out there and back in the same day, never even pausing at my Dad's house. Bad times, and I was a pretty bad guy then. Anyway, I always talk to her. unload whats on my chest and pray. Yesterday, I needed to do both those things. So with the older two boys and Little Red in tow, we stopped by her place of rest. The boys wandered for a minute, then I asked them to go back to the van and roll the windows up. I needed to talk to her. They did, and I unloaded my fears and prayer needs on her. I walked back to the van feeling the weight lifted, as usual. But as I went to go around to my side, I saw a nickel in the gravel right in my line of view.

Thanks Mom, I needed that.

I put that nickel on the back bumper of our new van, on the other end from the penny Tiff had put there earlier in the day. That 5 cents was still there when we got home, unlike its copper friend. I put it in a special place, now sure that she heard what I said.

Speaking of prayers, as always, they are appreciated.

Day # 651. Yeah, I am pretty sure setting up this meeting for my son's birthday qualifies me for father of the year. Well, maybe I finish second to the 28 time defending champ mentioned above. It is good to be me.


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