He Would Have Had a Really Good Grandpa
When I look at that face, I think about how much easier my life would be if my dad were still around to come hang out with Oliver. I've been thinking about it a lot lately, more than ever better. I think about my dad hanging with him not just so I can have breaks, but because my dad would have been the most even-keeled, relaxed person to have around. It hit me one day as we were playing that if life played out a little differently, I could just call him up and say, "Dad, I'd love your help looking at Oliver next week. Can you come?" And it wouldn't be weird. And I wouldn't feel awkward about it. And I wouldn't feel guilty. Because I'd know we were ALL benefitting so much from that time. That we all NEEDED that time.
There's no point in wishing for what can't be, but that doesn't stop me from wondering. I see a lot of people ooh and ahh over babies in this semi-removed sense. Babies are beautiful and intimidating, especially if you're not intimately involved in their daily lives. And that's totally cool. I've been that person for a lot of my life, too. But because of my relationship with my dad and because he became a dad ten years before he and I met and because he taught people with special needs how to ski and play all sorts of sports, he had an ease that not a lot of people have with small, young humans. I don't care who you are and how much help you have. All moms need someone like that in their village.
I could be wrong in assuming he'd be relaxed around my child, but I don't think I am. He was the guy who could be oooh-ing and ahhh-ing on the inside and I'd never know until my mom called me a week later and told me how obsessed he is with Oliver. All I'd see is them down on the floor playing or reading. All I'd feel is a relaxed sense of family, of connection.
It's normal to wonder and to feel like man, I really wish I could have seen that play out, and I'm going to keep telling the kid what I'm thinking about my dad as I'm thinking it...that they would have gone out on coffee dates like I take him on now, but that his grandpa had a different order (drip, black) than mommy does. That his grandpa would teach him about every sport ever, about bow-hunting, about motorcycles, about cattle dogs. That his grandpa would draw him pictures of horses if Oliver asked him to, and teach him how to sail. That when Oliver asked for ice cream, his grandpa would respond with, "Okay, two scoops or three?" That his grandpa wouldn't hesitate to make us all a big batch of spaghetti and rattle the walls with his snore once we were all stuffed and cozied up on the couch. Once he's older, I might share here some of the questions Oliver asks and how I answer them.
In related news, we had an incredible surgeon at Swedish in Seattle who treated my dad. He was a Julliard-trained pianist who became a brain surgeon because of a friend whose family member got sick when he was a kid. The man who became Dr. Foltz wanted to help. He completely changed the course of his life out of curiosity and a desire to be useful. It reminds me of that part in Legally Blonde when Elle gets into Harvard Law and runs into Warner in the hall and he's like, "You got in?" and she responds, "What? Like it's hard?" Because it's totally normal to go from pursuing a career in classical music to one in neurosurgery. Some people get all the talents.
ANYWAY, Dr. Foltz died from pancreatic cancer last June (AWFUL!), but not before hand-picking his successor for not only the Ben and Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment he founded at Swedish, but also for the Brain Cancer Walk he founded as well. This new doctor, Charles Cobbs, is making HUGE strides in a potential treatment for glioblastoma. He is another big gift to this planet, much like Dr. Foltz was. My mom shared an article with me all about it, and, if you're interested, you can read it HERE.
My hope is one day a girl like me won't have to look at her son and wonder: what would it have been like to see my son play with my dad?
Hug your people for me and for you, okay? Big love to all who read these rambles.