Relationships are pretty much at the core of who I am as a person. My ministry to the youth and to others really involves building relationships and adding value to other people through those connections. So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that family is pretty important to me.
I have been blessed with a pretty great family. Married in 1990 to the woman that I call my best friend. I have often said that I wouldn’t want anyone else in my foxhole, a reference to both the struggle and war that is life and the reliability and tenacity of my wife.
In 1992, we had a son, and then we were three. Ben, (BJ as he was called til he was about 5) was a spirited kid. He and I have almost always been at odds. His mother says it’s because we are too much alike. I think it’s more the case of a son wanting to spread his wings and a father too proud to admit he doesn’t want to let go too quickly.
In 1994, Taylor became the baby of the family. Admittedly, I have always gotten along with her much easier then with Ben. It’s not because I love her more, (Ben often in the past has claimed that to be the case) it’s just that.. well, with a daughter, a dad get’s to be the hero, the protector, the big bear. I got all that with Taylor, and then some. (I am proud to say, her boyfriend is totally scared of me.. Hoo YAH!)
Family was so important to me, I made career choices to make sure I stayed near my extended family. My side and Heather’s side. I gave up a career in the Navy because I didn’t want to miss out on my kids lives, I wanted to be there for them as they grew up. That was a choice that was more difficult then many will ever know. So, in 1997, I hung up my uniform and came home.
It was just us four for a while, with our parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters nearby.
Then, in the course of 12 years, that list started to shorten. First, Heather’s grandmother, then my step-father. My brother, my cousin, my mom, Heather’s mom, Heather’s best friend, Heather’s dad, my uncle (those are just the highlights, I really don’t want to delve to deep into that list, as it tends to engulf me.)
Then in 2013, we got the chance to add someone new to our family. Ben married Krista. It was nice having an addition. It was nice we got a chance to rejoice instead of remorse. It was nice.
So, today, we are at 5. I’m still waiting on number 6. Still looking forward to the day I get to meet my granddaughter (yep, still holding on to that one) or grandson. The day I get to scare to death the young man brave enough to ask me for my daughter’s hand in marriage. (Seriously, that is going to so much fun).
I am looking forward to more family. To more hello’s.
And to spoiling my grandchildren at every opportunity.
Cause, that’s what you have grandkids for, right?