Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy Birthday In Heaven

If I have the story correct I believe today was my mom's original due date. It would have been pretty neat if I was born April 7th because I would have been able to share a birthday with my lovely Great-Aunt Erma and her brother, my wonderful Poppy. My mom told me that my Poppy had hoped we'd have the same birthday. I love thinking on that sweet little story.

My Poppy was a great man. He served in World War II, was a good husband and father, and a great grandfather. Until I was 14, I would only see him and my grandmother once a year because they lived in Florida while I was in New Jersey with my family. Usually we'd get to see them the month of May. I looked forward to that month every year and would just about die with excitement when my dad would tell us that my grandparents left Florida. I'd count down the two days it took them to drive. "Did they call? Are they here yet?" Bless my father because I asked that question every hour at times. 

I have a  few memories I can actually remember from my young years that involved my Poppy. I remember going out to dinner with him, my grandma and my aunts. I ordered iced tea thinking it would be lemon flavored, but it was not.  Another memory is shopping in a store like Wal-Mart and being able to pick out a toy. I remember picking out a baby doll with blond hair wearing a white dress. I couldn't contain my excitement and just talked to him on the drive home. He listened and joined in. My memories may not be exact, but they are like a water color painting all mixed together to create an overall image to look back on. Thank goodness for home videos and photos. I love looking back on them and smiling.

Even though moving from New Jersey to Florida was the biggest upheaval in my life that I've experienced, I am grateful for the move. It gave me a chance to get to know my grandparents better. One day I was feeling pretty down in the dumps because I was still the new student at school. I didn't know anyone so I just stayed home all summer (the joys of moving to a knew place right at the end of the school year). My Poppy noticed I wasn't happy. He looked at me and said, "It's not always going to be this way. Once school starts you'll make new friends and you'll be going out all the time. Hang in there." His words of encouragement cheered me up. He didn't say many words, but when he did they were always meaningful. He always took the time to tell me how proud he was of me. Those words still stay near my heart.

He passed away in early 2012 at the age of 90. Right before he passed away I graduated from college with my teaching degree and just a few days later married my husband. Everyday I am thankful that I was still able to share those joyous moments with him. I wish he was here to see my son, but I know he's watching from Heaven. Every time I sing, "You are My Sunshine" I think of my Poppy and smile. 

He is often in my thoughts and miss him dearly. I love him very much.

 Happy Birthday, Poppy! You're always in my heart.

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