Dear Hudson…Thanks for Being My Very Best BUDDY

Happy birImage-1thday Scooter! Over the weekend (6/22/19), we all gathered and celebrated your 5th birthday. It hardly seems possible that you could be 5 years old…but you are and you’ve been preparing me for this day for at least 4 months. Measuring time is not a concept you have quite mastered just yet — don’t worry, I have trouble with it as well. It seems the older I get the faster time moves. I know that at 5, you see it from a very different perspective. Ever since Nanna celebrated her birthday in March, you’ve been reminding me that your birthday was next and that you would be 5.

Watching you over these 5 years has been one of the greatest joys of my life. You love life and you help me see the world in a much different way when I’m with you. That’s a good thing because¬†the older I get, the more cynical I tend to be. So thanks for keeping the little boy alive in Poppo! I just know 5 is going to be a great year for you.

Each time I write one of these letters to the grandchildren, I try and think of some life lesson that I would like to pass on to you. Now that there are 4 of you guys — you, Harper, Ellie and Benjamin…I’m trying to share things with each of you that I hope will help you as you grow and mature. This year I want you to focus on FRIENDSHIP.

Early on in your life, you told me that I was your buddy! I just love that. We’ve been buddies now for 5 years.¬† I know we are buddies for life, but you have a major life event taking place this year that is going to change our relationship just a little. You are going to SCHOOL! You are already excited about that and excited about meeting new friends.

One of the things I have noticed about you is how well you get along with others. It seems regardless of how old or how young the people are — you have a way of including everyone. One of your favorite things is to go to Chick-fil-a and play on their playground. My favorite thing about Chick-fil-a is EATING! But you like to socialize. No matter who is in there, when you come out — you’ve made new friends. You don’t always know their names, but you tell me all about the fun you are having with “my friends.” That makes me happy.¬†

As you start to school, you are going to meet lots of new friends. You will enjoy spending time with them and playing games and just getting to know new people. That’s a special time. I just want you to remember one thing. Don’t forget to include those who might be a little shy or they might be a little different in some other way than you. Not everybody is as outgoing as you are so it will be important for you to always be aware of what’s going on around you and if you see someone by themselves — invite them to join your group. I know you are going to do that because I already see that in your personality.

I know it’s hard to imagine, but Poppo hasn’t always been the loud-mouth, outgoing person I am today. OK — I probably have always been loud-mouthed, but I remember being excluded a time or two when I was a little boy. It wasn’t fun for everybody to be involved in something fun and I was on the outside looking in. I’ve never forgotten what it felt like and I’ve tried to do my best to look for those folks who might need an extra measure of encouragement along the way. I hope you will do the same.

I don’t know what you are going to be when you grow up. Right now, you want to be a police officer who catches poachers who are trying to kill the dinosaurs. I’m not sure there will be much of a market for that as you get older, but you never know. I do know that you are one of the top negotiators I’ve ever met in my life. No matter what anybody suggests, you always have a “better idea.” And you usually win the argument — especially with Poppo. I pray we can harness that skill and use it for good. Who knows — you may one day write a book entitled “The NEW AND IMPROVEDArt of the Deal.”

I realize that as you grow older, you will have more and more friends in your life. That’s the way God intended. But never forget…you’ve got one buddy who will always love you and will always be in your corner…cheering you on to become exactly what God has planned for you.

I love you Scooter. Thanks for being my BUDDY!



God has given the Son of my Right Hand

IMG_2910.JPGBenjamin Nathaniel Greening…what a noble name. In Hebrew, Binyamin Netan’el. I almost feel like I should address you as royalty. So…let me first say that I am honored to meet you and to be your POPPO.

Benjamin means “Son of my right hand.” In the Bible, Benjamin was the last of Jacob’s 13 children. After Jacob believed that Joseph had died, Benjamin became even more important to Jacob because he was also the last son of his beloved wife Rachel.

The right hand is an awfully important place. Jesus sits at the right hand of God in Heaven. The person on the right hand is in a position of authority and prestige. In your own family, I see that you are the “right hand man” of your daddy. You are going to help take care of your mommy and your sister and your daddy is going to teach you how a Godly man should live.

Nathaniel means “God has given” in Hebrew. No doubt about it — you are a gift from God to all of us. Our family values life and we believe that ALL life is precious so every time a baby is born, a part of Heaven is sent to this earth. I’m convinced that you and your sister Ellie and your cousins Hudson and Harper are all “God-given.”

So…your parents have equipped you with a name that I believe is going to encourage you to do great things in your life. What a wonderful way to begin your journey in this messed up world.

Now there is one important lesson I need to share with you as you get started. I’m afraid you are going to grow up believing you have two mommies. You see, I’ve seen this situation before. When your Uncle Dustin was born, your mommy was about 3 years old. She was an extremely strong-willed child and I often struggled keeping track of who actually was the “BOSS” in the house. I’ll tell you this…your mommy thought she was and she acted like it.

When little brother came along, she believed it was her duty to raise him according to her likes and dislikes. So Uncle Dustin has had to answer to 2 women from day one. By the way, Poppo had to do the same thing but it affected me differently.

You have a little sister who is EXACTLY like your mommy. Ellie is strong-willed and as she is right now learning to communicate more effectively, I’m finding she is quite opinionated as well. She is going to love you fiercely throughout your life. You will fuss and fight and she might even stick a screw driver up your nose (I’ll tell you that story another day), but when it comes down to it…she will be in your corner. She will probably always tell you exactly what she thinks — like it or not — but know that deep down in her heart, she wants you to be the very best you can be.

When your cousin Hudson was born, I started giving nicknames to my grandchildren. Husdon is SCOOTER, Harper is LITTLE BIT, and Ellie is PUNKINDOODLE. I’ve been thinking about your nickname for a while now. For the last 6 months or so, you have been the most active baby I’ve ever seen. Your mommy would send me videos of you moving around in her belly and I thought to myself…”this is the busiest child I’ve ever seen.”

I went around and around trying to come up with an appropriate nickname for you. Hudson wanted me to call you GLIDER HENDERSON. I have no idea where that came from and don’t be surprised if he doesn’t call you that. He lobbied for that to be your actual name until you were born…but fortunately he was overruled by your parents. I also thought about a “rapper” name. Your initials made me think of something like “Notorious BNG” — but other than your daddy who does a pretty mean NSYNC imitation (ask him about that), none of the rest of us have very much talent in that area. I also toyed with BiggyG, but I decided against that too.

I finally kept coming back to how active you were before you got here. You were so busy trying to get out here to meet us and you were so busy trying to get out because room where you were was tight! You were a pretty big boy. So I’ve decided to call you BIZZY. I’ve got a feeling you are going to be a curious, busy boy — and that’s exactly the way we want it.

Poppo also gave something called “hashtags” to each child so when your picture is posted on social media from time to time, you will know that it’s about you. Your name made this one easy. Your hashtag will be #mylittlebuddy. That comes from my love of old TV shows and from the fact that your name means “Son of my right hand.” I loved Gilligan’s Island on TV. You and I can watch that together one day. Gilligan was the “right hand man” of the Skipper. So, you are going to be my “right hand man.” Remember being on the right is a position of prestige and authority. I need you (#mylittlebuddy) and Hudson (#mybuddyandme) on either side of me as we get into trouble together (not that we would ever do that).

Finally, I want you to know something that I have constantly and consistently told the other three grandchild. You have two cheerleaders in your corner ALWAYS — Poppo and Nanna. We love you unconditionally and we always will. There is absolutely nothing you can do that will ever make us stop loving you. We may not always like the choices you make in life, but there is nothing you can ever do that will change our love for you. That’s part of being in this family. We may disagree from time to time, but we value each other and we love each other no matter what!

Benjamin Nathaniel Greening…God loves you, Poppo loves you and I just know we are going to be the best of friends. You’ve entered a very special club along with Hudson, Harper and Ellie. You can call on Poppo whenever you need anything and I’ll be there ASAP. I’m honored to have you as #mylittlebuddy! Let’s have some fun!!!