Today when I came home, Ryan was upset that I had been gone for what he apparently thought was too long. I had my hands full and also needed to wash my hands as I had been at the store picking up prescriptions. He expressed his frustrations as he waited very impatiently for me. He wanted my undivided attention.
As quickly as I could, I scooped him up into my arms and gave him kisses and told him of my love for him. As I watched his mannerisms, he reminded me of my Uncle Jr. I don't think I've ever told you about Uncle Jr, which is surprising cause he's one of my all-time favorite people.
It's difficult to speak of Uncle Jr without saying "Aunt Kate-Kate and Uncle Jr." I never can remember exactly how they are related to me, but what I do know is that "uncle" is not really the proper title. It's a title that in my mind fits because I love him so much.
As a little girl I was also very confused as to the relationship between Aunt Kate Kate and Uncle Jr. After all, if she was Aunt and he was Uncle, it would make sense that they were married, right? Wrong. They weren't married. I knew that. But, he was a grown man. So in my mind it really didn't make sense to me that he was her son. I think I was in my teens before I started to understand that Uncle Jr was Aunt Kate Kate's son.
He was just my Uncle Jr. I don't remember seeing a crippled man. I don't remember thinking of him as someone with a disability. I just remember always being really excited to see him. I loved the way he said Teeeennnnna, and I especially loved the way he crushed me when he hugged me. It was wonderful! I couldn't always understand him, but I knew from the sparkle in his eyes that he was excited to see me and that he was excited to tell me something. And, I was equally excited to hear what he had to say.
Perhaps when Jr was Ryan's age, he might have been healthy. I don't know. At some point, he had Polio and it took his health and it changed him. It changed him into the man that I knew and loved.
Before today, I recognized events and people that the Lord has placed in my life during the past few years to prepare me for Ryan joining our family. As I thought about Uncle Jr today, I felt that perhaps the preparations had started long before now, perhaps even while I was in my youth.
I was so blessed to know Uncle Jr. I will never forget his hugs, or the way his eyes would sparkle when he'd see me. Most of all I will never forget the way he'd say my name. No one else will ever say my name quite the same again.