Chandler and Grandpa Bill--two tough dudes
(First published on CaringBridge, December 2018)
Every day is so good and so bad. Friends visited again today, our family was all together for dinner, Chandler is breathing on his own and was a bit less agitated today, Charli's friends just stopped by with Harmony milk tea with boba for us. So good.
Chandler is having trouble following simple commands. Genetically speaking, he probably gets some of that from me. Neurologically speaking, they need to watch closely the next couple of days to get a baseline of his cognitive functioning. I'm going to call this part bad. I don't like it. I want my son to smile at me with his brown eyes. I want him back. Now.
So why the pic of Grandpa Bill and Chandler? I just love this picture. Daddy and Chandler are so much alike. My dad was strong as an ox, even up until he died at 93 two years ago. I thought of my dad the past couple of days each time Chandler would squeeze my hand with a strength that seemed incongruent with his circumstance. In his younger days, my dad's pride and joy was a large tattoo that covered his left forearm, the exact nature of which I won't reveal in this forum. He got it during his time in the merchant marines during WW II. (When he married my mom years later, he went through the pain of getting it covered with a respectable American eagle). When he was in India a few years ago, Chandler got a tattoo that covered his entire right side, armpit to waist. A tattoo artist worked with Chandler to design the tattoo which was a fractal (google it) of the Rolling Stones tongue and lip logo. Chandler is like Matthew McConaughey--he will find a way to remove his shirt about every hour. So the tattoo gets lots of air time. My dad loved to visit his friends, check in on them, and make sure they were OK. I never knew until the past 10 days that this is exactly Chandler's MO (google it if you're not old enough to know). My dad was an amateur boxer in the Conservation Corp back in the day. His last fist fight (not in a ring) happened after I was born. My mom told him NO MORE fights. Chandler will not hesitate to assert himself, if you know what I mean, but it's usually because someone is picking on his friend or on someone who can't defend himself. My dad loved adventure, travel, and being outdoors. Chandler is always up for a hike up Saddleback Mountain, a trip to a music festival (where he sleeps outdoors), or a ride at the skate park. My dad loved to dance. He was a dancing fool -- Texas two-step, waltz, jitterbug. Chandler has become a crazy dancer. One of my best memories is of dancing for hours with Chandler at a friend's wedding a couple of years ago. I was so proud to be with the most handsome guy on the floor. And he wasn't the least bit embarrassed by my Saturday Night Fever-esque moves.
Chandler and my daddy shared a special bond. I think Daddy understood Chandler. So while he worried about Chandler and would shake his head at some of Chandler's exploits, he probably felt responsible for passing on his own DNA.
After a tough day, I just wanted to write about two of the toughest men I've ever known.