Sunday, June 24, 2012

Our Two Ralphs

My husband's first Father's Day. We tried to make it special - Ralphie and I. Skittles, his favorite. A new lil grill. A funny card. Homemade waffles. Skim milk. He's really not hard to please. Lunch with a friend. Sunday afternoon nap. Morning and evening worship, and the day is gone.

But it's when you're lying in bed that the emotions swell. He sighs deeply, and leans back. I snuggle closely, knowing. "I'm so sorry," I whisper, as he closes his eyes to stop the tears. We lie in the quiet, just the two of us for a moment, as he remembers. Memories of his childhood swirl in his mind, and love fills his heart. Memories of the last year and a half without him, and his heart aches.

Then, it's 10:30, and time to nurse our little one again. I tip-toe into the nursery, and gather the sleepy baby in my arms. Back in our room, the three of us lie together. Ralphie wimpers, ready for milk, and we talk softly to him. So thankful. Thankful for our little Ralph.

And life goes on. We laugh again. We talk of other things. We sleep, and it is sweet.

Ralph playing with Daniel

Daniel playing with Ralph

Shortly after Daniel's father passed away, Daniel told me he wanted to name our firstborn son after his father, in some way. 

When we found out I was pregnant we threw around ideas. We had a favorite boy name that began with a R - perhaps we would give him the same initials? Perhaps we'd call him Franklin? Perhaps we'd use Ralph as a middle name? As the pregnancy progressed those ideas became less interesting, and the thought of Ralph Franklin Wells II began to resonate with both of us.

But when our son was born he named himself.

I still can see him being lifted up to me, whimpering and pink, and in my mind knowing he was Ralphie.

Months later we get compliments right and left. "Ralphie! What an adorable name!" "Ralph, now that has character." "Ralphie - it's just so fun to say!" "That suits him so well!" "Ralph! He must be named for someone?"

This first Father's Day reminded me again why we have our own little Ralphie. 

He has a name with a story. A story that we love. A story about a great man who loved others with all of his heart, was funny, generous, and a lover of every sport under the sun ;). Our little Ralph reminds us of another Ralph. No, we would never forget the first - we could never. Now, we just have the opportunity to let the legacy that his grandfather left live on a little longer, be remembered a little better, enjoyed a little fuller.

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