Tag Archives: relatives

Day 304: Stacy, Ronda and Walker

I spent the last week in Kingsport, TN. I traveled there to see my 81-year-old aunt whose health had been declining dramatically. She passed away about four hours after we arrived.

And while the week was filled with mixed emotions, the bright part of it all was spending time with family. On Wednesday night, we went to dinner with my cousin Stacy and his family to a restaurant I hadn’t tried before: Stir Fry. Good spot if you are traveling through Kingsport.

Day 304

Stacy, Ronda & Walker,

Thank you so much for dinner Wednesday night. All of us enjoyed Stir Fry – a new restaurant for all of us – but even more we enjoyed spending time with you. Wish we lived closer together. Next time, it’s our treat!

Uncle Jerry, Jason, Ryan

Day 176: Aunt Sue

I’ve written Aunt Sue a few times this year. She has lived at an assisted living center for nearly 18 months. She’s sad and bitter that her freedom has been stripped away. She no longer drives, cooks or calls people. I try to call her regularly, write her notes and make the eight-hour journey to visit her whenever I can.

Day 176-2

Aunt Sue,

I thought I would drop you a note to say hello. I talked to Ryan today and he said that he bought his airfare to come visit. I don’t think Jacqueline will be going with him in the end. I know you were looking forward to seeing her. I am checking with my work commitments to see if I might be able to join him for part or all of the time.
I love you and think about you often.
Looking forward to seeing you soon,
(short for You Know Who – that’s how she used to sign her letters to me.)

Day 77: Mackenzie

IMG_0206I’m an uncle for the second time! What an amazing experience. Meet my beautiful niece Mackenzie.

I wanted to write her a letter on the day she was born – hopefully some day she and I can read this together. It will be fun, we’ll laugh and probably tear up a bit too. Mom and baby are both doing well.

Day 77

Dear Mackenzie,

 Day 77-3HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Only once in life do we get to say these words and it really mean what it says. What a day today was for you. You joined us at 2:38pm weighing in at 6lbs. 15oz. – they also measured you and you were 19.5 inches long. That number probably doesn’t matter a whole lot because you have a good chance of inheriting the short person’s gene – don’t worry, I got it too and I turned out relatively ok.

You were gorgeous and quiet when I first saw you – all swaddled up like a tightly rolled Chipotle burrito! Mom and Dad let me hold you – you stayed perfectly still with the exception of an occasional shiver. Your shinny pink eyelids softly closed and your lips gently touching, you were very relaxed given all the excitement that you had experienced.

I have been waiting for this day for a long time – imagining what you would look like, the shape of your smile, the color of your eyes, the gentle sound of you breathing. I can’t wait to watch you grow, just like I have with your beautiful sister Jacqueline.

Day 77-2-2Mackenzie, you and I share something in common – besides our good looks and calm demeanor – we’re both the younger of two siblings. This road can be tough sometimes, but it comes with some huge advantages too. Your sister Jacqueline will be your hero in life, just as your Dad has been mine. She’ll be your best friend, the person you can confide in, the one that you can always talk to about anything. It’s a very special gift.

And there is more good news – if you can stay awake a few more minutes to finish reading this letter. You’ve pretty much won the lottery. Yep, your parents are awesome – they’re the cream of the nursery as they say. You and Jacqueline are the most important part of their lives and they love you more than I can put into words.

I long to hold you in my arms again. Every moment we share together is important to me. I look forward to babysitting you, tucking you into bed at night, reading stories to you, helping you learn Spanish, making fun of your granddad together, taking you to the park, holding your hand as we walk together, laughing until our stomachs hurt, giving you a hug when you need one, seeing you participate in school activities, taking you to baseball games, spending the weekend with you and Jacqueline when Mom and Dad are away, watching you graduate high school, traveling with you to far parts of the world and watching you discover new places.

I could go on and on (Uncle Reed sometimes talks a lot) but what I’m trying to say is that you captured my heart today. And from this day forward my life will never be the same. I will stand by your parents to help raise you, support you in all of your dreams and most importantly I will love you unconditionally forever. That is my promise to you.

Day 77-2Get some rest – you’ve got a long beautiful life waiting of you.

Uncle Reed

PS. Sometimes the younger sibling doesn’t get photographed very much – don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

Day 38: Aunt Betty and Uncle Larry

About a year ago I received a wonderful handwritten letter from my Aunt Betty – one of my Mom’s sisters. She is a thoughtful letter-writer and I thought I would drop her and my Uncle Larry a note to say hello. They use email and Facebook, but I think they still really enjoy sending and receiving handwritten letters.

Year of Letters-5

Dear Aunt Betty & Uncle Larry,

Just a note to say hello and let you know that I’m thinking about you. Work and some side projects have been keeping me busy. I enjoy it all though. I just got back from a work trip to Florida – not a bad time of year to go there!

Ryan and I are planning to head to TN at the end of February to continue working on getting Sue’s house ready for sale. Hopefully we can stop by and visit with you all.

Also – I’ve got a little project of collecting old family recipes. Maybe you have some that you would like to share for the collection. I love your bran muffins and I know Ryan is a huge fan of your oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

I hope that you are doing well and I look forward to seeing you later this month. I’ll call you to let you know exact dates.

Jason (most of my family call me Jason – Reed is my middle name)