Yesterday Eden had her six month check up at the doctor. She's doing great, her weight gain took a dramatic leap so her growth arc was a nice gentle curve with a huge spike at the end. She got her shots, which she wasn't a fan of, but she was a trooper.
While we were there, we were waiting in the exam room for the doctor, as usual with any medical exam, and the boys were being boys: Elijah was loud and into everything, moving his little plastic chair across the small room so he could be separated from Asher and me and Asher was sitting calmly in the other plastic chair reading a magazine.
In between stripping Eden down, weighing her, texting Austin her physical stats, yelling at Elijah to stop whatever he was doing, and then settling down with Eden to give her a bottle, I glanced over at Asher and something about how he was sitting made me think of Dad.
My boys don't look like Walkes. They have a pretty good mix of me and Austin (I think anyway) but I think they probably likely take after Austin's side more. Their feet and the way their teeth are shaped look like Mullins feet and teeth. Their eye are Mullins eyes. But yesterday, for the first time ever, I saw my dad in my children.
Asher was sitting with his legs crossed at the knee, the way women typically cross their legs and also the way Dad crossed his legs, and reading a magazine. He was excited about something in it and was telling me about it animatedly. Then he went back to reading, his legs crossed, his magazine held up in front of him.
I think it was the legs. You don't often see men sitting that way.
Every once in a while, I truly grieve for the man my sons and daughter will never know. I grieve for the experiences they'll never have. They'll never get to crawl into Granddad's lap and read a book or go camping with him, or hear him say "Wowee!" when they come in the door or give him a kiss. They won't get to go to him for help with physics homework, or have him drive them to school or pick them up after. They'll never get letters or cards from Granddad telling them happy birthday.
Don't get me wrong, Papa Bob and Papa are GREAT grandfathers. They take time to play with the boys and spend time with them and be present in their lives, and that's so great. Papa Bob fuels their interest in technology (mainly his iPad) and Papa fuels their love of trains with gifts of train tracks and rides on trains at zoos. They both are wonderful about taking the boys, Bob for an afternoon, Allen for a night when needed. My kids love their Papas.
But as great as the grandfathers my kids have....they don't have MY dad as a present grandfather. It's just not the same.
I kind of figured I wouldn't really see much of my dad in my children since he's not around to impress himself on them. They know sort of who he is, since we have pictures of him around the house and his owls are on display, but it's more of a vague idea than a concrete one.
After seeing Asher and having that "holy crap that's Dad" moment, I thought about it a little and I see more of Dad in him than I realized: his love of reading and learning (Dad was almost a professional student before he decided on medical school), his fascination with science and astronomy and engineering, he love of stupid jokes, the way he loves his family and playing peekaboo with Eden.
If my sons grow up to be half the man any of their grandfathers are and were, I'll be happy. They're so lucky to have three awesome men to look up to and copy. They've got five great uncles (and three great-uncles) to look up to as well. They're surrounded by good men who are all willing to help them and show them how to be good men in their turn.
I didn't get a picture of Asher, which I wish I had. Between juggling Eden and wrestling Elijah down, by the time I got my camera ready he'd changed positions and the moment was lost. Maybe he'll do it again, maybe he won't. But either way, I love that my dad is still here in as small a way as how my son crosses his legs and holds a magazine.