Fathers, sons, and Nesquick


Today was a difficult day.

I learned on Sunday that somebody who I used to be in Boy Scouts with had passed away.  Trey was about four years younger than me, so although I thought he was a good guy, we had never been especially close, and it had been years since I'd seen or spoken with him.  I think the last time I saw him may have been when I sat on his Eagle Scout board of review, and was first to shake his hand when we awarded him his Eagle.

In the time since then, though, I've had the chance to get to know Trey's dad Bill through our church.  When there was a Daddy And Me Campout this summer, he hosted it at his ranch.  Every time I've seen him since then, he asks me about Blake.  Every time.  He knows what a gift a son is, and he cares about mine, just like he loved (and will always love) Trey, and Trey's little brother Dennis, who died in an accident several years ago.

That's what made today difficult, seeing Bill, another father, hurting so badly over his loss.  I wished I knew what to say.  I had no idea what to say.  There's nothing to say.  And I promise I'm not trolling for sympathy here, and I'm not trying to co-opt somebody else's tragedy as my own, but this day hit me much harder than I imagined it would.

Courtney worked last night, and as I was getting the kids ready this morning, I realized that I hadn't seen or heard Jack in a while.  Then I rounded the kitchen corner and saw that he had decided to help himself to a breakfast of Nesquick powder.  That's a little pile of it by his foot:
I was already dressed, in a suit no less, and had to take off my shirt and tie to clean it up, wash all the powder off Jack, and change his clothes.  At the end of that, I found out that Ava had wet herself while wearing the Halloween costume she'd be wearing to preschool that day.  While I cleaned and changed her, and fumed at how late I was going to be, Blake approached me to ask something and I just took his head off.  He completely didn't deserve it.

At dinner, I apologized to Blake.  "I'm so sorry for how I shouted at you this morning, Blake.  I feel really awful about it."

"It's OK, Daddy.  I'll always forgive you and love you."

I don't even want to try and say something funny or deep after that, just that I hope I will never, ever take that love for granted.  And I have to admit that Jack is pretty cute, even with Nesquick all over him.  Heck, especially with Nesquick all over him.


Roy Bassett said...

Awesome! Moving. Well said...and that's coming from someone who yelled at his kids for either no reason or very little reason at least twice this week. It happens. The little boogers just keep coming back to us, huh?

I discovered I really never had the first clue about understanding God's love until I had kids. I'm not saying I do now, but I think I'm closer. Love that is unearned and freely given. It goes both ways...even when we're yelling.

Thanks for writing this, Danny.

Danny said...

Thank you, Roy. It's kind of late at night, and I'm still kind of riding a wave of stuff from today, so I hope I won't embarrass you with this, but your comments mean a lot. I see the amazing women your girls are growing into, and I see how they are with you and Jennifer, and you guys are just like parenting rock stars to me.

I know that the favorite parental curse is to hope that your kids someday have kids like them, but in this case I mean it as a blessing. I hope that each of my kids grows up to have children who will buoy them with love on a hard day, who will let their parents squeeze them extra tight sometimes, even if they don't understand why.

Matt said...

Appreciated reading this post today. I found out about Trey early in the week (Tuesday?) and it's really been weighing on me, too. I've also been trying to avoid the trolling-for-sympathy perception, but I think that's kept me from talking much about it, which hasn't really helped.

I was Trey's counselor at church camp a few different times back in the day, one of which when he was in fourth grade and his first time away from home at camp and my first time as a counselor. That whole group of kids was pretty special to me: it was kind of an awesome feeling that I (only 16 at the time) was entrusted with taking care of them, and even though it's 20 years later and we're all adults now, that old feeling comes back with each new bit of information I hear about what happened last week, and part of me remembers that homesick little 11 year old, and I feel like I'm one of many who could have been able to be there for him somehow and wasn't. :-\

Danny said...

Thank you, Matt, for sharing your memories of Trey, too. Although it's still a sad situation all around, I want to share something with you that Bill said at Trey's service on Friday that may lighten your heart some. You may have heard that there have been some other deaths in the family this year, too: two of Trey's grandparents have passed in 2010. Bill said that when Trey travelled home for these family times, he seemed happier than he had been in years. Not, of course, about the family's time of mourning, but just with himself and his life.

lydia said...

I'm so glad you shared your blog with me today. As Trey's cousin, I know he was an amazing guy. I'm touched to know you and Matt knew him too. I saw him last month at our Granny's funeral (for the first time in about a year) and he really was doing well. He seemed excited and calm about his recent move and his future. Just his normal old cheerful self - I'll never forget that deep laugh. He spoke at Granny's service and I'm so glad I had the chance to hear him do that - a touching tribute he whipped out amazingly in a few minutes and delivered with sincerity and heart.
He was on a good road finally - and it was so deserved after everything he had gone through. I am so glad his service was so powerful and really honored him. I was blown away by everyone's support and the spiritual message. I just have a hole in my heart for Bill and Debbie. Keep the prayers coming for both of them.

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