Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Few Good Men

This Father's Day is bittersweet.  Super sweet because we're celebrating my sperm donor husband's very first Father's Day as the awesome daddy that he is. We planned a great day- correction: weekend, which he's proclaimed to be all his- to celebrate how incredible it's been watching him become a dad. At the same time, though, I can't help but think about how this is our first Father's Day without his dad, and I've been missing him so very much, as I know our whole family is. This must have been on my mind as I read through this, perhaps my fav Buzzfeed of all time, this morning.

While reading it, I was moved to tears at the goodness of humanity that is rarely on display like that anymore. With things like all the awful school shootings in the news these days, I have often found myself wondering what is wrong with humanity rather than what's right with it. This Buzzfeed was a great reminder that there is still so much good in this world, and that kindness and goodness is what really matters.  

Afterwards, my thoughts immediately drifted to my beloved father-in-law and how we are constantly reminded of what a good man he was. He is proof that kindness is really all that matters in the end. At his funeral,  the huge church was packed with people who have since shared the kindness he shared with them with us. The priest who knew him personally gave a most beautiful, memorable, on-point homily celebrating his life that so many people who attended the service have since commented on.  I can only hope that when my turn at this worldly life is through and I move on to the next level that I'll be remembered so fondly. 

One thing that always comes to mind when I think of the kind of man my father-in-law was is how he paid attention to and validated the big people and the little people alike. He took no interest in people who only acknowledged people who could do something for them, even when it was the popular route- that was something I remember Mike saying his dad taught him a long time ago.  As a devoted Catholic, he took communion to the sick. When I met him, he would go to the jail weekly as a volunteer to teach business to inmates nearing the end of their sentence and getting ready to be released so that they were well-equipped to succeed once they were back in the real world. In attendance at his funeral was the dry cleaner who he was a loyal patron to when he lived in Moco.  I recently went to the same dry cleaner to have Brody's heirloom baptismal gown restored, and he came out from behind the counter to hug me... just because I'm Don Barnes' daughter-in-law.  Around the same time, my sweet mother-in-law went to the dry cleaner Don more recently used over on the Eastern Shore.  When they pulled up the account and realized it was Don's and that she's his wife, they said how they love him and asked where he is. My precious mother-in-law apologized and told them that he'd recently passed away. They responded with immense sadness and told her how he was the only customer that would come in and really talk to them and truly take interest in their lives. That's because they weren't just the dry cleaners to him. They were people; his brothers and sisters. 

I know that these and many other memories that so many people have of Don are the legacy he left behind- the legacy of being good to one another.  Of all the worries that a mother has for their child, Brody being a good person isn't really one of them for me because I know who's blood he has pumping through his veins.  

There's a quote that I selected for a piece of art that's now displayed in Brody's nursery (I know, I know... I'm slacking on the nursery blog) that I think encompasses the legacy his Pop left behind:
"Remember when you go into the world to keep your eyes and ears wide open and be kind.  Love one another.  Take care of each other.  Tell the truth.  Always do your best.  Listen to the big people and the little people.  Explore new paths and have fun.  Know that you are loved like crazy.  Give thanks for all your blessings.  Above all else, love, and you will do wonderful things in this world."

Michael, Mimi, Kelly, Mary, Adam, Bob, Chris, and Justin- I love your guts and know that he's looking down and saying- as he always did- "I'm proud of you."

Happy Father's Day, especially to my love and my big brother on their first one.

I'm going to end a la Ellen Degeneres and say.... be kind to one another...

Mrs. [proud to be a] Barnes

ps- the Buzfeed link again because it's that good and worth the read

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