I wrote a little something about my uncle- my dad’s brother. He is very dear to me. I’d like to share it with you...
When I think of Bob, many, many things come to mind. Adventures on Duck Lake, imaginative stories he made up at bed time for all of us kids, working with him on block activities and brain training games when there was concern about my learning progress, massages and cranial-sacral, goofy nicknames, rocks and numerous other things that seemed super out-there or just plain boring to me as a child, but that I am increasingly interested in and treasure the gift of early exposure to. As an adult, I continue to receive the blessings of Bob's presence in my life. He is a trusted advisor, confidant, and source of guidance, unconditional love, accountability and big laughs! He is not afraid to bring up the difficult or uncomfortable topics either, and is someone that it is safe to have those conversations with. Most times, I feel like he can see right through me - through my social masks and protective shields - right to the core. I love this, and sometimes I need this - especially at those times in my life when I have tried to hide certain facets of my life or personality from the world, or even from myself.
There was this one time, when I was a little girl (younger than five) and after a LONG drive from Texas to Michigan to spend the summer with our aunts, uncles and cousins, we arrived at the cabins in Interlochen. My mom parked the car and all four of us kids tumbled out. Uncle Bob, giant in stature and presence, stepped out of the cabin onto the porch and greeted my mom and then my brother and sisters. I waited for the last hug. I don't know why exactly but I think maybe because I wanted his full attention, and to have time for a good long hug without everyone else waiting for theirs. He kneeled down and gave me just that, a really substantial hug. Everyone else had gone inside or was running around by this time. He pulled back to look at me and asked "How's my special girl?"... I don't think I can convey with words what that moment meant to me, or why it has stayed so clear in my memory for over twenty-five years. All I can say is that it was the way he looked at me - not with, but through his eyes. It was in his tone of voice, his smile and the time he took - to check in, with a 4 year old. I, of course, didn't know it at the time - but much self-examination and reflection over the years has revealed a deep seeded need to be AND to be seen as "special". This need is not unique to me - as it turns out, we are all special and have a very fundamental human need for community, appreciation and acceptance - but this impression, of needing "specialness" has been a focal point and common theme throughout my growth and ability to understand my self as an individual. Now, I don't know if Bob sensed this need in me, but I do know that he has a way of tuning in to what is needed in a situation or individual and making those around him feel seen, loved and absolutely special - like he did for me on that day, and has ever since. I am continually inspired by his dedicated presence and spirit of generosity and service to his family, his community and to humanity.
I hope you all have an “Uncle Bob” in your life- I am incredibly grateful for mine!