Thursday, October 24, 2013


Dear Ian,
Today was a sad day for our family.  Your last great-grandparent, my grandfather, Great Poppey passed away.  We, you included, got to see him and tell him goodbye on Tuesday when he was moved to Hospice.  You told him about making monster cookies in Cooking at school, and I got to hold his hand and tell him how much we loved him. 

Oh my gosh, this hat...
Talking to you about his passing was hard for me.  I didn't want to be upset and therefore upset you, too. But how could I explain the celebration of a well-lived life ending when your life is just beginning?  In the end, we told you that God was very proud of the good life Great Poppey had here on Earth and that now it was time for him to be in Heaven.  We explained that, like God, Great Poppey now lives in your heart, and you can think of him and talk to him whenever you want and he will hear you.  We talked about funny moments, like how Great Poppey had these crazy hats that he wore to make you laugh.  They had hair on them, which Great Poppey did NOT have, so when he took them off, it was sort of a shock.  Then later, in the car, we talked about sweet moments like how he got to hold you within minutes of your birth. 

Tonight, Daddy and I have spent time sitting in the living room, looking at old photos and reminiscing about Great Poppey, all the grands and great grands and family in general.  I've found photos of my great-grandmother (we called her Mommoo), all of my grandparents, and these photos and memories of generations of our family made me realize, yet again, how lucky I am.  I, like you, have had the love of my great-grandparents and grandparents.  This love helped make me the person I am today, and I know that your grandparents and great grandparents are having as much of an influence on you.  They are leaving an imprint on you like footprints, to use your very own words.  Those footprints will shape you into a better person, and I am humbled to get to watch that develop. 

While we will most definitely miss Great Poppey, we know that he is in Heaven with your Great-Grandma Davis, your Great-Grandma and Great-Grandma Colombrito and getting to know your Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Brooks and Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Graves.  They are all probably looking down at the family they helped to create in as much amazement as I have while I sit here and contemplate the huge legacy they all built. 

Their footprints will last forever on our hearts, and I promise to make sure that the memories of ALL of your family members will be kept strong and present in our lives.  We have an amazing family.  We are so incredibly lucky. 

In memory of Jerry Vernon Davis  
husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather
August 10, 1929 - October 24,  2013

We love you, Ian,
Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Putting the Great in Great Poppey

Dear Ian,

You are such a lucky boy.  When you were born, you had three great grandparents here to welcome you into the world.  Your Great Grandpa Brooks, while not actually present at your birth, was told quickly after you arrived, and was thrilled to hear the news of a new generation.  Your Great Grandma Graves and your Great Poppey Davis both got to hold you within minutes of your grand entrance into the world, and it was such a special moment for your Daddy and me.  And somewhere around here, I have a picture of you, your Daddy, your Grandpa Brooks and your Great Grandpa Brooks on your first Halloween.  Another great memory!
You and your Great Poppey and Great Grandma Graves

Sadly, your Great Grandma Graves passed away shortly after your first birthday, and then your Great Grandpa Brooks passed a little after your second birthday.  Daddy and I are both thrilled with the fact that you got to spend some time with both of these amazing members of our family; the memories of them holding you and playing with you are precious to us.

Your artistic contribution to Poppey's room
And you are lucky in the fact that your Great Poppey Davis has been able to spend the first almost four years of your life getting to know you and play with you.  Unfortunately last Thursday, Great Poppey suffered a stroke.  He is still with us, but at this moment, he is unable to speak, and he is very weak in his right arm and leg.  The doctors also think that his vision may have been affected a bit, too.  It has been hard to see him like this;  his usual rambunctious commentary, feisty attitude and sometimes grouchiness has been silenced.  He is able to hear us and turn his head, though. And the other day, I took you up to the hospital with me, and he reacted the most strongly I have seen since this whole thing started.  You got him to give you a couple of high fives, he listened as you told him about your class, and then you drew him a picture on the white board in his room, and I took a picture of it and showed it to him.  He responded with a positive sort of sound, and that was just great to hear.

We're not really sure at this point how well he will recover.  He will have more tests today and tomorrow to figure out the next course of action in his care, so we are all waiting on those phone calls for results.

In the meantime, I am remembering a bunch of funny stories and moments that I don't know if he will be able to share with you as you grow up.  To think that you may not hear them really upsets me, so it will be my job to pass on those memories to you and hopefully your future generations, too.  Most of them aren't terribly important, but some are really funny, and they are all special to me.  For example, when I was about ten years old, he taught me his lyrics to the theme of Popeye the Sailor Man.  They are as follows:

I'm Popeye the Sailor Man
I live in a garbage can (every one knows that part, but the rest is his...)
I like to go swimmin'
with bow legged women,
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man!

I didn't figure out the lyrics until I was about 15 or so, and once I got it, I just cracked up.  Slow on the up-take, that's me!  

Then there are other funny stories like how I used to play beauty parlor with him.  Back in the 80's, Great Poppey rocked a hairstyle called the comb-over that sorta masked the fact that he was losing his hair.  You grew hair on one side of your head longer than the other and "combed it over" so it created the illusion of a lot of hair.  Poor Great Poppey.  He had seven-year-old me brushing it out, marveling at it's length, putting rollers and curlers and hair barrettes in it...  Again, somewhere around here I have photos of that, and they are hilarious.  

When Uncle Brian and I were little, Great Poppey managed a Scotty's Hardware Store in Punta Gorda, Florida.  When we would spend a couple of weeks out of the summer with them, he would let us play in the store.  I remember one day we somehow found a pricing gun, this little gun that shot out price tag stickers, and we made stuff like hose couplings cost $1,000 and lawn mowers were stuck with 50 cent tags.  To this day I wonder if anyone ever noticed them or paid attention to the stickers.  I think the employees there knew it was us just goofing off, but we had such fun with that price tag gun. 

Great Poppey lived during World War II and told us stories of riding his bike through Perry, New York during air raid drills, and he told me about how his community rationed things like rubber and nylons.  He dated your Great Grandma Davis during a time when cars had rumble seats and one night, he and Mr. Spencer, one of his good friends, hid Great Grandma and Mr. Spencer's date (the future Mrs. Spencer) in the rumble seat as they went through a toll booth on the "pike."  He liked to tease me, and one of our favorite past times was picking on each other.  He would tease me after I had had a good game of bowling that I had bowled my weight, and I would pick at him about his lack of hair.  He and Grandma Davis attended countless football games and competitions to watch me twirl, and tons of soccer and football games to watch Uncle Brian and Uncle Gary play.  He ate crazy birthday cakes that your uncles and I made him, as we were usually at their house in the summer on his birthday.  Once he even sliced into one with a toy sword of Uncle Gary's, and that thrilled us!  He watched us put on ridiculous re-enactments of musicals like Mary Poppins, and even one of Gone With the Wind with Uncle Brian dressed as Mammie.  (yes, I have photos of that...)  He took us to Disney, Medieval Times and a cool place called Boardwalk and Baseball that doesn't exist anymore, but it was great. 

I have memories of finding sharks teeth with him at Venice and Inglewood Beach, the smell of the pipe he used to smoke and crawling onto the pullout couch with him and grandma when they would come to visit us at the house on Meridian Road.  

The thought that you might not be able to hear about these things from him makes me incredibly sad, and I am hoping and praying with all of my heart that he will be able to regain his speech so you can ask him about some of the crazy things I have mentioned here.  Or you ask him to share stories that are even more important that the silly memories I have collected.  Just hearing him say hi to you would mean the world.

For now, we will continue to visit him in the hospital, and we will help him fight through this tough time.  We will also just simply hold his had.  Because as hard as it is for us to hear him so quiet, I know it is even harder for him to be able to see us and not be able to tell us he loves us.

We're so lucky to have him, and I'm glad you've been able to share in his life.

I love you,

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Works of Art #44

Dear Ian,

You've been a busy bee in school lately, so here is your most recent batch of art to come home:

Here is a vase of sunflowers you did in art, inspired by the sunflower paintings of Vincent VanGogh.  I love this one.
 For open house, your teachers helped you assemble an "All About Ian" book, and this is the cover.  The next few pictures are the pages in your book.
 Here is your house made out of different shapes.
 This is you :)  Very cute!
 Here is your handprint flower.  It is amazing how much your little hands have grown.  I love to see the progress,
 Here's a self portrait.  It looks a little like you.  Except for the blue lips and eyes.  
 This picture is a sample of your writing ability as of late.  Ms. Jackie said she had you write some letters for you; this was the end result.
This apparently is me.  You made this picture one day after cooking. 
 Arrrrggghhh!!  This is your pirate self that was on your class bulletin board last month.
 This is a treasure map you had to draw for homework during your pirate unit.  I love the one tree...
Finally, these are purple irises, also inspired by Vincent Van Gogh.  They are really pretty!

Keep up the great work, Bear!



Love Notes

Dear Ian,

Every day you are growing by leaps and bounds and learning new things.  It never ceases to amaze me how much and how quickly you change and each developmental step is precious to me. However, it's your newly acquired ability to read things that thrills me the most at the moment.  I love to read, and to see that love forming in you makes my heart smile.

The other day, while sitting at the dining room table watching you paint with water colors, I wrote you a little love note.  It only said three words:  "I love Ian."  I didn't tell you what it said, but I slid it across the table and then went into the kitchen to check on dinner and stuff.  When I came back, I found this:

You read it yourself, and you wrote your own response.  I was both in awe by your ability and by your written note back to me. 

It is now one of my very favorite things.  I have it tucked safely away in your baby book with the date written on it, of course.  Because Mommy is nuts like that.  I also took a picture of it.  I sorta forgot about it until today as I was cleaning out photos on my phone.  It makes me smile so big to see it.

I love you so much and for always, Little Bear.  And I know that you love me.

Kisses and Hugs,