Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Miss Jailey

I may have listed my little page as Lost In The 70's but the new century has something that the old one did not. One of the greatest things in my life was becoming a dad. Now I totally agree that anyone can father a child but it takes a very special person to be a Dad, or Mom.
The birth of my sons were two of the most precious days that I remember. They are part of my "grown up" memories that I pray I never lose. But just like any creature on God's green earth, they must eventually grow up and take flight on their own and go their way. One after another my sons grew up and took flight. Jamie got married and joined the Navy for a 7 year hitch and I had the honor of watching him mature in leaps and bounds. Adam followed his mom to North Carolina and actually worried me for some time. He then found his way to manhood and found his footing on life and ended up getting married and working to provide for his family. But something was missing. Something I had cherished no longer was present in my life. As the boys moved away, I felt as if I had stopped being a Dad. A man that was no longer needed. Occasionally I would get the rare phone call from one of the boys seeking advice or help and that boosted my "Dad " level back up a little. I eventually grew accustomed to this and settled down with my new role in the boys lives.
As time progressed, I did my very best to convince Jamie and his wife Tasha that a grand child would be so totally awesome. I even offered to financially support it, all they had to do was give birth to one. Hey I was desperate! I could understand the reservations that the two had, still being in the military and not wanting to have a child to raise in a temporary environment wanting a more permanent home for it. Ok, he will not be in the Navy for ever, so I could wait. Now Adam had an instant family when he married April and for medical reasons, she could mother no more children and Adam was certain he wanted no "rug rats".
Shortly after our last visit to New Orleans where Jamie was last stationed, I got a phone call one night. Jamie referring to me as "Papa". I was like "What's with the Papa crap dude?" He sort of giggled, you see, Jamie wanted a child almost as bad as I wanted a grandchild. "Well Daddy, Tasha used one of them pee on sticks and she is pregnant." Yaaaaaaa, right? Nope. Not for me, I was far to old an dog to be fooled by a bunch of pups.
"OK " I sez. "Has she went to the doctor yet?"
"No not yet" Jamie replied.
"Well when she goes to one and you have proof, then call and let me know."
I am certain he was waiting for that, flip flop and cartwheel scream till you break a window kind of reaction from ole Dad but it was not to be heard.
Time had passed and eventually the good doctor in New Orleans handed down the news. Yep, Grand Pa status was in the works for yours truly.
As time passed, Jamie finished his tour with the Navy and moved back home. I watched with anticipation as Tasha grew with the new life with-in her.
They were happy that the doctors told them that Jailey would be born towards the end of October. I think Tasha was looking for a Halloween birthday for Jailey while I joked that she was going to wait until Papa's birth month so she and I would forever share one thing in common.
October came and went and no little girl. But on November 8th 2008, little Ms. Jailey Rae Walker was born.
Imogene and I went the very next day to visit and get our first glimpse of the little bundle of wonder. My mind drifted as I drove to the hospital, thinking of how her birth changed me or perhaps would change me. I did not feel different, nor did I feel older. Years in the coal mines had made me feel old.
When I walked into the room, there they were, the new family. I looked at my son and begin to think, "My son has now become a Daddy, the circle is complete."
As they laid Jailey in my arms, she was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. And if one looks closely at photos taken that day, tears are evident in my eyes.
I have watched her grow over the past 9 months. But nothing brings a smile to my face more than the thoughts of her smile or laughter. Or the way she sheepishly clings to me at church when someone attempts to talk to her. I do miss the 70's, but they did not have one thing that I have now. My sweet Grand Daughter. I pray that she never see's some of the bad things in her life that I have in mine. I pray that those smiles will always be present on her face. That great and wonderful things will always be her's. That the Lord will always be in her heart and shine his grace upon her in all she does.
Yea the boys grew up and moved off. I felt that my days of being a child mentor had long past. Then as Chicago sang, "Then along comes a woman, and she changes the way that you're feeling tonight" or in this case, along comes a baby.
So you know, I have came to the conclusion that life hasn't slowed down. My little dudes need the ole man from time to time and now, oh wow now, getting older? Hmm, I think that now will be the most grooviest, most psychedelic road trip ever. As Robyn Williams character Peter Panning said in the movie "Hook", "To live will be the greatest adventure of all". So here's to the future, may the 70's keep be grooving but the 21st century bring me the most happiness and satisfaction.