Every Wednesday at 3 o’clock, Uncle Joe and Uncle John pull up in their big brown Impala to visit with Elijah and Noah. This may not seem like that big a deal until you take into consideration that Uncle Joe will be 92 next month and Uncle John is almost 90. Faithfully – in inclement weather and sunshine – they shuffle their way into my living room and humor Elijah in all sorts of wonderful ways until 4 o’clock when they head back home.
Sometimes they play football and toss the ball back and forth. Sometimes they read, or paint, or watch Elijah’s favorite show – Curious George. Sometimes they wear crowns that Elijah made especially for their visit. But always . . . always . . . always they give hugs and kisses and try as best they can to snuggle with my boys as much as they can.
Both sets of my grandparents have passed away. To say that I am blessed to have Uncle Joe and Uncle John in my life is an understatement. They are my Grandpa’s older brothers and have been an important part of our family for generations. They were in my grandparent’s wedding. They taught my mom to drive. They watched my siblings and I every week as kids when my mom went grocery shopping. And now, every Wednesday they come to visit my boys and love on them the best they know how despite the nearly nine decades of life that separate them.
That hour on Wednesday is one of the most precious hours of my week. The love and gratitude that I have in my heart for my uncles is almost impossible to explain – and is further compounded by seeing them light up inside when they are with my boys. I don’t know how many more Wednesdays we’ll have with both of them, but I cherish them and am certain that those two little boys are two of the greatest reasons they have so much life inside of them. They inspire me in some of the smallest and most profound ways at the exact same time. I hope I get to live as full a life, with as much joy and patient resolve as they have, with even a fraction of their grace.
After today’s playdate is over, Uncle Joe and Uncle John will pick themselves off my couch and Elijah will take their hands and lead them to the back door where they’ll gather as many kisses from my boys as they’re allowed. When they walk out onto the porch, with Elijah standing at the door, he’ll tell them, “See ya later alligator.” They’ll call over their shoulder, “After while crocodile.” And Elijah, Noah and I will stand at the door until they get in their car and drive home . . . so thankful for another Wednesday.